Non-agreement no bar to approach rent court: Madras High Court


CHENNAI: Even in the absence of a written rental agreement between the landlord and tenant, especially the tenancy created before the commencement of the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants Act on or before February 22, 2019, the remedy cannot be denied on the sole ground of failure to enter into such an agreement, the Madras High Court has ruled.

Justice R Suresh Kumar gave the ruling on Monday while disposing of a revision petition from one V Manimegalai, seeking to set aside an order dated September 9 this year of the City-based Rent Court and consequently direct the court below to dispose of the case, on merits.

The judge said that it cannot be construed that for approaching the Rent Court for getting the relief of either termination of tenancy or repossession of the premises by the landlord, such application should
be filed under Section 21 of the Act, accompanied with a registered rental agreement.

Therefore, Section 4(3) of the Act can only be construed that by virtue of the provisions of the Act, there must be a written agreement between the landlord and tenant and that is compulsorily registerable and without being a registered document i.e. rental agreement, it does not have an evidentiary value, in other words, it is inadmissible in evidence. Only to that purpose or to that extent alone, the effect of non-registration of rental agreement can be construed or the provision of Section 4-A can be pressed into service, the judge said.

The reasons cited by the Registrar of Small Causes Court, which is impugned herein, for returning the papers by not entertaining the application (RLTOP), is unsustainable and therefore, the judge directed the Rent Court/Small Causes Court Registry to number the RLTOP and proceed, if it is otherwise in order.