Falsus in uno and falsus in omnibus with regard to grounds of ejectment under the Rent Acts and Under the Law of Evidence Act
Rakesh Chopra, Advocate
Punjab And Haryana High Court
Date : 19/04/2019 - Mobile No. 9814055568
Falsus in uno and falsus in omnibus with regard to grounds of ejectment under the Rent Acts and Under the Law of Evidence ActAlmost all the rent Acts applicable in India provides more than one ground of ejectment. Thus where the landlord in the ejectment application has taken more than one ground of ejectment and if one of the ground has been found to be false then whether the ejectment application deserves dismissal, if other ground/grounds are proved to be genuine. Answer is No? Each case is to be decided on its own facts. The said point is covered under the maxim "falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" meaning thereby false in one thing, false in everything. The said maxim has no application in India and the witnesses cannot be branded as liars. The said maxim has neither received any acceptance nor has this maxim has become the rule of law. It only amounts to discarding of some part of the disposition and not that it must be discarded, as a whole. CAN THE COURT SIFT THE DEPOSITION OF ANY WITNESS BY ACCEPTING A PART THEREOF, WHILE REJECTING THE OTHER PART:- It has been held by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the judgment reported as Ram Udagar Singh v. State of Bihar, (2004)10 Supreme Court Cases, 443, held as under:- "In essence, prayer is to apply the principle of "falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" (false in one thing, false in everything). This plea is clearly untenable. Even if a major portion of evidence is found to be deficient, in case the residue is sufficient to prove the guilt of an accused, notwithstanding acquittal of a number of other co-accused persons, his conviction can be maintained. It is the duty of the Court to separate the grain from the chaff. Where the chaff can be separated from the grain, it would be open to the court to convict an accused notwithstanding the fact that the evidence has been found to be deficient to prove the guilt of other accused persons. Falsity of particular material witness or material particular would not ruin it from the beginning to end. The maxim "falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" has no application in India and the witnesses cannot be branded as liars. The maxim "falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" has not received general acceptance nor has this maxim come to occupy the status of rule of law. It is merely a rule of caution. All that it amounts to is that in such cases testimony may be disregarded, and not that it must be discarded. The doctrine merely involves the question of weight of evidence which a court may apply in a given set of circumstances, but it is not what may be called "a mandatory rule of evidence." The above said judgment was followed in another judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in case titled as "Jaya Seelan v. State of Tamilnadu" Criminal Appeal No.456 of 2002 decided on 11.2.2009. It is open to any court to sift the deposition of any witness and accept apart thereof, while rejecting the other part. Thus evidence of the witness cannot be disbelieved completely. It has been held in AIR 1998 (SC) 1978 in the case titled as "SGPC v. M.P. Dass Chella through Lrs. Here in this case it has been held that the appellant relies on the evidence that the Guru Granth Sahib is worshipped. That circumstance alone is not helpful to the appellant. It is contended by the appellant that the oral evidence of the witness examined by the respondent were disbelieved on some points by Yadav, J. and they ought to have been disbelieved completely. There is no substance in the contention. It is open to any court to sift the deposition of any witness and accept a part thereof while rejecting the other part. The doctrine merely involves the weight of evidence which a court may apply in a given set of circumstances, but it is not what may be called 'a mandatory rule of evidence (Nisar Ali v. State of Uttar Pardesh AIR 1957 SC 366). In a given case, it is always open to a case to differentiate accused, who has been acquitted from those, who were convicted, where there are a number of accused persons. (Gurcharan Singh v. State of Punjab AIR 1956 SC 460). The doctrine is a dangerous one specially in India for if a whole body of the testimony were to be rejected, because witness was evidently speaking an untruth in some aspect, it is to be feared that administration of criminal justice would come to a dead-stop. Witnesses just cannot help in giving embroidery to a story, however, truth in the main. Therefore, it has to be appraised in each case as to what extent the evidence is worthy of acceptance, and merely because in some respect the court considers the same to be insufficient for placing reliance on the testimony of witness, it does not necessarily follow as a matter of law that it must be disregarded in all respect as well. The evidence has to be sifted with care. The aforesaid dictum is not a sound rule for the reason that one hardly comes across a witness, whose evidence does not contain a grain of untruth or any rate exaggeration, embroideries or embellishment. Thus an attempt has to be made in terms of felicitous metaphor, separate grain from chaff, truth from falsehood. Where it is not feasible to separate truth from falsehood, because grain and chaff are inextricably mixed up and in the process of separation and absolutely a new case has to be reconstructed by divorcing essential details presented by the prosecution completely from the context and the background against which they are made, the only available course to be made it to discard in toto. The normal discrepancies in the evidence are those which are due to normal errors of observations, normal errors of memory due to lapse of time, due to mental disposition such as shock and horror at the time of occurrence and those are always there however honest and truthful a witness may be. Material discrepancy may be categorized. While normal discrepancies do not corrode the credibility of a party's case, material discrepancies do so. The said aspects were highlighted in Krishan Mochi v. State of Bihar etc. (2002 (6) SCC 81) and in "Sucha Singh v. State of Punjab (2003 (7) SCC 643) and were further illuminated in Zahira H Sheikh v. State of Gujrat (2004 (4) SCC 158), and the above said judgment Ram Udgar Singh v. State of Bihar (Supra) Gorle S Naidu v. State of Andhra Pardesh (2003 (12) SCC 449), Gubbala Venygopalswamy v. State of Andhra Pardesh(2004 (10) SCC 120) and in Syed Ibrahim v. State of A.P. (2006 (10) SCC 601). Where the witness of the landlord or the landlord has been disbelieved on the question of rate of rent would not be a ground to disbelieve the evidence of the witness and the