In the last few years, disputes related to property, land, and rent-related to those respective properties have increased progressively. It is a general estimated statistics report which states that approximately 7.7 million population in India is stuck in a conflict situation over 2.5 million hectares of land area. Such situations of conflict are affecting and largely threatening the economy of the country as investments are worth more than Rs. 14 lac crore.
The filing of suits for land dispute cases takes a lot of time as there is the filing of eviction notice or ejectment notice and processing through the trials. In India, land occupies a central place for the development of the country and which is the reason that finding a solution to such disputes which are civil in nature is of utmost importance.
In the Supreme Court of India, the suits filed for land disputes rank 1st in the set of cases filed in the Indian Courts. The suits related to land disputes account for 25% of the total number of cases decided by our honorable Supreme Court every year out of which 30% of the suits are related to the acquisition.
As per the general survey report, approximately 66% of the civil suits filed in Courts are related to land, or rent, or property disputes in India. Further, the report states that the average pendency of a case that is related to land, or property, or rent from its creation to its resolution by the honorable Supreme Court of India is 20 years.
Meaning and Definitions
The terminology suit refers to the attempt to gain an end by a legal process which is a process instituted in a court of law for the recovery of a right or claim.
The terminology eviction here means to expel or force one or more people from their property to move out. In the general sense, the term ejectment refers to casting out but in the legal sense, it is a legal process of compelling or throwing, or removing someone from their property or holdings.
The terminology property can be defined as movable, immovable, tangible, intangible, or any other thing which is owned by an individual or a group of persons who have their interest or right in such properties.
The terminology rent is a payment made by a tenant at intervals in order to occupy a property.
An agreement is a legally binding contract that contains certain terms and conditions that are enforceable in a court of law.
In general terms, a tenant is the one who pays a fee which is the rent in return for the use of land, building, or other property owned by others. In the legal language, a tenant is the one who holds property by any kind of right, including ownership.
A landlord is a person who owns and rents land such as a house, apartment, or condo, etc.
Civil law is the body of law dealing with the private relations between members of a community. It contrasts with criminal law, military law, and ecclesiastical law.
Difference between a suit for eviction and a suit for ejectment
Perspective under Indian or International scenario
Under Indian law, a suit for eviction and a suit for ejectment is maintainable under the Transfer of Property Act, 1882. However, states have the power to make their own laws relating to rent, and many Indian states such as Bihar and Mumbai have their own state laws relating to rent. Thus, those states conform to the statutes without violating any provision of the central legislation.
Under International law, many countries such as Floria, Miami, Georgia, etc. follow the same concept as the Indian Courts and they also have written provisions in their respective legislation and statutes.
Summary of leading cases
Tribhuvan Shankar v. Amrutlal (2013) (CIVIL APPEAL NO. 10316 OF 2013) (India)
In this case, the plaintiff filed a civil suit in the District Court of Indore, Madhya Pradesh against the defendant for eviction of the suit premises. This case was re-appealed in the High Court.
The Court held that there is a clear difference between the suit for eviction and suit for possession, as the suit for eviction is based on the relationship of the landlord and the tenant. Further, once the landlord-tenant relationship is unproven there can be no decree for eviction.
Munisami Naidu v. C. Ranganathan (AIR 1991 SC 492) (India)
In this case, it was held that if the tenant states that he was unaware of the fact that who was the landlord does not take away the title of the actual landlord of that property. The Court further held no decree for eviction can be filed as there remains no landlord-tenant relationship.
Bhagwan Dass v. L. Pyare Lal (AIR 1955 All 197) (India)
In this case, it was held, that it is necessary to take the permission of the District Magistrate for the eviction of a tenant from a premise as it is to be one of the grounds that have to be mentioned in Section 3 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 and therefore, though, by a notice under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 read with Section 111 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 a lease may be terminated but the tenant is not liable to ejectment as one of the conditions i.e., the permission of the District Magistrate having not been obtained he would not be liable to ejectment.
B. Valsala v. Sundram Nadar Bhaskaran (AIR 1994 Ker 164) (India)
In this case, it was held that an individual who is a co-owner can maintain a suit on his own in case of ejectment of a trespasser or a tenant at sufferance.
Jagdish Chandra Ghose and others v. Basant Kumar Bose and another (AIR 1963 Pat 308) (India)
In this case, the Court held that the suit was rightly filed for eviction and not for ejectment or mandatory injunction of defendants from the premises.
Sisir Kumar Dutta v. Susil Kumar Dutta (AIR 1961 Cal 229) (India)
In this case, it was held that whenever a suit is filed for possession against a licensee which is either on the grounds of revocation or termination then the suit is for the eviction of the trespasser.
Janki Prasad Hanuman Prasad vs Pt. Harish Chandra Tewari And Another (AIR 1960 All 211) (India)
In this case, it was held that it is necessary to take the permission of the District Magistrate for the eviction of a tenant from a premise as it is to be one of the grounds that have to be mentioned under Section 3 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 and by a notice under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 read with Section 111 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 a lease may be terminated but the tenant is not liable to ejectment as one of the conditions i.e., the permission of the District Magistrate having not been obtained he would not be liable to ejectment.
Hence, there is a very basic but clear line of difference between a suit for eviction and a suit for ejectment. To understand this difference and to apply it while initiating a suit is of utmost importance.
Author: Sneha Mahawar, Ramaiah Institute of Legal Studies.