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State of U.P. Vs. Smt. Indramani Jatia and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 1975 of 1954
Judge
Reported inAIR1963All484
ActsCriminal Law Amendment Act, 1908 - Sections 17A(1), 17A(2), 17A(3), 17D and 17F; Uttar Pradesh (Temporary) Control of Rent and Eviction Act, 1947 - Sections 7
AppellantState of U.P.
RespondentSmt. Indramani Jatia and ors.
Appellant AdvocateJ. Swarup, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateSatish Chandra, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....of possession after notification is not a possession under provisions of the act - duty of state government to issue necessary direction for relinquishing possession over the notified premises prior to issue of release order - held, order of the district magistrate is not an allotment order of accommodation to tenants under section 7 of the act.  - - 6. section 17-f of the act no doubt says that no civil or criminal proceeding shall be instituted against any person for anything in good faith done or intended to be done under the said sections (sections 17-a to 17e) or against government or any person acting on behalf of, or by the authority of, government for any loss or damage caused to or in respect of any property whereof possession has been taken by government under..........the premises even after 16th july, 1949, and rent also continued to be realised from them by the state government.the plaintiff smt. indramani jatia claimed damages from the state government on account of having been deprived of rent of this premises for the period 16th february 1948 to 18th august 1950 at rs. 60/- per month. the suit was contested by the state government. the munsif held that under section 17-f of the act the plaintiff could not claim any damages from the state government for the period during which notification under section 17-a (i) was in force and the suit for recovery for damages for that period was therefore dismissed. he however held that the plaintiff was entitled to claim damages at rs. 60/- per month since 17th july, 1949, and therefore decreed the suit for.....
Judgment:

S.D. Singh, J.

1. The State of Uttar Pradesh has filed this Second appeal against the judgment and decree of the Additional Civil Judge, Bulandshahar in civil appeal No. 305 of 1952 which itself arose out of suit No. 420 of 1950 of the Court of Munsif, Khurja.

2. The suit was filed by Smt. Indramani Jatia for recovery of Rs. 1800/- as damages against the State of Uttar Pradesh and three other defendants Dharam Deo, Shib Dayal and Jai Gopal, who were defendants 2 to 4 in the suit and are respondents 2 to 4 in this appeal. It appears that one Kanchilal was a tenant in the house which is the subject-matter of this litigation, and was, paying Rs. 60/- per month as rent to the owner Smt. Indramani Jatia. Kanchhilal was probably a member of the Rashtriya Swamasewak Sangh, which body was declared an unlawful association in February, 1948, under Section 17-A of the Indian Criminal Law Amendment Act 14 of 1908 (to be referred hereafter as the Act). Kanchhi Lal was probably also keeping the office of the Sangh in this house and it was consequently taken possession' of by the Government under subsection (2) of Section 17-A of the aforesaid Act. The notification issued under Sub-section (1) of Section 17-A was withdrawn on 16th July, 1949, but in the mean time this property had been allowed to be occupied by respondents 2 to 4 on payment of Rs. 20 per month as rent. These three respondents continued to remain in possession of the premises even after 16th July, 1949, and rent also continued to be realised from them by the State Government.

The plaintiff Smt. Indramani Jatia claimed damages from the State Government on account of having been deprived of rent of this premises for the period 16th February 1948 to 18th August 1950 at Rs. 60/- per month. The suit was contested by the State Government. The Munsif held that under Section 17-F of the Act the plaintiff could not claim any damages from the State Government for the period during which notification under Section 17-A (i) was in force and the suit for recovery for damages for that period was therefore dismissed. He however held that the plaintiff was entitled to claim damages at Rs. 60/- per month since 17th July, 1949, and therefore decreed the suit for the period 16th July, 1949, to 18th August, 1950, at Rs. 60/- per month.

3. The State of Uttar Pradesh went up in appeal which was dismissed by the Civil Judge. It was contended before the Civil Judge that the State Government was not liable in damages even for the subsequent period and that if the officers of the Government were responsible for any tort, they may be liable for damages. The amount of damages was also challenged. The Civil Judge did not accept these contentions and held that the State Government was liable in damages and that the amount of damages was also correctly assessed. The State of Uttar Pradesh has now come up in second appeal.

