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Srinivasa Vakil and ors. Vs. State of Karnataka and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. Nos. 6914, 8142, 9306, 10216, 13014 of 1977 and 12, 13 and 156 of 1978
Judge
Reported inAIR1980Kant44; ILR1980KAR638
ActsKarnataka Rent Control Act, 1961 - Sections 21A; Karnataka Rent Control (Amendment) Act, 1977; Constitution of India - Articles 14, 19 and 254
AppellantSrinivasa Vakil and ors.
RespondentState of Karnataka and ors.
Appellant AdvocateK.S. Savanur, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS.G. Doddakalegowda, Addl. Govt. Adv.
Excerpt:
- section 24: [anand byrareddy, j] application under section 24 for maintenance - marriage performed as per the provisions of the portuguese civil code application filed under section 24 of the hindu marriage act for maintenance by wife before the family court at belgaum objections by the petitioner/husband with regard to jurisdiction of the family court at belgaum to entertain the application - rejection of objections - challenge to question whether the portuguese family law or hindu law would be applicable to the parties and if the portuguese family law is applicable, which is the court having jurisdiction to decide the matter - held, there is no dispute that the parties were married according to the portuguese family law, that is applicable within the state of goa, and had set up.....bopanna, j.1. these writ petitions have been referred to a division bench by malimath, j., since they raise a common and important question of law touching on the constitutional validity of sec21a of the karnataka rent control act, 1961 (in short, 'the principal act').2. shri k. s. savanur, learned counsel for the petitioner in w. p. 6914 of 1977 addressed leading arguments which were adopted by learned counsel, for the petitioners in other petitions.3. the principal act came on the statute book on 31-12-1961 after receiving the assent of the president on 31-10-1961. it was amended from time to time and we are concerned in these petitions with the karnataka rent control (second amendment) act, 1976 (karnataka act no. 66 of 1976), in, short ('the amendment act') which replaced karnataka.....
Judgment:

Bopanna, J.

1. These writ petitions have been referred to a Division Bench by Malimath, J., since they raise a common and important question of law touching on the constitutional validity of Sec21A of the Karnataka Rent Control Act, 1961 (in short, 'the principal Act').

2. Shri K. S. Savanur, learned counsel for the petitioner in W. P. 6914 of 1977 addressed leading arguments which were adopted by learned counsel, for the petitioners in other petitions.

3. The principal Act came on the statute book on 31-12-1961 after receiving the assent of the president on 31-10-1961. It was amended from time to time and we are concerned in these petitions with the Karnataka Rent Control (Second Amendment) Act, 1976 (Karnataka Act No. 66 of 1976), in, short ('the Amendment Act') which replaced Karnataka Ordinances Nos. 20 and 29 of 1976. This Act received the assent of the Governor on 27-11-1976. Section 6 of the Amendment Act incorporated Section 21A into the principal Act with effect from 13-10-1976. Section 21A reads:

'21A. Vacation of residential building in certain cases.- (1) Notwithstanding anything in this Act on and from the date of coming into force of this section,

(a) any person who is in occupation or possession of a residential building as a tenant on allotment by the Controller, shall, within one year from the said date vacate such building if he owns in his name or in the name of any member of his family, a residential building in the same city, town or village (hereinafter referred to as 'his own building');

(b) such person shall be entitled to recover possession of his own building, in case it is let out to any other person and he may apply to the prescribed authority for eviction of such other person:

Provided that no such application, shall be entertained unless the applicant has given notice of not less than four months requiring the person sought to be evicted to vacate the said building,

(c) the prescribed authority shall, after making such summary inquiry as it deems necessary evict such other person, if necessary by using force and put the applicant in possession of his own building:

Provided that where such person owns more than one building which are all let out the choice of which building he seeks possession for his own occupation shall lie with such person; (d) the Controller shall, while allotting premises under S. 5, give first Priority immediately after the State Government and the Central Government to the person to whom notice under the proviso to clause (b) has been issued if such Person makes an application in this behalf.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in this Act, any person who being in Occupation or possession of a residential building as a tenant on allotment by the Controller acquires or constructs on or after the 20th day of August 1976 either in his own name or in the name of any member of the family a residential building in the same city, town or village shall within such time as may be prescribed, vacate the building of which he is the tenant.

(3) Any person who contravenes the provisions of clause (a) of sub-section (1), or sub-section (2) shall, on conviction, be punished with simple imprisonment which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both.'

