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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

JURISDICTION OF SMALL CAUSE COURTS IN EVICTING GRATUITOUS LICENSEE = i) Whether the expression “Licensee” used in section 41(1) in Chapter VII of PSCC Act, not having been defined therein, would derive its meaning from the expression “licensee” as used in sub- section (4A) of section 5 of the Rent Act and/or whether the expression “licensee” used in section 41(1) of PSCC Act is a term of wider import so as to mean and include a “gratuitous licensee” also? ii) Whether a suit by a “licensor” against a “gratuitous licensee” is tenable before the Presidency Small Cause Court under section 41 of PSCC Act? = whether a suit filed by a licensor against a gratuitous licensee under Section 41(1) of the Presidency Small Causes Courts Act, 1882 (for short “the PSCC Act”), as amended by the Maharashtra Act No.XIX of 1976 (for short “1976 Amendment Act”) is maintainable before a Small Causes Court, Mumbai. 3. The Division Bench of the Bombay High Court in Ramesh Dwarikadas Mehra v. Indirawati Dwarika Das Mehra (AIR 2001 Bombay 470) held that a suit by a licensor against a gratuitous licensee is not tenable before the Presidency Small Causes Court under Section 41 (1) of the PSCC Act, and it should be filed before the City Civil Court or the High Court depending upon the valuation. The Division Bench held that the expression “licensee” used in Section 41(1) of the PSCC Act has the same meaning as in Section 5 (4A) of the Bombay Rents, Hotels and Lodging House Rates (Control) Act, 1947 (in short “the Rent Act”). Further it was held that the expression “licensee” as used in Section 5(4A) does not cover a gratuitous licensee. The Division Bench in that case rejected the ejectment application holding that the Small Causes Court at Bombay lacked jurisdiction. We are of the view that in such a situation the court also should give a liberal construction and attempt should be to achieve the purpose and object of the legislature and not to frustrate it. In such circumstances, we are of the considered opinion that the expression licensee employed in Section 41 is used in general sense of term as defined in Section 52 of the Indian Easement Act. 52. We have elaborately discussed the various legal principles and indicated that the expression ‘licensee’ in Section 41(1) of the PSCC Act would take a gratuitous licensee as well. The reason for such an interpretation has been elaborately discussed in the earlier part of the judgment. Looking from all angles in our view the expression ‘licensee’ used in the PSCC Act does not derive its meaning from the expression ‘licensee’ as used in Sub-section (4A) of Section 5 of the Rent Act and that the expression “licensee” used in Section 41(1) is a term of wider import intended to bring in a gratuitous licensee as well. 53. We are, therefore, in complete agreement with the reasoning of the Full Bench of the High Court. In such circumstances, the appeals lack merits and are, therefore, dismissed. There is no order as to costs.

                   PUBLISHED IN         http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40640                                 
    REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                    CIVIL APPEAL Nos. 6726-6727  OF 2013
              (Arising out of SLP (Civil) NO.20763-764 OF 2007)



Prabhudas Damodar Kotecha & Ors.              …. Appellants

                                     v.

Manhabala Jeram Damodar & Anr.               ...Respondents



                               J U D G M E N T


K. S. Radhakrishnan, J



        Leave granted.




2.    We are, in these appeals, concerned with the question
whether  a  suit
filed by a licensor against a gratuitous licensee  under  Section  41(1)  of the Presidency Small Causes Courts Act, 1882 (for short “the PSCC Act”),  as amended by the Maharashtra Act No.XIX of 1976  (for  short  “1976  Amendment Act”) is maintainable before a Small Causes Court, Mumbai.  




3.    The Division Bench of the  Bombay  High  Court  in  
Ramesh  Dwarikadas Mehra v. Indirawati Dwarika Das Mehra (AIR 2001  Bombay  470)  
held  that  a
suit by a licensor against a gratuitous licensee is not tenable before  the Presidency Small Causes Court under Section 41 (1) of the PSCC Act,  and  it should be filed before the City Civil Court  or  the  High  Court  depending upon the valuation.  
The Division Bench held that the expression  “licensee”
used in Section 41(1) of the PSCC Act has the same meaning as in  Section  5 (4A) of the Bombay Rents, Hotels and Lodging  House  Rates  (Control)   Act, 1947 (in short “the Rent Act”). 
 Further it was  held  that  the  expression
“licensee” as used in Section 5(4A) does not cover  a  gratuitous  licensee.
The Division Bench in that case rejected the ejectment  application  holding that the Small Causes Court at Bombay lacked jurisdiction.




4.    In Bhagirathi  Lingawade  and  others  v.  Laxmi  Silk  Mills,  in  an
unreported judgment of the  Bombay  High  Court  dated  03.09.1993,  another
Division Bench of the Bombay High Court  expressed  the  view  that  Section
5(4A) and Section 13(1) of the Rent Act, 1947 are not  at  all  relevant  in
interpreting the scope and ambit of Section 41 of the PSCC Act, under  which
suit was filed.




5.    The Full Bench of the Bombay High Court, which is the  Judgment  under
appeal, reported in 2007 (5)  Maharashtra  Law  Journal  341,  answered  the
question in the affirmative overruling  the  Ramesh  Dwarikadas  Mehra  case
(supra), the  legality  of  which  is  the  question,  that  falls  for  our
consideration.



FACTUAL MATRIX



6.    Respondent Nos.1 and 2  along  with  other  plaintiffs  (who  are  now
deceased) filed a suit L.E. and C. No.430/582 of 1978 under  Section  41  of
the PSCC Act before the Small Causes Court, Bombay  against  the  appellants
(original defendants) for recovery and vacant possession of one bed room  in
Flat No.16, Ram Mahal, Churchgate, Mumbai and also for  other  consequential
reliefs.  Plaintiffs submitted that  the  defendants  were  in  use  and  in
occupation of the above premises as their guest-house and  so  far  as  hall
and kitchen are concerned, family members of the  plaintiff  and  defendants
were using it as common amenities.  The plaintiffs also claim that they  are
in occupation  of  another  bed-room  in  the  suit  flat  and  no  monetary
consideration was charged by them from the defendants for exclusive use  and
occupation of one bed-room and joint use of the hall and kitchen  as  common
amenities.  Permission granted to the defendants to  use  the  premises  was
later revoked and since they did not vacate the suit flat and  continued  to
hold possession wrongfully and illegally, suit was filed for eviction.



7.    The Small Causes Court decreed the  suit  on  07.02.1997  and  ordered
eviction of the appellants with a specific finding that they are  gratuitous
licensee.  The appellants preferred an appeal before the Appellate Bench  of
Small Causes Court, which was dismissed on 05.04.2003.  Against  that  order
both the appellants and respondents filed writ  petitions  before  the  High
Court, Bombay and the respondents’ writ  petition  was  for  claiming  mesne
profits.

