1. This revision petition is by the tenant against the order of the learned District Judge, Belgaum, in HRC. RP. No. 137/82 on his file.
2. The revision before the District Judge was preferred by the unsuccessful landlord who had sought eviction in the Court of the Munsiff under S. 21(l)(h) of the Karnataka Rent Control Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as the Act). Petition was presented by the landlord on the ground that he required the same for his own bona fide use and occupation.
3. Undisputed facts of the case were that the landlord was living in the upstairs portion while the tenant was occupying the downstairs portion Landlord claimed that they were all ten in number consisting of himself his wife, adoptive mother of the landlord, his two natural brothers and their wives and their children and in order to make their living comfortable they needed the downstairs portion also for the landlord's use and occupation. While the learned Munsiff conceded that landlord was living -with the members of the family as described above, the said members except his adoptive mother and wife did not constitute the family of the petitioner and therefore the prayer for own use and occupation was rejected. Aggrieved by the same landlord preferred the revision petition to which reference has already been made. The learned District Judge took the contrary view holding that it was not for the Courts to decide as to which relative should constitute the family of the landlord seeking additional accommodation for the members of his family. Therefore, despite the fact that brothers of the landlord were employed and not exactly dependent on the landlord as they had independent income they could not be denied the right to live together if they so desired. On that reasoning reversed the finding of the Munsiff and allowed the petition and directed vacant possession of the part of the premises in the occupation of the tenant to be handed over to the land-lord.
4. Before me, Mr. Mandgi, has contended and endorsed the view taken by the learned Munsiff. He has relied upon two decisions of this Court in support of the fact that the landlord cannot seek possession of a tenanted premises for his own use and occupation or for the use and occupation of any member of his family, unless that such member of the family falls within the definition of the word 'family' defined under S. 3(ff) of the Act. In other words the crux of the argument is that while landlord may seek possession under cl. (h) of S. 21 (1) of the Act for bona fide use and occupation of himself and his family as defined in the Act. Family should be read in that context to include only such members who are defined in the Act to be-included in the family and not who would fall outside the definition.
5. The first decision to which my attention was drawn is to the case of K. S. Appremeya Iyengar v. H. S. Ramaswamy, (1968) 1 Mys LJ 592. In that case the unsuccessful landlord who approached the High Court for relief by way of revision was again denied relief by the High Court on the s6le ground that a widowed sister who is not dependent on him cannot be a member of his family who will be entitled to the ground available under CL (h) of S. 21(l) of the Act. In other words the landlord therein did not seek occupation of the premises for himself but for sister who apparently was to live separately from him. It was in that circumstance the Court took the view that the requirement of his widowed sister would, not be requirement of the landlord himself. That is not the case here. Here admittedly the landlord and his natural brothers and the members of their family all live together by their own choice. As long as that volition on the part of the three brothers is there to live together they do constitute a group of family in the ordinary sense of the term living jointly. If one of them is, the owner and his volition to live with his brothers continues, that owner can certainly claim accommodation that belongs to him either partially or wholly for the enjoyment of what constitutes his family in the general sense. Then requirement is not of any member of the family but it is the requirement of himself as he has chosen to five with his younger brothers and the members of the brothers' families. Therefore, the decision in Appremeya's case is not of any assistance to the petitioner. My attention was also drawn to the decision of a Division Bench of this Court in Writ Appeal No. 626 of 1981 disposed of on 26-8-1982. In that it has been held, the definition of the expression family occurring in S. 3(ff) of the Act will include dependent children. That does not really in any way assist the 'case of the tenant petitioner before me in this Court. Apparently that appeal was disposed of in the context of an order made by the Rent Controller and Accommodation Controller and on appeal an order made by the Deputy Commissioner in regard to matter of allotment. Perhaps what was contended in that case was that a landlord reporting vacancy may seek allotment in his own favour or in favour of his dependants who needed separate residence. That is not the same as saying that definition of family under S. 3(ff) of the Act should be extended to the ground available to a landlord under CL (h) of S. 21(l) of the Act. CL (h) of S. 21(l) of the Act does not provide for the requirement of the family or things like that. It specifically mentions the use of the landlord himself. Himself should not be so read narrowly to confine it to the person of the landlord and no one else. The word himself occurring therein in the first clause of CL (h) of S. 21(l) of the Act should be given a meaning wide enough to include his requirement. If a landlord's requirement includes need for occupation of a larger family consisting of not only himself and his wife but that of his brothers and their wives who have chosen to live with him. Then the wider definition should include the brothers also. The choice of residence with other members must be left in a civilized society to the owner of the house. One may- choose to have his parents living with him; one may choose to have his brothers living with him; some even may choose to have friends live with them. Determining on the facts of each case that choice of freedom should not be curtailed unless it is demonstrable that enlargement of the members of the family is fraudulent ex facie or on proof. In the view, I have taken, I must necessarily uphold the view taken by the District Judge. Therefore, there is no error of law in that view taken by the learned District Judge, the order of the District Judge is confirmed and the revision petition is dismissed.
6. Having regard to the fact that the tenant petitioner had succeeded before the trial Court and was therefore hopeful of continuing in tenancy and as such has made no attempts to secure alternative accommodation, till the end of July 1985 -the order of the District Judge shall not be given effect to.
7. Petition dismissed.