S.P. Goyal, J.
1. These two revisions (C.R. No. 412 of 1980 and C.R. No. 644 of 1981) have been put up before us on a reference by M. M. Punchhi, J. with whom my learned brother Tewatia, J. concurred as the correctness of the decision in Karnail Singh v. Vidya Devi alias Bedo, (1980) 2 Rent CJ 188 (Punj & Har) was doubted. For the purpose of this judgment, the facts of C.R. No. 412 of 1980 have been noticed.
2. The petitioners was ordered to be ejected from the demised premises on the ground that Smt. Atma Devi, the owner, required it for her personal occupation. The correctness of this order was assailed on the ground that Smt. Atma Devi was living in a rented house and unless it is established that she had a reasonable cause to vacate that house, she cannot claim her own house on the ground of personal necessity. Reliance for this contention was placed on the following passage in Karnail Singh's case (Supra):
'Coming back to the interpretation of sub-clause (b) reproduced above, if the Legislature wanted that the occupation of another residential premises in the urban area concerned should be as owner or as 'landlord' (the definition of 'landlord' shows that a person other than that of owner can also be a landlord) then it would have been provided in sub-clause (b) but by not adding these words the intention of the legislature is clear that only possession as of right whether as owner, landlord, tenant, mortgagee with possession or in any other form, recognised by law, was to be taken into consideration for seeing the occupation of the landlord for purposes of sub-clause (b). In nutshell, the sole basis of enacting sub-clause (b) was that if the landlord is occupying any other residential building in his own right, that is possession recognised by law, then he could not claim eviction from another residential building in the same urban area. Unless we read sub-clause (b) as follows, no other conclusion is possible:--
'He is not occupying another residential building in the urban area concerned as an owner.' Therefore, on a reading of sub-clause (b) as it stands in the statue book, we hold that if the landlord is in possession of another residential building in the same urban area, whether as owner, landlord tenant, mortgagee with possession or in any other recognised mode, having right in property, he would not be able to claim eviction of his tenant from other premises in the same urban area without alleging and proving anything more.'
The words,'another residential building in sub-clause (b) of section 13 of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, according to Punchhi, J. means,'that the landlord is not occupying another residential building correlated to him in the manner of the residential building whose occupation he seeks from the tenant. In other words, the language employed by the statute is easily discernible that the landlord's occupation of another building in the urban area concerned means of such residential building as to which he should be related to also as a landlord. 'Support for this view was sought from the following observations of Mehar Singh, J. as he then was, in Sant Ram Des Raj Kalka v. Karam Chand Mangal Ram, AIR 1963 Punj 1 (FB):--
'This is one consideration which militates against the interpretation of the words, 'another residential building' in condition (b) as suggested on behalf of the tenants. Another reason is that in condition (b) the word used is 'another' and not 'any' or 'any other' with the words, 'residential building', which clearly means 'another residential building' referred to in this condition is that another residential building which meets the requirements and needs of the landlord as established by him under condition (a).
If he is in possession of another residential building of this type, condition (b) becomes operative, and the landlord must fail in his claim. If the intention of the Legislature was that no matter what type of residential building is in possession of landlord and no matter how inadequate it is for his requirements and needs, once he is shown to be in possession of some residential a accommodation, he is not to have eviction of his tenant from a residential building, then the Legislature would have made the matter more clear by using the word, 'any' or the words 'any other' with the words, 'residential building rather than the word 'another'. So that this consideration supports the claim of the landlords and negatives the interpretation of condition (b) in sub-paragraph (i) as suggested on behalf of the tenants.'
