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Mongibai Hariram Vs. the State of Bombay - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberO.C.J. Appeal No. 14 of 1960 and Miscellaneous Petition No. 282 of 1959
Judge
Reported in(1960)62BOMLR1077
AppellantMongibai Hariram
RespondentThe State of Bombay
Excerpt:
bombay land requisition act (bom. xxxiii of 1948)-person evicted from premises in execution of decree-same premises allotted to such person by government on ground that he was homeless-policy of government to provide accommodation to homeless persons-whether government can make such allotment order-statement made by minister to press whether can amount to considered policy of government.; if accommodation is provided by government to a person who is homeless in pursuance of 'the policy of government to provide accommodation to homeless persons as a part of the public purpose for which powers can be exercised under the bombay land requisition act, 1948, it will not matter as to whether the accommodation is provided to such person in the same premises of which he was in possession either.....s.m. shah, j.1. this is an appeal filed by the petitioners against the order passed by mr. justice mody in a writ petition, being miscellaneous petition no. 282 of 1959, filed by the petitioners, praying for a writ of mandamus under article 226 of the constitution, against the respondents, directing them to cancel or withdraw the order of requisition dated september 10, 1959, and the order of allotment dated september 10/12, 1959, and/or to forbear from executing or enforcing the said orders or taking any further proceedings thereunder, and for a direction, order or writ in the nature of mandamus in similar terms, as also for a writ of certiorari and/or prohibition as prayed for in prayers (c) and (d) of the petition.2. the petitioners are the trustees in respect of the premisses in.....
Judgment:

S.M. Shah, J.

1. This is an appeal filed by the petitioners against the order passed by Mr. Justice Mody in a writ petition, being Miscellaneous Petition No. 282 of 1959, filed by the petitioners, praying for a writ of mandamus under Article 226 of the Constitution, against the respondents, directing them to cancel or withdraw the order of requisition dated September 10, 1959, and the order of allotment dated September 10/12, 1959, and/or to forbear from executing or enforcing the said orders or taking any further proceedings thereunder, and for a direction, order or writ in the nature of mandamus in similar terms, as also for a writ of certiorari and/or prohibition as prayed for in prayers (c) and (d) of the petition.

