1. A house in the city of Pilibhit was in the occupation of Mohammad Umar, Circle Inspector of Police on payment of Rs. 50 per month as rent. Mohammad Umar was transferred and was succeeded by Mustafa Khan. When Mustafa Khan wanted to occupy the house that was in the occupation of his predecessor-in-office, the owner of the house raised certain objections The District Magistrate thereupon requisitioned the house under Section 3, U. P. Temporary Accommodation Requisition Act, 25 of 1947.
2. In the year 1947, there being an acute shortage of houses which was, to a larger extent, due to influx of refugees and a movement of the population from the rural to the urban areas, the Provincial Legislature passed this Act giving the District Magistrate a right to requisition any accommodation for any public purpose by an order in writing. If after such order and within the period specified in the Act, possession was not given, the District Magistrate was authorised under Section 11, to apply to the civil Court of competent jurisdiction for execution of the order passed by him under Section 3. The applicant not having given possession of the premises, the District Magistrate filed an application under Section 11 before the learned Civil Judge of Pilibhit for execution; of the order under Section 3. Two objections were taken before the learned Civil Judge. The learned Civil Judge held that as he was an executing Court, it was not open to him to entertain those objections. Against that order an appeal was filed in this Court, being Execution First Appeal no. 141 of 1948, which was dismissed by us on 30-3-1948, on the ground that the order under Section 3 or the order under Section 11 were not appealable. This revision was, thereafter, filed on 7-4-1949 and it was admitted by a learned Single Judge of this Court and it has come up before us for final hearing. A preliminary objection has been raised by Mr. Jagdish Swarup that no revision lies.
3. Learned counsel for the applicant has urged two points. Firstly, that the house not having been requisitioned for a public purpose, the order of the District Magistrate was without jurisdiction, and secondly, that the application for execution not having been filed by the District Magistrate but by the Collector, the application; was not in order and the learned Civil Judge could not execute the order passed under Section 3.
4. As regards the second point, we have looked into the original application. The original application is headed as follows : 'U. P. Government through the District Magistrate, Pilibhit,' and was signed by the District Magistrate as such. Attached to the original application was the execution form filled in Hindi and that has the following heading : 'Sarkar U. P. zariya Sahib Collector, Pilibhit.' From the fact that in the Hindi form the word 'Collector Pilibhit' was mentioned it does not necessarily follow that the application for execution was filed by the officer concerned in his capacity as Collector and not as District Magistrate. It is clear from the application itself, which is in English, that the application was filed by him in his capacity as District Magistrate. I do not think there is, therefore, any force in this argument.
5. As regards the other argument, learned counsel has urged that requisitioning houses for private individuals Is not a public purpose. This may, of course, be correct. But here the house was not requisitioned for a private individual. The house was requisitioned for a Government servant who had not come to Pilibhit in his private capacity of his own choice but because he was posted there to carry on his duties as a public servant. To enable him to do his duties properly it was necessary that suitable accommodation should be found for him. The house was in the occupation of his predecessor and in the ordinary course of things it would have been occupied by him.
6. The question that arises for consideration is whether, in the circumstances stated above, if a house is requisitioned for the residence of a Government servant, such requisition can be said to be for 'a public purpose'. A 'public purpose' must ordinarily mean something for the benefit of the public or a section of the public as opposed to private purpose which must mean for the benefit of an individual. The point, therefore, 'narrows down to this that where a house is required for the residence of a Government servant, can it be said that the house is being requisitioned for 'a public purpose.' In this connection, it must be borne in mind that proper residence and other such amenities of life must be available to a public servant before he can be expected to discharge his duties properly. No doubt, the Government is not bound under the condition of service rules of an inspector of police to provide him with a residence, but at the same time when there is such scarcity of houses that it is impossible for any public servant transferred to a new place to get suitable accommodation for himself, the Government, in the interest of public work, has to come to his assistance. But for the situation which had made it necessary to pass the U. P. Temporary Accommodation Requisition Act 25 of 1947, the house which was in the occupation of his predecessor, would have been available in normal times to his successor.
In this connection I may quote the observations of Sir John Nicholl in the case of Brett v. Brett, (1826) 3 ADD. 210 at p. 213 : 162 E. R. 456 which are as follows :
'The key to the opening of every law is the reason and spirit of the law--it is the animus imponentis, the intention of the law-maker, expressed in the law itself, taken as a whole. Hence, to arrive at the true meaning of any particular phrase in a statute, that particular phrase is not to be viewed detached from its context in the statute : it is to be viewed ia connection with its whole context meaning by this as well the title and the preamble as the purview or enacting part of the statute.'