4. The main contentions of learned counsel for petitioners are:

(a) As the Amendment Act has not received the assent of the President of India, it is invalid and has no legal effect since it trenches an the field of legislation in the concurrent list pertaining to item No. 6, viz., transfer of property.

(b) Section 21A is violative of the fundamental right to hold property guaranteed by Arts. 19(1)(f) and 31 of the Constitution.

(c) The impugned Section is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution because it brings about discrimination between tenants of buildings belonging to persons who are in occupation or Possession of residential buildings as tenants on allotment by the Controller and other tenants.

(d) Among persons who have let their own buildings and have been in occupation of residential buildings as tenants of others, Section 21A brings about discrimination between those who are tenants on allotment and those who are tenants under contract.

(e) Section 21A is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution as it confers unguided and uncontrolled power on the prescribed authority to evict a tenant on the application made by his landlord who is in occupation or possession of a residential building as a tenant on allotment by the Controller.

(f) Section 21A is a piece of pro-landlord legislation and discriminates against tenants and hence is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

(g) Section 21A is an arbitrary provision as it does not take into account whether the house owned by a person who is in occupation or possession of a residential building as a tenant on allotment, is suitable for his occupation, having regard to the size of his family, his profession, status and other similar circumstances.

5. We shall deal with these contentions seriatim but before we do so, it is useful to set out the history of rent and accommodation control legislation in this State and the salient features of the Principal Act and the Rules made there under. Prior to the re-organization of States under the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, different Acts were in force in different integrating areas regulating rents and letting of accommodation. These Acts were replaced by the Principal Act which applies to the entire State of Karnataka. All these Acts were enacted, inter alia, to prevent exploitation by landlords of tenants taking advantage of scarcity of accommodation in urban areas which be came pronounced during the Second World War and has been worsening year by year as the construction of new buildings has not kept pace with rapid growth of population in urban areas.

The long title of the Principal Act reads: 'An act to provide for the control of rents and evictions, for the leasing of buildings, to control rates of hotels and lodging houses and for certain other matters in the State of Karnataka.'

Clause (c) of Section 3 of the Act defines 'Controller' as any officer not below the rank of a Gazetted Officer appointed by the State Government to perform the functions of the Controller under the Act in respect of any local area.

Clause (ff) of Section 3 defines 'family' as meaning in relation to a person, his or her spouse and his or her dependent children.

Part II of the Principal Act deals with lease of buildings.

Sub-section (1) of Section 4 provides that every landlord shall, within fifteen days after the building becomes vacant by his ceasing to occupy it or by the termination of a tenancy or by the eviction of the tenant or by the release of the building from requisition, or otherwise, give intimation to the Controller in the prescribed form by registered post.

Sub-section (2) of that Section provides, inter alia, that except as provided in that Part of the Principal Act, no person shall let, occupy or otherwise use any building which becomes vacant without the landlord giving intimation under sub-section (1).

Sub-section (1) of Section 5 of the Principal Act provides, inter alia, that the Controller may, by order in writing served on the landlord, direct that any vacant building be given on lease to such public authority or other persons as he may think fit. The proviso to that sub-section states that where such building is a residential building, no such order shall be made in favour of a person not being the landlord, who or; any member of whose family owns a residential building in the same city or town or village in which the vacant building is situate. The Explanation to that sub-section reads:

'A building may be directed to be leased under this section notwithstanding that it is subject to an agreement of lease or has been let or occupied in contravention of sub-section (2) of Section 4.'

Section 8 of the Principal Act provides for the procedure to be followed before ordering leasing of any building to a public authority or other person. Before issuing any order under Section 5, the Controller shall call upon the landlord or any other person who may be in possession of the building by notice in writing to show cause, why the building should not be ordered to be leased to a public authority or other person as may be specified in the notice. The proviso to sub-section (2) of that Section states that no such direction shall be issued in favour of any person who or any member of whose family owns a residential building in the same city, town or village in which the building is situated.

