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Baleshwar Prasad Srivastava Vs. Smt. Sita Devi and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 6418 of 1974
Judge
Reported inAIR1976All338
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 226 and 245; Uttar Pradesh Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972 - Sections 21 and 21(1); Uttar Pradesh Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Rules, 1972 - Rule 16(1)
AppellantBaleshwar Prasad Srivastava
RespondentSmt. Sita Devi and anr.
Appellant AdvocateS.K. Verma, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS.P. Gupta, ;K.N. Upadhya, Advs. and ;Standing Counsel
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....21 provides guidelines for passing eviction order - landlord required to prove his genuine and bonafide need for eviction and accommodation under section 21 - rule 16(1) required consideration of need of tenant and its comparison with need of landlord - held, rule 16(1) is ultra vires section 21. - - the above decision is, therefore, conclusive on the controversy that the word 'bona fide' cannot be interpreted requiring the considering of the need of the tenant as well. it is interesting to note that mr. reference be made in this connection to the judgment of the supreme court in mattu lal's case (air 1974 sc 1596) (supra) where the supreme court while dealing with section 12 (1) (f) of the madhya pradesh accommodation control act, 1961, requiring consideration of bona fide..........application was contested by the petitioner and the claim of respondent no. 1 that her need was bona fide was denied. the petitioner alleged that he was living in the accommodation in the dispute since 1951 and as he did not have any alternative accommodation available to him he would suffer greater hardship in case the application of respondent no. 1 for his ejectment was granted. the prescribed authority rejected the application, against which an appeal was filed by respondent no. 1. the appeal has been allowed. the tenant has come to this court by means of the present writ petition.2. the first ground urged by learned counsel appearing for the petitioner in support of the petition was that the finding of the appellate court holding that the need of respondent no. 1 was bona fide.....
Judgment:
ORDER

K.C. Agarwal, J.

1. This petition under Article 226 of the Constitution is directed against the judgment of the First Additional District Judge, Allahabad, dated 3-9-1974 allowing the appeal of respondent No. 1 filed under Section 22 of U. P. Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972 (briefly stated as 'the new Act'). Respondent No. 1 is, admittedly, the owner of house No. 68. Khuldabad Allahabad. The upper portion of this house was in the tenancy of the petitioner. Respondent No. 1 filed an application under Section 21 of the new Act for release of the portion in occupation of the petitioner on the ground that the same was required by her for her use and occupation. The application was contested by the petitioner and the claim of respondent No. 1 that her need was bona fide was denied. The petitioner alleged that he was living in the accommodation in the dispute since 1951 and as he did not have any alternative accommodation available to him he would suffer greater hardship in case the application of respondent No. 1 for his ejectment was granted. The Prescribed Authority rejected the application, against which an appeal was filed by respondent No. 1. The appeal has been allowed. The tenant has come to this Court by means of the present Writ Petition.

2. The first ground urged by learned counsel appearing for the petitioner in support of the petition was that the finding of the appellate court holding that the need of respondent No. 1 was bona fide was incorrect. He stated that the said respondent had two other houses and, therefore, she did not require the present accommodation. After examining the evidence on record, the appellate court found that respondent No. 1 had another house No. 85, Anarsuiya, Allahabad but the same was in occupation of tenants, and therefore, it was not available to her. The appellate court, however held that respondent No. 1 was living in the ground flour of the disputed house, and that the said respondent required the portion in occupation of the petitioner for her purposes. It is the settled law that the finding on the question of bona fide requirement of premises is one of fact, which cannot be set aside in writ proceedings. Reference may be made to a decision of the Supreme Court in Mattu Lal v. Radhe Lal, (AIR 1974 SC 1596). The first ground, therefore, fails.

3. The second submission made by learned counsel for the petitioner was that Rule 16 (1) of the Rules framed under the new Act required the consideration of need of a tenant and its comparison with that of the landlord, and as the learned District Judge did not compare the need of the petitioner with thatof respondent No. 1, the judgment of the learned District Judge was erroneous.

4. Sri S. P. Gupta, counsel appearing for respondent No. 1, however, contended that as Rule 16 (1) of the Rules relied upon by learned counsel for the petitioner was ultra vires the Act, therefore, the appellate court was not required in law to compare the need of the petitioner with that of respondent No. 1. I would, therefore, take up the question of validity of Rule 16 (1) first before dealing with the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner on merits.

