1. This is a rule directed against an order passed by Mr. Ram Lal, Additional Judge, Small Cause Court, Delhi, on 31-3-1951 holding that the property in dispute did not come within the definition of the word 'premises' as defined in the Delhi and Ajmer-Merwara Rent Control Act.
2. On 6-6-1950, the applicant Jonda Ram applied for fixation of standard rent. In para. 2 of his petition he stated that the property which had been taken on rent had a katcha wall which due to rains had fallen down, in parts. The plan also shows that the property in dispute is surrounded on the East by a wall with a gate in it and on the other side there are houses. The question is whether this property comes within the definition of the word 'premises' in the Delhi and Ajmer-Merwara Rent Control Act, In Section 2 'premises' is defined:
'2 In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,
(a) * * ' * * '
(b) 'premises' means any building or part of a building which is or is intended to be, let separately for use as a residence or for commercial use or for any other purpose, and includes-
(i) the garden, grounds and outhouses, if any, appertaining to such, building or part of a building, and
(ii) any furniture supplied by the landlord for' use in such building or part of a building, but does not include a room in a dharamsala, hotel or lodging house.'
3. Khachheru, witness No. 3 for the applicant, stated that the applicant was a tenant only of the vacant site. Reading the evidence of witness No. 3 for the applicant and the statement of the applicant in his application, it appears to me that what was taken on rent by the petitioner was nothing more than a vacant site which has houses on three sides and a broken wall on the fourth. Can it be said that this is anything more than just a vacant site? Witness No. 3 for the applicant has stated that the applicant had taken a vacant site.
4. 'Building' has been the subject-matter of certain decisions. In -- 'Moir v. Williams', (1892) 1 QB 264 at p. 270, Lord Esher M. R. observed as follows :
'If the words 'new building' are taken by themselves without reference to the other part of the Act, they would be taken to apply to what is ordinarily called a building. Such an ordinary building is an in-closure of brick or stone work covered in by a roof.
5. In -- 'Waite's Executors v. Commissioners of Inland Revenue', (1914) 3 KB 196, an embankment was held not to be a building or structure within the meaning of the Act of Parliament which was there in dispute. No doubt in this case Swinfen Eady L. J. did say that the construction placed upon the meaning of the word 'building' In -- 'Moir v. Williams', (1892) 1 QB 264, was too narrow, but the learned Lord Justice was there referring to the observations of Collin M. R. in -- 'Long Eaton Recreation Grounds Co. v. Midland Ry. Co., (1902) 2 KB 574 at p. 581, and he observed :
'Cottages built of wood would certainly be included as 'buildings', so also would the barn and stables of a farm though built only of wood and thatched with straw. But wherever the line defining 'buildings' is to be drawn, I am of opinion that these embankments must be outside it.' (6) Coming now to cases in India, in --'Baladin v. Lakhan Singh', AIR 1927 All 214,
Iqbal Ahmed J. accepted the observations of Lord Esher M. R. in -- 'Moir v. Williams', (1892) 1 QB 264.
7. In -- Thakurlal v. Secretary, Municipal Committee, Khandwa', 64 1C 274 (Nag), the Nagpur Judicial Commissioner defined the word 'building' as meaning structure with a roof. The learned Judicial Commissioner followed the definition as given by Lord Esher M. R. in the case, -- 'Moir v. Williams', (1892) 1 QB 264.
8. My attention has been drawn to -- 'A. C. Mohamed v, Sailendra Nath', AIR 1951 Cal 294. But this case does not seem to be of much assistance.
9. Recently, in this Court Khosla J. in --'Pandit Yog Raj v. R, D. Jain', R. S. A. 899 of 1948, D/- 15-12-1950 (Punj), decided that a vacant site is not a building.
10. These decisions show that ordinary meaning of 'building' is a walled superstructure with a roof, but in some cases wooden superstructures with a roof has also been held to be a building. The case which is now before me is of a vacant site enclosed on three sides by walls of houses and on the fourth by a katcha wall which has now fallen down. This, in my opinion, cannot be held to be a building. I am therefore of the opinion that the learned Judge has rightly dismissed the petitioner's application, and I would therefore dismiss the petition and discharge the rule with costs.