8.    The Defendants questioned the jurisdiction of the Small Causes  Court,
Mumbai to entertain and try the suit before the learned Single Judge of  the
High Court of Bombay, placing reliance  on  the  judgment  of  the  Division
Bench in Ramesh Dwarkadas Mehra’s case (supra) contending that  the  licence
created by the plaintiffs in favour of the defendants was  gratuitous,  i.e.
without consideration, hence the suit is not  maintainable  in  that  Court.
Learned Single Judge vide his order dated 16.01.2006 referred the matter  to
a larger bench.  Consequently, a Full Bench was constituted.

9.    The Full Bench of the  Bombay  High  Court  formulated  the  following
questions for its consideration:
        i) Whether the expression  “Licensee”  used  in  section  41(1)  in
           Chapter VII of PSCC Act, not having been defined therein,  would
           derive its meaning from the expression “licensee” as used in sub-
           section (4A) of section 5 of the Rent  Act  and/or  whether  the
           expression “licensee” used in section 41(1) of  PSCC  Act  is  a
           term of wider import so as to mean  and  include  a  “gratuitous
           licensee” also?
       ii) Whether a suit by a “licensor” against a  “gratuitous  licensee”
           is tenable before the Presidency Small Cause Court under section
           41 of PSCC Act?

Both the above mentioned questions, as already indicated, were  answered  by
the Full Bench in the affirmative, the correctness  of  otherwise  of  those
findings is the issue that falls for our consideration.


Arguments

10.   Shri Soli J.  Sorabjee,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  the
appellants, submitted that the Full Bench was  in  error  in  overturning  a
well-reasoned judgment of the Division Bench of the  High  Court  in  Ramesh
Dwarkadas Mehra’s case  and  contended  that  the  licence  created  by  the
plaintiffs in favour of the defendants was admittedly gratuitous  and  hence
a suit for eviction of such a  licensee  is  not  maintainable  in  a  Small
Causes Court.  Further, it  was  pointed  out  that  the  intention  of  the
Legislature was that the “licence” contemplated in Section 41  of  PSCC  Act
must take its colour  from  Section  5(4A)  of  the  Rent  Act  1947,  which
specifically  excludes  a  gratuitous  licensee,   hence,  such  a  suit  is
maintainable only before a competent civil court.   Learned  senior  counsel
also pointed out that it is an  established  position  of  law  that,  under
Section 9 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the jurisdiction of a  Civil
Court cannot be ousted  unless  such  an  ouster  is  expressed  or  clearly
implied and such a provision has to be strictly construed.    Shri  Sorabjee
also submitted that Section 41 of the PSCC Act, as initially  enacted,  used
the expression “permission” and not “licence”, despite  the  Easements  Act,
1882, which is indicative of the legislative intent that Section 52  of  the
Easements  Act,  not  being  pari  materia,  ought  not  be  relied  on   in
determining the scope and meaning of the term “licensee” in  Section  41  of
PSCC Act.

11.   Shri  Sorabjee  also  pointed  out  that,  till  1976,  the  PSCC  Act
continued to use the expression “permission” and the 1976 Amendment  to  the
PSCC Act was  inspired  only  by  1973  Amendment  to  the  Rent  Act  1947.
Further, it was also submitted that 1976 Amendment was specifically made  to
PSCC Act to harmonize it with  the  Rent  Act  1947.    Shri  Sorabjee  also
submitted that Section 41 of the PSCC Act, by virtue of the 1976  Amendment,
was completely  reworded  to  specifically  reflect  the  language  used  in
Section 28 of the Rent Act 1947 so as to make it  pari  materia.   In  other
words, it was submitted that, after the 1976 Amendment, the  Rent  Act  1947
and PSCC Act, are cognate and pari materia statutes which form part  of  the
same system.  Learned senior counsel pointed out that the  statutes  dealing
with the same subject matter or forming part of the  same  system  are  pari
materia statutes.   Reference was  made  to  the  judgments  of  this  Court
reported in Mansukhlal Dhanraj Jain v. Eknath  Vithal  Ogale  (1995)  2  SCC
665, R v. Herrod (1976) 1  All  ER  273  (CA)  and  Ahmedabad  Pvt.  Primary
Teachers Assn. V. Administrative Officer and Ors. (2004) 1 SCC 755.


12.   Shri Sorabjee  also  submitted  that  the  Statement  of  Objects  and
Reasons of 1976  Amendment  proceeds  on  the  premise  that  the  “licence”
contemplated by Section 41  of  PSCC  Act  is  a  non-gratuitous  one  which
provides that, under the existing law, the licensor had to go  to  different
Courts for recovery of possession and licence fee and that the intention  of
the Legislature was always to confine the jurisdiction of the  Small  Causes
Court  to  eviction  proceedings  and  proceedings  for  the   recovery   of
rent/licence fee, not to evict a gratuitous licensee.   Shri  Sorabjee  also
submitted that the expression “licence” contemplated in Section 41  of  PSCC
Act does not include a gratuitous licensee,  which  is  also  in  consonance
with the principle of Nocitur a sociis, which provides that words must  take
colour from words with which  they  are  associated.   In  support  of  this
contention, reliance was placed on the judgment of this Court  in  Ahmedabad
Pvt. Primary Teachers Assn.’s case.


13.   Shri Sorabjee also submitted that the respondents have proceeded on  a
wholly incorrect premise that the Rent Act 1947 only protects the  licensees
who were in possession on 01.02.1973.  It was pointed out that by virtue  of
1973  Amendment  to  the  Rent  Act  1947,  protection  was  given  to   all
“licensees” defined in Section 5(4A).   It was also submitted  that  certain
licensees were given the status of deemed  tenants  under  Section  15A  and
that only those licensees who had  subsisting  license  on  01.02.1973  were
given the status of deemed tenants.   Learned  senior  counsel  pointed  out
that if all the licensees were deemed tenants, there  would  not  have  been
any need to insert the word “licence” in  various  provisions  of  the  Act.
Learned senior counsel also pointed out that these aspects  were  overlooked
by the judgment in appeal, unsettling the law  laid  down  by  the  Division
Bench of the High Court in Ramesh Dwarkadas Mehra’s case (supra).


