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Tenant no defaulter if landlord doesn't accept rent: HC
May, 31st 2008

Granting relief to a Nashik-based woman after over two decades, the Bombay High Court has held that she could not be termed a `defaulter' as landlord had refused to accept rent when she had offered it.

The High Court overturned rulings of the two lower courts in this case.

Bibi Amar Shaikh, a resident of Nashik, was served eviction notice by her landlord Kadir Khot in 1981 on the ground that she failed to pay rent for the period between March 1979 to December 1980.

The Matter went to the court. She pleaded before the civil court, junior division, that in January 1980 she had sent a money-order to the landlord. It was not accepted. She sent another money-order in October, and finally paid the rent personally.

But the landlord did not accept the rent, neither did he gave her any receipt.

Lower civil court decided against her. District court too held her to be a rent-defaulter, as she did not have rent receipts. Both the courts did not consider the fact that she had deposited the amount of rent in the court at the start of the litigation.

But when the matter finally reached the High Court -- on her appeal -- Justice V M Kanade observed that she had twice sent money orders, in due time, to her landlord.

Previous judgements of the High Court favoured tenant in similar situation, he noted.

Declaring the woman not be a defaulter, the High Court set aside rulings of both the lower courts in the decision early this month.

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