Licensee Defined

The word “Licensee” can be defined as a person who is in occupation of the premises or such part, as the case may be, under a subsisting agreement for license given for a license fee or charges. As per the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999 “Licensee” includes any person in such occupation of any premises or part thereof in a building vesting in or leased to a co-operative housing society registered or deemed tobe registered under the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960. However in this behalf the Act further clarifies that the word “Licensee” does not include a paying guest, a member of family residing together, a person in the service or employment of the licensor, or a person conducting a running business belonging to the licensor, or a person having any accommodation in a hotel, lodging house, hostel, guest house, club, nursing home, hospital, sanatorium, dharamshala, home for widows, orphans or like premises, marriage or public hall or like premises, or in a place of amusement or entertainment or like institution, or in any premises belonging to or held by an employee or his spouse who on account of the exigencies of service or provision of a residence attached to his or her post or offices in temporarily not occupying the premises, provided that he or she charges license fee or charge for such premises of the employee or spouse not exceeding the standard rent and permitted increases for such premises, and any additional sum for services supplied with such premises, or a person having accommodation in any premises or part thereof for conducting a canteen, crèche, dispensary or other services as amenities by any undertaking or institution. Further, in this behalf the Act provides that the expression “licensee”, “licensor” and “premises given on license” should be accordingly construed.

In the case of Associated Hotels of India Ltd. Vs. R.N. Kapoor the Supreme court has laid the Test of determining whether a document creates a lease or license. The Supreme Court observed “The following propositions may, therefore, be taken as well established

  1. To ascertain whether a document creates a license or lease, the substance of the document must be preferred to form;
  2. The real test is the intention of the parties whether they intended to create a lease of a license;
  3. If the document creates an interest in the property, it is a lease; but if it only permits another to make use of the property, of which the legal possession continues with the owner it is a license; And
  4. If under the document a party gets exclusive possession of the property prima facie, he is considered to be a tenant; but circumstances may be established which negative the intention to create a lease.” Thus in order to find out whether an evidence is a license or a lease, we have to read the document as a whole. Also in the case of Amrailal Valji since deceased Hemant Amratkak Valji and another Vs. Dr. G. S. Shah, 2006
  5. Mh. L.J. 561 it was held that; The substance of the transaction has to be assessed with reference to the  documentary material principally consisting, as it does, of the written agreement between the parties. Where the terms of the agreement are unclear the real intention of the parties has to be determined with reference to all the surrounding circumstances and it is a trite principle of law that mere labels which parties assign to the contract between them are not of determinative significance. The petitioner was inducted for a temporary period in the suit premises during which the first respondent was allotted service quarters by the Central Railways. The petitioner was not a licensee within the meaning of statutes and was therefore not a protected licensees.

Speak Your Mind