1. This is a revision petition preferred by the tenant who was ordered to be ejected by the Rent Controller, Sirsa and whose appeal was dismissed by the Appellate Authority, Sirsa.
2. Facts giving rise thereto, so far as the present petition is concerned, are that the respondent-landlord claimed ejectment of the tenant, amongst others, on the ground of the tenant keeping the premises in dispute unoccupied for a long period. Eviction of a tenant is permissible under S. 13(2)(v) of the Haryana Urban (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1973 (hereafter referred to as the Act) when the tenant has ceased to occupy the building for a continuous period of four months without reasonable cause. The ground pleaded by the landlord was denied by the tenant and this gave rise to issue No. 3 which was couched in this language:--
'Whether the house in dispute in lying uninhabited for the last many years? If so, its effect ?'
3. Both the officers below have returned the finding in favour of the landlord and this has resulted in ordering the ejectment of the petitioner and hence this revision petition.
4. The sole contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner is that the issue as struck by the Rent Controller is not directly in accordance with the language of the statute for there the minimum period of four months is mentioned for which the building should be left unoccupied by the tenant and that too without reasonable cause. According to the learned counsel, if the issue itself is defective, the finding too must be taken to be defective despite the evidence as appraised by the officers below. It is no doubt true that the issue is not happily worded and its answer strictly does not conform to the language of the statute but it is to the essence of the things that we have to go into and not to mere verbiage, more so in revision. From the perusal of the orders of the Rent Controller as also the Appellate Authority, it appears that the kind of evidence adduced by the landlord with regard to the building in dispute lying uninhabited for a very long period becomes patently noticeable and that period can adequately cover the period of four months. The tenant did not plead any justifiable cause since he stuck to his ground that he had not vacated it ever.
5. Coming to the evidence led by both the parties and its scope, it would seem that the Appellate Authority has confirmed the findings of fact recorded by the Rent Controller. He took into account the voters list to come to the conclusion, as also the inference, that the petitioner was occupying another house belonging to one Pushkar Dutt. Though some comment could be offered and was even attempted with regard to the value attached to the voters list, as the entries therein can neither be called presumptive nor conclusive, yet the finding was based on an admission of the petitioner. That admission was contained in the address supplied by the petitioner to the Rent Controller describing himself to be a resident of the house of Pushkar Dutt as also the premises in dispute. No fault can be found on such deduction and inference drawn by the Rent Controller as also by the Appellate Authority. Effort was also made to minimise the period during which the electricity connection of the house in dispute remained disconnected and it was sought to be put within the period of tenancy during which the term was fixed. It was stated that the tenancy being fixed was terminable only on Dec. 4, 1973 and the electricity connection was renewed on Nov. 22, 1973. On this aspect as well, there seems no difficulty in upholding the inferences drawn by the Appellate Authority that the disconnection of electricity was due to the fact that the premises had remained unoccupied for a sufficiently long period. And lastly there is oral evidence led by both the parties. The evidence led by the landlord has been preferred by the officers below to conclude that the premises had remained unoccupied for a very long period which inferentially means that for more than four months it had been left unoccupied. This approach cannot be called illegal or improper calling for any interference by this Court.
6. The next question urged by the learned counsel for the petitioner was that the said ground of eviction was not available to the landlord if it came into being during the period when the tenancy was for a fixed term. Reliance has been placed on the first proviso to S. 13(3) of the Act which is to the following effect:--
'Provided that where the tenancy is for a specified period agreed upon between the landlord and the tenant, the landlord shall not, except under sub-clause (v) of Clause (a), be entitled to apply under this sub-section before the expiry of such period.'
7. This objection seems to be totally misconceived, as this proviso governs sub-section (3) of S. 13 of the Act and would have no applicability to the present controversy, since eviction sought herein is on the ground specified in S. 13(2)(v) of the Act.
8. It was then contended that the ground if it arose during the time of fixed period of tenancy, could not be made use of by the landlord after the expiry of the fixed term as during that period, the tenant was completely on a holiday and he could leave the premises unoccupied without attracting any liability to eviction. This argument seems also to me to be totally misconceived because by merely fixing a term of tenancy, one cannot alter the provisions of the Act. The ground for eviction, if based on the conduct or fault of the tenant, cannot be wiped out by subsequent conduct of the tenant of removing the fault or in improving his conduct. The liability to eviction once incurred has to remain sustaining and can adequately be cashed upon by the landlord. This view is fortified by a Single Bench decision of this Court in Sat Pal v. Faqir Chand, 1973 Rent CJ (SN) 26, which apparently was a case of the present kind.
9. No other point arises in this petition.
10. For the foregoing reasons, this petition fails and is hereby dismissed without any order as to costs.
11. At the request of the learned counsel for the petitioner, one month's time is granted to the tenant to vacate the premises.
12. Petition dismissed.