2. The petitioners are the Trustees in respect of the premisses in question and as such Trustees they are the owners of those premises, which are a part of the immoveable property known as Kutchi House situated at Brahmanwada Road, Matunga, Bombay. One P. S. Nambiar was a tenant in occupation of room No. 26, which are the premises in question, on the second floor of the said building, the rent being a little over Rs. 20 per month. P. S. Nambiar was in arrears of rent and electricity charges from January 1, 1956. According to the petitioners, P. S. Nambiar left the premises, unauthorisedly putting one K.A. Nambiar in possession of the said premises. On March 26, 1958, the petitioners filed a suit in the Court of Small Causes at Bombay against P. S. Nambiar and K.A. Nambiar for recovery of possession of the said' premises on three grounds: (1) That the petitioners required the said premises bona fide for their personal use and occupation; (2) that P. S. Nambiar the tenant was not living at the premises; and (3) that the tenant was in arrears of rent since January 1, 1956. The petitioners alleged that the said K.A. Nambiar deliberately evaded service of the writ of summons in that suit and the petitioners were, therefore, forced to serve him by substituted service. On August 5, 1958, an ex-parte decree was passed in that suit, whereby 'the defendant', which obviously meant the said P. S. Nambiar, was ordered to vacate the said premises by August 16, 1958. On September 30, 1958, the petitioners tried to execute the warrant of possession under that decree, but according to the petitioners, one K.N. Ramkrishnan obstructed the execution, claiming that he was in occupation of the said premises. The petitioners thereafter took out an obstructionist notice against Ramkrishnan and the same was on February 13, 1959, made absolute and Ramkrishnan was ordered to vacate and hand over possession of the premises by March 13, 1959. On the same day, that is, March 13, 1959, K.A. Nambiar filed an application in the said suit to have the ex-parte decree passed against him set aside. On March 16, 1959, that application was dismissed and against that order of dismissal K.A. Nambiar filed an appeal, which appeal was also dismissed on April 1, 1959. On April 30, 1959, according to the petitioners, they obtained possession of the said premises. in execution of the decree with the assistance of the bailiff of the Court. In para. 9 of the petition it was alleged that after obtaining possession of the said premises on or about April 30, 1959, the petitioners put some trust properties in the form of building materials and other articles therein and had allotted a portion of the said premises to the Gurkha bill collector for his residential purposes. The petitioners further alleged in the petition that they had informed the Controller of Accommodation in respect of the vacancy that had arisen in respect of the said premises on account of the execution of the decree of the Small Causes Court, by a letter despatched on May 3, 1959, under a certificate of posting from Calcutta, where the petitioners usually resided. It may be stated at this stage that the respondents by their affidavit in reply denied having received this letter at all. Thereafter the respondents issued a show cause notice dated July 11, 1959, requiring the petitioners to show cause why the said premises should not be requisitioned, under the Bombay Land Requisition Act. In answer to the show cause notice, the petitioners filed a written statement and they were also given interviews by the authorities. The Accommodation Officer thereafter by his letter dated August 17, 1959, intimated to the petitioners that therewas a suppressed vacancy of the said premises. Against that decision or intimation of the Accommodation Officer the petitioners appealed to the Secretary, Revenue Department, Government of Bombay, on August 19, 1959. It appears that there is no provision for such an appeal in the Requisition Act, but it was open to the Government of Bombay to treat the appeal as an application for revision. Pending the disposal of that application, on August 25, 1959, the petitioners gave to the Secretary, Revenue Department, Government of Bombay, a notice dated August 25, 1959, under the provisions of Section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure, expressing their desire to file a suit against the Government in respect of the decision which was taken by the Accommodation Officer to the effect that the premises in question were a suppressed vacancy. The respondents thereafter made an order dated September 10, 1959, requisitioning the said premises under that Act. That order contained a declaration that the said premises had become vacant on April 30, 1959, and also mentioned that the premises were being requisitioned for a public purpose, viz. for housing a homeless person. The respondents also issued an allotment order in respect of those premises, which was dated September 10/12, 1959, by which these premises were alloted to the said K.A. Nambiar. Thereafter the petitioners made a mercy petition to the Minister concerned of the Government of Bombay on September 14, 1959. The Minister according to the petitioners, gave them a hearing on September 25, 1959, but that petition was rejected on September 30, 1959, On the very same day the petitioners filed the present petition, in which a rule was issued and it was that rule which was heard by Mr. Justice Mody.

3. At the hearing of the petition, out of several contentions raised by the petitioners, only four were urged before the learned Judge. The first of them was that the petitioners had given to the respondents intimation of the vacancy by their letter dated May 3, 1959, that under Section 6(3) of the Requisition Act the petitioners could not occupy or permit to be occupied the said premises for a period of one month from the date on which that intimation was received by the respondents, that Government had failed to take any action till July 11, 1959, being the date on which the respondents issued the said show cause notice, that the requisition order was made only on September 10, 1959, that before the said show cause notice was issued the said period of one month had expired and the petitioners had, therefore, become entitled to occupy and in fact had occupied the said premises, that, accordingly, the premises were not vacant at the date of the requisitioning order and that the order was, therefore, invalid. The second contention that was urged before Mr. Justice Mody was that the said requisition order was bad, inasmuch as the premises that were requisitioned thereby were not 'premises' -within the meaning of the Requisition Act. The third of those contentions was that the said order of requisition had been passed mala fide, and it appears that the only ground on which this contention was sought to be sustained before the learned Judge was embodied in Clause (1) in para. 15 of the petition. The last of those contentions was that the impugned order of requisition was bad, as the same was against the pronounced policy of the Government. This contention was contained in ground (t) of para. 15 of the petition. So far as the first of those contentions was concerned, the learned Judge did not think it necessary to decide it, inasmuch as the counsel for the petitioners did not press it. As regards the second contention, it was negatived by the learned Judge. With respect to the third contention, the learned Judge held that the petitioners had failed to prove that the respondents were at all guilty of any mala fides in respect of the order which they had passed. As regards the fourth and the last contention also, the learned Judge held against the petitioners. In the result, the learned Judge dismissed the petition with costs. It is against this order that the petitioners have preferred the present appeal.