5. In order to control the letting and the rent of residential and non-residential accommodation and to prevent the eviction of tenants therefrom, the U. P. Legislature enacted U. P. (Temporary) Control of Rent and Eviction Act, 1947 (briefly stated as 'the old Act'). Section 3 of the Act provided for the restrictions on eviction. Sub-section (1) of Section 3 lays down that a tenant would be liable to be evicted in a suit brought by a landlord only when the landlord has obtained permission of the District Magistrate for filing such a suit. Section 3 was interpreted by this Court in a number of cases. Previously, the view of this Court was that the power exercised by the Rent Control and Eviction Officer was administrative. This question, however, came to be considered by the Supreme Court in Shri Bhagwan v. Ram Chand, 1965 All LJ 353 = (AIR 1965 SC 1767). The Supreme Court held as under:

'When the District Magistrate exercises his authority under Section 3 (2) and the Commissioner exercises his revisional power under Section 3 (3) they must act according to the principles of natural justice in as much as they are dealing with the question of rights of the landlord and the tenant and therefore, they are required to adopt a judicial approach.'

6. According to this view of the Supreme Court, the nature of jurisdiction conferred on the District Magistrate under Section 3 was quasi-judicial. On this view, the Supreme Court found it necessary that the District Magistrate had to weigh the pros and cons of the matter and then come to a certain conclusion before he made the order.

7. A Full Bench of our High Court in Asa Singh v. B. D. Sanwal, 1968 All LJ 713 = (AIR 1969 All 474) (FB) following the decision of the Supreme Court in Shri Bhagwan's case (Supra) also heldthat while granting permission under Section 3 of the old Act the District Magistrate was bound to consider the need of the tenant for the accommodation, if such a case was set up by him. In Bhagwan Das v. Paras Nath, (AIR 1970 SC 971), the Supreme Court, however, felt that the drafting of the old Act led considerable room for improvement and also observed that it would have been appropriate if the Legislature had defined the scope of the powers of the District Magistrate or at least laid down certain guidelines for regulating his discretion. It appears that as the old Act was a temporary provision and the problem which was faced by the legislature in 1947 remained unabated the U. P. Legislature decided to make a permanent legislation. Accordingly, the Legislature passed the new Act and enforced the same with effect from 15th July, 1972.

8. Section 21 of the new Act provides for release of buildings in occupation of tenants. Sub-section (1) (a) of this section, which is material for our purposes is reproduced below:

'that the building is bona fide required either in its existing form or after demolition and new construction by the landlord for occupation by himself or any member of his family, or any person for whose benefit it is held by him, either for residential purposes or for purposes of any profession, trade or calling, or where the landlord is the trustee of a Public charitable trust, for the objects of the trust.'

It would be seen that Section 21 now provides the guidelines on which an order of release can be passed in favour of landlord. The requirement of this section is that the application made by a landlord would be granted only when he establishes that his need is genuine and bona fide. The grounds on which eviction can be permitted have also been enumerated.

9. The question that needs determination now is about the ambit and scope of the phrase 'bona fide required'. In the absence of any definition of the word 'bona fide' in the Act, the rule of construction requires the same to be given the grammatical meaning. In Chandra Kumar Shah v. District Judge, Varanasi, 1976 All LR 95 = (AIR 1976 All 328) (FB) a Full Bench of this Court was called upon to consider the scope of Section 21 (1) (a) of the new Act and in dealing with the same it laid down that the words 'bona fide required' could notbe construed to include an enquiry into the need or hardship of the tenant. The above decision is, therefore, conclusive on the controversy that the word 'bona fide' cannot be interpreted requiring the considering of the need of the tenant as well. Reading of the provisos to this section and the explanations also support the above conclusion. Particular reference may be made to the second proviso to Section 21 (1) of the new Act which says that in the event the landlord makes out his case for release and if the tenant is engaged in any profession, trade or calling, the Prescribed Authority while making the order of eviction shall award compensation to the tenant. The fact that the legislature has provided for the compensation shows that the need of the tenant has not to be considered otherwise provision for the same would have been made in this proviso or somewhere in this section. The fact that Explanations (i) to (iv) to this section making the need of the landlord conclusive on the contingencies mentioned in the same being established also indicates that the need of the landlord alone is required to be looked into.