14.   Shri  Shekhar  Naphade,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  the
respondents, submitted that the Full Bench  of  the  Bombay  High  Court  is
right in holding that the expression “licensee” used  in  Section  41(1)  of
PSCC Act does not derive its  meaning  from  the  expression  “licensee”  as
defined in Section 5(4A) of the  Rent  Act  1947  and  that  the  expression
“licensee” used in Section 41(1) of PSCC Act is a term of wide import so  as
to mean and include a gratuitous  licensee.   Learned  senior  counsel  also
submitted that the argument of the appellants that  the  Rent  Act  1947  is
pari materia with Section 41 of PSCC Act or same system statute, is  totally
misconceived.   Shri Naphade also submitted that the “licence”  contemplated
in Section 41(1) of PSCC  Act  be  considered  as  licence,  as  defined  in
Section 52 of the Easements  Act.    Shri  Naphade  also  pointed  out  that
though  Section  41(1)  of  PSCC  Act,  as  originally  enacted,  refers  to
occupation of premises with permission, such permission means permission  as
referred to in Section 52 of the Easements Act which  is  a  contemporaneous
statute, i.e. Easements Act, the Transfer of Property Act and Section 41  of
PSCC Act.   In support of that  principle,  learned  senior  counsel  placed
reliance on the judgment of this Court in National & Grindlays Bank Ltd.  v.
The Municipal Corporation of Greater  Bombay  (1969)  1  SCC  541  and  Tata
Engineering and Locomotive  Company  Ltd.  v.  The  Gram  Panchayat,  Pimpri
Wachere (1976) 4 SCC 177.

15.    Shri  Naphade  also  submitted  that  the  expression  “licensor”  or
“licensee” or “landlord” and “tenant” used in Section 41  of  PSCC  Act,  as
amended by the Maharashtra Act  No.  XIX  of  1976,  relate  to  “immoveable
property” and Section 52 of the Easements Act which defines a “licence”  has
a inseparable connection to immoveable property and property law.    Learned
senior counsel pointed out that the expression  “licensee”  is  used  as  an
antithesis to the concept of  tenant  and,  therefore,  the  licensee  under
Section 41(1) must mean a person having a licence as defined in  Section  52
of the Easements Act.  Shri Naphade also submitted that the Maharashtra  Act
of 1976 made necessary changes in Chapter VII of PSCC  Act  which  contained
Sections 41 to 49 and by virtue of the amendment, the pecuniary  restriction
on the jurisdiction of the Small Causes Court placed by Section 18 has  been
removed to speed up the proceedings for eviction and to  avoid  multiplicity
of proceedings.   The Legislature also intended that all cases of  licensees
and tenants should be tried only by the Small  Causes  Court  under  Section
41(1) of PSCC Act.

16.   Before considering the rival contentions  raised  by  the  counsel  on
either side and the reasoning of the Full Bench, it is necessary to  examine
the historical settings of the various legislations.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

PSCC Act:

17.   The PSCC Act came into  force  on  01.07.1882.    In  that  year,  the
Transfer of Property Act as well as the  Easements  Act  was  also  enacted.
Under the PSCC Act,  Small  Causes  Courts  were  established  in  Calcutta,
Madras, Ahmedabad and Bombay and the PSCC Act  was  enacted  to  consolidate
and amend the law relating to Courts of  Small  Causes  established  in  the
Presidency Towns.   Small Causes Court was conferred with  the  jurisdiction
to try all suits of a civil nature where value of  the  subject  matter  did
not exceed Rs.10,000/- as per Section 18, subject to exceptions  in  Section
19 of PSCC Act.  Small Causes Courts, at that time, were treated as a  Civil
Courts in the hierarchy of the Courts.    Chapter VII of  PSCC  Act,  as  it
stood prior to the Maharashtra Amendment Act, 1976,  contained  Sections  41
to  46  conferring  limited  jurisdiction  of  recovery  of  possession   of
immoveable  property  on  Small  Causes  Court  giving  summary  remedy  for
recovery of possession of  immoveable  property  of  the  prescribed  value.
Section 41 of PSCC Act then stood as follows:
            “41.  Summons against persons occupying property without leave.-
      When any person has had possession of any immovable  property  situate
      within the local limits of the Small Cause Court’s jurisdiction and of
      which the annual value at a rack-rent does  not  exceed  two  thousand
      rupees, as the tenant, or by permission, or another person, or of some
      person through whom such other person claims,


            and such tenancy or permission has determined or been withdrawn,


            and such tenant or occupier or any person holding  under  or  by
      assignment from him  (hereinafter  called  the  occupant)  refuses  to
      deliver up such property in compliance with a request made to  him  in
      this behalf by such other person,


            such other person (hereinafter called the applicant)  may  apply
      to the Small Cause Court for a summons against the  occupant,  calling
      upon him to show cause, on a day therein appointed, why he should  not
      be compelled to deliver up the property.

18.   Proceedings at that time were initiated by filing an application,  not
a suit.  Even the Bombay Rent Act, 1939 and Bombay Rent Act, 1944,  did  not
give exclusive jurisdiction to any Court.    Legislative  history  indicates
that in respect of premises having annual rack rent up  to  Rs.2,000/-,  the
proceedings for recovery of possession between landlord and tenant  were  to
be filed in Small Causes  Court under Chapter VII of the  PSCC  Act  and  in
case where the annual rack rent  exceeded  Rs.2,000/-,  the  recovery  suits
were to be filed in the Original Side of the High Court.


19.   Bombay Rent Act 1947 also brought lot of changes to the  Rent  Act  of
1939 and 1944 and Section  28  of  the  1947  Act  provided  that  exclusive
jurisdiction was conferred on the Small Cause Court in respect  of  all  the
suits  between  landlord  and  tenant  relating  to  recovery  of  rent   or
possession irrespective of  value  of  the  subject-matter.   Suits  between
landlord and tenant pending on the original side  of  the  High  Court  were
transferred to the Presidency Small Cause Courts,  Mumbai  and  were  to  be
tried under the provisions of the Rent Act.  Even landlords were  prohibited
from recovering any amount in excess of standard rent which was pegged  down
at the level of rent in September, 1940 or on the  date  of  first  letting.
Even the landlord's right of evicting tenant  was  also  severely  curtailed
and the landlords could recover possession  only  on  proof  of  grounds  of
eviction enumerated under the Rent Act, therefore, they started letting  out
their premises under an agreement of leave  and  license.   Proceedings  for
recovery of possession against the  licensee  though  started  filing  suits
under Section 41 of the Small Cause Courts  Act,  the  defendants  in  those
cases starting denying that there were licensees but tenants  and  that  the
agreement of leave and licence was sham and bogus  and  hence  not  binding.
Even the findings rendered by the Small  Cause  Court  in  exercise  of  its
jurisdiction under Section 41 on the question of tenancy was not  final  and
the aggrieved party had a right to file a regular suit  for  declaration  of
the title resulting in multiplicity of the proceedings.  Chapter VII of  the
PSCC Act was later amended by the Maharashtra Act  No.  XLI  of  1963.   The
object of the Amendment in a nutshell is as follows:

           “In view of the fact that the provisions of Section  47  of  the
      Presidency Small Cause Courts Act, 1882 are abused by the  parties  in
      an application under Section 41 and the litigation  is  protracted  on
      account of parties in certain cases claiming the  right  to  be  tried
      under the Bombay Rents, Hotel and Lodging  House  Rates  Control  Act,
      1947, the Act deletes sections 45 to 47 of the Presidency Small  Cause
      Courts Act, 1882 and empowers the Small Cause Court  to  decide  as  a
      preliminary issue the question whether an occupant is entitled to  the
      protection of the Rent Control Act and  to  lay  down  that  only  one
      appeal can be preferred against the order and no  further  appeal  can
      lie.  New Section 49 provides that recovery of possession shall  be  a
      bar to a suit in any court  except  on  the  basis  of  title  to  the
      immovable property other than as title.”




