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W.H. King Versus Republic of India

Criminal Appeal No. 8 of 1951 - Dated:- 1-2-1952 - AIYAR, N. CHANDRASEKHARA, SASTRI, M. PATANJALI (CJ), MAHAJAN, MEHR CHAND, MUKHERJEA, B.K. AND DAS, SUDHI RANJAN. Iswarlal C. Dalai and R.B. Dalai, for the Appellants. C.K. Daphtary, Solicitor-General for India G. N. Joshi, with him and Jindra Lal for the Respondents. JUDGMENT: The Judgment of the Court was delivered by CHANDRASEKHARA AIYAR J.-The facts out of which this Criminal Appeal has arisen are not long. The appellant, W.H. King, who is ca .....

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ond respondent in this appeal, through one Sayed for the purpose of making necessary arrangements about the flat occupied by him in view of his intended departure. The prosecution case is that the accused demanded a sum of ₹ 30,000 which was later on reduced to ₹ 29,500 as consideration for putting the complainant in vacant possession of the flat and an additional amount of ₹ 2,000 for the furniture, and that the complainant agreed to pay these sums. The complainant actually pa .....

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, went to the appellant on 4-12-1948, and paid him the two sums of money; and the keys of the flat and the motor-garage were handed over to the complainant. As the appellant and his wife were leaving the flat, the man, who masqueraded as the complain- ant's brother, threw off his disguise and disclosed his identity. The police party, who were down below ready for the raid, held up the car of the appellant and recovered the sum of ₹ 30,500 from the rear seat of the car and also some pap .....

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the complainant (Exhibit F), and the letter to the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Committee for transfer of the telephone connections and the deposit of ₹ 27 (Exhibit G). The appellant was charged under section 18(1) of the Bombay Rents, Hotel and Lodging House Rates Control Act, LVII of 1947, for receiving a pugree of ₹ 29,500 and he was further charged under section 19(2) of the said Act for receiving the said sum as a condition for the relinquishment of his tenancy. His wif .....

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re in the business and as the com- plainant was also to be a caretaker of the flat, the sum of ₹ 2,000 was paid and received as a guarantee against disposal and damage of the furniture and it was agreed to be paid back on the appellant's return to India. The wife of the appellant denied any aiding and abetting. The Presidency Magistrate, who tried the case, disbelieved the defence on the facts, holding that what was received by the accused was by way of pugree. As section 18 (1) of the .....

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he applied for special leave to appeal to this Court and it was granted on 3-10-1950. A short legal argument was advanced on behalf of the appellant based on the language of section 19 (1) of the Act and this is the only point which requires our consideration. The section which consists of two parts is in these terms:"- "(1) It shall not be lawful for the tenant or any person acting or purporting to act on behalf of the tenant to claim or receive any sum or any consideration as a condi .....

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of the relinquishment by a tenant of his tenancy and that in the present case there was no such relinquishment. Exhibit D, which is the most material document, under which the appellant handed over vacant possession of the flat to the complainant, constitutes or evidences an assignment of the tenancy and not a relinquishment. It says :- "I, W.H. King, hereby hand over vacant possession of my flat No. 3 situated on 2nd floor and garage No. 4 on the ground floor of Ganga Vihar Building on Plo .....

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mprehensive meaning as giving up of possession of the premises; and he pointed out that if it was intended by the legislature that "relinquishment" should have the limited meaning sought to be placed upon it on behalf of the appellant, the word "surrender" used in the Transfer of Property Act would have been more appropriate. Sections 15 and 18 of the Act were referred to in this connection but in our opinion they lend no assistance to the argument of the learned counsel. Any .....

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uilty of an offence and liable to the punishment therein specified. It would thus be seen that an assignment of the lease or transfer in any other manner by a tenant is not made an offence; the statute merely says that it is not a lawful transaction. It is the landlord's consent to the transfer of a lease by sub-lease or otherwise on receipt of consideration that has been made an offence. Then follows section 19 which speaks of the relinquishment of his tenancy of any premises by a tenant. I .....

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under the tenancy and this liability is contractual, while the assignee becomes liable by reason of privity of estate. The consent of the landlord to an assignment is not necessary, in the absence of a contract or local usage to the contrary. But in the case of relinquishment, it cannot be a unilateral transaction; it can only be in favour of the lessor by mutual agreement between them. The relinquishment of possession must be to the lessor or one who holds his interest. In fact, a surrender or .....

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