Sub-section (4) of Section 8 provides that while directing any building to be leased to the public authority or other person, the rent of the premises shall be specified in such order and that such rent shall not be less than the fair rent fixed for the building or if any fair rent had not been fixed for the building, the rent last paid for the building or if no rent was paid, the rent determined by the Controller on the basis of the rental value of the building as entered in the property tax assessment book of the local authority or if no property tax has been assessed in respect of the building, the rent determined by the Controller an the basis of the prevailing rates of rent in the locality for, similar buildings in similar circumstances and if the rent had not been specified by the Controller in such order as the fair rent of the building, the tenant or the landlord shall be entitled to apply for fixation of fair rent in respect of the building.

Section 10-A of the Principal Act provides for eviction by the Controller of any person who has occupied my building if the vacancy of such building was required under Section 4 (to be) notified and had not been so notified.

Part III of the Principal Act contains provisions regarding fixation of fair rent.

Section 14 of the Principal Act provides, inter alia, that in fixing the fair rent the Controller shall have due regard to the prevailing rates of rent in the locality for the same or similar accommodation in similar circumstances during the twelve months prior to 1-4-1947 and that the Controller may allow an increase not exceeding 25 per cent over, such rates if the rental value does not exceed Rs. 50/-increase not exceeding 50 per cent it the rental value exceeds Rs. 50/-.

Section 18 of the Principal Act provides inter alia, that no person shall claim, receive or stipulate for payment, any sum as premium or pugree or any consideration whatsoever over and above the fair rent or the agreed rent.

Part V of the Principal Act deals with control of eviction of tenants and obligation of landlords.

Section 21 of the Principal Act provides notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law or contract no order or decree for the recovery of possession of any premises shall be made by any Court or other authority in favour of the landlord, against the, tenant. The proviso to that sub-section states that the Court may on an application made to it, make an order for the recovery of possession of the premises on one or mom of the grounds set out in clauses (a) to (p) of that proviso. Under clause (h), me of the grounds for eviction is that the premises being reasonably and bona fide required by the landlord for occupation by him self or any person for whose benefit the premises are held. Under clause (p), a tenant building his own suitable building or acquiring vacant possession of, or being allotted a suitable building, would be it ground for eviction.

Sub-section (4) of Section 21 provides that no decree for eviction shall be passed on the ground specified in clause (h) of the proviso to sub-section (1) it the Court is satisfied that having regard to all the circumstances of the case including the question whether other reasonable accommodation is available for the land lord or the tenant, greater hardship would be caused by passing the decree than by reusing to pass it.

The proviso to sub-section (2) of Section 2 of the Principal Act provides that Parts II and III of that Act shall not apply to a building constructed after 1-8-1957 for a period of 5 years from the date of construction of such building.

Rule 3 of the Karnataka Rent Control Rules, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as the Rules) provides, inter alia, that immediately after the receipt of intimation of vacancy of any building, the Controller shall send a copy of the intimation of vacancy to the State Government or an authorised Officer.

Rule 4 provides, inter alia, that where no direction is issued by the State Government or an officer authorised by the Government, the Controller shall observe the following order of priority in selecting the public authority or other person for allotting a residential accommodation.

(1) The Government of Karnataka;

(2) The Central Government;

(3) Any local authority when such building to required for the use of such local authority;

(4) A Corporation established by a State Act when the building is required for the use of such Corporation;

(5) A Corporation established by a Central Act when the building is required for the use of such Corporation;

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6. Point No. 1: Mr. Savanur contended that as the Amendment Act had not received the assent of the President as required by clause (2) of Article 254 of the Constitution, the Amendment Act was void and of no effect. Elaborating this contention he said that the Amendment Act is with respect to a matter failing within the ambit of Entry 6 of List III in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution and the provisions of the Amendment Act are repugnant to the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act which is an existing law with respect to a matter enumerated in the Concurrent List.

Entry 6 of the Concurrent List reads:

'Transfer of property, other than agricultural lands and registration of deeds and documents' The Transfer of Property Act governs leases also. Several provisions of the Principal Act are repugnant to many of the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act, like those relating to rent, duration of tenancy, determination of tenancy and notice determining tenancy. It is on account of such repugnancy that the assent of the President was obtained for the Principal Act. The question is whether such assent was necessary for the Amendment Act also.