10. Learned counsel for the petitioner however, urged that as the rules framed under the new Act had been placed before the Assembly, as required by Section 42 of this Act, therefore, it was reasonable to presume that the legislature had approved the meaning given to, this word by Rule 16 of the Rules framed under the new Act. He pointed out that as Rule 16 (1) required the consideration of the need of the tenant and its comparison with that of the landlord, it was incumbent on the authorities appointed under the new Act to deal with the said question. The submission made is devoid of substance. It may be true that the rules framed under the new Act were laid before each House of the State Legislature, but that does not validate them in case it is otherwise against the provisions of the Act. The rules framed by the State Government in exercise of its delegated function cannot travel beyond the rule making power, and if these rules be beyond the permissible limits they would not be valid in spite of the fact that they had been laid before the House of the State Legislature. Counsel for the petitioner, however, contended that the decision of the Supreme Court in Kerala State Electricity Board v. Indian Aluminium Co., 1976 (1) SCC 466 = (AIR 1976 SC 1031) supported his contention. Ihave carefully read this judgment, but I find that instead of supporting the contention of the petitioner it lays down:

'In India many Statutes both of Parliament and of State Legislature provide for subordinate legislation made under the provisions of those Statutes to be placed on the table of either the Parliament or the State Legislature and to be subject to such modification, amendment, or annulment, as the case may be as may be made by the Parliament or the State Legislature. Even so, we do not think that where an executive authority is given power to frame subordinate legislation within the stated limits, rules made by such authority if outside the scope of the rule making power should be deemed to be valid merely because such rules have been placed before the Legislature and are subject to such modification, amendment or annulment, as the case may be as the Legislature may think fit.'

The above declaration of law by the Supreme Court is conclusive on the point urged by the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner.

11. Counsel, thereafter, referred to the history of the Rent Control Legislation of this State and urged that the same indicated that the Legislature required Section 21 to be interpreted in the same manner in which Section 3 of the old Act had been interpreted by the Supreme Court in the case of Shri Bhagwan v. Ram Chand, (AIR 1965 SC 1767) (supra). The submission made by the learned counsel for the petitioner is liable to be rejected on grounds more than one. It is true that it is sound statement of construction to look into the history of the legislation if the language employed in a certain Act is ambiguous or vague. But where, as here, the language used does not suffer from this defect it is not possible to change the meaning of the words used in the section only on the strength of the history of the legislation, It may, however, be further pointed out that the submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner that the history of the Rent Control Legislation does not warrant the conclusion that the need of the tenant need not be looked into is also not correct.

12. Section 3 of the old Act was differently worded and did not provide any guideline and the grounds on which an application under Section 3 could be granted. Construing this provision, theSupreme Court found it to be quasi-judicial. As in its opinion it was quasi-judicial, it was necessary that versions of both the sides put forward in a case be considered and, thereafter, the application under the aforesaid provision be decided in accordance with law. In the case of Asa Singh v. B. D. Sanwal, (AIR 1969 All 474) (FB) (supra) the Full Bench while answering the question referred laid down:

'The District Magistrate is bound to consider also the need of the tenant for the acommodation, if such a case is set up by him.'

What is worthy of note is that the Full Bench required the consideration of the need of the tenant only if such a case was set up by him. It follows that if in a case a tenant does not put forward his hardship in the written statement and does not join issue with the landlord on this point, it was not necessary even under Section 3 of the old Act to consider the need of the tenant. This fortifies my view that only because Section 3 was construed as quasi judicial that it became necessary to consider the need of the tenant and to compare the same with that of a landlord, that too only when a tenant puts forward the same.

13. Now coming to Section 21 of the new Act, it would be seen that the scheme of the new Act is different than that of the old Act. This Act has made new provisions in respect of many matters which were not covered by the old Act. Section 21 exhaustively deals with the grounds on which a tenant is liable to be evicted. This section is in line with the provisions made in various other States with regard to the subject-matter. Reference can be made to Section 5 (1), (c) of the Assam Urban Area Rent Control Act, 1961, Section 14(1)(e) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 and Section 12 (1) (e) of the Madhya Pradesh Accommodation Control Act, 1961. In all these Acts there are no provisions for consideration of the need of the tenant while dealing with the application made by a landlord for eviction of a tenant. It is interesting to note that Mr. Justice Gopal Ji Mehrotra (as he then was) dealing with Section 3 of the old Act held in Shri Krishna v. Additional Commr., (1958 All LJ 234) that the Rent Control Officer had to consider the points of view of both the landlord and the tenant while exercising power under Section 3 inasmuch as without weighing different points of view he couldnot decide the application made under the above provision. But when he was in the Assam High Court, interpreting the words 'bona fide requirement' used in Section 6 (1) (c) of the Assam Urban Areas Rent Control Act, he held that the convenience or otherwise of the tenants was not required to be looked into, and that if the landlord bona fide required the house for his own use, no amount of inconvenience to the tenants would take away the landlord's right to evict them. The two 'decisions of Gopal Ji Mehrotra, J. (as he then was) would show that on account of different language used in two different provisions, he took this view. Reference may also be made to some of the decisions of the Supreme Court for the purpose of demonstrating that while construing the words 'bona fide requirement' used in various legislations, the Supreme Court did not lay down that the need of the tenant was also required to be considered. Reference be made in this connection to the judgment of the Supreme Court in Mattu Lal's case (AIR 1974 SC 1596) (supra) where the Supreme Court while dealing with Section 12 (1) (f) of the Madhya Pradesh Accommodation Control Act, 1961, requiring consideration of bona fide requirement of a landlord only said that an application made by a landlord for eviction could be granted if it satisfied that the requirement was bona fide. It is true that the question of consideration of the need of the tenant was not argued in this case, but one can reasonably presume that had the Supreme Court thought that the need of the tenant was necessary to be considered, it would have certainly said about it.

