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Smt. Parvati Devi Vs. Tibbia College Board and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetters Patent Appeal No. 38-D of 1965
Judge
Reported inAIR1967P& H425
ActsSlum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956 - Sections 19; Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14 and 22
AppellantSmt. Parvati Devi
RespondentTibbia College Board and anr.
Appellant Advocate B.C. Misra, Adv.
Respondent Advocate Yogeshwar Dayal, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredVishendas v. Administrator
Excerpt:
.....permission to execute the decrees for eviction against the tenants which had been rejected by the competent authority on the ground that if the decrees were allowed to be executed the tenants would be thrown out and they being very poor it would be impossible for them to get accommodation in the reconstructed building. --obviously, if the protection that is afforded is read in the context of the rest of the act, it is clear that it is to enable the poor who have no other place to go to. and who if they were compelled to go out, would necessarily create other slums in the process and live perhaps in less commodious and more unhealthy surroundings than those from which they were evicted, to remain in their dwellings until provision is made for a better life for them elsewhere. though..........(copy annexure r-2). it was on that application that the impugned order was passed and the competent authority (respondent no. 2) after narrating the facts observed that parvati devi being an illiterate widow of a compounder could be presumed to be poor but all the same the tibbia college board was entitled to the permission prayed for because as a public institution it had provided residential accommodation for allotment to its employees and if the protection envisaged by section 19 of the act be afforded to the ex-employees then what would happen in a few years time would be that most of the houses owned by the public institutions would be occupied by the non-employees.4. the learned single judge in the judgment under appeal has approved the view taken by the competent.....
Judgment:

S.B. Capoor, J.

1. This is a Letters Patent Appeal by Parvati Devi, a tenant of a quarter in the Tibbia College Hostel Compound. Karol Bagh, New Delhi, and is directed against the judgment of the learned Single Judge dismissing her civil writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, in which her prayer was that the order of respondent No. 2 (copy Annexure 'A') dated 6th of June 1964, be quashed.

2. That order was passed under Section 19 of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956 (Act No 96 of 1956 -- herein after to be referred to as the Act) on the application of the management of the Tibbia College Board, Delhi (respondent No. 1 and the only contesting respondent to the petition) for eviction of the petitioner-appellant That application (copy Annexure R-1) was under Sections 14 and 22 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (Act No. 59 of 1958) There is no dispute about the facts, which as found by the learned single Judge, are as follows: Parvati Devi's husband Kamal Nain was a compounder in the hospital under the Tibbia College Board. He died on the 6th of June, 1959 and two days after his death the appellant made an application (copy Annexure R-4) for being allowed to work as an Aya for one or two months. She got a temporary appointment of an Aya and was allotted the quarter in dispute on the condition that if she did not continue in service she would have to vacate the quarter. This condition was accepted by her.

Towards the end of December respondent No. 1 abolished the department in which the petitioner-appellant was temporarily employed and hence her appointment was cancelled and she was asked to vacate the quarter On her failing to do so, the Rent Controller was moved by an application under Sections 14 and 22 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (copy annexure R-1) for her eviction and the grounds on which her eviction was sought were as follows:--

1. That the quarter had been given out Co-residence to Parvati Devi as she was an Aya in the temporary employment of the Tibbia College Board, but she was not to pay any monthly rent and was liable for the electric and water charges and the condition was that she was liable to vacate the quarter in case she was not finally appointed and her services were terminated by the Board:

2. That Parvati Devi's services were actually terminated but she had failed to vacate the quarter:

3. That she had sublet or parted with the possession of the premises without the knowledge or consent of the Board; and

4. That the premises were bona fide required by the Tibbia College Board, which was a corporate body, for the residence of its employees.

As established from the document placed on the record (copy Annexure R-2/A) and as found by the learned Single Judge, the parties compromised and Parvati Devi admitted that the claim of the Board on the grounds mentioned in the petition was true and correct and an order of eviction against her be passed. The execution, however, was not to be taken out for one year and during that period of one year Parvati Devi was liable to pay damages for use and occupation at the rate of Rs. 10/- per month. These terms were embodied in the eviction order passed by the Additional Rent Controller on the 28th of September. 1962.

3. Thereafter, as required by Section 19 of the Act. the Tibbia College Board put in the application (copy Annexure R-2). It was on that application that the impugned order was passed and the Competent Authority (respondent No. 2) after narrating the facts observed that Parvati Devi being an illiterate widow of a compounder could be presumed to be poor but all the same the Tibbia College Board was entitled to the permission prayed for because as a public institution it had provided residential accommodation for allotment to its employees and if the protection envisaged by Section 19 of the Act be afforded to the ex-employees then what would happen in a few years time would be that most of the houses owned by the public institutions would be occupied by the non-employees.

