In the instant case of Navin Chander Anand Versus Union of India, the Delhi High Court dismissed the appeal filed challenging the judgment of the trial court which dismissed the suit filed by the Appellant for possession and mesne profits. The Appellant, who is a co-owner of a property given for the purpose of tenancy, sought to claim possession and mesne profits without receiving support from the other co-owners. The Trial Court dismissed the suit on the grounds that the said suit warranted for the full support of the other co-owners, which was not present, thereby making the suit invalid in the eyes of law.
The Hon’ble Justice Valmiki J Mehta, who presided over the appeal, was in concurrence with the judgment and reasoning of the Trial Court as the suit could not be maintained by one co-owner solely. Reference was made to the judgment of the Apex Court in Sk. Sattar Sk. Mohd. Choudhari Versus Gundappa Amabadas Bukate wherein the Supreme Court observed as follows:
“……a co-sharer cannot initiate action for eviction of the tenant from the portion of the tenanted accommodation nor can he sue for his part of the rent. The tenancy cannot be split up either in estate or in rent or any other obligation by unilateral act of one of the co-owners.”
The Bench further referred to the judgment of the Apex Court in Jagdish Dutt and Another Versus Dharam Pal and Others which highlighted that a co-sharer cannot seek execution of a joint decree only in respect of his own part as a decree can only be executed in whole and not in part. In the said judgment, it was observed:
“In case where the interest of the coparceners is undefined, indeterminate and cannot be specifically stated to be in respect of any one portion of the property, a decree cannot be given effect to before ascertaining the rights of the parties by an appropriate decree in a partition suit. It is no doubt true that the purchaser of the undivided interest of a coparcener in an immovable property cannot claim to be in joint possession of that property with all the other coparceners. However, in case where he is already in possession of the property, unless the rights are appropriately ascertained, he cannot be deprived of the possession thereof for a joint decree holder can seek for execution of a decree in the whole and not in part of the property.”
Whilst the Appellant argued on the reliance upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in Om Prakash and Another Vs. Mishri Lal (dead) represented by his legal representative Savitri Devi which stated that “a suit for eviction of a tenant can be maintained by one of the co-owners and it would be no defence to the tenant to question the maintainability of the suit on the ground that the other co-owners were not joined as parties to the suit”, the Bench held that the Om Prakash decision would be applicable only in cases when a co-owner initiates a suit for eviction in the absence of any legitimate objections from other co-owners to the filing of the suit.
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