14. While dealing with a case arising from Bombay, the Supreme Court in P.B. Desai v. C. M. Patel, (AIR 1974 SC 1059) held that the consideration of the hardship which was likely to be caused to the tenant was necessary. In this connection it is necessary to point out that Section 13 (2) of the Bombay Rents, Hotel and Lodging House Rates Control Act, 1947, specifically provided for the consideration of greater hardship which would be caused by passing a decree than by refusing to pass. Another case which has been relied upon by the Supreme Court in this judgment is Central Tobacco Co. v. Chandra Prakash, (AIR 1969 NSC 88) interpreting Section 21 (4) of the Mysore Control Act, 1961. Subsection (4) of Section 21 of that Act also provided for the consideration of thequestion of greater hardship of the tenant.

15. Thus the above discussion would lead to the inescapable conclusion that the words 'bona fide required' used in Section 21 of the new Act cannot be interpreted to mean the consideration of the hardship of the tenant as well. It may be material to point out that as the legislature has not used the same language in Section 2l as was employed by it in Section 3 of the old Act, it is suggestive that the change of interpretation was intended by the legislature.

16. The last submission made by the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner was that as Section 21 of the new Act is discretionary, therefore, the State could provide for the exercise of their discretion by making a provision of Rule 16 (1) of the Rules. Counsel relied on the use of the word 'may' in Section 21 of the new Act for the purpose of the above submission. This question has been considered by the Full Bench in the case of Chandra Kumar Sah, (AIR 1976 All 328) (FB) (supra). It is not necessary to deal with the same in detail excepting pointing out that an application made by a landlord cannot be rejected by the Prescribed Authority appointed under the Act despite the fact that a ground for the release has been made. Professor S. A. D. Smith in his book Treatise on Judicial Review of Administrative Act Third Edition page 246 has stated as below:--

'The legal concept of discretion implies power to make a choice between alternative course of action. If, one course can be adopted, the decision taken is not the exercise of a discretion but the performance of a duty.'

This would show that the power conferred on the authority under Section 21 of the new Act does not confer discretion and that an application made by a landlord has got to be granted if he makes out a case under Section 21 of the New Act. In fact, although the Full Bench's Judgment given in Chandra Kumar Shah's case is of Rule 16 (2) but as Rule 16 (1) is in pari materia with Rule (2), the law laid down in that case would apply to Rule 16 (1) as well. For these reasons, Rule 16 (1) is ultra vires the Act, and, therefore, the need of the petitioner was not required to be considered.

17. I, however, also find in the alternative that in the instant case the appellate court had compared the need of the petitioner with that of respondent No. 1 and it found that the need of respondent No. 1 was greater. So this point fails on merits as well.

18. Sri S. K. Verma, counsel appearing for the petitioner, however, brought to my notice a referring order made by brother K. N, Singh in a writ petition doubting the correctness of the decision of the Full Bench in Chandra Kumar Sah's case (AIR 1976 All 328) (FB) (supra) and urged that the hearing of the present writ petition be referred till the aforesaid referred case decided. With great respect to brother K. N. Singh. I wish to point out that all the points which have been raised by him in the referring order have been decided by the Full Bench. As I feel that the decision of the Full Bench covers the controversy squarely. I am not prepared to accede to this request of the petitioner's counsel.

19. For those reasons, the writ petition fails and is dismissed with costs payable by the petitioner to respondent No. 1. The stay order is discharged. Three months time is granted to the petitioner to vacate the premises.


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