As seen earlier, all that Section 21A provides is that a person who is in occupation or possession of a residential building as tenant on allotment by the Controller, shall vacate such building if he owns a residential building In the same city or town or village, that such person shall, in turn, be entitled to recover possession of his own building in case it is let out to any other person and that he may apply to the prescribed authority for eviction of such other person. Thus, it is seen that the benefit of allotment of a residential accommodation at controlled rent, conferred on such person by the provisions of the Principal Act, is taken away by clause (a) of Section 21A (1) and such person in turn is enabled to obtain by means of a summary procedure, possession of his own house which he had let to another person. The Principal Act itself has provided for a landlord seeking eviction of his tenant from a house where the former requires such house for his own bona fide and reasonable occupation or where the latter has acquired vacant possession of his own house. The change brought by S. 21A is to make it compulsory for a person who is in occupation or possession of allotted residential accommodation to vacate such accommodation if he has his own house in the same city, town or village. Section 21A also contains the consequential provision for such person getting the aid of the prescribed authority for summary eviction from his own house of his tenant instead of such person making an application under clause (h) of the proviso to Section 21 (1) of the Principal Act for eviction from his own house of his tenant. Thus, Section 21A merely brings about a modification of the provisions-of the Principal Act in regard to certain class of persons who are tenants on one hand and are also landlords on the other hand. That Section does not bring about any further repugnancy with reference to the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act so as to require the assent of the President for the Amendment Act.

Hence we are unable to accept the contention of the learned counsel for petitioners that the Amendment Act required the assent of the President under Article 254 of the Constitution and that in the absence of such assent Section 21A inserted by that Act in the Principal Act, is void and of no effect.

7. Contention No. 2: Elaborating the second contention, Mr. V. G. Sabhahit. learned counsel for the petitioner in W. P. No. 8142 of 1977, submitted that when the Amendment Act was enacted, sub-clause (f) of clause (1) of Article 19, had not been deleted and that hence if the Amendment Act was violative of the fundamental right guaranteed under that sub-clause, the Amendment Act should be held to be void notwithstanding the subsequent deletion of that sub-clause by the 44th Amendment of the Constitution. So far, Mr. Sabahit is, in our opinion, right in his submission. But the material question is whether Section 21A can be said to be violative of the fundamental right which had been guaranteed by that sub-clause.

Clause (5) of Article 19 of the Constitution does not prevent the State from making any imposing reasonable restrictions on the right of a citizen to acquire, hold and dispose of property. Section 21A while taking away the tenancy right of a person who is in occupation or possession of a residential building on allotment by the Controller, confers on such person the right to recover possession of his own house in case it is let out to any other person. The provisions of Section 21A are intended to prevent a person who has his own house, to make unjust profit by continuing to occupy a house as a tenant on allotment at controlled rent and by letting his own house to any other person at a higher rent. When there is scarcity of houses which can be allotted by the Controller to tenants at controlled rents, It is reasonable that such houses should be made available to tenants who do not own houses in preference to persons who own houses but have let them to others. By requiring persons who own houses, to vacate houses which they are occupying as tenants on allotment, such allotted houses will be made available to tenants who do not own houses. It is true that in the process of compelling such persons to vacate allotted houses, tenants occupying houses owned by such persons are liable to be evicted summarily under clause (b) of Section 21A (1). But that is inevitable. Even under clause (h) of the proviso to Section 21 (1) of the Principal Act the landlord who is residing as a tenant of another person, can ask for eviction of his tenant so that he (the land lord) may move to his own house. The only difference brought about by Section 21A is that while a petition under clause (h) of the proviso to Section 21 (1) has to be filed in the Court as defined in clause (c) of Section 3 of the Principal Act, a displaced tenant under clause (a) of Section 21A (1) may approach under clause (b) of Section 21A (1) the prescribed authority who shall, after making a summary enquiry, evict the tenants occupying the house owned by the displaced tenant. Sub-section (4) of Section 21 which requires the Court to consider comparative hardship while granting or refusing a decree for eviction on the ground specified in clause (h) of the proviso to Section 21 (1), has no application to an eviction of a tenant under Section 21A (1) (c). Considering the scheme of Section 21A as a whole, we have no hesitation in holding that the restrictions imposed by that Section on tenants, are intended to benefit a larger class of tenants, namely, tenants who do not own houses, and such restrictions are reasonable and in the interest of the general public. Hence, Section 21A is not violative of Article 19 of the Constitution.