3. The question before the Full Bench in Sant Ram Das Raj's case (AIR 1963 Punj 1) (supra) was as to whether the landlord was entitled to get the house vacated for his personal use if the house in his possession was insufficient for his needs. It was in this context that the said observations were made and the words, 'another residential building' were interpreted to mean a building which meets the requirements and needs of the landlord and not any residential building. In our view, by no stretch of reasoning the said observations can be interpreted to mean that the building in occupation of the landlord must be his own or that he must hold that building in the same character which he claims qua the building from which the ejectment of the tenant is sought. In fact, argument was also raised before the Full Bench that the landlord who is in occupation of residential building in the urban area concerned as tenant would be entitled to seek ejectment of the tenant from his own building for his personal use as his occupation of the building as tenant was not in his own right, but the same was repelled as would be evident from the following passages:
'It is also contended on behalf of Karam Chand respondent, who is the tenant landlord, that condition (b) in sub-paragraph (i) cannot apply to him on another consideration and this is because he is not in occupation of the tenanted premises in his possession in his own right, but occupies the same at the sufferance of his own landlord. In this respect reliance is placed on Ram Singh v. Sita Ram, (1959) 61 Pun LR 132 in which the learned Judge has held that the word 'occupation' as used by section 13(3)(a) of the Act must mean 'occupation' in exercise of a right and not dependent on another person's mere sweet will or sufferance, even though that other person be his close relation.
What the learned Judge has observed is unexceptional, but in that case it was the question of the son living either with his father or mother and he had no right to remain in possession of the premises except at the sweet will of either his father or mother. This is not the case with Karam Chand respondent because he is in occupation of the tenanted premises with him under his rights of tenancy, which rights are protected by the provisions of the Act and his eviction can only be subject to the limited conditions as provided in the Act. It is only when those conditions exist that he may be evicted but not otherwise. So it is not true that he occupies the tenanted premises with his at the sweet will of his landlord. He has statutory protection of his rights and is in possession of those premises in exercise of his right under the tenancy with him. This argument does not avail this respondent.'
4. Mr. M. L. Sarin learned counsel for the respondent did not dispute that the interpretation put on the said clause (b) in Karnail Singh's case (1980-2 Ren CJ 188) (Punj & Har) (supra) and the rule laid down therein is in accordance rather than at variance with the Full Bench in Sant Ram Des Raj Kalka (AIR 1963 Punj 1) (supra) but urged that the said view requires reconsideration. He, however, failed to put across any substantial argument which could persuade us to doubt the correctness of the rule laid dwon by the Full Bench and to refer the matter to a larger bench for its reconsideration.
5. The learned counsel then urged that the decision in Karnail Singh's case (supra) may be explained to the extent that the landlord would be entitled to seek ejectment of the tenant in spite of the fact that he is occupying another residential building as lessee if he has sufficient cause to vacate the building in his occupation or the same is not sufficient/suitable for his needs. There is hardly any need to do so because what was held in Karnail Singh's case (1980-2 Ren CJ 188) (supra) was only that the landlord would not be entitled to claim eviction of the tenant simply on the ground that he was in occupation of the premises in the same urban area as tenant without alleging andproving anything more.The Bench, therefore, never held that the landlord occupying another premises in the urban area concerned as tenant would not be entitiled to eject his own tenant if there is sufficient cause for him to vacate the premises in his occupation or the same are not sufficient/suitable for his needs. All the same we do agree with the learned counsel for the respondent that there is no absolute bar for a landlord to seek ejectment of a tenant from his own house if he is occupying another premises in the same urban area as lessee and the landlord would be entitled to claim ejectment of his tenant if the premises in his occupation are not sufficient/suitable for his needs or he has some other reasonable cause to vacate the same. Subject to this observation the rule laid down in Karnail Singh's case (supra) is affirmed.
6. The ejectment of the petitioners was ordered in both the petitions simply on the ground that the landlord though in occupation of another premises in the urban area concerned being not in occupation in his own right was entitled to eject his tenant. In view of the fact that we have affirmed the rule expressed in Karnail Singh's case (supra), ejectment orders on the grounds stated above have to be reversed. As no other ground to sustain the ejectment order was urged these petitions are allowed and the ejectment order set aside. In the circumstances of the case, we make no order as to costs.
Prem Chand Jain, Actg.C.J.
7. I agree
D.S. Tewatia, J.
8. I also agree.
9. Petitions allowed.