1. Smt. Vindhya Devi, landlady of the premises in dispute, filed an application for eviction of Kanwar Behari, tenant, on the ground that she required the premises bona fide for her own use and occupation. The Additional Rent Controller passed an order on 13th March, 1964, for eviction under Section 14(1)(e) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, on the ground that the premises were bona fide required for residence of the landlady and her husband. There is no discussion in the Additional Rent Controller's order about the sole question, elaborately discussed before us, but from one observation made by the Additional Rent Controller it does appear that an argument was raised on behalf of the tenant that the landlady and her husband could not bona fide need such a large accommodation, as is provided by the premises in dispute. Aggrieved by the Additional Rent Controller's decision, the tenant filed an appeal and the Rent Control tribunal held that the needs of the landlady and her husband alone were to be considered as their son was not dependant on them. The Tribunal also considered the question of the extent of accommodation required by the landlady and said:
'The counsel for the appellant contended that the family of the landlady consisted of herself and her husband and that the premises in dispute contained eight rooms besides other amenities and that she was already in possession of one room in this kothi and that an order for eviction may be passed for a part of these premises. This contention cannot be accepted. There is no provision in law under which the demised premises in possession of a tenant can be partitioned by the Court for passing an order for eviction. The tenant has to vacate all the premises. This contention is, therefore, rejected.
The tenant has come up in appeal in this Court under Section 39 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958.
2. The matter came up before me sitting alone, and I thought that the question whether under Section 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, a landlord is entitled to a decree against his tenant for the recovery of the entire premises, even if bona fide requirement within the meaning of Clause (e) of the proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 14 has been established only for a part of the premises, is an important question likely to arise in many cases, and should, therefore, be heard by a larger Bench. This is how the matter has come before us for disposal.
3. The sole contention urged on behalf of the tenant is that the premises in dispute consist of eight rooms besides other amenities, and the whole of it cannot be bona fide required by the landlady, whose family consists of herself and her husband only; the suggestion being that in these circumstances the Court should direct eviction only from such part of the premises as is reasonably required for residence of the landlady and her dependent member of the family. Reliance has been placed on four decisions of this Court, namely, (1) Moti Lal v. Nanak Chand, 1964-66 Pun LR 179, (2) Gian Chand v. Miss S. Sanyal (Civil (Revn. No. 531-D of 1961 dated 16-11-1964 (Punj.) (3) Suraj Mal v. Salek Chand, Civil Revn. No. 560-D of 1958 dated 17-5-1960 (Punj.) and (4) Smt. Raj Rani v. Jagan Nath, Civil Revn. No. 49-D of 1960 dated 24-5-1960 (Punj).
4. In Moti Lal's case, 1964-66 Pun LR 179 the tenancy was under a lease-deed executed on 6th April, 1954. The lease-deed in terms provided that the premises comprising one house (four storeyed) including a garage and two shops were being rented out for commercial and residential purposes. The landlords brought a suit for eviction of the tenants alleging that they required the premises for their personal occupation. The suit was dismissed by the trial Court on the ground that the whole of the premises were not let out for residential purposes. On appeal, the District Judge held that it could be easily ascertained as to which part was rented out for commercial and which for residential purposes, and once that was done, there could be no difficulty in decreeing eviction in respect of the residential premises under Section 13(1)(e) of the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952 (Act No. XXXVIII of 1952). Mahajan J. observed--
'Therefore, it must be held that the letting out was of the commercial; part of the building separately for commercial purposes and of the residential part of the building for residential purposes. It hardly matters that the document of lease is one or that the rent is one because there would be no difficulty in bifurcating the rent vis-a-vis both these purposes. In my view the requirements of the statute are fully satisfied and the landlords are fully entitled to bring an application under Section 13(1)(e) of the Act with regard to the portion of the premises which is exclusively used for residential purposes.'
5. In Gian Chand's case, Civil Revn. No. 531-D of 1961 dated 16-11-1964 (Punf) the premises in dispute were found to have been let for a school as well as for residence. Capoor, J held that the landlord could obtain eviction from the specific part of the premises, which was being used for residential purposes. Moti Lal's case, 1964-66 Punj LR 179 was relied on.
6. In Surai Mal's case. Civil Revn. No. 560-D of 1958 dated 17-5-1960 (Punj) which was again a case under the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952, the lower Court had found as a fact that the first and the second floors, i.e., a part of the entire premises, had been let for residential purposes. Grover, J., inter alia, observed--
'It is perfectly true that if the contractual tenancy was subsisting, then it could not be split up, but once it had been put to an end, as indeed it was admitted to have been done in this case by notice, I can see no bar to a decree for ejectment being granted with regard to the portion which was let for residential purposes to the tenant, namely, the first and the second floors.'