4. Mr. Gupte, the learned Counsel for the petitioners, urged three contentions before us in support of the appeal. Firstly, that the order passed by the respondents was illegal, because it was made mala fide to benefit a person who was evicted in execution of a valid decree of a competent Court; secondly, that there was no statutory vacancy in respect of the premises in question which could have been the subject-matter of requisition by the respondents; and thirdly, that on the facts of this case the premises in question were not 'premises' within the meaning of the Requisition Act.

5. As regards the second contention, it was not pressed by Mr. Gupte at all. With regard to the third contention, our own Court had dealt with and rejected a similar contention in Prabhudas Vithaldas v. Controller of Accommodation (1958) O.C.J. Appeal No. S6 of 1957, on April 3, 1958. (unrep) decided by Chagla C.J. and S. T. Desai J. In that case it was contended that where a landlord obtained a decree from the-Small Causes Court under Section 13(1)(g) of the Rent Control Act for ejectment of a tenant, it was incumbent upon the landlord under Section 17 to occupy those premises himself or be liable to penal consequences as set out in that section. Accordingly, it was contended that there was an obligation upon the landlord to occupy those premises, once he got possession thereof in execution of the decree, and, therefore, it could not be said that those premises 'were intended to be let'. It was argued that if in the circumstances the premises could not be said to have been intended to be let, then the State could not exercise its power of requisition under the Requisition Act in respect of those premises. Chagla C.J. answered these contentions as follows:-

The argument advanced by Mr. Dalai on behalf of the appellant is that these premises were not intended to be let at the date when the requisition order was passed by the Government, and what is pointed out is that having obtained a decree from the Small Causes Court under Section 13(1)(g) it was incumbent upon the landlord under Section 17 to occupy these premises himself or be liable for very serious penal consequences set out in Section 17 itself, and as there was an obligation upon the landlord to occupy these premises it could not be said that these premises were intended to be let, and if the premises were not intended to be let then the State could not exercise its power of requisition. Mr. Dalai is right that in order that the Government should exercise its power under the Requisition Act the premises must either be let or intended to be let. If the premises do not satisfy the one or the other condition, they are not premises which are capable of being requisitioned. But the difficulty of Mr. Dalai is that there is a clear decision of this Court which is entirely against him, and that is a decision reported in State of Bo0mbay v. Virendrab Motabhoy.

What we laid down in that case was that once the landlord expressed his clear intention to let the premises, that intention could not be subsequently changed and that intention made the premises intended to be let and that quality as it were attached to the building itself. After the expression of the intention the premises for the rest of the time were premises which were intended to be let. Any subsequent change in the intention of the landlord would not change that characteristic of the building. Now that test which we laid down applies in full force to the facts of this case. Once the landlord let out the premises to the tenant, the premises acquired the characteristic of 'intended to be let', and although the firm, clear and definite intention of the landlord at the date when the premises were requisitioned was not to let the premises out but to occupy them himself, he could not by his subsequent act change the characteristic of the premises. Therefore, in view of this decision the premises were clearly premises which could be requisitioned. Mr. Dalai has referred to an observation in the judgment, viz., where the Court said that in each case the question whether the premises were intended to be let must be decided on the facts and circumstances of each case. That is perfectly true, and in this case also we must decide that question on the facts and circumstances of' the case. But the fact which stares Mr. Dalai in the face and which he cannot possibly get over is the fact that his client himself let out the premises and thereby conferred upon the premises the characteristic which the premises bore subsequently and which characteristic could not be removed from the premises.

