1. The appellant-tenant has been ordered to be evicted from the premises belonging to the respondent-landlord on the ground that the landlord required the premises bona fide for occupation as a residence and that the landlord had no other reasonable suitable residential accommodation within the meaning of proviso (e) to Section 14(1) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (hereinafter called the Act)
2. The premises consist of one room outside the main house occupied by the landlord and are wanted by the landlord for the parking of his motor car. The Controller as well as the Rent Control Tribunal have found as a fact that the motor car could be parked in this room as a garage. They further found that the car of the landlord was at present kept inside the open compound of the house of the landlord but was not protected from sun and rain. They further found that another tenant of the landlord also kept his car in the compound of the landlord and this second car had to be taken out before the landlord could take out his car from the compound to the road.
3. On these proved facts, the learned counsel for the appellant confined his grounds of attack against the concurrent decisions of the Controller and the Rent Control Tribunal only to the following grounds namely:-
(1) That the premises were not required bona fide by the landlord for occupation as residence; and
(2) That the landlord had other reasonably suitable residential accommodation.
4. The first question is whether the premises were wanted by the landlord for occupation as a residence. The word 'residence' has not been defined in the Act but it has been used in connection with the user of 'premises' which are defined in Section 2(i) of the Act. The definition of 'premises' is a building or part of a building which is or is intended to be, let separately for use as a residence or for commercial use of for any other purpose, and includes the garden, grounds and out houses, if any, appertaining to such building or part of the building. The premises in dispute are in the nature of an out house to the main house of the landlord and are thereforee, included in the definition of 'premises'. These premises were let for use as residence by the tenant who actually lives in them. Are they required by the landlord for 'residence'? As already observed, the relevance of the word 'residence' in the Act is in the context of the user of any premises. While using the premises every portion of the built up area is not necessarily used for the living of human beings. For instance, water closets, store-rooms, attics, verandahs and out houses may not be used for residence as such but for purpose incidental or residence. When premises are said to be used for residence, it is implied that parts of the premises may be used for purposes incidental to actual residence. Such purposes are, thereforee, included in residential purposes.
5. The question is whether a motor garage is such a necessary incidence of human habitation or residence as to be included in the word 'residence'. Whenever a garage is actually used by the resident of the house for the parking of his car there would be no dispute that the house as well as the garage was being used for a residential purpose. Would the same be true when the landlord wishes to evict the residential tenant of a garage on the ground that he wants to garage for use of a 'residence'? It would appear that the need of the landlord to keep his car in the garage is a necessary incidence of the residence of the landlord in the main house and thereforee the garage is wanted by the landlord 'for occupation as a residence' within the meaning of proviso (e) of Section 14(1) of the Act. Just as we say that the landlord is using this house (sic) [when the?] corner of his house is used for the living of human beings, similarly we mean that the garage is wanted by the landlord for his residence in the sense that he wants it for a purpose which is a necessary incidence of his residence in the main house. I find so.
6. The expression 'bona fide' is used to qualify the requirement of the landlord for a garage. The requirement has to be in existence and has to be actual. It would not be a true requirement, if, for instance, the landlord doe not have a car to be kept in the garage or if he temporarily brings a car merely to show that he wants the garage without really intending to use it for the paring of the car. The status of the landlord and the way of his life would show whether the landlord is using the car in the ordinary way and not in any forced or mala fide way. We cannot inquire into his bona fides beyond there the car is being used by the landlord legitimately or not is mostly to be decided by the way landlord wants is nothing, thereforee, to show in the present case that the requirement of the landlord was not bona fide.
7. Whether the open compound of the landlord can be said to be a reasonably suitable accommodation for his car depends on a variety of considerations. Primarily it is for the landlord to decide whether his car should be exposed to sun and rain or whether he would like it to be protected in a garage. It was argued by the learned counsel for the appellant that though the motor car may not be a luxury, the garage is regarded as a luxury in the cities. A costly land in the city has to be occupied by garages and the landlord has to forego income which he could have obtained by letting out such garages to tenants for residents. thereforee, if the question were to be for a planning authority as to whether land should be allotted for purposes of building garages for cars or not then how for a garage is needed by a particular kind of plot or house may be relevant consideration. Similarly, if a garage is to be constructed by the public authority as an adjunct to a Government flat, the Government may well consider whether the status of the persons expected to occupy a particular kind of flat was such as to justify the construction of a garage for the same. But the garage is not a luxury when it is considered from the point of view of the need of the car for protection from sun and rain. If the owner of a car wants to preserve his car from damage of sun and rain, it cannot be said that he is incurring unnecessary expenditure in constructing a garage. For the same reason it cannot be said that open compound which exposes the car to sun and rain is a reasonably suitable accommodation for the car.
8. Further considerations of security and convenience can always be considered in judging whether the open compound was a reasonably suitable accommodation for the car of the landlord. In view of the danger of theft either of the car of parts of the cars, the landlord can legitimately wish to keep his car in locked up garage. Further, the landlord cannot be expected every time to request the other tenant to move out his car so that the landlord may be able to move out his car. This would certainly be inconvenient for the landlord. It cannot be said, thereforee, that the parking of the car inside the compound of the house was a reasonably suitable accommodation for the car of the landlord.
9. In assessing the bona fide requirement of the landlord and finding out if the present accommodation was reasonably suitable for the landlord, attention has to be confined only to the various circumstances described above in connection with the landlord himself. It would not be legitimate to compare the need of the landlord for the additional accommodation for the car with the need of the tenant to live in the premises from which the tenant is being evicted. It may be that the need of the tenant to live in the garage in an ethical sense is greater than the need of the landlord of keeping his car in the garage. It is also true that the right of the landlord over his property has been subject to a reasonable restriction in favor of the tenant by the Act. But neither the Act not any other principle requires the lord for the garage with the need for the tenant for the premises. The need of the tenant has already been given a preference over the ordinary right of the property of the landlord by the Act in giving protection to the tenant against eviction by the landlord by the Act in giving protection to the tenant against eviction by the landlord in exercise of his ordinary right. But the Act has also provided that in the various circumstances described in the provisos to Section 14(1) the landlord would have a right to evict the tenant. Once the conditions of any of the provisos are fulfillled then the right of the landlord becomes free from the restrictions imposed on it by the Act. This right of the landlord cannot further be compared with the need of the tenant and cannot be further circumscribed by any other considerations which are confined to the tenant and are not concerned with the landlord. This is why proviso (e) does not require the Court to consider the need of the tenant in giving effect to the right of eviction given to the landlord by it.
10. For the above reasons, I agree with the concurrent decisions of the Courts below and dismiss the appeal but without any order as to costs. I order that under sub-sec (7) of S. 14 of the Act, the landlord shall not be entitled to obtain possession of the premises from the tenant before the expiration of the period of six months from the date of this order.
11. Appeal dismissed