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Gopinath Goel Vs. 1st Addl. Dist. Judge, Meerut and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 366 of 1976
Judge
Reported inAIR1977All408
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Uttar Pradesh Urban Buildings (Regulations of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972 - Sections 21(1)
AppellantGopinath Goel
Respondent1st Addl. Dist. Judge, Meerut and anr.
Appellant AdvocateN.C. Rajvanshi, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateL.P. Naithani, Standing Counsel
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....in view of retrospective validation of rule 16 of the u. it was contended that the order of the learned district judge was clearly unsustainable as he failed to consider the question of comparative hardship of the landlord as well as the tenant. (1) the prescribed authority may, on an application of the landlord in that behalf order the eviction of a tenant from the building under tenancy or any specified part thereof if it is satisfied that any of the following grounds exists, namely- (a) 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 orany member of his family or any personfor whose benefit it is held by him, either for residential purposes or for purposes of any profession, trade..........hardship to the landlord if eviction was refused.7. in the appeal preferred by the landlord, the learned district judge held that in view of clause (iv) of the explanation to sub-section (1) of section 21 of the act, the fact that the landlord was occupying a portion of the building, was conclusive proof that the building was bona fide required by her. in view of the ruling of the full bench of this court in chandra kumar sah v. district judge (air 1976all 328), the learned district judge did not go into question of comparative hardship, namely, the hardship caused to the tenant by eviction compared with the hardship caused to the landlord by refusing the petition.8. in this petition, the learned counsel for the tenant contended that clauses (ii) and (iv) of the explanation to.....
Judgment:

D.M. Chandrashekhar, J.

1. This petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, had come up in the first instance, before a learned single Judge, K. C. Agarwal, J. The order of reference made by his Lordship reads thus:--

'The question raised by the learned counsel for the parties is, in my opinion, of general importance and is likely to arise in a number of other petitions, and as my judgment could not be a subject-matter of appeal to a Division Bench, it appears appropriate to refer this case to a larger Bench for deciding the following questions:

1. Whether the irrebuttable presumption incorporated in Explanations (ii) and (iv) of Section 21 is of substantive law or procedure expressed in presumptive form?

2. Whether Section 14 (2) of U. P. Act No. 28 of 1976 deleting Explanations (ii) and (iv) is retrospective in operation?

3. Whether the law, as amended by U. P. Act No. 28 of 1976, is to be given effect to in the present writ proceedings?''

2. Under Clause (b) of the proviso to Rule 2 of Chapter V of the Rules of this High Court, a Judge may, if he thinks fit, refer a case which may be heard by a Judge sitting alone or any question of law arising therein for decision to a larger Bench.

3. A question arises whether the learned single Judge has referred to the Division Bench the whole case or onlycertain questions of law. His Lordship has formulated three questions. But he has also stated that it appeared appropriate to refer the case to a larger Bench for deciding those questions. Reading the order of reference as a whole, we are inclined to construe it as referring the entire case to a Division Bench.

4. The writ petition is directed against the order of the 1st Additional District Judge, Meerut, dated 12-2-1976, passed in an appeal under Section 22 of the U. P. Urban Buildings (Regulations of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972, (hereinafter referred to as the Act). The petitioner herein is the tenant and respondent 2 herein is the landlord. For the sake of convenience, they will hereafter be referred to as the tenant and the landlord respectively.

5. The landlord had made an application under Sub-section (1) of Section 21 of the Act for eviction of the tenant from a part of the house bearing Nos. 226 and 228 Dalampara, Meerut City, and for release of the accommodation in her (the landlord's) favour. Her case was that she was residing in a part of that house, that the tenant was occupying the remaining part thereof and that she needed the entire house for her own occupation since the portion in her occupation was insufficient for her large family. The tenant disputed the landlord's claim that she bona fide needed additional accommodation. He pleaded that he would be put to great hardship and inconvenience if he should be evicted from the portion of the building he was occupying.

6. The prescribed authority held that the need of the landlord for additional accommodation was not genuine and bona fide, that she had already sufficient accommodation in the portion of the house she was occupying and that no additional accommodation was required for her. He also held that greater hardship would be caused to the tenant if his eviction was ordered than the hardship to the landlord if eviction was refused.