These observations aptly apply to the facts of the case before us. Accordingly, Mr. Gupte's aforesaid contention, in our opinion, must be rejected.

6. The only question that then remains for us to consider in this appeal is as to whether the impugned order was passed by the respondents mala fide as alleged by the petitioners. As stated earlier, this ground is set out in Clause (1) of para, 8.15 of the petition. It is as follows:

That the said K.A. Nambiar claiming to be a sub-tenant of the suit premises was admittedly in arrears for over a period of six months and so the action of the respondent No. 2 in requisitioning the premises for housing the said K.A. Nambiar is grossly unjust and without good faith.

With reference to this recital in Clause (1) of para. 15 of the petition, it must be observed that the petitioners are clearly in error with regard to the person who was in arrears of rent. It is not disputed that it was P. S. Nambiar who was the petitioners' tenant, and it was P. S. Nambiar against whom allegation was made in the suit that was filed by the petitioners in the Small Causes Court that he was in arrears of rent for a certain period, and that was one of the grounds on which a decree for ejectment was sought from the Small Causes Court. K.A. Nambiar, according to the petition, was put into possession by P. S. Nambiar. The petition alleged that P. S. Nambiar had abandoned the premises though it does not mention the time when he did it, but it is admitted that K.A. Nambiar was put into possession of the premises in question by P. S. Nambiar. Whether K.A. Nambiar was a sub-tenant or a licensee of P. S. Nambiar is not clear on the record of this case, because neither P. S. Nambiar nor K.A. Nambiar is a party to this petition. The fact, however, remains that K.A. Nambiar was made a party to the suit which the petitioners had filed in the Small Causes Court for ejectment under the Rent Act, and it was in consequence of the allegations made by the petitioners against P. S. Nambiar alone that eventually a decree for ejectment was passed presumably against P. S. Nambiar alone, because the decree mentions the word 'defendant' and not 'defendants Accordingly, it is an error for the petitioners to have stated in Clauses (1) of para. 15 of their petition that it was K.A. Nambiar who was admittedly in arrears for over a period of six months. If this is the ground on which the petitioners base their contention that the respondents should not have allotted the premises in question to K.A. Nambiar and if it had any substance at all, then surely, we would have come to the conclusion that the orders of requisition as well as of allotment passed by the respondents were not free from mala fide. The allegation, however, as pointed out by us, is not true and it appears that K.A. Nambiar was evicted from the premises for no fault of his own, but only on the strength of the ex-parte decree which the petitioners had obtained against P. S. Nambiar. If on account of the execution of this decree and consequent eviction of K.A. Nambiar from the premises, K.A. Nambiar had no other house of his own in the city of Bombay, then he would certainly be classed as a homeless person; and if it was the policy of the Government at the relevant time that to provide accommodation to homeless persons in the city of Bombay was one of the public purposes for which the powers of the Government under the Requisition Act could be exercised, and if it was further the policy of the Government at that time to prefer in the matter of allotment the person who reports to the Government a suppressed vacancy, we do not see how the orders of requisition and allotment passed by the respondents in this case could ever be challenged as having been passed mala fide.

7. It was strenuously urged, however, by Mr. Bhabha, the learned Counsel for the petitioners, who at a later stage of the hearing of the appeal continued the arguments in place of Mr. Gupte, that the very fact that the premises in question were requisitioned and allotted to a person who was evicted in execution of a valid decree of a competent Court, was in itself enough to taint the orders with mala fides. It was contended that instead of permitting K.A. Nambiar to file an independent suit for the declaration of his title to the premises as a sub-tenant or in any other legal capacity, the respondents should not have come to his aid and exercised their powers under the Requisition Act. It was further contended that all the facts which led to the eviction of 0K. A. Nambiar from the premises in question were present to the minds of the respondents and that, therefore, they should have refrained from exercising their powers under the Requisition Act and requisitioning the very premises from which K.A. Nambiar was evicted, solely for the purpose of supplying accommodation to him.

