1. Dr. Harcharan Singh Bhandari, Landlord-respondent, hereinafter referred to as the landlord (since deceased) sought eviction of the demised premises from Balwant Singh, tenant petitioner hereinafter referred to as the tenant, on the ground that he needed the premises for his and his wife's occupation. The facts, underlying the need as mentioned in the petition, and also in his statement were that after retirement, he had been practicing at Gurdaspur, that he had closed his practice because he was not keeping good health that his wife became heart-patient and during the past about two years he had changed 2/3 rented houses and the house in his present occupation was a first storey portion which was not fit keeping in view the fact that his wife had become a heart-patient and that from Gurdaspur it became necessary to shift to his own house at Jullundur which happens to be in the occupation of the tenant.
2. The Rent controller held that the landlord had not been able to make out that he genuinely needed in the premises. He somehow formed the impression that since to begin with the rent of the premises was Rs. 60 p m. which was later on increased to Rs. 140 /- p. m., the eviction perhaps was sought in order to rent in out afresh at a higher rent. The Rent Controller also held that the landlord had not been able to establish that he had not vacated a similar residential premises after the commencement of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act at Jullundur.
3. The appellate authority reversed the finding of the Rent controller on both the counts. It held that the landlord bona fide required the demised premises and that he had not vacated any reasonable cause after the commencement of the said Act.
4. Mr. H. L. Sarin, learned counsel for the petitioner, in the first instance, urged that during the pendency of the revision petition the landlord had died and in law his bona fide need died with him. The ground for eviction thus having vanished, the petition has virtually become infructuous and deserves to be dismissed as such. For his above submission he sought sustenance from Smt. Phool Rani v. Sh Naubat Rai Ahulwalia, AIR 1973 SC 2110.
5. The decision in Smt. Phool Rani's case has since been overruled by a Larger Bench decision of the Supreme court rendered in Shantilal Thakordas v. Chimanala Maganlal Telwala, AIR 1976 SC 2358, in which it was clearly enunciated that where the eviction was sought on the ground that the landlord needed the demised premises for his bona fide use and occupation the said requirement did not cease on his death. After his death the senior member of his family took his place and therefore, was competent to continue the suit for eviction qua his occupation and the occupation of all other member of his family
6. Mr. Sarin at this stage brought to my notice the following order of the Supreme Court dated 3-7-1979 rendered in S.L. P (Civil) No. 5253 of 1979:
'Leave granted. We consider that the point is of sufficient importance to merit being placed before a larger Bench. Although it has been brought to our notice that one decision of this court by a Bench of two Judges has been expressly overruled by a later decision of this Court by a Bench of three Judges, we direct that this case be placed before the learned Chief Justice for being considered by a larger Bench.
Interim Stay pending notice of motion'
A perusal of the order dated 3-7-1979 shows that the decision in Shantilal Thakordas case (AIR 1976 Sc 2358)(supra) is under Reconsideration before a larger Bench of the Supreme Court.
7. Mr. Sarin Desired that the final decision in the S. P. L. (Civil) No 5253 of 1979 pending I the Supreme court be awaited, as in some cases this Court has postponed the decision.
8. I do not think this request of Mr. Sarin can be acceded to. Present is a case, where the Landlord had sought eviction on the ground of bona fide requirement for use and occupation of the demised premises, as his wife was a heart-patient. In view of this fact, the case cannot brook any delay for one cannot know as to how long it would take their Lordship of the Supreme court to render the judgment. Till such time the decision in the case of Shantilal Thakordas's (AIR 1976 SC 2358) holds the field; the same is binding on the court and I am bound to follow it.
9. Mr. Sarin then urged that since the deceased had left behind besides his widow Smt. Daljit Kaur four daughter, who are also heirs, and since they are not impleaded as legal heirs, the revision petition cannot be decided in their absence they being necessary parties. In support of his submission he cited Krishan Dhone Pramick v. Ram Palat Sahoo, (1980) 2 Ren CR 15(Cal)
10. In my opinion, there is no merit in the contention advanced by Mr. Sarin. In the case relied upon by Mr. Sarin, It was the tenant who had died and all his heirs, who had inherited the tenancy had not been brought on the record. Obviously, a decree of ejectment passed in favour of the landlord against the heirs brought on the record could be of no use to the landlord, for the same would not be binding on the other heirs of the deceased tenant who could not be evicted inpursuance of the said decree and, therefore all the heirs of the deceased tenant were considered necessary parties in that case. The position is otherwise in a case where it is the landlord who dies during the pendency of the proceedings. In such a case if the petition succeeds, then such of the legal heirs of the deceased-landlord would be entitled to execute the order of ejectment and take possession from the tenant.