7. In the appeal preferred by the landlord, the learned District Judge held that in view of Clause (iv) of the Explanation to Sub-section (1) of Section 21 of the Act, the fact that the landlord was occupying a portion of the building, was conclusive proof that the building was bona fide required by her. In view of the ruling of the Full Bench of this Court in Chandra Kumar Sah v. District Judge (AIR 1976All 328), the learned District Judge did not go into question of comparative hardship, namely, the hardship caused to the tenant by eviction compared with the hardship caused to the landlord by refusing the petition.

8. In this petition, the learned counsel for the tenant contended that Clauses (ii) and (iv) of the Explanation to Sub-section (1) of Section 21 of the Act, have since been deleted by the U. P. Urban Buildings (Regulations of Letting, Rent and Eviction) (Amendment) Act, 1976 (hereinafter referred to as the Amendment Act), that the question whether the landlord bona fide requires additional accommodation in the portion of the building occupied by the tenant, has to be decided without reference to the clause in the Explanation and that hence the finding of the learned District Judge based upon that clause of the Explanation, was unsustainable. The learned counsel for the tenant referred to the decision of the Supreme Court in Girdhar Das v. District Judge, Varanasi, (1977) 1 SCC 3 : (AIR 1977 SC 678) in which it was held that the ruling of the Full Bench in Chandra Kumar Sah's case (supra) was no longer good law in view of retrospective validation of Rule 16 of the U. P. Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Rules 1972, (hereinafter called the Rules) by the Amendment Act. It was contended that the order of the learned District Judge was clearly unsustainable as he failed to consider the question of comparative hardship of the landlord as well as the tenant.

9. In order to appreciate the aforesaid contention of the learned counsel for the tenant, it is necessary to set out the relevant provisions of the Act, the Amendment Act and the Rules.

10. The relevant parts of Section 21 of the Act, as they stood before they were amended by the Amendment Act, read as follows:--

'21. Procedure for release of building under occupation of tenant.

(1) The prescribed authority may, on an application of the landlord in that behalf order the eviction of a tenant from the building under tenancy or any specified part thereof if it is satisfied that any of the following grounds exists, namely-

(a) 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 orany member of his family or any personfor 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;

(b) ...

Explanation.-- In the case of a residential building-

(i)...

(ii) Where the landlord was engaged in any profession, trade, calling or employment, away from the city, municipality, notified area or town area within which the building is situated and by reason of the cessation of such engagement, he needs the building for occupation by himself for residential purposes, such need shall be deemed sufficient for purposes of clause (a);

(iii) ...

(iv) the fact that the building under tenancy is a part of a building the remaining part whereof is in the occupation of the landlord for residential purposes, shall be conclusive to prove that the building is bona fide required by the landlord.'

11. Sub-rule (1) of Rule 16 of the Rules provides that in considering the requirements of personal occupation for purposes of residence by the landlord of any member of his family, the prescribed authority shall except in cases pro-vided for in the Explanation to Section 21 (1), take into account the likely hardship to the tenant from the grant of the application as against the likely hardship to the landlord from the refusal of the application. For that purpose, the prescribed authority is required to have regard to the facts set out in Clauses (a) to (g) of that sub-rule.

12. Sub-rule (2) of Rule 16 provides that while considering an application for release under Section 21 (1) (a) of the Act in respect of a building let out for purposes of any business, the prescribed authority shall take into account the likely hard-ship to the tenant from the grant of the application as against the likely hardship to the landlord from the refusal of the application. The sub-rule further provides that for that purpose the prescribed authority shall have regard to the facts set out in Clauses (a) to (d) of that sub-rule.

13. In Chandra Kumar Sah's case (supra) the Full Bench held that Sub-rule (2) of Rule 16 of the Rules runs contrary to the provisions of Section 21 (1) (a) of the Act and hence is ultra vires of the Act.

14. Section 21 of the Act has been amended extensively by Section 14 of the Amendment Act. One of such amendments is the insertion of a new proviso after the third proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 21 of the Act. The new proviso reads:

'Provided also that the prescribed authority shall, except in cases provided for in the Explanation, take into account the likely hardship to the tenant from the grant of the application as against the likely hardship to the landlord from the refusal of the application and for that purpose shall have regard to such factors as may be prescribed.'