landlord in its entirety. Thus where the landlord has been able to prove his bonafide requirement he should be granted the relief. Case titled as Prithi Chand v. Shanti Sarup, reported in 1996(1) PLR 285, which says that simply because the landlord was not believed on the ground of rate of rent or the ground of subletting, would not debar him from claiming the premises, when he required the same for his own use and occupation. As has been held in Kewal Krishan v. Smt.Bhagwati 1992(1) RCR 566, 2005 (2)RCR Rent 672 case titled as "Joginder Singh v. Varinder Kumar" The said fact has also been held in another judgment in the case titled as M/s Sood Bros. v. Gurjeet Singh, 2006(2), RCR, page 678, which says that if the landlord is disbelieved regarding the rate of rent, it is no ground to disbelieve him on the ground of bona fide requirement. The said Maxim/principle has also been equally applied in civil cases as well in the cases under the Representation of People Act, Kindly refer to the judgment titled as "Vatal Nagaraj v. Dayanand Sagar", AIR, 1975 SC 349. Where the oral evidence of the witnesses examined by the respondent were disbelieved on some points and thus they ought to have been disbelieved on the other grounds also. There has been no substance to have been found in the said plea. It is open to sift the deposition of any witnesses and accept a part thereof while rejecting the other part. Thus the evidence which has come on the record has to be scrutinized, even if some part of the evidence is sufficient to prove a particular ground, the same should be taken note of. Similarly it has been held in the case titled as Iqbal Singh v. Mangat Ram reported in 1997(2), Rent Control reporter, page 189, in which it has been held that a false plea regarding arrears of rent has been taken by the landlord. Landlord claiming rent @ 50/- per month. Tenant proved that the rate of rent was Rs.10/- per month only. Contention of the tenant that no order of eviction could be passed against the tenant as land lord has taken a false plea regarding the rate of rent. Contention not tenable. Where on the facts and circumstances of the case the claim settled by the landlord has been found to be false with regard to commencement of tendency, rate of rent and date from which the rent was payable, then the eviction petition is liable to be dismissed, because in that case the pleading of the landlord has been found to be false. The conduct of the petitioner/landlord also to be taken into consideration as he is telling one lie after the another and has been suppressing the truth from the court. The landlord/petitioner cannot be permitted to deprive the tenant of statutory protection by making vague, frivolous and false allegations. Thus the right to recover rent from the tenant is different from the right to save eviction under the provisions of the Act. Kindly refer to judgment titled as Harnam Singh v. Mohinder Singh, 1997 (2), Rent Control Reporter, page 200, in which it has been held that where the landlord was not entitled to eviction on the false pleadings as mentioned above. Also refer to judgments titled as 'Mehar Chand v. Tilak Raj, 1982(84) PLR, 13; Mangat Rai v. D.D. Mehta, 1987(2)(92), PLR, 80; Faqir Chand v. Bhagwan Dass, 1994(3)(108), PLR, 129. Can the landlord succeed in ejectment petition if he has taken false plea regarding his accommodation:- where the landlord has taken the false plea regarding his accommodation and sought eviction on the ground that he was living in one room only with his family comprising of his wife and three going sons and also pleaded that he has three sisters also who, though living separately, but used to visits and stay with him during their visits to his house and accommodation is quite in sufficient. On the contrary tenant proved that landlord was having in his possession five rooms on the ground floor and two on the first floor and so the accommodation already available with the landlord was sufficient for his family. In this case the tenant has proved that at the time of filing the eviction petition the landlord was having with him six rooms, including five rooms, which the landlord petitioner was claiming to have been constructed and the only conclusion has to be that the eviction proceedings were initiated on false plea of availability of one room only with the landlord and that fact itself was sufficient to disentitle him from getting any relief from the court and the courts have further held that revisional jurisdiction under the Rent Act invoked by the petitioner landlord is quite limited. The High Court is expected to interfere with the order of the rent controller only if it feels satisfied that the rent controller order under challenge was not in accordance with the law and its reasoning in the order passed by him was perverse. But in the present case the case of the petitioner landlord was based on false plea of his accommodation, which fact has been proved by the tenant, thus on the basis of the false pleading the ejectment of landlord rightly dismissed. Can the rent controller proceed to determine the amount of rent, interest and costs in the absence of demand:- If the landlord sought the eviction of the tenant/sub tenant and does not arrears of rent in the eviction petition from the tenant/sub tenant, who is claiming to be direct tenant, no ejectment order can be passed against such tenant on the ground of non-payment or tender of arrears of rent. In the absence of demand, Rent Controller did not proceed to determine the amount of interest and costs. The tenant was not bound to tender the amount of rent. Order of ejectment on the ground of short tender against the petitioner held not sustainable. "Ram Charan v. Bataku Ram through Lrs". 1998 (2) RCR 656 1997 (3) PLR 857 (FB) followed in. Thus in view of the same the tenant is under no obligation to pay the rent and that too in the absence of demand, the rent controller did not proceed to determine the amount of interest and costs and the tenant is not bound to tender the rent. Further the order of ejectment on the ground of short tender against the petitioner is not sustainable. Thus the landlord can take as many as grounds available to him to seek the eviction of the tenant from the demised property, even if one ground is not proved and is found to be false he can fall upon the other grounds if he has been able to prove the same except the peculiar set of cases mentioned above. He can seek the eviction of the tenant. Each ground is to be proved separately and independently, meaning thereby if the landlord has not been able to prove the grounds taken by him in the ejectment petition i.e. ground regarding sub-letting, rate of rent, change of user etc. it does not mean that the other grounds if proved by him independently are also false and that the eviction petition is to be dismissed in its entirety.
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