7. What is 'a public purpose' came to be considered by their Lordships of the Judicial Committee in Hamabai Pramjee v. Secy. of State, 39 Bom. 279. Their Lordships quoted with approval the view expressed by Batchelor J. to the following effect :
'General definitions are, I think, rather to be avoided where the avoidance is possible, and I make no attempt to define precisely the extent of the phraso 'public purposes' in the lease; it is enough to say that, in my opinion, the phrase, whatever else it may mean, must include a purpose that is, an object or aim, in which the general interest of the community, as opposed to the particular interest of individuals, is directly and vitally concerned.'
The question of erecting dwelling houses for private residences of officers of the Government had come up for consideration. Their Lordships approved of the decision of the High Court that would help the Government to maintain the efficiency of its servants is 'a public purpose.'
8. I am satisfied that the order of the District Magistrate was not without jurisdiction and there is no force in the objection raised before the learned Civil Judge.
9. I would dismiss the application.
Bind Basni Prasad, J.
10. Section 3 of the United Provinces (Temporary) Accommodation Requisition Act, 1947 (U. P. Act no. 25 of 1947) runs as follows :
'If in the opinion of the District Magistrate it is necessary to requisition any accommodation for any public purpose he may, by order in writing, requisition such accommodation and may direct that the possession thereof shall be delivered to him within such period as may be specified in the order: Provided that the period so specified shall not be less than 15 days from the date of the service of the order.'
11. The crucial point in the case is whether the requisitioning of a house for the residence of a public servant is a public purpose. The expression 'public purpose' has been used in the above section as opposed to 'private purpose.' In Hamabai Framjee V. Secy. of State, 39 Bom. 279, their Lordships of the Judicial Committee, while interpreting the expression 'public purpose' occurring in a lease of land granted by the East India Company and in a Sanad or Government permit of land granted by the same Company, held that the providing of housing accommodation for Government officials by the erection of dwelling houses for their private residences at adequate rents, was a 'public purpose'. They observed that the scheme for the provision of a housing accommodation for Government officials would redound to public benefit by helping the Government to maintain the efficiency of its servants. The definition of a 'public purpose' that 'the phrase, whatever else it may mean, must include a purpose, that is an object or aim, in which the general interest of the community, as opposed to the particular interest of individuals is directly and vitally concerned,' was approved by their Lordships. Where a person has to live in a certain town to discharge his public duties and not on account of any private reasons the provision of accommodation for him is a public obligation and it is the duty of the State to arrange for his accommodation on payment of reasonable rent by him.
12. Learned counsel admits that the acquisition of land for construction of houses' for the private residences of Government servants would be a public purpose. But he contends that if the land is acquired for construction of a house for an individual public servant then it would not be a public purpose. I am unable to distinguish between the acquisition of land for the construction of a house for an individual public servant then it would not be a public purpose. I am unable to distinguish between the acquisition of land for the construction of a house for an individual public servant and that for the construction of houses for a number of public servants. Nor can I see any distinguishing feature between the acquisition of land for construction of a house for the private residence of a public servant and the requisition of a house for the same purpose. The underlying object in both the cases ig the same. If no arrangement for the accommodation of a public servant is made then he cannot live in that town to discharge his public duties. To enable him to carry on his duties he must have a house to live in.
13. It has also been urged that the benefit to the public is remote by the provision of a house for the residence of a public servant. In Veerdraghavackariar v. Secy. of State, 49 Mad. 237 at p. 245 it was held that where the primary object is personal gain, whether that be of a private individual or of a company, the public benefit resulting from the action of such a person or company is too remote and the purpose cannot be said to be a public purpose. For instance, every merchant and every dealer can say that he benefits the public because he is catering or providing to the wants of the public. The merchant's first object is to make a gain for himself. The benefit that he may confer upon his constituents or patrons is very remote. Such purposes are not public purposes.
14. In the present case the public servant has to make no personal gain by his residence in the house in question. He had to come to live in Pilibhit because of exigencies of public service. It cannot, therefore, be said that the object of his residing in this house was any personal gain. I have no doubt in my mind that the requisitioning of the houses for private residences of public servants is a public purpose.
By the Court
15. The application in revision is dismissed with costs. The stay order is discharged.