11. Mr. Sarin contended that if the tenant is made to deliver possession to only some of the legal heirs then the other heirs, who are not brought on the record, may hold him accountable regarding delivery of the possession of the house.
12. In My opinion, such an apprehension is unjustified. This court had an occasion to consider an argument of this kind in a case where the payment of rent had been made to one of the heirs of the deceased-landlord. The other heirs of the deceased-landlord filed the petition for ejectment on the ground of non-payment of rent. The tenant took up the plea that no rent was due from him, as he had paid the same to one of the heirs of the deceased-landlord. This Court accepted pleas of the tenant and held that the payment of the rent to one of the heirs of the deceased-landlord completely absolved the tenant from any claim form other heirs of the deceased-landlord. If such is the position in regard to the rent, the position in regard to the delivery of possession could not be otherwise. (See Sukh Dev Dass v. Lalit Mohan, 1967-69 Punj LR 221).
13. Mr. Sarin then lastly urged that the landlord had not proved that he had not vacated a similar residential premises in Jullundur town after the commencement of the Act and. Therefore, the petition is liable to be dismissed, and he had placed reliance on Banke Ram v. Shrimati Sarasti Devi, (1977) 1 Ren CJ 332: (AIR 1977 Punj &HAR; 158)(FB), Hans Raj v. Balraj Singh, (1978) 1 Ren CJ 286(Punj & Har) and Onkar Nath v. Ved Vyas. (1980) 1 Ren CJ 235: (AIR 1980 SC 1218).
14. There is no dispute with the proposition that are enunciated in the decision which Mr. Sarin has relied upon. The question that requires answering is as to whether in fact the necessary ingredients in the present case have been proved or not. It is not in dispute that the requisite plea had been taken by the landlord in the petition, Dr. Harcharan Singh, the landlord, I his testimony stated that 'I do not own any other house at Jullundur except the house in question, nor I was in possession of any vacated any house at Jullundur in the last one year.'
15. Mr. Sarin, learned counsel for the tenant-Petitioner, drew attention to this portion of the landlord's statement where he had stated that the he had not got vacated any house at Jullundur in the last one year ad urged that what the landlord had to establish was not that he had not vacated any house at Jullundur in the last one year but any time after the commencement of the Act.
16. It may be stated here that the evidence has to be read as a whole and not to be interpreted like a Deed of Transfer or a Will. The landlord had taken a categorical position in his statement that he did not own any house at Jullundur nor he was in possession of any house at Jullundur. His wife, who has now been substituted as his legal heir in this revision petition, has made a categorical statement that ' we do not own any other house besides the house in dispute either in Jullundur or any other place in India'. Taking an over all view of the evidence of the landlord and his wife, it cannot be said that they were ever possessed of any house in any capacity in Jullundur town other than the house on rent with the tenant herein. More so when it is viewed in the light of the fact that it was not put to the landlord that he owned or possessed any other house in Jullundur which he continued to possess or vacated after the commencement of the Act without a reasonable cause. The tenant-petitioner in his testimony no doubt stated that the landlord possessed another house bearing No. 266 in Jawahar Nagar, Jullundur, which was lying vacant. This appear to be an afterthought on the part of the tenant. If this would have been the position, he would have put it to the landlord when he appeared in the witness-box.
17. For the reasons aforementioned, I find no merit in the revision petition and dismiss the same. The petitioner, who is present in Court, undertakes to vacate the premises in dispute on or before 13-11-1980, subject to his right to invoke further remedy by way of special leave to Supreme Court. He also undertakes to deposit three months rent within three weeks in the court of the Rent Controller. Previous rent up to August 1980 has already been deposited with the Rent Controller in accordance with the order of this Court. There will, however, be no order as to costs.
18. Petition dismissed.