15. The aforesaid proviso is deemed always to have been inserted.

16. Another amendment of Section 21 of the Act brought about by Section 14 of the Amendment Act, is the deletion of Clauses (ii) and (iv) of the Explanation to Sub-section (1) of that section (Section 2l of the Act). But the Amendment Act does not say that the deletion of those two clauses is with retrospective effect. The' amending Act does not say from what date it shall come into force. It was published in the Uttar Pradesh Gazette dated 5-7-1976. So it should be regarded as having come into force on that date. The impugned judgment of the learned District Judge was rendered on 12-2-1976, i.e., prior to the coming into force of the Amendment Act.

17. We shall now consider the questions referred by the learned single Judge. The first part of question No. 1 is whether the irrebuttable presumption incorporated in Clause (ii) of the Explanation to Section 21 (1) is of substantive law or procedure expressed in presumptive form.

18. To decide whether a rule about an irrebuttable presumption, is a rule of evidence or a rule of substantive law, Gajendragadkar, J. (as he then was), who delivered the majority judgment of the Supreme Court in Izhar Ahmad v. Union of India (AIR 1962 SC 1052), laid down the following criterion at pages 1063 and 1064:

'...... the proper approach to adoptwould be to consider whether fact A from the proof of which a presumption is required to be drawn about the existence of fact B, is inherently relevant in the matter of proving fact B and has inherently any probative or persuasive value in that behalf or not. If fact A is inherently relevant in proving the existence of fact B and to any rational mind it would bear a probative or persuasive value in the matter of proving the existence of fact B, then a rule prescribing either a rebuttable presumption or an irrebuttable presumption in that behalf would be a rule of evidence. On the other hand, if fact A is inherently not relevant in proving the existence of fact B or has no probative value in that behalf and yet a rule is made prescribing for a rebuttable or an irrebuttable presumption in that connection, that rule would be a rule of substantive law and not a rule of evidence. Therefore, in dealing with the question as to whether a given rule prescribing a conclusive presumption is a rule of evidence or not, we cannot adopt the view that all rules prescribing irrebuttable presumptions are rules of substantive law. We can answer the question only after examining the rule and its impact on the proof of facts A and B.''

19. In Clause (ii) of the Explanation to Section 21 (1) of the Act, the fact that the landlord engaged in any profession, trade, calling or employment, away from the urban area within which a building is situate, needs that building for his own occupation for residential purpose by reason of cessation of such engagement, is inherently relevant in proving the existence of the bona fide need of that building for his own occupation. Hence the irrebuttable presumption in Clause (ii) of the Explanation is clearly a rule of evidence.

20. Likewise, in Clause (iv) of the Expiation, the fact that the landlord is residing in a part of the building the other part of which is let out to the tenant, is inherently relevant in proving the landlord's bona fide need of the demised portion of the building. Hence the irrebuttable presumption under Clause (iv) of the Explanation, is also, in our opinion, a rule of evidence.

21. It is well settled that a rule of evidence is a part of adjectival law or the law of procedure and that the procedure in question should be regulated by the law in force at the time that a cause is decided, unless it is expressly provided otherwise toy the amending law.

22. The second question referred by the learned single Judge does not present any difficulty because Sub-section (2) of Section 14of the Amendment Act which provides that Clauses (ii) and (iv) of the Explanation to Section 21 (1) of the Act shall 'be omitted, does not say that the omission should have retrospective effect. Nor is there anything in the context to imply that such omission has retrospective effect. Hence, the omission of those two clauses operates only prospectively and not retrospectively.

23. We shall next consider question No. 3 referred by the learned single Judge, namely whether the amendment of Section 21 of the Act by the addition of a new provision, has to be given effect to in the writ petition.

24. As the landlord was occupying a portion of her building, her case came within the ambit of Clause (iv) of the Explanation to Section 21 (1) and there was an irrebuttable presumption that the whole of the 'building was bona fide required for her. According to the provisions of the Act, as they stood when the learned District Judge decided the appeal, consideration of comparative hardship of the tenant and the landlord under Rule 16 (1), was not required in cases provided for in the Explanation. Hence the learned District Judge cannot be said to have erred in not considering such comparative hardship and his judgment was correct as the law stood then.