8. Now, prima facie, it does not sound very happy that a man, who is evicted from certain premises in execution of a decree of a competent Court, should be provided with the same accommodation by the Government in exercise of its powers under the Requisition Act. But, unfortunately, this is not a matter of sentiment at all. What we have to consider in this case is as to whether the Government had acted within the four corners of the Requisition Act. If as a result of the exercise of the powers under the Requisition Act something which might appear to be0 a little unseemly occurs, it does not by itself invalidate the exercise of such powers. If the accommodation is provided to a person who is homeless and if it is also the policy of Government to provide accommodation to homeless persons as a part of the public purpose for which the powers could be exercised under the Requisition Act, then, in our opinion, it should not matter as to whether the accommodation is provided to such person in the same premises of which he was in possession either as a sub-tenant, on a licensee or even as a trespasser and from which he was evicted in execution' of a decree or in some other premises. What the Government had to consider in the present case was as to whether K.A. Nambiar had, in consequence of his eviction from the premises in question, become a homeless man. If the Government after due inquiry came to the conclusion, which it did, that he was a homeless person, then in pursuance of the policy adopted by the Government, there was, in our judgment, nothing wrong in the Government exercising its powers under the Requisition Act and requisitioning the same premises. Accordingly, we are of the opinion that the order of requisition as well as the order of allotment passed by the respondents in this case were not tainted by any mala fides on the part of the respondents.

9. It was next contended by Mr. Bhabha that the orders in question were opposed to the pronounced policy of the Government, as alleged in Clause (t) of para. 15 of the petition. This clause runs as follows;-

That the order of requisition is against the pronounced policy of the Government.

It was nowhere stated in the petition as to what the alleged pronounced policy of the Government was. It appears, however, that in their affidavit in rejoinder, which the petitioners had filed, they set out as such. policy the contents of a statement made by one of the Ministers of the Government in regard to the requisition of premises under the Requisition Act. This statement was shown to us as having been published in one of the daily newspapers. It appeared, however, that it was not the statement of any policy made by the Government. It was just a statement made by one of the Ministers at a press conference. In the course of the arguments before the learned Judge, however, it was contended that because of that policy the impugned orders were illegal. The learned Judge, in the first instance, was of the view that inasmuch as the petitioners had failed to give the particulars of the alleged policy of the Government in the petition itself, he would not take notice of the contention at all. Nevertheless he held, relying upon a decision of this Court in Jagirsingh Ramdutta v. The State of Bombay (1958) O.C.J. Appeal No. 44 of 1958, decided by S.T. Desai and Miabhoy JJ., on June 23, 1958 (Unrep.) that he was not concerned with any policy that the Government might propound from time to time and that, therefore, the fourth contention raised on behalf of the petitioners, viz., that the impugned orders were opposed to the policy of the Government in regard to the requisition of premises, was not sustainable. The same contention was raised before us by Mr. Bhabha in this appeal. But here that contention was raised not with a view to show that the impugned orders were illegal for the purpose of showing that the orders that were passed by the respondents in this case were not really passed out of an innocent intention to help a homeless person, but that they were passed mala fide in direct opposition to their own policy in regard to the requisition of premises. As stated earlier, however, what has been relied upon as the Government policy by Mr. Bhabha is not really the policy of the Government at all. In our opinion, the statement that was made by one of the Ministers to the press could not amount to a policy of the Government as a whole. In other words, such a statement could not, unless affirmatively shown otherwise, be presumed to be the policy of the Government. On the contrary, Mr. Joshi, the learned Counsel for the respondents, has invited our attention to a memorandum issued by the Government to the effect that as from April 30, 1959, it will be necessary for all the landlords to report vacancies arising out of Court evictions in their buildings in the Bombay area bounded by Mahim and Sion Creek as required under the provisions of Section 6 of the Bombay Land Requisition Act. The date mentioned in this resolution is precisely the date on which K.A. Nambiar was evicted from the premises in question. It was alleged by the petitioners that by their letter of May 3, 1959, they had communicated to the Government that a vacancy in their building, which comprised of the premises in question, had- occurred as from April 30, 1959, and although this letter was denied to have been received by the respondents, the respondents were apprised of the fact of this vacancy by K.A. Nambiar himself, who was thrown out of those premises. It was in pursuance of the information given by K.A. Nambiar, who was rendered homeless in consequence of his eviction from the premises in question, that the Government made necessary inquiries into the matter, called upon the petitioners themselves to show cause as to why the premises should not be requisitioned, and it was after the petitioners had an opportunity to show such cause that the respondents decided to requisition the premises. The order requisitioning the premises was passed on September 10, 1959. It may be observed, however that before this order was actually passed, the respondents had inquired of0 K.A. Nambiar himself as to where he was living after he was evicted from the premises in question, and it was only after having found that he was residing in a lodging house and that he had no home of his own, that the Government passed an allotment order also on the same day as the order of requisitioning the premises was passed. Accordingly, in our opinion, the impugned orders were not passed by respondent No. 2 against the pronounced policy of the Government as contended by the petitioners, but they were in fact passed in consonance with the policy that prevailed at the date of those orders.

