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Hardwari Lal Verma Vs. the Estate Officer and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petn. No. 718 of 1975
Judge
Reported inAIR1977Delhi268
ActsPublic Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 - Sections 5
AppellantHardwari Lal Verma
RespondentThe Estate Officer and ors.
Appellant Advocate N.B. Sinha, Adv
Respondent Advocate V.P. Singh, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....is one of the most important considerations in matters relating to custody of a minor child. - ' thereforee, it clearly appears that the petitioner was paying market rent from 9-3-68, and he could only be paying market rent if the allotment had been cancelled at some earlier date. 5. this quotation clearly demonstrates that the writer of this letter, who was mr, l......a quarter situated at t-13, tabruk lane in delhi cantonment. apparently, he was posted out of delhi in march, 1968, but he retained the quarter. it seems that he went on paying the market rent but eventually as per letter, dated 18th march, 1974, he was informed that the allotment of his quarter was deemed to have been cancelled with effect from 9th jr march, 1968. this was followed by the order of estate officer, brig. p. bhattacharya, holding that the petitioner was an unauthorised occupant who had to be evicted.2.the petitioner filed an appeal under s. 9 of the act which was heard by shri g. r. luthra, additional district judge, delhi. the appellate order was passed on 23rd april, 1975. it was there held that the allotment had 'been cancelled on 18th march, 1974, with effect from.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. This is a petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India brought by the petitioner in respect of an order passed by the Estate Officer under S. 5 of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act 1971. The petitioner at the relevant time. was employed as a civilian clerk in the defense Services. He was allotted a Quarter situated at T-13, Tabruk Lane In Delhi Cantonment. Apparently, he was posted out of Delhi in March, 1968, but he retained the quarter. It seems that he went on paying the market rent but eventually as per letter, dated 18th March, 1974, he was informed that the allotment of his quarter was deemed to have been cancelled with effect from 9th Jr March, 1968. This was followed by the order of Estate Officer, Brig. P. Bhattacharya, holding that the petitioner was an unauthorised occupant who had to be evicted.

2.The petitioner filed an appeal under S. 9 of the Act which was heard by Shri G. R. Luthra, Additional District Judge, Delhi. The appellate order was passed on 23rd April, 1975. It was there held that the allotment had 'been cancelled on 18th March, 1974, with effect from 9th March, 1968. It was ob served that the petitioner could not continue to occupy the house even on his transfer back to Delhi Cantt. unless the house was re-allotted to him. A reference was made to the definition of 'un-authorised occupant' as set out in S. 2(g) of the Act which shows that 'unauthorised occupant' includes a person whose authority to keep the premises has expired or has been determined for any reason whatsoever. On this finding the petitioner was held to be an unauthorised occupant.

3.Against the order of the Additional District Judge, and indeed against the order of respondent No. I for eviction from the quarter in question the petitioner has moved the present writ petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution. The sum and substance of the contentions made by the learned counsel for the petitioner is that the petitioner is not an unauthorised occupant. It has been submitted that the petitioner being In service had to have an allotment and the allotment could not be deemed to be cancelled with effect from 9th March, 1968. It may be pointed out that the petitioner sent a protest showing that the allotment cannot be cancelled. It cannot be denied that the petitioner was transferred from Delhi in March 1968, and was posted for some time at Chandigarh and thereafter in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. He was re-posted back in Delhi in 1973. During this period the petitioner continued to occupy the quarter although he himself was not in Delhi. It is suggested by the learned counsel for the petitioner that there Is a rule permitting retention of quarter at the original duty station because some correspondence was exchanged between the Western Command, Simla, and the Army Headquarters, New Delhi, an extract from which he has set out in Para 11 of the writ petition. I find that the extract has little effect because I am unable to understand what it means. In fact, the petition states that there Is a letter dated 2nd March, 1968 and dated 22nd Nov. 1973. The letter has a heading: 'Concessions admissible to civilians ............... and then goes on to say 'retention of family accommodation allotted by Government at the old duty station on payment of normal rent I am unable to understand what this extract means. In any event, the question be fore the Court is whether the order of the Additional District Judge Is correct. He has proceeded on the basis that the petitioner was no longer an allottee. Learned counsel for the petitioner urges that the allotment could not be cancelled in 1974 with effect from 9th March, 1968, I think this has little effect on the petitioner because even if the cancellation is considered to be prospective it would lead to the same conclusion viz. that after the cancellation the petitioner could be ordered to vacate the premises.

4. I may point out that there is a document, Exhibit P-2, written by the petitioner and produced by him which is earlier than the cancellation letter dated 18th March, 1974. In this letter the petitioner stated inter alias 'I understand that the authorities are pressing for my eviction from the quarter'. In the same letter he used the following words towards the end 'I shall be highly thankful to Our honour If you kindly reallot the above quarter to me for which I am paying market rent since 9-3-68 so that I may be able to support my family at these critical times.' thereforee, it clearly appears that the petitioner was paying market rent from 9-3-68, and he could only be paying market rent if the allotment had been cancelled at some earlier date. I am not aware of any rule whereby the market rent could be collected from a Government servant who had been allotted a quarter. In any case, even if I am wrong in assuming that the cancellation took Place in 1968, it must be held that at the latest cancellation was made on 18th March, 1974. In the letter dated 18th March, 1974, the following words are used:

'You became unauthorised occupant in the said premises since 9th March 1968 where after you had been paying the market rate of rent for the said premises. The allotment letter is also deemed to have been cancelled with effect from 9th March, 1968. You have not vacated the said premises so far.

5. This quotation clearly demonstrates that the writer of this letter, who was Mr, L. C. Chawla, Se, Commander Works Engineers, was also of the view that the petitioner was not in occupation of the quarter as an authorised occupant. This letter further states . that if the premises are not vacated then action will be taken against the petitioner by the Estate Officer.

6. As the quarter was not, in fact, vacated, action was taken by the Estate Officer leading to the impugned order. The legal position seems to me to be uncomplicated. A Government servant who has been allotted a quarter is nothing more than a licensee; that license can be cancelled at any time. It may be that cancellation of this license in a given set of circumstances may infringe some service rule or some obligation to provide a quarter to the Government servant concerned. If the cancellation is invalid or illegal or contrary to any rule of law, it will be open to challenge in appropriate proceedings. The petitioner, on the other hand, seems to be a person who has been paying market rent from 9th March 1968. He is a person who was posted out of Delhi in 1968, and is apparently even now in occupation of the premises after more than 9 years since his transfer. It is the admitted case, as per subsequent facts disclosed, that he has even retired now, but he is still in occupation of the quarter. In the circumstances, I cannot allow the writ petition at this stage, I accordingly dismiss the petition with costs.

7. Petition dismissed.


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