4. The learned Single Judge in the judgment under appeal has approved the view taken by the Competent Authority and Mr. B. C. Misra, learned counsel for the appellant, has pressed before us the same argument which was addressed to the learned Single Judge. This is based on what he considers to be the policy and purpose of the Act as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Jyoti Pershad v. Administrator for the Union Territory of Delhi, AIR 1961 S.C. 1602. That was a case in which petitioner Jyoti Pershad had obtained decrees from Civil Courts for eviction of the tenants on the ground stated in Section 13(1)(g) of the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952, that is, the house was old and required to be demolished and reconstructed. He then made applications under Section 19 of the Act for permission to execute the decrees for eviction against the tenants which had been rejected by the Competent Authority on the ground that if the decrees were allowed to be executed the tenants would be thrown out and they being very poor it would be impossible for them to get accommodation in the reconstructed building.

The attack before the Supreme Court to the validity of the order of the Competent Authority under the Act was made on the basis of Article 14 of the Constitution, the ground being that Section 19 of the Act did not lay down the guiding principle to be considered by the Competent Authority while deciding whether it should or should not grant the permission for eviction sought by the landlord. It was while considering this objection that their Lordships of the Supreme Court made the observations (at page 1611). which have been relied upon by Mr. B. C. Misra and are follows:--

'Obviously, if the protection that is afforded is read in the context of the rest of the Act, it is clear that it is to enable the poor who have no other place to go to. and who if they were compelled to go out, would necessarily create other slums in the process and live perhaps in less commodious and more unhealthy surroundings than those from which they were evicted, to remain in their dwellings until provision is made for a better life for them elsewhere. Though therefore, the Act fixes no time limit during which alone the restraint on eviction is to operate, it is clear from the policy and purpose of the enactment and the object which it seeks to achieve that this restriction would only be for a period which would be determined by the speed with which the authorities are able to make other provisions for affording the slum dweller-tenants better living conditions. The Act. no doubt, looks at the problem not from the point of view of the landlord, his needs, the money he has sunk in the house and the possible profit that he might make if the house were either let to other tenants or was reconstructed and let out. but rather from the point of view of the tenants who have no alternative accommodation and who would be stranded in the open if an order for eviction were passed. The Act itself contemplates eviction in cases.

'Where on the around of the house being unfit for human habitation it has to be demolished either singly under Section 7 or as one of a block of buildings under Chapter IV. So long therefore as a building can, without great detriment to health or safety, permit accommodation, the policy of the enactment would seen to suggest that the slum dweller should not be evicted unless alternative accommodation could be obtained for him.

In view of the foregoing we consider that there is enough guidance to the Competent Authority in the use of his discretion under Section 19(1) of the Act and we, therefore, reject the contention that Section 19 is obnoxious to the equal protection of laws guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution.'

5. What Mr. B. C. Misra seeks to gather from these observations is that the Supreme Court laid down an inflexible principle that while dealing with an application under Section 19 the Competent Authority is to consider the matter only from the point of view of the tenant and is not concerned with there being any hardship to the landlord if the permission sought for is refused or with the grounds on which the order for eviction had been made. According to his submission, it would not matter in the slightest if eviction had been ordered under any of the grounds (a) to (1) as given in Sub-section (1) of Section 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Act. 1958.

6. I, however, do not consider that any such general principle, as submitted by Mr. Misra, has been laid down by their Lordships of the Supreme Court and in fact they were considering the matter from the angle as to whether the impugned legislation was hit by Article 14 of the Constitution or not, Section 19, as originally enacted, merely provided that after making such summary enquiry into the circumstances of the case as it thinks fit the Competent Authority shall by order in writing either grant such permission or refuse to grant such permission and under Sub-section (4) it was only when the Competent Authority refused to grant the permission that it was required to record a brief statement of the reasons for such refusal. If one looks at the various provisions in Clauses (a) to (1) of Sub-section (1) of Section 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, it would be obvious that they cannot all be treated at par while the Competent Authority is considering whether permission to execute the decree or order be given or not.

For instance, one of the grounds for eviction as given in Clause (j) is that the tenant has caused or permitted to be caused substantial damage to the premises. Sub-section (10) of Section 14 provides that if the tenant within such time as may be specified by the Controller, carries out repairs to the damage or pays to the landlord such amount by way of compensation as the Controller may direct then the order for eviction would not be made. Now suppose that in spite of the order of the Controller the tenant has neither repaired the damage nor paid compensation to the landlord and the Controller, therefore, orders his eviction would the Competent Authority be competent to refuse permission under Section 19 merely because the tenant is poor? The answer to this question should, I think, be in the negative and the same observations would apply, and perhaps with even greater force, to any order of eviction made by the Controller on the ground mentioned in CLAUSE (k) of Sub-section (1) of Section 14.