20.   Section 42A which provided  that  if  in  an  application  made  under
Section 41, the occupant raises a defence that he is  a  tenant  within  the
meaning of Bombay Rent Act, 1947 then notwithstanding anything contained  in
that Act, the question shall be decided  by  the  Small  Cause  Court  as  a
preliminary issue.  The question of  filing  civil  suits  against  licensee
even after the introduction of  Section  42A  depended  upon  the  value  of
subject matter.

Bombay Rent Act



21.   Bombay Rent Act, 1925 was repealed by the Bombay Rent Protection  Act,
1939.  Both the Acts did not contain any special or separate  definition  of
“license” nor did they deal with “licensees”.    In the  year  1944,  Bombay
Rent, Hotel and Lodging House Rates (Control) Act 1944 was enacted  followed
by the 1947 Act.   Rent  Act,  1947  also  did  not  deal  with  expressions
“license” or “licensee” and their rights and there were widespread  attempts
to evade the rigour of the rent control legislation by entering into  “leave
and licence” agreements in order to prevent rampant evasion.    Bombay  Rent
Act was amended in the year 1973 to bring “licensees” within the purview  of
the Rent Act, 1947 by adding Section 5(4A) and Section 15A.

22.   Statement of Objects and Reasons of Maharashtra Act 19 of  1973  reads
as follows:

        “It is now notorious that the Bombay Rents, Hotel and lodging  House
        Rates Control Act, 1947, is being avoided by the expedient of giving
        premises on leave and license for  some  months  at  a  time;  often
        renewing from time to time at a higher license fee.   Licensees  are
        thus charged excessive license fees’ in  fact,  several  times  more
        than the standard rent, and have no security of  tenure,  since  the
        licensee has no interest in the  property  like  a  lessee.   It  is
        necessary to make provision to bring licensees within the purview of
        the aforesaid Act.  It is therefore provided by Cl.14  in  the  Bill
        that persons in occupation on the 1st day of February 1973 (being  a
        suitable anterior date) under subsisting  licenses,  shall  for  the
        purposes of the act, be treated as statutory tenants and  will  have
        all the protection that a statutory tenant has, under the  Act.   It
        is further provided in Cl. 8 that in the case of other licenses, the
        charge shall not be more than a sum equivalent to standard rent  and
        permitted increases, and  a  reasonable  amount  for  amenities  and
        services.  It is also provided that no person shall claim or receive
        anything more as license fee or charge, than the standard  rent  and
        permitted increases, and if  he  does  receive  any  such  excessive
        amounts, they should be recoverable from  the  licensor.”  (Emphasis
        supplied)



23.   Section 15-A introduced in the said Act stated that  a  person  as  on
1st February, 1973 in occupation of any premises or any  part  of  which  is
not less than a room as licensee under a subsisting agreement of  leave  and
license, he shall on that day deemed to have become tenant of  the  landlord
for the purpose of Bombay Rent Act, 1947 in respect of the premises or  part
thereof in his occupation.  The definition of  the  expression  “tenant”  in
Section 5(11) was also amended to include such licensee as shall  be  deemed
to be the tenant by virtue of Section 15A.  The  expression  “licensee”  was
also inserted by Sub-section (4A) in Section 5 which provided that a  person
in occupation of the premises or of such part  thereof  which  is  not  less
than a room, as the case may be,  in  a  subsisting  agreement  for  license
given only for a license fee  or  charge  but  excluded  from  its  sweep  a
gratuitous licensee.




Maharashtra Act XIX of 1976

24.   Maharashtra Act XIX of 1976 made drastic changes  in  Chapter  VII  of
PSCC Act by which Chapter VII was substituted for the original  Chapter  VII
(Sections 41  to  49).   Under  Chapter  VII  of  the  1976  Amendment,  the
proceedings for recovery of possession under Section  41  no  more  remained
summary and they were given status of regular suits.   For  easy  reference,
we may refer to both sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 41, which reads  as
follows:

      41.    Suits  or  proceedings  between  licensors  and  licensees   or
      landlords and tenants for recovery of possession of immovable property
      and licence fees or rent, except to those to which other Acts apply to
      lie in Small Cause Court.-

      (1)   Notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in this Act  or  in
      any other law for  the  time  being  in  force,  but  subject  to  the
      provisions of sub-section (2), the Court of Small  Causes  shall  have
      jurisdiction to entertain and try all suits and proceedings between  a
      licensor and licensee, or a landlord and tenant relating the  recovery
      of possession of any immovable property situated in Greater Bombay, or
      relating to the recovery  of  the  licence  fee  or  charges  or  rent
      therefor, irrespective of the value  of  the  subject-matter  of  such
      suits or proceedings.

      (2)   Nothing contained in sub-section (1) shall  apply  to  suits  or
      proceedings for the recovery of possession of any  immovable  property
      or of licence fees or charges of rent thereof, to which the provisions
      of the Bombay Rents, Hotels and Lodging House Rates Control Act, 1947,
      the Bombay  Government  Premises  (Eviction)  Act,  1955,  the  Bombay
      Municipal Corporation Act, the Bombay Housing Board Act, 1948  or  any
      other law for the time being in force, applies.




25.   The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the  1976  Amendment  is  also
relevant and same is extracted hereunder:



      “STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS

      At present in Greater Bombay, all  suits  and  proceedings  between  a
      landlord and tenant relating to recovery of possession of premises  or
      rent, irrespective of the value of the subject matter lie in the Court
      of Small Causes, Bombay under Section 28 of the  Bombay,  Rent,  Hotel
      and Lodging House Rates Control Act, 1947.  Under that section,  suits
      and proceedings for the recovery of the license fee between a licensor
      and licensee as defined in that Act also lie in  the  Court  of  Small
      Causes, irrespective of  the  value  of  the  subject  matter.   Under
      Chapter VII  of  the  Presidency  Small  Causes  Court  Act,  1882  an
      application can be made by a licensor for recovery  of  possession  of
      premises, of which the annual value at a rack  rent  does  not  exceed
      three thousand rupees.   If  the  rack  rent  exceeds  three  thousand
      rupees, the licensor has to take proceedings in the City  Civil  Court
      where the rack rent does not exceed twenty five  thousand  rupees  and
      for higher rents in  the  High  Court.   Similarly,  for  recovery  of
      license fees to which the provisions of the Bombay Rent Control Act do
      not apply, the licensor has to seek his remedy  in  the  Small  Causes
      Court, the City Civil Court or the High Court, as  the  case  may  be,
      according to the value of the subject matter.  Under the existing law,
      the licensor has to go to different Courts for recovery of  possession
      of premises and license fees and if the plea of tenancy is  raised  by
      the defendant and succeeds, the matter has again to go  to  the  Small
      Causes Court.  Similarly, where proceedings on the  basis  of  tenancy
      are started in the Small Causes Court and  subsequently  the  plea  of
      license is taken and succeeds, the plaint is returned and  has  to  be
      represented to the City Civil Court or the High Court as the case  may
      be, depending on the valuation.  Thus,  there  is  unnecessary  delay,
      expense and hardship caused to the suitors by going from one Court  to
      another to have the issue of jurisdiction decided.  Moreover,  Chapter
      VII of the Presidency Small Causes Courts Act  envisages  applications
      which  culminate  in  orders  and  are  always  susceptible  of  being
      challenged by separate suits on title where relationship is admittedly
      not between a landlord and tenant.

      2.    In order to  avoid  multiplicity  of  proceedings  in  different
      Courts and consequent waste of public time and money  and  unnecessary
      delay, hardship and expense to the suitors, and to have uniformity  of
      procedure,  it  is  considered  expedient   to   make   the   required
      supplementary provisions in the Presidency Small Causes Court Act,  so
      that all suits and proceedings between a  landlord  and  tenant  or  a
      licensor and licensee for recovery of possession of  premises  or  for
      recovery of rent or license fee, irrespective  of  the  value  of  the
      subject matter should go to and be disposed of  by  the  Small  Causes
      Court, either under that Act or the Rent Control Act.

      3.    The Bill is intended to achieve these objects.”



26.   We may, on the basis of  the  above  legal  and  historical  settings,
examine the exact intent of the Legislature  in  inserting  the  expressions
“licensor” and “licensee” in Section 41(1) of  the  PSCC  Act  by  the  1976
Amendment and also whether all disputes between licensors and licensees  are
intended to be tried only by the Small  Causes  Courts.    Before  embarking
upon such an exercise,  we  have  to  deal  with  the  basic  principles  of
interpretation of the  expressions  which  figures  in  the  Statutes  under
consideration.


Golden Rule


27.   Golden-rule is that the words of a statute  must  be  prima  facie  be
given their ordinary meaning when the language or  phraseology  employed  by
the legislature is  precise  and  plain.   This,  by  itself  proclaims  the
intention of the legislature in unequivocal terms, the same  must  be  given
effect to and it is  unnecessary  to  fall  upon  the  legislative  history,
statement of objects and reasons, frame work of the statute  etc.   Such  an
exercise need be carried  out,  only  when  the  words  are  unintelligible,
ambiguous or vague.

28.   It is trite law that if the words of a Statute are themselves  precise
and unambiguous, then no more can be necessary than to expound  those  words
in their natural  and  ordinary  sense.   The  above  principles  have  been
applied by this Court in several cases, the judgments of which are  reported
in Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh and Others v. L.V.A. Dixitulu and  Others
(1979) 2 SCC 34, Kehar Singh and Others v. State (Delhi Admn.) AIR  1988  SC
1883, District Mining Officer and Others v. Tata  Iron  and  Steel  Co.  and
Another (2001) 7 SCC 358, Gurudevdatta VKSSS Maryadit and  Others  v.  State
of Maharashtra and Others AIR 2001 SC 1980, State of  H.P.  v.  Pawan  Kumar
(2005) 4 SCC 350 and State of Rajasthan v. Babu Ram (2007) 6 SCC 55.

29.   Section 41(1), as such, came up for consideration  before  this  Court
in Mansukhlal Dhanraj Jain’s case (supra).    While  interpreting  the  said
provision, the Court stated that the following conditions must be  satisfied
before taking the view that jurisdiction of regular  competent  civil  court
is ousted:
        i) It must be  a  suit  or  proceeding  between  the  licensee  and
           licensor; or
       ii) between a landlord and a tenant
      iii)  such  suit  or  proceeding  must  relate  to  the  recovery  of
           possession of any property situated in Greater Bombay; or
       iv) relating to the recovery of the licence fee or charges  or  rent
           thereof.


30.   We are primarily concerned with the condition nos. (i) and  (iii)  and
if we hold that both the above conditions are satisfied, then  Small  Causes
Courts will have  the  jurisdiction  to  entertain  the  suit  in  question,
provided the expression “licensee” means and include  “gratuitous  licensee”
also.  In that context, we have  also  to  examine  whether  the  expression
“licensee” in Section 41(1) of the  PSCC  Act  would  mean  only  “licensee”
within the meaning of sub-section (4A) of Section 5 of the Rent Act 1947.


31.   Let us, in this context, make a brief reference to Sub-section (2)  of
Section 41 of the PSCC Act, which states, nothing contained  in  Sub-section
(1) shall apply to suit or proceeding for the recovery of possession of  any
immovable property or of licence fee or charges or rent  thereof,  to  which
provisions of Rent Act 1947 apply.   A plain  reading  of  this  sub-section
shows that the  provisions  of  sub-section  shall  not  apply  to  suit  or
proceeding for recovery of possession of any immovable property  or  licence
fee to which Rent Act 1947 apply, meaning thereby, if the provisions of Sub-
section (4A) and Sub-section (11) of Section 5 read with Section 15A of  the
Rent Act 1947 are attracted, the provisions of Sub-section  (1)  of  Section
41 of the PSCC Act cannot be resorted to to institute  a  suit  between  the
licensor and licensee, relating to recovery of licence fee, therefore, if  a
licensee is covered by Section 15A read with Section 5(4A) of the  Rent  Act
1947, the suit under Section  41(1)  would  not  be  maintainable.   Section
41(1), therefore, takes in its compass “licensees” who do  not  fall  within
the ambit of Section 5(4A) read with Section 5(11) and Section  15A  of  the
Rent Act 1947.


32.   Gratuitous licensee, it may be noted, does  not  fall  within  Section
5(4A) read  with  Sections  5(11)  and  15A  of  the  Rent  Act  1947.   The
provisions of Section 41(1) also do not specifically  exclude  a  gratuitous
licensee or  makes  any  distinction  between  the  licensee  with  material
consideration or without material consideration.   Further, it may  also  be
noted that Section 28 of the Rent Act 1947 do  not  confer  jurisdiction  on
the Small Causes Court to entertain a suit against  a  gratuitous  licensee.
Section 28 read with Section 5(4A) would show that a party who claims to  be
a gratuitous licensee is not entitled to any protection under the  Rent  Act
1947.

