1. This is tenant's petition against whom ejectment application was dismissed by the Rent Controller but eviction order was passed in appeal.
2. The demised premises is a part of residential building comprised of two storeys. Whole of the first floor is under occupation of another tenant of the landlords while out of the ground floor two of the rooms are in occupation of the landlords and the remaining portion is under the occupation of the tenant. The site plan of the building is Exhibit A. 4. The ejectment was sought primarily on the ground that the landlords bona fide required the premises for their own use and occupation. It was pleaded that the landlord Shri. D. N. Kalia was an officer of Reserve Bank of India and was to retire on 8-2-1982. The ejectment application was filed on 12-10-1981. It was stated that after his retirement, he needs the demised premises for his self occupation. It was specifically pleaded that the tenant has constructed a Kothi type house No. 155. Ward No. 11 in the urban area of Gurdaspur and is enjoying the rent of the building. In the written statement filed on behalf of the tenant, it was pleaded that the landlords do not require the house for their personal use and occupation. The landlord Shri D. N. Kalia is an officer of Reserve Bank of India posted at New Delhi and owns a big residential bungalow in Greater Kailash, Nee Delhi. The two landlords are living at Chandigarh and Bombay who have no intention to settle at Gurdaspur. The accommodation already in occupation of the landlord was sufficient for one family to live in. As regards the construction of the house by the tenant, it was admitted to the extent that the house of the tenant is yet incomplete and not worth living. The learned Rent Controller came to the conclusion that the landlord does not need the house bona fide. According to the Rent Controller, the landlord has not stated that his relative and other owners are at and around Gurdaspur, and he had not disclosed as to how many members are with him who would occupy the house. The other pleas of the landlords were also negatived. Consequently, the ejectment application was dismissed.
3. In appeal the learned Appellate Authority reversed the finding of the Court below on the ground of personal requirement. It was held that the landlord's claim had an element of need and as such they are entitled to seek ejectment of the tenant from the demised premises. On this ground the eviction order was passed. Dissatisfied with the same, the tenant has filed this petition in this Court.
4. The learned counsel for the petitioner vehemently contended that it is a case of mere wish of the landlord and not a case of bona fide requirement. According to the learned counsel, the landlord had already constructed a house in Delhi and he had no intention to shift to Gurdaspur. In any case, argued the learned counsel, two rooms on the ground floor are already in occupation of the landlord which are sufficient to meet his requirement in case he really wanted to shift to that place. The argument proceeded that non-occupation of the said accommodation so far by the landlord itself indicates that he had no desire to come to Gurdaspur. According to the learned counsel, the finding of the Rent Controller in this behalf has been reversed by the learned Appellate Authority arbitrarily and on surmises and conjectures. In support of his contention reference was made to Rattan Chand Jain v. Charan Singh (1978) 1 Ren CR 265 (Punj & Har); ahmed Mustafa v. Suleman 1980 Cur LJ (Civ) 305 (Punj & Har).
5. On the other hand, the learned counsel for the landlords submitted that the two rooms on the ground floor could not be occupied by the landlord because there was no amenity of kitchen or latrine. Moreover, though the landlord had filed an ejectment application against the other tenant occupying the first floor but he did not pursue it because his requirement could be met by ejecting the tenant on the ground floor. According to the learned counsel, it was for the landlord to choose where to settle after his retirement. Mere fact that the landlord has constructed a house at Delhi does not debar him to shift to his native place at Gurdaspur. In support of his contention he referred to Smt. Shama Devi v. W. N. Khanna (1980) 2 Ren CR 731 (Punj & Har): Harnam Singh v. Raksha Rani (1984) 2Ren CR 49 (Punj & Har) and Smt. Krishna v. Hardwai Lal (1984) 86 Pun LR 90.
6. After hearing the learned counsel for the parties and going through the relevant evidence on the record, I do not find any merit in this petition. Primarily, it is a finding of fact as to whether the landlord bona fide requires the premises for his own use and occupation or not. The learned Appellate Authority has discussed the entire evidence and after discussing the same a firm finding has been given that 'the applicants' claim is held to have an element of need and as such they are held entitled to seek ejectment of the tenant from the demised premises'. Thus, it could not be successfully argued that it was a case of mere desire and not a bona fide requirement. The landlord Shri D. N. Kali has appeared in the witness box as AW.1. He has stated that he has got two sons and two daughters and has also got two sisters. He is the only brother of his sisters. He has categorically stated that he required the premises in dispute for his personal use and occupation in order to settle after his retirement. He has unreservedly given the detail of the accommodation in the house at Delhi constructed by him. Nothing has been brought out in the cross examination as to doubt his bona fides.
7. It will be significant to note that the tenant has admitted as RW.1 that he owns a house in Mohalla Onkar Nagar at Gurdaspur. He further admits that the said house was rented out to the Public Health Department and is not lying vacant. Thus, it is not a case of a tenant who bona fide required the premises for his occupation. Rather, it is a case where the tenant wants to remain in the occupation of the premises in dispute so that he may rent his own house at a higher rent. Though in the E. P. U. R. R. Act, this by itself is no ground that if the tenant owns house he is liable to ejectment from the rented premises but at the same time, the Courts cannot ignore this fact while appreciating the entire evidence. On the one hand, the tenant pleads that the landlord is not entitled to eject him because he could stay at Delhi where he has constructed his own house whereas on the other hand, he wants to remain in occupation of the demised premises and does not want to occupy his own house which, according to him, was lying vacant and was given earlier on rent to the Public Health Department.
8. The bona fides of the landlord are further established from the fact that he only wants to get the possession of the ground floor which will be sufficient to meet his requirements and that is why he did not pursue his further remedy against the other tenant on the first floor.
9. As a matter of fact, it will be a question of fact in each case as to whether the requirement of the landlord is bona fide or not and, therefore, the authorities relied upon by the learned counsel for the petitioner are of no avail.
10. In this view of the matter, the petition fails and is dismissed with costs. However, the tenant is allowed two months' time to vacate the premises provided all the arrears of rent, if any, and advance rent for two months is deposited with the Rent Controller within one month.
11. Petition dismissed