Raj Rani's case. Civil Revn. No. 49-D of 1960 dated 24-5-1960 (Punj) is again a judgment by Grover, J. in which the landlord took proceedings for eviction against the tenant from the entire premises consisting of six suites. Five out of the six suites were in possession of the tenant or the sub-tenants and one in the possession of the landlord. The ground urged in support of the eviction was bona fide requirement of the premises by the landlord and the members of his family. The trial Court decided that the requirement of the landlord was such as entitled him to get possession of any two suites consisting of tour rooms each and that no eviction could be ordered from the ground floor which was being used as a clinic. Grover, J. expressed himself thus:
'It is difficult to accede to the contention of the learned counsel for the landlord that even if his requirement is proved to the extent of getting only half portion of the entire building, the decree for eviction could be made for the whole building which will be not only inconsistent with the real intention of the legislature in enacting the relevant provisions in the Delhi Rent Control Act but will also lead to great hardship so far as the tenants are concerned considering how difficult it is during these days to get accommodation in Delhi. If the landlord has established his requirement for three sets in the present case out of the entire building including the set in his own occupation, I can find no justification for either completely dismissing his suit or for decreeing the same for the entire building including even that portion for which his requirement has not been established.'
Grover, J. also reaffirmed the principle laid down by him in Suraj Mal's case, Civil Revn. No. 560-D of 1958 dated 17-5-1960 (Punj) that a contractual tenancy could not be split up. I may point out that his decision may be justified on the ground that each suite was in occupation of a separate sub-tenant and consequently the question of splitting up or dividing the premises may not possibly have arisen. I need not, however, express any final opinion on the view taken by Grover, J. In the circumstances of that case.
Similarly, it is possible to say that in the three other judgments referred to by me, namely, Moti Lal's case, 1964-66 Pun LR 179, Gian Chand's case, Civil Revn. No. 531-D of 1961 dated 16-11-1964 (Punj) and Suraj Mal's case, Civil Revn. No. 560-D of 1958 dated 17-5-1060 (Punj) the decisions were based on the ground that the tenancies for residential portion of the premises and for non-residential portion were separate though created by a single document. But it is again not necessary to express any final view on the point decided in the circumstances of those cases. So far as the case at hand is concerned, there are concurrent findings by the Rent Controller and by the Rent Control Tribunal that the entire premises had been let for residential purposes and that one tenancy had been created with respect to the same. The question to be determined, therefore, in the circumstances of this case, is whether or not the authorities constituted under the said Act, even if they thought that in the context of physical sufficiency the requirements of the landlord could be met by providing him with two or three rooms, could split up the tenancy and create a different contract between the parties.
In support of the plea for splitting up, our attention has been invited to the definition of the word 'premises' in Section 2(i) of the Delhi Rent Control Act. It is said that under that definition a part of a building is included within the term 'premises' and, therefore, there is no fetter on the power of the Court to order eviction from a part of the house in dispute This argument suffers from an obvious fallacy and Ignores the fact that the Act is not intended to confer power on any Court for rationing accommodation. Even in the context of the definition, the plea of the tenant cannot be entertained. 'Premises' according to S. 2(i) of the said Act means.......... 'any building or part of a building which is, or is intended to be let separately for use as residence........' It follows, therefore, that if a part of a building had been separately let or had been intended to be separately let, then that part may be comprised in the expression 'premises.' But in the instant case, the position is different, as the entire premises had been let as one unit under a single tenancy. Under Clause (e) of the proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 14, the authorities have to consider whether or not the premises let for residential purposes are required bona fide by the landlord.
Even reading the definition of the 'premises' into the said Clause (e), would mean that the function of the Court is to decide whether or not a building or a part of a building let separately for use as residence is required bona fide by the landlord. The building let for residence in this case is the entire premises and consequently, I think, it is not open to me to further sub-divide that premises and order eviction with respect to a part thereof. The meaning would further become clear by reference to Clause (c) of proviso to Sub-section(l) of Section 14. That clause provides a ground for eviction if the premises are used for purpose other than for which they were let. There again, if part of the premises is used for some purpose other than the purposes for which it was let, a decree for ejectment will have to be passed with respect to the entire premises and not confined to a part thereof. If the object of the legislature was to confer power on the Courts to ration the accommodation, it is legitimate to think that they would have expressly so provided, particularly when legislation on the lines of rationing was in existence in some States when the Act in question was enacted. If the Courts were to divide the premises between a landlord and a tenant on the basis of pure physical sufficiency, it would become impossible in the absence of any express provisions in the Act to adjust the rights of landlord and tenant with respect to the parts divided between them in a case like the present.
There may yet be another approach to the problem. A landlord may require only three rooms in a premises let under a single tenancy and consisting of five or six rooms. Even in such a case, the landlord does require the permises and if he finds that there exist no provisions for adjustment of his rights with the tenant with respect to the remaining rooms which may be left with the tenant, he may say that he requires the entire premises, because it is only then that his bona fide requirement can be satisfied. It is impossible to hold that a landlord, who has no accommodation for his own residence, should be deprived of his right to get possession merely on the ground that the entire premises is too big For his requirements. In the context of the present Act, I do not subscribe to the view that there exists any difference between contractual tenancies and statutory tenancies. Even in the case of latter type of tenancies, the problem facing the Courts would remain the same, namely, are the Courts competent to reshuffle and readjust the rights between the parties as to payment of the rent or otherwise? The two Courts of facts have found that the need of the landlord is bona fide. That being so, it must be held that the Tribunal was right in the view it took. The appeal is, therefore, dismissed with no order as to costs. The tenant will have one month to vacate the premises.