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MUDIYANSE v. RAHMAN.
C. R., A nuradhapura, 1,202.
Landlord and tenant—Jurisdiction of Court of Requests—Action for rentand ejectment of tenant—Tenant having title to tenement at termina-tion of tenancy superior to that of landlord.
Where a contract of tenancy is legally determined, the landlord' may sue the tenant in the Court of Requests for rent overdue anddamages for non-surrender of the tenement and for ejectment of thetenant therefrom, although the value of the tenement is beyond themonetary limit of the jurisdiction of such Court, provided the rentand damages claimed fall within such jurisdiction.
Where at the termination of a holding the tenant has gained atitle to the tenement-superior to that of the landlord, he must stillfulfil his obligation under his contract with the landlord and restoreto him the tenement, and then if the landlord in his turn refuse to> give it up, the tenant can proceed to evict him by appropriate legalproceedings.
r | ^HE facts of the case appear in the judgment.
Pereira and Van Lahgenberg, for defendant, appellant.
8th October, 1896. Withebs,. J.—*
This plaint contains two causes of action, one being the failure
to pay rent for the use of a boutique due and payable under a
September 28and October 8.
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^ 1806.contract of letting and hiring, and.the other a failure to surrender to
andOctobe^S. ^essor the premises so hired after due notice to quit.
The letting and hiring were under an ordinary contract from 'month to month, and the tenant had notice to quit on the 30th of' April last,
The rent agreed to be paid according to the plaint was Rs. 5 amonth. It was alleged that defendant owed the plaintiff Rs. 25,being rent for five consecutive months, including the said monthof April.'
This contract was specially denied, and therefore the questionof tenancy under a contract with the plaintiff became the principalissue to be tried.
Damages for withholding possession were claimed at the rate ofRs. 10 a month till the boutique should be surrendered, and the#plaintiff amongst other things prayed for an order of ejectmentagainst the defendant. The Commissioner found the contract andnotice proved as declared, and gave judgement for the plaintiffas prayed for. As regards the facts at issue I see no reason tothink that the Commissioner has arrived at a wrong decision, and. if there was no other question involved I should at once affirmhis decision.
But an important point was raised in the answer and pressed inappeal, and it is this :—
It was pleaded in the answer that the Court of Requests had nojurisdiction to try the case, because the value of the boutiquewhich the plaintiff prayed the defendant might be ejected from wasRs. 400. The value of the boutique seems to have been acquiescedin so far as I can find. The Commissioner ruled against thedefendant on this plea, remarking that it would be very hard ona landlord for a tenant to raise an objection of the kind in an actionlike this.
The law in certain cases may seem to be hard, but if the plearaised in the defence is a valid one, it must be sustained. Thequestion therefore to be determined is whether the plea to thejurisdiction is a valid one. If it is not, the judgment appealed frommust stand.
Section 39 of the Civil Procedure Code enacts that every actionof regular procedure shall be instituted by presenting a duly stamped
written plaint to the Court and if the plaintiff seeks the
recovery of money the plaint. must state the precise amount,so far as the case admits. In, an. action for a specific chattel,or to establish, recover, or enforce any right, status, or privilege,or for mesne profits, or for the amount which will be founddue to the plaintiff on taking unsettled accounts between
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him and the defendant, the plaint need only state approximatelythe value of the chattel, right, status, or privilege, or the amountsued for, and by section .46, if the relief sought is undervalued andthe valuation is not corrected within the time fixed by the Court,the plaint must be rejected. This is what may be called the juris*dictional value.
The next step is to ascertain the j urisdiction of a Court of Bequests.That is declared by the 77th section of Ordinance No. 1 of 1889,which governs this case and enacts as follows :—
Every court of requests shall be a court of record'and shall haveoriginal jurisdiction, and shall have cognizance of and full power to hearand determine all actions in which the debt, damage, or demand shallnotexceed one hundred rupees, and in which the party or parties defend-ant shall be resident within the jurisdiction of suoh court, or in whichthe cause of action shall have arisen within suoh jurisdiction ;’and alsoall actions for the part tion or sale of land and all actions in whioh thetitle, to, interest in, or right to the possession of any land shall be in"dispute, provided that the value of suoh land or of the part oular share,right, or interest in dispute to be part tioned or sold shall not exceed,three hundred rupees, and the same or any part thereof is situate w.'.thinthe jurisdiction of such oourt, or the party or parties defendant shall beresident witbin the junsd'ction of such court.
In this case no doubt the right to possession of the boutiquemay be said, to be in dispute, and as the defendant withholds itwhen he is bound to restore it, the plaintiff asks for consequen-tial relief in the nature of an order for ejectment. But the rightto possession in this case is a right flowing from the contract oflease which has been duly determined. In addition to the amountof the rent unpaid, plaintiff asks for compensation for thedeprivation of the premises. By being kept out of possession hesays in effect that he loses the benefit of enjoyment, which he cal-culates to bring him in Bs. 10 a month. His plaint was institutedon the 5th day of May, i.e., five days after the date on which thedefendant should have restored the premises. He should, I think,have restricted his compensation to the loss sustained during theinterval between non-delivery and the institution of his action.If this is a .correct mode of valuing the infringement Of his right to' possession of the land, this action c6m.es well within the jurisdiction• of the Court below. The order for ejectment is only asked in aid ofplaintiff’s right to have possession, and which right, as I said before,flows from the relation of the contracting parties as lessor andtenant.
If it„ was a conflict between the parties of adverse rightsof possession-' to" the boutique, the measure, of valuation ofthe plaintiff’s right might be different. But the defendant inthis case cannot be heard to say that he has an adverse right of
Septsmlpr 29and October 8.
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1896. possession, for a tenant in possession under a contact of letting and
September 28 hiring caiinot deny his landlord’s title pro hac vice. He does notana October If. ,, 4.
say that the plaintiff 8 interest in the premises wholly determined
Wixhubs, before the expiry of the lease.
Supposing the defendant has gained a superior title he must firstfulfil his obligation under the contract of restoring the property tohis landlord, and then, if the landlord in his turn refuse to giveup the property, the tenant can proceed to evict him by appropriatelegal proceedings. For these reasons I come to the conclusion thatthe Court of Bequests had jurisdiction to try and determine thisaction.
The judgment is accordingly affirmed with this modification,that damages will be assessed at Bs. 2-50 for deprivation of enjoy*ment of the boutique up to the date of action.
MUDIYANSE v. RAHMAN