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Amar Kaur Vs. Umarao Singh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 251 of 1969, from order of M.L. Jain, Rent Control Tribunal, Delhi, D/- 25-4-1969
Judge
Reported inAIR1971Delhi270
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 20(2)
AppellantAmar Kaur
RespondentUmarao Singh
Advocates: Janak Singh, Adv
Excerpt:
the case debated on the substantive right of repossession of premises created in favor of the tenant on the completion of the building under section 20 (2) of the delhi rent control act, 1958 - the court held that the substantive right of repossession could not be taken away by compromise and by fixation of a reasonable period to complete the building work even when the compromise was confirmed by the court - section 13: [altamas kabir & cyriac joseph,jj] custody of child - welfare of child vis--vis comity of courts - the minor girl child of 3 1/2 years was brought to india by her mother. the minor girl was a citizen of u.k. being born in u.k. her parents had set up their matrimonial home in u.k. and had acquired status of permanent residents of u.k. the child with her mother was..........an application has to be moved within six months of the time so fixed by the parties. the actual time that building or rebuilding may take can have no relation to the reasonable time although in some cases the two may coincide. sub-section (2) of s. 20 gives an independent right to the tenant to claim-repossession or completion of the work of repairs, building or rebuilding and makes no reference to reasonable time or agreed time that may be fixed. in that view of the matter the date of the completion of work would be all important. according to the appellant the work was completed in february 1967 while according to the tenant it was completed in september, 1967. i am of the view that it will be necessary to take evidence to find out when the building was actually completed and the.....
Judgment:

1. This second appeal is directed against the order of the Rent Control Tribunal, Delhi which affirmed on order of the Additional Rent Controller, Delhi rejecting the contention of the appellant that without recording the evidence on the admitted facts the application of the respondent-tenant under Section 20 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 should be dismissed as barred by time under the provisions of Rule 4 of the Delhi Rent Control Rules, 1959, and the case was posted for recording of evidence to find out the date of the completion of the building. The appellant-landlady has contended that the building had been completed in February 1967 whereas the tenant had contended that the building had been completed in the first week of September, 1967.

2. I have heard Mr. Janak Singh, Advocate on behalf of the appellant but unfortunately I have not had the assistance of anyone appearing on behalf of the respondent.

3. The learned counsel for the appellant has urged that under the provisions of Rule 4 of the said Rules an application under S. 20, sub-section (3) of the Delhi Rent Control Act has to be made within six months from the date on which the cause of action for re-entry arises in favor of the tenant. It is urged that the application under Section 20, sub-section (3) having been filed on 25-9-1967 was barred by time inasmuch as the cause of action for filing such an application arose in favor of the tenant on 4-2-1967. In this matter the eviction order had been passed in favor of the appellant landlady and against the respondent-tenant under the provisions of Clause (g) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of S. 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Act. In the eviction order it was provided that the respondent tenant should deliver possession of the premises in dispute to the appellant-landlady on or before 10-6-1965 and that after reconstructing premises, inasmuch as the tenant had elected for being placed back in occupation of the reconstructed premises, the possession to the tenant should be handed back by 10-12-1965. This order was made by the Court after the parties had arrived at a compromise. The respondent-tenant delivered possession of the premises in his occupation by the fixed date but was not restored possession in terms of the order of eviction even up to 10-12-1965. The respondent tenant thereupon moved an application under sub-section (3) of Section 20 of the Delhi Rent Control Act for restoration of the possession. In these proceedings there was another compromise (as it is conceded then) that the landlady would complete the construction of the building within three months and restore possession of the same to the respondent-tenant on the expiry of this period of three months irrespective of whatever the condition of the premises may be on the expiry of the three months. The Controller recorded this compromise and passed an order in terms thereof on 4-11-1966. The appellant-landlady did not deliver possession on 4-2-1967 which led to the respondent-tenant moving an application under sub-section (3) of S. 20 on 25-9-1967 on the ground that the appellant landlady had not restored possession on the completion of the rebuilding of the premises in dispute. A preliminary objection was raised by the appellant landlady that the application was time barred but that plea was overruled and, as already noticed earlier, affirmed by the Rent Control Tribunal. Hence this appeal.

4. Mr. Janak Singh contends that the order dated 4-11-1966 fixed the reasonable time within which the building was to be completed and possession handed over and so the tenant got his cause of action on 4-2-1967 to move the application under sub-section (3) of Section 20. Admittedly, the application was moved after six months and so, he contends that the application must be dismissed as time barred. He has relied on a decision of the Punjab High Court in Ram Nath v. M/s. Ram Nath Chhitar Mal, (1960) 62 Pun Lr 403 in which Chopra, J. had observed that a decree for eviction on the ground of re-construction can be passed on the basis of an agreement between the parties and on the terms agreed to between the parties. This judgment of the Punjab High Court was affirmed (Ed. reversed) by the Supreme court in the reported decision in : [1961]1SCR600 . On the basis of the rule laid down, the learned counsel contends, the reasonable time within which the building was to be completed could be fixed by agreement and it could be provided that irrespective of whether the building was completed or not completed the time for the tenant to claim re-occupation would be what was set out in the order to that effect passed by the court in terms of the compromise. A such the order is a valid order and the tenant could only move an application within six months from 4-2-1967 and not later.

5. Sub-section (3) of S. 20 of the Act contemplates an application by the tenant in several contingencies. The first one is where the landlord fails to commence the work of repairs, building or rebuilding. In such an event it is provided that within one month of the specified date an application must be moved by the tenant. The second contingency that this sub-section envisages is when the landlord fails to complete the work within a reasonable time. In such a case it is within such time as the rules may prescribe that an application has to be moved. The third contingency that this sub-section envisages is where having completed the work the landlord fails to place a tenant in occupation of the premises in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (2) of S. 20. Here also, the application is to be moved within such time as may be prescribed by the Rules. It is not in dispute that the application has to be moved within six months of the date of the accrual of the cause of action. Sub-section (3) makes a distinction between the reasonable time required to build or rebuild and the actual time that may be taken in building or re-building. The reasonable time to restore possession may be fixed by the parties by agreement in which case an application has to be moved within six months of the time so fixed by the parties. The actual time that building or rebuilding may take can have no relation to the reasonable time although in some cases the two may coincide. Sub-section (2) of S. 20 gives an independent right to the tenant to claim-repossession or completion of the work of repairs, building or rebuilding and makes no reference to reasonable time or agreed time that may be fixed. In that view of the matter the date of the completion of work would be all important. According to the appellant the work was completed in February 1967 while according to the tenant it was completed in September, 1967. I am of the view that it will be necessary to take evidence to find out when the building was actually completed and the work of re-building concluded. The rights and obligations created by the sub-section (2) of S. 20 vis-a-vis repossession on the completion of the building cannot be defeated by a compromise and the fixation of a reasonable period to complete the building work.

6. Mr. Janak Singh also urged that sub-section (3) is merely a procedural section and substantive rights and obligations are created by sub-section (1) and (2) of S. 20. Assuming this argument to be correct sub-section (2) of S. 20 provides for substantive obligations of a landlord and so confers corresponding rights on the tenant. In that view of the matter also the agreed time or the reasonable time fixed by the parties by compromise and confirmed by a court order will not nullify the statutory rights and obligations created by sub-section (2) . I would, thereforee, dismiss this appeal but as there is no representation on behalf of the respondent I make no orders as to costs.

7. Appeal dismissed.


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