10. It was further contended on behalf of the petitioners by Mr. Bhabha that the coincidence of the two orders having been passed on the same day, in itself was enough to indicate the mala fides on the part of the respondents. It was argued that the very fact that these two orders were passed on the same day indicated that the Government had requisitioned the premises specifically for, K.A. Nambiar, that this intention was entertained by the Government ever since K.A. Nambiar informed them that the vacancy of the premises in question had occurred, and that, therefore, both the orders of requisition as well as of allotment, having been tainted with mala fides, should be set aside. It may be remembered that it is only where a need occurs to requisition any premises that the Government takes recourse to theRequisition Act We had called upon the respondents, during the hearing of this appeal, to file an affidavit explaining the circumstances in which the impugned orders had come to be passed by them, and from this affidavit it clearly appears that the Government had inquired of K.A. Nambiar as to whether he had any other home in the city of Bombay or not and as to where he was residing after he was evicted from the premises in question. He was also the person who had informed the respondents about the vacancy having occurred and he was the person who had represented to the respondents that he was a homeless person. It was undoubtedly for this reason that the respondents made necessary inquiries, first to determine as to whether they could requisition the premises in question, and if they could, whether they could allot them to K.A. Nambiar. Having made the necessary inquiries the respondents came to the conclusion that under the provisions of the LandRequisition Act and in the circumstances of the case, they could validly exercise their powers to requisition the premises, and allot them to K.A. Nambiar. The point that we wish to emphasise is that there would be nothing wrong on the part of the Government if any specific premises are requisitioned for the benefit of a particular homeless person. Accordingly, just because requisition proceedings in this case were started with a view to provide accommodation to K, A. Nambiar, it cannot, in our opinion, be said that the Government's orders for that reason became mala fide. At one stage of the arguments Mr. Bhabha contended that there might have been on the list of Government hundreds of homeless persons and that, therefore, it was highly iniquitous that the Government should have preferred K.A. Nambiar out of all of them for the purpose of allotment of this accommodation: It was also contended that it was unfair that the Government should have behaved in this way. A similar question was raised before the Supreme Court in The State of Bombay v. BhanjiMunji : [1955]1SCR777 of the report it is stated:

It was contended, and the contention prevailed in the High Court, that a decision to set apart a section of the much needed vacancies for the use of spies and informers as a reward for their services, whether their need was as great as that of other houseless persons or not, was not equitable, and as the purpose or the legislation was said to be the equitable distribution of vacant accommodation this fell outside its scope.

