Question: Explain and illustrate the Estoppel of the tenant and of licensee or person in possession. Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Explain and illustrate the Estoppel of the tenant and of licensee or person in possession.] Answer Section 116 provides that a person who comes into an immovable property taking possession from… Read More »

Question: Explain and illustrate the Estoppel of the tenant and of licensee or person in possession. Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Explain and illustrate the Estoppel of the tenant and of licensee or person in possession.] Answer Section 116 provides that a person who comes into an immovable property taking possession from a person who he accepts as the landlord is not permitted during the continuance of tenancy to say as against his landlord that he had no...

Question: Explain and illustrate the Estoppel of the tenant and of licensee or person in possession.

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Explain and illustrate the Estoppel of the tenant and of licensee or person in possession.]

Answer

Section 116 provides that a person who comes into an immovable property taking possession from a person who he accepts as the landlord is not permitted during the continuance of tenancy to say as against his landlord that he had no title to the property at the commencement of the tenancy.

Similarly, a person who comes upon any immovable property with the licence of the person in possession is not permitted to say afterwards that his licensor had no right to the possession of the property.

The law as to estoppel of a tenant under Section 116 of the Evidence Act is a recognition, and statutory assimilation, of the equitable principles underlying estoppel in relation to tenants.

The section is not exhaustive of the law of estoppel. The estoppel of a tenant is founded upon a contract between the tenant and his landlord. It is one of the most noticeable instances of estoppel by contract. The estoppels disappear if the landlord’s title is extinguished subsequent to the inception of the tenancy, or if there is eviction by title paramount.

In short, a tenant licensee is not permitted to deny the title of his landlord/ licensor. Where a landlord files a suit for ejectment and for arrears of rent the tenant who has been put into possession of the property in a suit by the landlord cannot be allowed to say that the landlord had no interest in the property of suit Moti Lal v. Yar Muhammed (AIR 1925 All 275).

During the continuance of the tenancy

By this section, a tenant is only estopped from denying the title of the landlord, during the continuance of the tenancy. Having regard to Section 116 of the Evidence Act, during the continuance of the tenancy, a tenant will not be permitted to deny the title of his landlord at the beginning of the tenancy.

It is also well settled that during the continuance of the tenancy the tenant cannot acquire by prescription a permanent right of occupancy in derogation of the landlord’s title by mere assertion of such right to the knowledge of the landlord. Thus it is clear that after the tenancy had ceased, the tenant is free to deny the title of the landlord. The relation between landlord and tenant continues until it is proved to have ceased.

Thus, the estoppel is confined to the state of things at the commencement of tenancy/ licence. The tenant/ licensee are always free to talk of the subsequent developments i.e. the landlord/ licensor has lost his title. After the tenancy had ceased, the tenant is free to deny the title of the landlord.

So when A enters into possession of a house as a tenant of B, tenancy of A and B, continues still A gives back the possession of the house to B and till then in any suit or proceeding A cannot say that B had no title to the house. This section only operates as estoppel during the continuance of the tenancy and not after it has come to an end. After the tenancy has ceased the person who was tenant previously is at liberty to say that the person who was once the landlord has no interest in the property.

For example, A asked B’s leave to take some vegetables from his (B’s) garden. Having received the key fraudulently he took possession of the garden and then refused to vacate. In a suit for ejectment by B, he (A) cannot be allowed to say that B had no title to the garden when he granted the permission

In S.K. Sharma v. Mahesh Kumar Verma AIR 2002 SC 3294, the respondent was a railway servant. He was allotted premises in question as an official residence. The respondent was estopped from alleging the title of railway administration over premises in question till he was in possession in view of Section 116 of the Evidence Act.

In Rita Lai v. Raj Kumar Singh AIR 2002 SC 3341, the tenant was not allowed to defend because his only defence would have been to deny the title of the landlord.

However, it may be noted that where the tenancy is itself in question i.e. if the tenancy is created by fraud, coercion, etc.) the tenants are not estopped from disputing the landlord’s title.

Rule of estoppel which governs an owner of immovable property and his tenant would also mutatis mutandis govern a tenant and his sub-tenant [Vashu Deo v. Balkrishan (2002) 2 SCC 50]


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-II
  3. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-III
  4. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-11-04T17:07:22+05:30
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