Under Clause (k) the ground is that the tenant has, notwithstanding previous notice, used or dealt with the premises in a manner contrary to any condition imposed on the landlord by the Government or the Delhi Development Authority or the Municipal Corporation of Delhi while giving him a lease of the land on which the premises are situate. Sub-section (11) of Section 14 provides that no order for the recovery of possession of any premises shall be made on this ground if the tenant within such time as may be specified in this behalf by the Controller complies with the condition imposed on the landlord by any of the authorities referred to in that clause or pays to that authority such amount by way of compensation as the Controller may direct. The observations of the Supreme Court, which are relied upon by Mr. Misra, could not surely be interpreted in a way to make ineffective the conditions imposed on the landlord by the specified authorities.

Clause (1) of Sub-section (1) of Section 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Article 1958, is as follows:--

'That the landlord requires the premises in order to carry out any building work at the instance of the Government or the Delhi Development Authority or the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in pursuance of any improvement scheme or development scheme and that such building work cannot be carried out without the premises being vacated.'

Here again, the mere fact of poverty of the tenant could not stay in the way of blocking the improvement scheme or development scheme made by the Government or the Delhi Development Authority or the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

7. The learned counsel for the appellant pointed out that Section 19, as originally enacted, had been amended by Section 10 of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Amendment Act, 1964 which came into force in February 1965, that is, after the date of the order (copy Annexure 'A') Sub-section (4) as originally enacted has now become Sub-section (5) and the original Sub-section (4) has been substituted as follows: --

'(4) In granting or refusing to grant the permission under Sub-section (3). the competent authority shall take into account the following factors, namely:-- (a) Whether alternative accommodation within the means of the tenant would be available to him if he were evicted; (b) Whether the eviction is in the interest of improvement and clearance of the slum areas: (c) such other factors, if any, as may be prescribed.'

Clause (a) of Sub-section (4) as it exists now was framed in view of the judgment of fee Supreme Court in Jyoti Pershad's Case, but by the amendment the position has not been materially altered because even now the question, whether alternative accommodation within the means of the tenant would be available to him if he were evicted, is only one of the matters which are to be taken into account by the Competent Authority, and this section does not lay down the extreme proposition put forward by Mr. Misra that in all cases where alternative accommodation within the means of the tenant could not be available to him the Competent Authority must refuse the permission. It is also significant that under Section 20, as it originally stood, as well as under Section 20 as amended, the right of appeal is conferred only on the person who is aggrieved by an order of the Competent Authority refusing to grant the permission for eviction and there is no right of appeal if permission for evicting the tenant is granted to the landlord.

8. In connection with the interpretation of Section 19 the learned counsel for the appellant also cited a Single Bench judgment of this Court in Vishendas v. Administrator for the Union Territory of Delhi, AIR 1963 Punjab 492 This was in fact a writ petition by the landlord against the rejection of his application under Section 19 of the Act by the Competent Authority, whose order had been maintained in appeal also under Section 20. All that the learned Judge said was that while dealing with the case the Competent Authority as well ass the appellate Authority under the Act had not kept in view the criteria laid down by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in AIR 1961 S.C 1602 at p. 1611. The case cited, therefore, does not advance the matter so far as the appellant is concerned.

9. It must further be remembered that the application by the Tibbia College Board before the Rent Controller was not only under Section 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, but also under Section 22, which is as follows: --

'Where the landlord in respect of any premises is any company or other body corporate or any local authority or any public institution and the premises are required for the use of employees of such landlord or in the ease of public institution, for the furtherance of its activities, then, notwithstanding anything contained in Section 14 or in any other law, the Controller may, on an application made to him in this behalf by such landlord, place the landlord in vacant possession of such premises by evicting the tenant and every other person who may be in occupation thereof, if the Controller is satisfied -- (a) that the tenant to whom such premises were let for use as a residence at a time when, he was in the service or employment of the landlord, has ceased to be in such service or employment; or (b) that the tenant has acted in contravention of the terms, express or implied, under which he was authorised to occupy such premises; or (c) that any other person is in unauthorised occupation of such premises; or (d) that the premises are required bone fide by the public institution for the furtherance of its activities. Explanation. -- For the purpose of this section, 'public institution' includes any educational institution, 'library, hospital and charitable dispensary.'

The provisions of Section 22 did not arise for consideration at all in Jyoti Pershad's case AIR 1961 SC 1602. The learned Single Judge rightly observed that 'the facts of Jyoti Pershad's case AIR 1961 SC 1602 had no relation to the situation in the instant case because the residential accommodation provided by an institution as respondent No. 1 is maintained not for the purpose of letting out for profit and gain but only as an ancillary to the institution so as to provide an amenity to its servants. If the argument for the petitioner were to succeed and it should so happen that a considerable number of employees of such an institution were either to resign or were to be dismissed, an impossible situation will arise in this that the institution would lose such accommodation for all practical purposes and would not be able to pursue the purpose for which the accommodation was being maintained. In other words, the institution would not be able to provide any such amenity to its employees.' With these observations, we are in entire agreement.

10. The result, therefore, is that the order of the learned Single Judge is upheld and the appeal dismissed with costs. However, on the submission made by the learned counsel for the appellant, she is allowed a period of one month from today to vacate the quarter.


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