Syed Hussein Alkaff and Others v AM Abdullah Sahib & Co

CourtPrivy Council
JudgeLord Roskill
Judgment Date31 October 1985
Neutral Citation[1985] SGPC 4
Citation[1985] SGPC 4
Defendant CounselR Karuppan Chettiar and George Warr (Le Brasseur & Bury)
Plaintiff CounselEugene Cotran (Coward Chance)
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberPrivy Council Appeal No 52 of 1984
Date31 October 1985
Subject MatterWhether occupants of premises trespassers or tenants,Whether valid and effective,Termination of leases,Landlord and Tenant,Tenancy agreement,Rent-controlled premises,Action for possession based on consent judgment,s 14 Control of Rent Act (Cap 266)

This is an appeal against a judgment of the Court of Appeal in Singapore dismissing the appellants` appeal against an order of the High Court which set aside as being a nullity a consent judgment which the appellant had on 18 December 1979 obtained against the respondents in the district court, and awarded damages to the respondents. The consent judgment was for possession of certain premises in Market Street, Singapore and for mesne profits.

In the district court proceedings the appellants` statement of claim alleged, in brief, that on some unspecified date the premises had been let on a monthly tenancy to one AA Mohamed Maideen, who carried on there a business known as AM Abdullah Sahib & Co, that this tenant had died in 1959, that his tenancy had been terminated by notice to quit dated 28 June 1978, that the respondents, a firm, were in occupation of the premises, and that their occupation was that of trespassers and therefore unlawful.
The appellants on these grounds claimed judgment against the respondents for possession of the premises, an order requiring the respondents to quit and deliver up vacant possession of the premises and mesne profits. By their defence the respondents admitted that they were in occupation of the premises, denied that they were trespassers thereon, contended that they were in occupation as lawful tenants, and sought the protection of the Control of Rent Act (Cap 266). The issue between the parties was thus whether the respondents were in occupation as trespassers or as lawful tenants. In the latter event there could be no doubt but that they were entitled to the protection of the Control of Rent Act. The issue, however, was not fought out, because the respondents agreed to a consent judgment against them, dated 18 December 1979 in these terms:


Upon this action coming on for hearing before His Honour Mr Rahim Jalil in the presence of Counsel for the plaintiffs and for the defendants and upon the defendants admitting the claim of the plaintiffs.

And by consent it is this day adjudged that there be judgment for the plaintiffs against the defendants for possession of the premises known as No 123A and 123B Market Street, Singapore.

And it is ordered that the defendants, their servants and agents and all others Do quit and deliver up vacant possession of the said premises to the plaintiffs forthwith.

And the defendants do pay the plaintiffs mesne profits at $102 per Mohamedan month as from Rajab 1398 (equivalent to 6 June 78) to date of delivery up of vacant possession.

And there be no order as to costs.

Provided that there shall be a stay of execution on the judgment above in so far as it relates to delivery of vacant possession until, either,

(1) there is government acquisition of the premises and the Collector has called upon the plaintiffs to deliver up possession of the premises to the Collector or other government authority; or

(2) the plaintiffs are selling the premises and have given the defendants notice of six months` of the intended sale; or

(3) the plaintiffs are developing the site and have given the defendants six months` notice of the intended development and in principle plans for the development have been approved.

Provided further that should the defendants bring on to the premises any other person (which term includes a firm or company) to occupy any part of the premises in any capacity, other than those already on the premises, then the above-stated proviso shall be null and void and the plaintiffs shall be entitled to execute on the whole of the judgment.

Dated this 29 December 1979


The respondents remained in possession in terms of the consent judgment.
On 10 April 1980 the Government of Singapore issued under the Land Acquisition Act (Cap 272) a notice of intention to acquire the premises compulsorily, and the Collector of Land Revenue later intimated that he required possession by 30 October 1980. The appellants requested the respondents to deliver up possession by that date in accordance with the consent judgment, but they refused to do so and shortly afterwards commenced the present proceedings in the High Court seeking to have the consent judgment set aside on the ground that having regard to the Control of Rent Act the district court had no jurisdiction to...

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