8. Contentions Nos. 3 and 4: Mr. K. S. Savanur contended that Section 21A discriminates between landlords and landlords and between tenants and tenants. Elaborating that contention, he maintained that Section 21A does not touch those landlords who are occupying premises of others as tenants under contractual leases, but requires only those landlords who are occupying houses of others as tenants on allotment by the Controller, to vacate such houses and that likewise, the section does not touch tenants under the former class landlords but provides for summary eviction of tenants under the latter class of landlords. It was contended that on account of such discrimination, the impugned section violates equal protection of laws guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution.

It may be pointed out that landlords who are occupying houses of others as tenants not on allotment but under contracts, are also liable to be evicted from such houses under clause (p) does not compel such landlords to vacate the houses occupied by them as tenants if their landlords do not choose to file petitions for eviction. In our opinion, landlords who are occupying houses of others as tenants under contracts, form two distinct classes and between those two classes, there is an intelligible differentia and such classification of landlords has a reasonable nexus to the objects of Section 21A, namely to prevent landlords making unjust gains by occupying houses as tenants on allotment at controlled rents and letting their own houses at higher rents and to make available allotted premises at controlled rents to tenants who do not own any houses. Once it is held that there is a reasonable classification between those two classes of landlords, it follows that the classification of their respective tenants into two classes, namely, tenants of landlords who are occupying houses of others as tenants on allotment by the Controller and tenants of other landlords, is also a reasonable classification having a reasonable nexus to the objects of Section 21A. It would have been unreasonable if Section 21A had required landlords coming under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of that Section to vacate the premises occupied by them as tenants without giving such landlords the right to recover possession of their own buildings from their tenants.

In Baburao Shantaram More v. Bombay Housing Boards : [1954]1SCR572 the Supreme Court had to deal with the class of tenants under the Bombay Housing Board established under the Bombay Housing Board Act, 1948. Section 4 of that Act exempted houses leased out by the Board, from the protection of the Bombay Rent Control Act. The petitioner who was a tenant of that class, was issued with a notice by the Housing Board to vacate the house occupied by him, but he claimed protection under the Bombay Rent Control Act. It was contended for him before the Supreme Court that, Section 4 of the Bombay Housing Board Act exempting the buildings belonging to it or vested, in it from the operation of the Bombay Rent Control' Act offended equal protection under Article 14 of the Constitution. While repelling that contention the Supreme Court observed thus:

'There can be no question that this exemption is given by Section 4 to certain classes of tenants and this classification is based on an intelligible differentia which distinguishes them from other tenants and this differentia has a rational relation to the object sought to be achieved by the Act. It is the business of the Government to solve the accommodation problem and satisfy the public need of housing accommodation problem and satisfy the public need of housing accommodation. It was for the purpose of achieving this object that the Board was incorporated and established. It is not to be expected that the Government or local authority: or the Board would be, actuated by, any Profit making motive so as to unduly enhance, the rents , or eject the tenants from their respective properties as private landlords am or are likely to be. Therefore, the tenants., of Government or local, authority or the Board are not in need of such, protection as, the, tenants of private landlords are and, this circumstance is a cogent, basis for, differentiation. The two classes of tenants are not by force of circumstances Placed on an equal footing, and the, tenants of the Government or local authority or the Board cannot, therefore, complain of any denial of equality before the law or equal protection of the law. There is here no real discrimination, for the two classes are not similarly situated. Neither Section 4 of the Bombay Rent Act nor Section 3-A of the Bombay Housing Board Act can, therefore, be challenged as unconstitutional, on the ground of contravention of Article 14 of the Constitution.'

In the light of the above observations of the, Supreme Court, the contention that Section 21A violates equal protection laws, must fail.

9. Point No.5: Learned counsel for the petitioners contended that Section 21A confers uncontrolled and unguided power on the prescribed authority to evict a tenant on an application made by his landlord who has been in Possession or occupation of, another person's house, as tenant on allotment by the Controller.

The conditions precedent for evicting a tenant under clause (c) of Section 21A are:

(i) an application is made by the land for, the, eviction of such tenant;

(ii) the applicant has given to such tenant a notice of not less than 4 months requiring him to vacate the building occupied by him; and

(iii) the landlord-applicant is himself liable to vacate the house he has been occupying as a tenant on allotment by the controller.

When a prescribed authority is empowered to evict a tenant, if the above conditions are satisfied, how can the exercise of such power be said to be arbitrary?