PARI MATERIA:

33.   Viscount Simonds in A.G. v. HRH  Prince  Ernest  Augustus  of  Hanover
(1957) 1 All ER 49, conceived the above mentioned principle to  be  a  right
and duty to construe every word of a statute in its  context  and  used  the
word “context” in its  widest  sense,  including  “other  statutes  in  pari
materia”.  Earlier, same was the view taken in R. v. Loxdale  (1758)  97  ER
394 stating that when there are different statutes in pari  materia,  though
made at different times, or even expired and not referring  to  each  other,
they shall be taken and construed together as one system and as  explanatory
to each other.     This Court in State  of  Punjab  v.  Okara  Grain  Buyers
Syndicate Ltd.  Okara  AIR  1964  SC  669  held  that  when  two  pieces  of
legislation are of different scopes,  it cannot be said  that  they  are  in
pari materia.  In Shah & Co., Bombay v. State of  Maharashtra  AIR  1967  SC
1877,  this  Court  held  that  the  Rent  Act  1947  and  the  Bombay  Land
Requisition Act, 1948 were not held to be the acts in pari materia, as  they
do not relate to the same person or thing or to same  class  of  persons  of
things.

34.   “Pari materia” words, it is seen,  are  used  in  Section  28  of  the
Bombay Rent Act, 1947 and Section 41(1) of PSCC Act referring to the  nature
of suits in both the provisions would indicate that those provisions  confer
exclusive jurisdiction on Small Causes Court meaning thereby  it  alone  can
entertain suits or proceedings relating to recovery  or  possession  of  the
premises.  Section 28 of the Bombay Rent  Act  deals  with  the  suits  only
between landlord and tenant and between licensor and licensee relating  only
to recovery of licence fee or charge  while  Section  41  of  the  PSCC  Act
deals with such  suits  between  licensor  and  licensee  also.   Where  the
premises are not governed by the Rent Act, the provisions of Section  41  of
the PSCC Act would apply, at the same time where the premises  are  governed
by the provisions of Rent  Act,  the  provisions  of  Section  28  would  be
attracted.

35.   When we look at both the provisions, it is clear that  the  nature  of
such suits as  envisaged  by  both  the  sections  is  the  same.   In  this
connection, a reference may be  made  to  the  judgment  of  this  Court  in
Mansukhlal Dhanraj Jain’s case (supra) wherein this court has dealt  with  a
question whether the suit filed by  the  plaintiff  claiming  the  right  to
possess the suit premises as a licensee, against defendant alleged  licensor
who is said to be threatening to disturb the possession of the  plaintiff  –
licensee without following due process of law is cognizable by the Court  of
Small Causes Bombay as per Section 41(1) of the PSCC Act or  whether  it  is
cognizable by City Civil Court, Bombay?  This Court while dealing with  that
question held that the Court of Small Cause have jurisdiction  and  that  in
Section 41(1) of the PSCC Act and Section 28 of the Bombay Rent  Act,  1947,
pari materia words are used, about the nature of the  suits  in  both  these
provisions, for conferring exclusive jurisdiction on  Small  Causes  Courts.
Paragraphs 17 and 18 of that judgment would make it clear that in that  case
this Court only observed that some expressions in Section  28  of  the  Rent
Act only are pari materia with the expressions employed in Section 41(1)  of
the Small Cause Court and not stated that the PSCC Act and the Rent Act  are
pari materia statutes.


36.   We may in this respect refer to Section  51  of  the  Rent  Act  which
provides for the removal of doubt as regards proceedings under  Chapter  VII
of the PSCC Act which states that for removal of doubt, it is declared  that
unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context  references  to
suits or proceedings in this Act shall  include  references  to  proceedings
under Chapter VII of the PSCC Act and references  to  decrees  in  this  Act
shall include references to final orders  in  such  proceedings.   The  Full
Bench of the Bombay High Court, in  our  view,  is  right  in  holding  that
Section 51 of the Rent Act will have to be read with Section 50.  The  Court
rightly noticed that on the date when the Rent Act came  into  force,  there
were two types of proceedings for recovery  of  possession  pending  in  two
different courts in the City of Bombay, that is  proceedings  under  Chapter
VII were pending in the Small Causes Court and also suits  were  pending  on
the original side of  the  High  Court.   Section  50  provides  that  suits
pending  in  any  court  which  also  includes  the  High  Court  shall   be
transferred  to  and  continued  before  the   courts   which   would   have
jurisdiction to try such suits or proceedings under the Rent Act  and  shall
be continued in such Courts as the case may be and  all  provisions  of  the
Rent Act and the Rules made thereunder shall apply to  all  such  suits  and
proceedings.  In other words, the suits pending in the High Court  would  be
transferred to the Small Causes Court and would be  heard  and  tried  there
and all the provisions of the Rent Act and the Rules made  thereunder  would
apply to such suits.  Section 50 also provided that all proceedings  pending
in the Court of Small Cause under Chapter VII shall  be  continued  in  that
court and all provisions of the Rent  Act  and  the  Rules  made  thereunder
shall apply to such proceedings.   Pending  proceedings  under  Chapter  VII
were to be continued as proceedings under the Rent Act  and  all  provisions
and the Rules under the Rent Act were to apply to such proceedings.


37.   Section 51  in  that  context  states  that  references  to  suits  or
proceedings under the Rent Act shall include references to  the  proceedings
under Chapter VII of the PSCC Act and references to decrees in the Rent  Act
shall include references to final order in such proceedings.  When  we  make
a comparative analysis of the abovementioned provisions, it is not  possible
to hold that the Rent Act and Chapter VII of the PSCC Act are  pari  materia
statutes.


Noscitur a sociis Principle

38.   The Latin maxim “noscitur a sociis” states this contextual  principle,
whereby a word or phrase is not to be construed as if it stood alone but  in
the light of its surroundings - Bennion on Statutory  Interpretation,  Fifth
Edition.  A-G Prince Ernest Augustus of  Hanover  [1957]  AC  436,  Viscount
Simonds has opined that “a word or phrase in an  enactment  must  always  be
construed in the light of the surrounding text.  “….words  and  particularly
general words, cannot be read in isolation; their colour and  their  content
are derived from their context.”   Noscitur a sociis is  merely  a  rule  of
construction and it cannot prevail in cases  where  it  is  clear  that  the
wider words are intentionally used by the legislature in order to  make  the
scope of the defined word correspondingly wider.  The  above  principle  has
been applied in several judgments of this Court like  The  State  of  Bombay
and Others v. The Hospital Mazdoor  Sabha  and  Others  [AIR  1960  SC  610,
(1960) 2 SCR 866] Bank of India v. Vijay Transport and Others, [AIR 1988  SC
151, (1988) 1 SCR 961], M/s Rohit Pulp and Paper Mills Ltd. v. Collector  of
Central Excise, (1990) 3 SCC  447,  Samatha  v.  State  of  Andhra  Pradesh,
(1997) 8 SCC 191, M/s Brindavan  Bangle  Stores  &  Ors.  v.  The  Assistant
Commissioner of Commercial Taxes & Another, (2000) 1 SCC 674 etc.