4. So far as the liability of the State of Uttar Pradesh for payment of damages is concerned, twofold arguments were advanced by the learned counsel appearing for the State: that under Section 17-F of the Act the State Government was not liable in damages at all and that even if any one was liable, the officers who did not discharge their statutory liability must be held responsible for the same and not the State Government.

5. It was also urged that the amount of damages has been wrongly assessed by the Courts below.

6. Section 17-F of the Act no doubt says that no civil or criminal proceeding shall be instituted against any person for anything in good faith done or intended to be done under the said Sections (Sections 17-A to 17E) or against Government or any person acting on behalf of, or by the authority of, Government for any loss or damage caused to or in respect of any property whereof possession has been taken by Government under the Act. This provision would, however, be applicable when anything is done or intended to be done jn good faith; and in order that advantage of the section may be taken, possession should have been taken by the Government under the Act. Sub-section (3) of Section 17A specifically provides that a notified, place whereof possession is taken under Sub-section (2) of that section shall be deemed to remain in the possession of the Government so long as the notification under Sub-clause (1) in respect thereof remained in force. The Government could not, therefore, retain possession over the premises after the notification under Sub-clause (1) of Section 17-A was withdrawn. Retention of possession after that date cannot, therefore, be said to be possession under the provisions of the Act.

7. Section 17-D further provides:

'Before a notification under Sub-section (1) of Section 17-A is cancelled, the State Government shall give such general or special directions as it may deem requisite regulating the relinquishment by Government of possession of notified places.'

It was incumbent upon the State Government. therefore, to relinquish possession over the premises before the notification under Sub-section (1) of Section 17-A was cancelled. There is nothing on record to indicate that the provisions of this Section 17-D were complied with. Retention of possession over the premises, therefore, after the withdraw of notification issued under Section 17-A (1) was illegal.

When the Government or its officers continued to retain possession over the premises in spite of the mandatory provisions of Sub-section (3) of Section 17-A and also Section 17-D, it cannot be said that they acted in good faith, and in either view, therefore, the tatter part of Section 17-F would not apply and the Government would be liable in damages to the extent loss was occasioned to the owner of the premises.

8. Even the contention of the learned counsel appearing for the State that the responsibility, if any, was that of the officers of the Government who retained possession and not that of the Government has no force. Section 17-D of the Act imposes a duty upon the State Government itself to issue necessary directions for relinquishing possession over the notified premises before release order is issued, and if the State Government itself failed in the discharge of its statutory duty, there is no reason why the officers who were acting under the orders of the Government should be held responsible for the same and not the State Government itself.

9. So far as the amount of damages is concerned the finding of the Civil Judge that the plaintiff has suffered damages to the extent of Rs. 60/-per month is a finding of fact. It is also based on evidences. The Civil Judge has pointed out that rent of this premises was fixed at Rs. 20/- per month on the report of an Honorary Special Magistrate who in making that recommendation did not even care to have a look inside the house or to find out what was the accommodation available; and if things are done so carelessly and negligently, the information thus obtained cannot form the basis of any judicial finding. There is evidence that the premises were let out at Rs. 60/- per month and that must be held to be the proper rent of the building. If the State Government let out the premises at an unduly low rent it must suffer the consequences.

10. It was contended that the District Magistrate allotted the accommodation to respondents Nos. 2 to 4 and that order must be deemed to be an order under Section 7 of the Control of Rent and Eviction Act, 1947. Even this contention has no force. The order was not passed under that provision. If the District Magistrate were exercising his jurisdiction under Section 7 of the aforesaid Act, he would have served an order on the landlady Smt. Indramani Jatia to let out the premises to respondents 2 to 4. The rent deed Ex. A4 filed by the appellant itself shows that the premises were let out not by Smt. Indramani Jatia but by the District Magistrate, Bulandshahr.

11. The result, therefore, is that the State Government having retained illegal possession over the premises after 16th July, 1949, is liable to compensate the plaintiff-respondent to the extent she has suffered the loss. The suit was rightly decreed by the Munsif.

12. The appeal is dismissed with costs to the contesting respondent.

Leave to appeal is refused.


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