In our opinion, this is not a proper approach to the problem, The constitution authorises requisitions for public purpose.' The purpose here is finding accommodation for the homeless. If therefore a vacancy is allotted to a person who is in fact houseless, the purpose is fulfilled. It might be possible to attack a given allotment on other grounds, such as fraud, invidious discrimination, nepotism, bribery or corruption, but none of that is alleged here. All that is said is that there was no public purpose.

A wide discretion must be left to Government to carry out the policy of the Act. If the number of vacancies is small and the number of the homeless large, it is evident that there must be some picking and choosing. So long as this is done on broad lines of principle and reasonably, the Courts cannot interfere simply because other methods are also possible, even if the Courts think they are better, for in the end Government must be left to determine which of many possible schemes is the best. Government had to weigh many conflicting factors: the urgency of the situation, the need of reasonable dispatch, the expenditure of public funds which would be inevitable on long and protracted enquiries about the private affairs of thousands of applicants for accommodation, the maintenance of public morale by ensuring that the honest landlord who did his duty did not suffer as against the dishonest person who suppressed his vacancies and made large and illicit profits under his 'puggree'; and in addition the equitable maxim that 'equity helps the vigilant.' We hold that neither the order of requisition nor the order of allotment in Civil Appeals Nos. 145 and 146 of 1952 is ultra vires.

The principles enunciated in 0this decision, in our opinion, aptly apply to the facts of the present case. As a matter of fact, it is evident from the affidavit which we called for from the respondents during the hearing of this appeal that there was no list maintained by the Government of homeless persons as such. They maintained a list of persons who had become homeless on account of collapse of houses or on account of destruction of houses by fire, etc. There was no list of persons in need of accommodation maintained by the Government, otherwise than of those mentioned in the affidavit. Accordingly, there was nothing wrong in the Government allotting the premises in question to K.A. Nambiar in this case, who was also the informant in respect of the vacancy. Government had found on inquiry that he was a homeless person and on the strength of the decision of the Supreme Court cited above, there was nothing wrong in the Government allotting the premises to a person who had reported the vacancy in respect thereof provided of course that the Government had found on reasonable inquiry that the informant was in genuine need of accommodation. Accordingly, we are of the opinion that there is no substance in any of the contentions raised by Mr. Bhabha on behalf of the petitioners and that the orders passed by the respondents in this case were not at all vitiated on account of any mala fides on their part.

11. For these reasons, we find no susbtance in this appeal and it is, therefore, dismissed with costs.

12.MudholkaR Acting C.J. Since. I agree with my learned brother that mala fides on the part. of the Government in requisitioning the property and in allotting the accommodation to K.A. Nambiar has not been established and that, therefore, the appeal should be dismissed, it was not my intention of making any observations whatsoever in this case. But there is one point' regarding which, for the sake of clarification, I would like to say something. The point is regarding the value to be attached to the statements attributed to Ministers and appearing in the press. It seems to me that the question of State policy is always dealt with at a formal level. After the policy is formulated by the Government, it is published in press statements. A casual statement made by a Minister in an interview to a representative of the press cannot be assumed to be the considered policy of the Government. The argument in this case was that a certain statement made by Mr. Rasiklal Parikh to the press and published in certain newspapers represented the State Policy on the question of requisitioning properties falling vacant. It may be that the press report is correct, but the most that could be inferred from it is that that was the view of the Minister who made the statement. Unless the Minister making the statement categorically states that this is the State policy, it would be dangerous to assume that such a statement is a statement of State policy. In this case Mr. Joshi has brought to our notice a memorandum issued by Government and circulated by the Director of Publicity, Government of Bombay, dealing with the question of vacancies arising out of Court evictions. What is stated therein is directly opposed to what Mr. Parikh is reported to have represented to the press. This would indicate how risky it would be for the Courts to hold on a mere perusal of a statement appearing in the press that what is published is a statement of State policy.

13. Mr. G. N. Joshi at the request of counsel for the appellants agrees that the order of requisition will not be enforced for two weeks, so as to enable the appellants to afford alternative accommodation to the chowkidar who is staying in the requisitionedpremises.


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