39.   We find the expression “licensee” in Section 41 of the  PSCC  Act  has
been used to fully  achieve  the  object  and  purpose  especially  of  1976
Amendment Act and legislature has used clear  and  plain  language  and  the
principle noscitur a sociis is inapplicable  when  intention  is  clear  and
unequivocal.   It  is  only  where  the  intention  of  the  legislature  in
associating wider words with words of a narrow significance is  doubtful  or
otherwise not clear, the rule of Noscitur a Sociis  can  be  applied.   When
the intention of the legislature  in  using  the  expression  ‘licensee’  in
Section 41(1) of the PSCC Act is clear and  unambiguous,  the  principle  of
Noscitur a Sociis is not to be applied.


Contemporenea Expositio

40.   Contemporenea Expositan is the best and most powerful law and it is  a
recognized rule of interpretation.  Reference may be made to  the  judgments
of this  Court  in  National  and  Grindlays  Bank  Ltd.  v.  The  Municipal
Corporation of Greater, Bombay (1969) 1 SCC 541  and  The  Tata  Engineering
and Locomotive Company Ltd. v. Gram Panchayat (1976 ) 4 SCC 177.

41.   We notice in the instant case that the concept of  licence  and  lease
were dealt with by contemporary statutes - Indian Easement Act, Transfer  of
Property Act and Section 41 of the PSCC Act and, as already  indicated,  all
those statutes were enacted in the year 1882.  Therefore, Section  41(1)  of
the PSCC Act could not have been contemplated any other meaning of the  term
“occupation with permission” but only  the  permission  as  contemplated  by
Section 52 of the Indian Easements Act.  The PSCC Act is  a  procedural  law
and as already  indicated,  the  expression  “licensor”  and  “licensee”  or
“landlord” and “tenant” used in Section 41 of the PSCC Act  (as  amended  by
Maharashtra Act No. XIX of 1976) relate to immovable  property  and  Section
52 of the Indian Easements Act which defines a licence  has  an  inseparable
connection to immovable property and property  law.   Legislature  was  well
aware of those contemporaneous  statutes,  that  was  the  reason,  why  the
expression licence as such has not been defined in the  PSCC  Act  with  the
idea that the  expression  used  in  a  contemporaneous  statutes  would  be
employed so as to interpret Section 41 of  the  PSCC  Act.   Above-mentioned
principle, in our view, would apply to the instant case.


Licensor – Licensee

42.   The PSCC Act, as already indicated, does  not  define  the  expression
“licensor” and “licensee”.  Both these expressions find a place  in  Section
41(1) of the PSCC Act.  Section  41(1)  confers  jurisdiction  on  Court  of
Small Causes to entertain and try all the suits and  proceedings  between  a
“licensor” and a “licensee”  relating  to  recovery  of  possession  of  any
immovable property or relating to recovery of licence  fee.   Section  5(4A)
of the Rent Act defines the term  “licensee”  so  also  Section  52  of  the
Indian Easement Act, 1882.  Sub-section (4A) of Section 5 of  the  Rent  Act
provides that  “licensee” means  a  person  who  is  in  occupation  of  the
premises or such part as the case may be, under a subsisting  agreement  for
licence given for a “licence fee or charge”.  The definition  of  “licensee”
under  sub-section  (4A)  of  Section  5  is  both  exhaustive  as  well  as
inclusive.  But it is relevant to note that the licensee  under  sub-section
(4A)  must  be  a  licensee  whose  licence   is   supported   by   material
consideration meaning thereby a gratuitous licensee  is  not  covered  under
the definition of licensee under sub-section (4A) of Section 5 of  the  Rent
Act.

43.   Let us now examine the definition of “licence”  under  Section  52  of
the Indian Easement Act which provides  that  where  one  person  grants  to
another, or to a definite number  of  other  persons,  a  right  to  do,  or
continue to do, in or upon the immovable property of the grantor,  something
which would, in the absence of such right be unlawful and  such  right  does
not amount to easement or an interest in the property, the right  is  called
a licence.  This Court in State of Punjab v. Brig. Sukhjit  Singh  (1993)  3
SCC 459 has observed that “payment  of  licence  fee  is  not  an  essential
attribute for subsistence of  licence.   Section  52,  therefore,  does  not
require any consideration, material or non material to be an element,  under
the definition of licence nor does it require the right  under  the  licence
must arise by way of contract or as a result of a mutual promise.

44.   We have already referred to Section 52 of the Indian Easement Act  and
explained  as  to  how  the  legislature  intended  that  expression  to  be
understood.  The expressions “licensor” and “licensee” are not only used  in
various statutes but  are  also  understood  and  applied  in  various  fact
situations.  The meaning of  that  expression  “licence”  has  come  up  for
consideration in several judgments.  Reference may be made to  the  judgment
of this Court in C.M. Beena and Anr. v. P.N. Ramachandra Rao  (2004)  3  SCC
595, Sohan Lal Naraindas v.  Laxmidas  Raghunath  Gadit (1971)  1  SCC  276,
Union of India (UOI) v. Prem Kumar Jain and Ors. (1976) 3  SCC  743,  Chandy
Varghese and Ors. v. K. Abdul Khader and Ors.  (2003 ) 11 SCC 328.

45.   The expression “licensee” has also been explained  by  this  Court  in
Surendra Kumar Jain v. Royce Pereira (1997) 8 SCC 759.  In P.R. Aiyar’s  the
Law Lexicon, Second Edition 1997, License has been explained as  “A  license
in respect to real estate is defined to be an authority to do  a  particular
act or series of acts  on  another’s  land  without  possessing  any  estate
therein”.   The  word  “licensee”  has  been  explained   in   Black’s   Law
Dictionary, Sixth Edition to mean a person who  has  a  privilege  to  enter
upon land arising from the permission or consent, express,  or  implied,  of
the possessor of land but who goes on the land for his  own  purpose  rather
than for any purpose  or  interest  of  the  possessor.   Stroud’s  Judicial
Dictionary of Words and Phrases, Sixth Edition, Vol. 2 provides the  meaning
of word “licensee” to mean a licensee is a person who has permission  to  do
an act which without such permission would be unlawful.

46.   We have referred to the  meaning  of  the  expressions  “licence”  and
“licensee” in various situations rather than one that appears in Section  52
of the Indian Easement Act only to indicate that the  word  licence  is  not
popularly understood to mean that it should be on payment  of  licence  fee,
it can also cover  a  gratuitous  licensee  as  well.   In  other  words,  a
licensor can permit a person to enter into another’s  property  without  any
consideration, it can be gratuitous as well.