However, Mr. Savanur submitted that in exercising his power under clause (c) of Section 21A (1), the prescribed authority is not required to consider the com- hardship which the Court is required to consider under sub-section (4) of Section 21 while deciding whether to grant or refuse a decree for eviction. According to Mr. Savanur, the absence of the requirement to consider such comparative hardship, renders the exercise of the power to evict under clause (c) of Section 21A (1), arbitrary.

Eviction of a tenant under clause (c) of Section 21A (1) can be done by the prescribed on an application of his landlord who is or about to be displaced under clause (a) of that sub-section from the premises occupied by him (such landlord) as a tenant on allotment by the Controller. In such a situation, the questions of comparative hardship cannot arise because it would be manifestly unreasonable to ask such landlord to vacate the house he is occupying as a tenant on allotment without entitling him to recover possession of his own house-, from his tenant.

Thus we have no hesitation In holding that the power of the prescribed authority under clause (c) of Section 21A (1) is not an arbitrary power, nor can such power be regarded as uncontrolled and unguided.

10. Point No. 6: Elaborating his contention that Section 21A is a pro-landlord piece of legislation, Mr. Savanur submitted a landlord who is in occupation or possession of a house of another at tenant on allotment, is conferred the right to recover possession of his own house by applying, to the prescribed authority for eviction of his tenant, and that that Section does not confer any, right on such tenant who would be displaced get any alternative accommodation. Mr. Savanur submitted that the order of priority given to such tenant under Rule 4 (B) to get an allotment of another house, is illusory because he takes only the fifth place in such order of priority and has little or no chance of, getting, alternative accommodation on, allotment.

While hardship of a tenant evicted under clause (c) of Section 21A is: undoubtedly real, that by itself; cannot lead to the conclusion that Section 21A is a pro-landlord piece of legislation. When there is shortage of houses, somebody or the other has to go without a house and in such a situation it is inevitable that between a landlord and. his, tenant, the former is preferred to the latter for occupying a house because the house belongs to him. In deciding, whether a landlord or a tenant should be permitted to occupy a house, if a statutory provision prefers the landlord can it be called pro-landlord piece of legislation ?

As stated earlier the object of, Section 21A is to prevent persons owning, houses from making unjust profits by letting their own houses at higher, rents and occupying houses of, others as tenants on allotment at controlled rents, In achieving this object, it is inevitable that tenants of such landlords who occupy houses of others as tenants on allotment by the Controller, should suffer eviction if such landlords desire to occupy their own houses. The houses vacated by such landlords will be available for fresh allotment to tenants in general including such displaced tenants. As stated earlier, even under Section 21 of the Principal Act, if a landlord wants to occupy hi, own house, the tenant occupying that house is liable to be evicted under cl.(h) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of Section.

A displaced tenant under clause (c) of Section 21A (1) has been given a higher place than a tenant evicted under, clause (h) of the proviso to Section 21 (1), in the order of preference for allotment of houses under Rule 4 (B). Whether a displaced tenant should be given a higher order of priority under that Rule, is a matter for the Legislature and the rule making authority to consider.

Moreover, an Act of the Legislature, cannot be struck down on the ground that it is more advantageous to one class of persons than to another class, unless that Act is also violative of Article 14 or 19 or other specific provision of the Constitution.

Thus we are unable to accept the contention of Mr. Savanur that Section 21A is a piece of pro-landlord legislation.

11. Lastly, it was urged that Section 21A is an arbitrary provision elaborating this contention, it was urged that in requiring a person who is In occupation or possession of a house as a tenant on allotment by the Controller, to vacate such house, if he has a house of his own in the same city or village, the section does not take into consideration whether the house owned by such person is suitable for his own residence having regard to the size of his family, his occupation or profession and his status and the like.

There is considerable force in the above contention. The house owned by a person may be too small in size, it may not be in a suitable locality, or it may be in a dilapidated condition. He might have let out that house and occupied a more suitable house as a tenant on allotment by the Controller. If he is required to vacate the latter house, he may be put to hardship. But he is not compelled to shift to ids own house. It is open to him to take another house on lease under a contract. As seen earlier, the proviso to sub-sec (2) Section 2 of the Principal Act exempts a building constructed after 1-8-1957 from the provisions of Parts II and III of that Act for a period of 5 years from the date of construction.

Even if the requirement under clause (a) of Section 21A (1) to vacate allotted houses. causes hardship to the allottees in marginal cases, such hardship is far outweighed by the benefit accruing to the larger body of tenants who have no houses of their own, since houses so vacated will be available for allotment to, persons who do not own any houses.