25. But the learned counsel for the tenant contended that the law, as prevailing on the date of deciding the writ petition, should govern the decision of this Court and that if any law has been amended with retrospective effect subsequent to the decision impugned in a writ petition, this Court should examine whether such order is in conformity with the law as it stands at the time when this Court decides the writ petition and that if the impugned order is not in such conformity, this Court should quash that order as suffering from an error apparent on the face of the record.

23. In support of the above contention, reliance was placed on several rulings of the Federal Court and of the Supreme Court which have laid down that where a law has been amended with retrospective effect during the pendency of an appeal, the appellate court is bound to give effect to such amendment and decide the case in accordance with such amended provision. Reliance was also placed on the observations of K. N. Singh, J., in Raj Narain Jain v. IV Additional District Judge, 1976 All WC 542 : (AIR1977 All 9) to the effect that this Court can, in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution, take note of events that have taken place during the pendency of the writ petition.

27. There is an important distinction between an appeal and a writ petition. It is well settled that an appeal is continuation of the original proceeding and is by way of a rehearing and that the appellate court may make such order as the court of first instance could have made, if the case had been decided by the latter on the date on which the appeal is heard, but a writ proceeding is different from an appeal or a revision as pointed out by Hidayatullah, J., (as he then was), in Ramesh v. Gendalal (AIR 1966 SC 1445) in the following passage at page 1449:

'We are concerned here with the exercise of extraordinary original civil jurisdiction under Article 226. Under that jurisdiction, the High Court does not hear an appeal or revision. The High Court is moved to intervene and to bring before itgelf, the record of a case decided by or pending before a Court or Tribunal or any authority within the High Court's jurisdiction. A petition to the High Court, invoking this jurisdiction is a proceeding quite independent of the original controversy. The controversy in the High Court, in proceedings arising under Article 226 ordinarily is whether a decision of or a proceeding before, a Court or Tribunal or authority, should be allowed to stand or should be quashed, for want of jurisdiction or on account of errors of law apparent on the face of the record.'

28. In the present case the judgment of the learned District Judge in appeal had become final. No doubt, it was liable to be quashed by this Court in exercise of its certiorari jurisdiction under Article 226, if it (that judgment) suffered from error of jurisdiction or error of law apparent on the face of the record. But, if the judgment of the learned District Judge was in accordance with law, as it stood when he rendered that judgment, it cannot be said to suffer from any error of law apparent on the face of the record merely because the law has been changed with retrospective effect subsequent to that judgment.

29. The finality of the judgment of the learned District Judge, is not affected by any subsequent amendment of the Act unless such amendment has expressly provided for re-opening the decision. As the proceedings in the writ petition are independent proceedings and not continuation of the proceedings before the learned District Judge the finality of the judgment of the learned District Judge cannot be, disturbed by applying the law that was not in force when he rendered that judgment. As stated earlier, the judgment of the learned District Judge was in conformity with the law prevailing at that time. As the further proviso to Section 21 (1) of the Act, inserted by the Amendment Act, was not there then, he was not required to consider the comparative hardship of the landlord and the tenant. In such circumstances the judgment of the learned District Judge cannot be said to suffer from any error apparent on the face of the record merely because the law has been amended with retrospective effect subsequent to that decision and it (the decision) is not in conformity with the amended law.

30. Our answers to the questions referred to the Bench by the learned single Judge, are as follows:--

(1) The irrebuttable presumptions incorporated in Clauses (ii) and (iv) of the Explanation to Sub-section (1) of Section 21 of the Act, are rules of evidence and not of substantive law.

(ii) Omission of aforesaid Clauses (ii) and (iv) by Sub-section (2) of Section 14 of U. P. Act No. 28 of 1976, is only prospective and not retrospective.

(iii) As the appeal under Section 22 of the Act had been decided before U. P. Act No. 28 of 1976 came into force, the decision in that appeal cannot be said to suffer from any manifest error on account of the judgment in that appeal not being in accordance with the amended law and cannot be interfered with, in this writ petition.

31. In the result we dismiss this petition.

32. But in the circumstances of the case we direct the parties to bear their own costs.

33. It is reasonable that the tenant should have some time to find alternative accommodation. Hence he is granted three months' time from today to vacatethe premises.


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