47.   We have already indicated the expression  “licence”  as  reflected  in
the definition of licensee under sub-section (4A) of Section 5 of  the  Rent
Act and Section 52 of the Indian Easement Act are not pari  materia.   Under
sub-section (4A) of Section 5, there cannot be a licence unsupported by  the
material consideration whereas under Section 52 of the Indian  Easement  Act
payment of licence fee is not an essential requirement  for  subsistence  of
licence.  We may indicate  that  the  legislature  in  its  wisdom  has  not
defined the word “licensee” in the PSCC Act.  The purpose  is  evidently  to
make it more wide so as to cover gratuitous licensee as well with an  object
to  avoid  multiplicity  of  proceedings   in   different   courts   causing
unnecessary delay, waste of money and time etc.  The object is to  see  that
all suits and proceedings between a landlord and a tenant or a licensor  and
a licensee for recovery of possession of premises or for  recovery  of  rent
or licence fee irrespective of the value of the subject matter should go  to
and be disposed of by Small Cause Court.  The  object  behind  bringing  the
licensor and the licencee within the purview of Section 41(1)  by  the  1976
Amendment was to curb any mischief of unscrupulous elements  using  dilatory
tactics in prolonging the cases for recovery  of  possession  instituted  by
the landlord/licensor and to defeat their right  of  approaching  the  Court
for quick relief and to avoid multiplicity of litigation with  an  issue  of
jurisdiction thereby lingering the disputes for years and years.

48.   We may in this connection also refer to the judgment of this Court  in
Km. Sonia Bhatia v. State of U.P. and Ors. (1981) 2 SCC  585,  wherein  this
Court  was  concerned  with  the  ambit   of   expression   “transfer”   and
“consideration” occurring in U.P. Imposition of  Ceiling  on  Land  Holdings
Act.   Both  the  expressions  were  not  defined  in  the  Act.   In   such
circumstances, this Court observed that the word “transfer”  has  been  used
by the legislature in general sense of the term as defined in  the  Transfer
of Property Act.  This Court also observed that the word “transfer” being  a
term of well known legal significance  having  well  ascertained  incidents,
the legislature did not think it necessary to  define  the  term  “transfer”
separately.  The ratio laid down by the apex court  in  the  above-mentioned
judgment in our view is also applicable when we interpret the provisions  of
the PSCC Act because the object of the Act is to suppress the  mischief  and
advance the remedy.


49.   The interpretation of the expressions licensor and licensee  which  we
find in Section 41(1), in our view, is in tune with the objects and  reasons
reflected in the amendment of the PSCC Act by the Maharashtra Act  (XIX)  of
1976 which we have already extracted in the earlier part  of  the  judgment.
The objects and reasons  as  such  may  not  be  admissible  as  an  aid  of
construction to the statute but it  can  be  referred  to  for  the  limited
purpose  of  ascertaining  the  conditions  prevailing  at   the   time   of
introduction of the bill and the extent and urgency of the  evil  which  was
sought to be remedied.  The legal position has  been  well  settled  by  the
judgment of this Court in M.K. Ranganathan and Anr. v. Government of  Madras
and Ors.  AIR 1955 SC 604.  It is trite law that the  statement  of  objects
and reasons is a key to unlock  the  mind  of  legislature  in  relation  to
substantive provisions of statutes and  it  is  also  well  settled  that  a
statute is best interpreted when we know why it was enacted.  This Court  in
Bhaiji v. Sub Divisional Officer, Thandla and Ors.  (2003) 1 SCC 692  stated
that the weight of the judicial authority leans in favour of the  view  that
the statement of objects and reasons cannot be utilized for the  purpose  of
restricting and controlling statute and excluding from  its  operation  such
transactions  which  it  plainly  covers.   Applying   the   above-mentioned
principle, we cannot restrict the meaning and expression licensee  occurring
in Section 41(1) of  the  PSCC  Act  to  mean  the  licensee  with  monetary
consideration as defined under Section 5(4A) of the Rent Act.




ONE UMBERALLA POLICY

50.   We are of the considered  view  that  the  High  Court  has  correctly
noticed that the clubbing of the expression  “licensor  and  licensee”  with
“landlord and tenant” in Section 41(1) of  the  PSCC  Act  and  clubbing  of
causes relating to recovery of licence fee is only with a view to bring  all
suits between the “landlord and tenant”  and  the  “licensor  and  licensee”
under one umberalla to avoid unnecessary delay, expenses and hardship.   The
act of the legislature was to bring all suits between “landlord and  tenant”
and “licensor and licensee” whether under the Rent Act  or  under  the  PSCC
Act under one roof.  We find it difficult to  accept  the  proposition  that
the legislature after having conferred exclusive jurisdiction in  one  Court
in all the suits between licensee and licensor should have  carved  out  any
exception to keep gratuitous licensee alone outside its  jurisdiction.   The
various amendments made to Rent Act as well the Objects and Reasons  of  the
Maharashtra Act XIX of 1976 would clearly indicate  that  the  intention  of
the legislature was to avoid unnecessary delay, expense and hardship to  the
suitor or else they have to move from the one court to the  other  not  only
on the question of jurisdiction but also getting reliefs.

51.   We are of the view that in such a  situation  the  court  also  should
give a liberal construction and attempt should be  to  achieve  the  purpose
and  object  of  the  legislature  and  not  to  frustrate  it.    In   such
circumstances,  we  are  of  the  considered  opinion  that  the  expression
licensee employed in Section 41 is used in general sense of term as  defined
in Section 52 of the Indian Easement Act.

52.   We  have  elaborately  discussed  the  various  legal  principles  and
indicated that the expression ‘licensee’ in Section 41(1) of  the  PSCC  Act
would  take  a  gratuitous  licensee  as  well.   The  reason  for  such  an
interpretation has been elaborately discussed in the  earlier  part  of  the
judgment.  Looking from all angles in our  view  the  expression  ‘licensee’
used in the PSCC Act  does  not  derive  its  meaning  from  the  expression
‘licensee’ as used in Sub-section (4A) of Section 5  of  the  Rent  Act  and
that the expression “licensee” used in Section 41(1)  is  a  term  of  wider
import intended to bring in a gratuitous licensee as well.


53.   We are, therefore, in complete agreement with  the  reasoning  of  the
Full Bench of the High Court.   In  such  circumstances,  the  appeals  lack
merits and are, therefore, dismissed.   There  is  no  order  as  to  costs.



                                                             ……………………………..J.
                                              (K.S. Radhakrishnan)






                                                             ……………………………..J.
                                              (Dipak Misra)


New Delhi,
|August 13 , 2013                                    |              |
|                                                    |              |


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