Hence, we are unable to accept the contention that the provisions of Section 21A (1) (a) are arbitrary. However, it is a matter for the Legislature to consider whether that provision should not be made flexible by providing for exemption In cases of persons, whose own houses are not suitable for occupation on account of their size, location etc.

12. We shall now proceed to examine the facts of individual cases:

W. P. No. 6914 of 1977: The petitioner has alleged that he is a tenant of a house under respondent-2 who is occupying another house as a tenant on allotment by the Controller and respondent-2 has issued a notice to him (the Petitioner) to vacate the house which he (the petitioner) is occupying, within four months. The petitioner has prayed for declaring the Amendment Act as unconstitutional and for quashing the said notice.

W. P. No. 8142 of 1977:In this petition, the, petitioner has averred that he has been residing as a tenant of a house (consisting of two bed rooms, a drawing room, a dining, room and a kitchen) on allotment by the Rent Controller. He has built a house consisting of six bed rooms with attached bath-rooms, two study rooms, a big drawing hall, a dining hall and servants' quarters. He has leased that building to the Mysore Paper Mills Ltd., on a monthly rent of Rs. 3,500/-. He had taken a loan for construction of that building and a sum of Rs. 60,000/- still remained to be repaid towards that loan. He has alleged that under clause (a) of Section 21A (1) he is required to vacate the allotted premises and to move to his own house and that this would cause a great hardship. The prayer in the petition is for declaring the Amendment Act as unconstitutional.

W. P. No. 9306 of 1977: In this petition, the petitioner has averred as follows: He has been occupying a house on a rent of Rs. 110/- as a tenant of respondent-3 who has been occupying another house as a tenant on allotment by the Rent Controller. On the application made by respondent-3, the House Rent Controller passed an order under clause (c) of Section 21A (1) requiring the petitioner to vacate the premises. The prayers of the petitioner are for a declaration that Section 21A is ultra vires of the Constitution and to quash the order of the Rent Controller under clause (c) of Section 21A (1) of the Act.

W. P. No. 10216 of 1977: The petitioner has alleged that he is a tenant of a house under respondent-3 who had issued to him four months' notice to vacate that house on the ground that he (respondent-3). was residing in the other house as a tenant on allotment by the Controller and he has to vacate that house under Section 21A and, that on his (respondent-3's) application the House Rent Controller has directed the petitioner to put respondent-3 in vacant possession of the house which the petitioner has been occupying. The petitioner has prayed for declaring the Amendment Act as unconstitutional and for quashing the said order of the House Rent Controller.

W. P. No. 13014 of 1977: The petitioner has alleged that he is a tenant of a house under respondent-3 who had got issued a notice to hint to vacate the said house on the ground that he (respondent-3) has to vacate the house occupied by him as a tenant on allotment by the Controller and that on his (respondent-3's) application the House Rent Controller had passed an order under clause (c) of Section 21A (1). The petitioner has prayed for declaring the Amendment Act (as unconstitutional) and for quashing the said order of the House Rent Controller.

W. P. No. 12 of 1978: The petitioner has alleged that he is occupying a house as a tenant on allotment by the Controller and had constructed a house of his own which he has let out to a tenant and that he has to vacate the house which he has been occupying, under Section 21A. He has prayed for declaring the Amendment Act an void and to quash it

W. P. No. 13 of 1978 : The petitioner has alleged that he has been occupying a house allotted to him by the Controller, that his wife has built a house which she has let to a tenant and that he falls in the category of persons who are required to vacate the allotted premises under clause (a) of Section 21A (1). But, the only prayer he has made is that the Amendment Act should be declared as Unconstitutional and void.

W. P. No. 156 of 1978: The averments made by the petitioner in this petition are briefly as follows: He has. been occupying a house as a tenant on allotment by the Controller. He has let out his own house to respondent-3. The Controller has served a notice on him (the petitioner) directing him to vacate the allotted premises on or before 31-12-1977. The petitioner has prayed for declaring the Amendment Act as unconstitutional and for quashing the notice issued to him by the Controller to vacate the allotted premises.

13. All the contentions urged on behalf of the petitioners fail and we dismiss these petitions.

14. In the circumstances of the cases, we direct the parties to bear their own costs.

15. Petitions dismissed.


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