Payment of Pagri and Status of Tenancy under Punjab Rented Premises Act 2009

Payment of Pagri and Status of Tenancy under Punjab Rented Premises Act 2009 Case Laws Civil Law Concurrent Findings Constitutional Law Knowledge - Civil Law Knowledge - Constitutional Law Lahore High Court Litigation & Arbitration Rent Solutions - Civil Law Solutions - Constitutional Law Mr. Justice Mirza Viqas Rauf in his judgment has decided the issue regarding payment of pagri and status of tenancy under Punjab Rented Premises Act 2009, in Writ Petition No. 2104 of 2014.

1. Pir Muhammad Manjh, petitioner through instant constitutional petition assails the vires of judgment and decree dated 18th of July, 2014, whereby the learned Additional District Judge, Rawalpindi Camp at Murree, while dismissing his appeal upheld the order dated 23rd of September, 2013 passed by learned Special Judge (Rent), Murree.

2. Precisely the facts necessary for adjudication of instant petition are that respondents No.1 & 2 preferred an ejectment petition in terms of Section 15 of The Punjab Rented Premises Act, 2009 (hereinafter referred as “The Act, 2009”) seeking eviction of the petitioner from the suit property on multiple grounds including expiry of tenancy agreement. The petitioner moved an application for leave to contest wherein he asserted that he paid Rs.30,00,000/- to the original landlord/owner as a “pagri” and no notice in terms of Section 30 of “The Act, 2009” has been issued to him by the respondents. The leave to contest was granted and thereafter learned Special Judge (Rent) framed necessary issues from the divergent pleadings of the parties to the following effect:

1. Whether the tenancy agreement expire on 30-06-2013 and the petitioner is entitled to eviction of the respondent? OPP

2. Whether the respondent has due notice of change of ownership? OPP

3. Whether the petitioner is not maintainable in its present form? OPR

4. Whether the respondent is continuing permanent tenancy on pagri vide agreement dated 4-7-2005 with vested rights? OPR

After framing of issues both the parties adduced their respective evidence in the form of oral as well as documents. On completion of evidence from both the sides and after hearing respective contentions, the ejectment petition was allowed vide order dated 23rd of September, 2013. The petitioner, being dissatisfied from the order of learned Special Judge (Rent) filed an appeal before the learned Additional District Judge, Rawalpindi Camp at Murree, however, the same was dismissed vide judgment and decree dated 18th of July, 2014, hence this petition.

3. Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner was in occupation of the suit premises since long and in this regard, he paid Rs.30,00,000/- as “pagri” to the previous landlord and the tenancy was thus permanent. Learned counsel while referring to Section 2(d) & (e) of “The Act, 2009” contended that ejectment petition was incompetent. He added that change of ownership was not conveyed to the petitioner through legal mode, thus ejectment petition was not maintainable in view of Section 30 of “The Act, 2009”. Learned counsel argued that the petitioner though successfully established his right qua the property and evidence to this effect has gone un-rebutted but the learned courts below without adverting to the relevant evidence directed the eviction of the petitioner. Learned counsel next contended that “pagri” is duly recognized under “The Act, 2009” and tenancy becomes irrevocable. In support of his contentions, learned counsel relied upon “Mst. Humera Sajid versus Muqarrab Khan Puni and another” (2008 CLC 650) and “Abdul Jabbar versus Salahuddin and 4 others” (1985 CLC 2594).

4. Conversely, learned counsel representing respondents No.1 & 2 vehemently refuted the arguments raised by learned counsel for the petitioner. He added that tenancy between the parties is duly established on the record and the petitioner has badly failed to prove the payment of “pagri” to the previous landlord. Learned counsel contended that tenancy was for a fixed period which expired and petitioner cannot claim permanent possession of the suit premises on account of perpetual tenancy. Learned counsel maintained that there are concurrent findings of facts recorded by both the courts below which are based on proper appraisal of evidence so the same cannot be interfered with in exercise of constitutional jurisdiction. Reliance is placed on “Mirza Book Agency through Managing Partner and others versus Additional District Judge, Lahore and others” (2013 SCMR 1520), “Nadeem Zafar and others versus Muhammad Ismaeel and others” (PLD 2012 Lahore 178) and “Hafiz Muhammad Shahid Nawaz versus Hafiz Muhammad Saeed” (2010 CLC 1941).

5. I have heard learned counsels for both the sides at considerable length and also perused the record with their assistance.

6. The eviction of the petitioner was sought on multiple grounds, some of those were though even not recognized by Section 15 of “The Act, 2009”. The ejectment petition was, however, allowed on the ground of expiry of tenancy period. The petitioner resisted his eviction mainly on two grounds, firstly on account of lack of notice in terms of Section 30 of “The Act, 2009” regarding transfer of ownership and secondly that he had paid “pagri” to the previous landlord and as per tenancy agreement with him, his tenancy is of permanent character and he cannot be evicted subject to payment of agreed rent. This leaves following questions for determination of this Court:

(i) Whether any notice under Section 30 of “The Act, 2009” was served upon the petitioner (tenant) regarding transfer of ownership of the respondents No.1 & 2 (landlords) or not?

(ii) Whether on account of payment of “pagri” and in view of tenancy agreement with the previous landlord, the status of the tenancy has become of permanent character and the petitioner (tenant) cannot be evicted?

7. Adverting to the point No.(i), it is observed that the respondents No.1 & 2 in their ejectment petition specifically asserted that they had sent a notice to the petitioner regarding change of ownership which remained unattended, however, in his application for leave to contest, which was granted and the same was treated as written reply in terms of Section 23 of “The Act, 2009”, the petitioner denied any such notice. To this effect issue No.2 was framed by the learned Special Judge (Rent) and onus of proof was placed upon the respondents. Admittedly the tenancy between the parties was not registered in conformity with the provisions of “The Act, 2009” and the respondents No.1 & 2 have deposited fine in the Government treasury in terms of Section 9 of “The Act, 2009”, so that their ejectment application should become entertainable. As per stance of respondents No.1 & 2, the suit premises was purchased by them through registered sale deed bearing No.378 dated 1st of October, 2012 (Exhibit-A7) from Muhammad Moazzam and the petitioner was occupying the premises as tenant under the previous owner. As the tenancy had expired so they informed the petitioner to vacate the suit premises as they do not want to continue the tenancy.

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