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Raj Kumar and ors. Vs. the New Delhi Municipal Committee, New Delhi and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petition Appeal No. 286 of 1969
Judge
Reported inILR1970Delhi244
ActsPunjab Municipal Act, 1911 - Sections 176A
AppellantRaj Kumar and ors.
RespondentThe New Delhi Municipal Committee, New Delhi and ors.
Advocates: G.S. Vohra,; M.M. Singh,; S.N. Chopra and;
Excerpt:
punjab municipal act (1911), section 176-a - petitioners, displaced persons, in temporary occupation of shops subject to payment of license fee to the municipal committee and the execution of the license deeds--no legal possession of the shops, nor legal right to reduction of license fee till then.; the petitioners, who were displaced persons, were in occupation of stalls constructed by the new delhi municipal committee. subsequently they were allotted shops in a new market. their occupation was subject to the execution of the license deeds. the petitioners paid the license fee in advance under protest. subsequently, they refused to execute the license deeds. the committee locked these shops in the new market :; that the license deeds did nto contain any condition which could be said to.....deshpande, j.(1) the petitioners are displaced persons occupying stalls constructed by the respondent. new delhi municipal committee, on the irwin road, new delhi. the respondent has recently constructed a new market called the mohan singh place. the land for the construction of the new market was given to the respondent on concessional terms by the central government, inasmuch as the petitioners who were displaced persons were to the allotted shops in this new market. accordingly the petitioners were allotted shops in the new market by the letter dated 27-2-69 at annexure 'b' to the writ petition on the following conditions :- (1)the trade was to be carried on according to the bye-laws of the committee; (2) though formal possession was to be giv (2) accordingly, the petitioners paid the.....
Judgment:

Deshpande, J.

(1) The petitioners are displaced persons occupying stalls constructed by the respondent. New Delhi Municipal Committee, on the Irwin Road, New Delhi. The respondent has recently constructed a new market called the Mohan Singh Place. The land for the construction of the new market was given to the respondent on concessional terms by the Central Government, inasmuch as the petitioners who were displaced persons were to the allotted shops in this new market. Accordingly the petitioners were allotted shops in the new market by the letter dated 27-2-69 at annexure 'B' to the writ petition on the following conditions :-

(1)The trade was to be carried on according to the bye-laws of the Committee; (2) Though formal possession was to be giv

(2) Accordingly, the petitioners paid the license tee (though under protest) and occupied the shops allotted to them. When the license deeds in the form at annexure 'C' to the writ petition were presented to them for execution, the petitioners refused to execute the same as they alleged that they did nto accept the various terms thereof, as well as the rent which the respondent had charged them. The petitioners do nto state in the writ petition, which particular terms of the license deed were nto acceptable to them. The petitioners further aver that under section 176-A of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911, the respondent was bound to create leases in the favor, but the petitions did nto state whether the said provision of law was applicable to Delhi and if so, whether the conditions thereof had been fulfillled in the present case. The respondent locked the shops allotted to the petitioners on the ground that the petitioners had refused to execute the license deeds. The petitioners contend that they are willing to execute the license deeds containing reasonable terms and reasonable rent. The petitioners pray that the respondent should be ordered to remove the locks from the shops allotted to the petitioners and nto to disturb the possession of the petitioners. In the meanwhile, the petitioners have continued to keep possession of their stalls on Irwin Road also and the petitioners pray that the respondent should be ordered nto to demolish those stalls unless and until the petitioners are finally rehabilitated in the new shops in the Mohan Singh Place.

(3) The writ petition was resisted by the New Delhi Municipal Committee on the following grounds: Section 176-A of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911, had nto been applied to Delhi. The Mohan Singh Place had nto been built by the respondent with a view to construct stalls for displaced persons and to lease them on such conditions as the State Government may specie within the meaning of section 176-A. The petitioners were merely permitted temporary occupation of the shops on the express condition that they should pay the license fee fixed by the respondent. The license fee was fixed after giving a patient hearing to the petitioners. The permission given to the petitioners to occupy the shops did nto amount to delivery of legal possession to them. Since the petitioners did nto comply with the essential condition on which the said permission was given, viz., the execution of the license deeds, the respondent locked the shops, as the petitioners had no legal right to occupy them. The conditions of the license deeds are reasonable and the petitioners are bound to accept them, if they want the shops to be allotted to them as licensees.

(4) The question for decision may, thereforee, be formulated as below:-

(1)Whether the petitioners have a valid contractual right to the possession of the shops in the Mohan Sighn Place, if so on what terms (2) Alternatively, whether the petitioners are entitled to grant of leases on such conditions as the State Government may specify under section 176-A of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911.

(1) The petitioners were licensees in the old stalls on Irwin Road occupied by them. Similarly the accommodation in the Mohan Singh Place offered to the petitioners was also only as licensees. The letter dated 27-2-1969 at annexure 'B' to the writ petition is the offer made by the respondent to the petitioners. The petitioners accepted this offer when they actually came to occupy the shops in the Mohan Singh Place. They are thereforee, bound by the terms contained in the said offer. The license fee was also paid by the petitioners in advance. The petitioners, thereforee, accepted the rate of license fee (though under protest). They further agree that they could be licensees and would have to execute the license deeds. Their occupation was thereforee, clearly subject to the execution of the license deeds. They say that- they are willing to execute license deeds on reasonable terms. They have nto however, pointed out any particular terms of the license deeds, which are according to them such as could nto be contemplated by them when they accepted the offer to occupy the new shops subject to the execution of the license deeds. We have gone through the license deeds and have nto found any condition therein, which could be said to be so unusual or unreasonable that the petitioners could nto have contemplated that it would be contained in the license deeds to be executed by them.

(5) The occupation of the petitioners was nto only as licensees, but also subject to the execution of the license deeds. It is clear, thereforee, that they did nto have the legal possession of the shops. Further, the contract with the petitioners was itself inchoate. It had to be concluded by the execution of the license deeds Section 47(1) of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911 also requires that the contract with the respondent had to be made in writing and must be signed by two members of whom the President or Vice-President is one and is to be counter-signed by the Secretary. No such contract exists in the present case.

(6) The conduct of the petitioners is extremely unreasonable. For, even if it is assumed that Mohan Singh Place was built either partly or wholly for the rehabilitation of displaced persona by the respondent and the land for that purpose had been given by the Central Government on concessional terms, the fixation of license fee was left entirely to the respondent. The petitioners referred to some newspaper report in their rejoinder saying that 'economic rent' had to be fixed for these shops. It was, however, pointed on behalf of the respondent that the license fee of the shop has already been reduced at the instance of the petitioners in view of their being displaced persons as stated in paragraph 7 of the written-statement. Further the rent or the license fee charged from other displaced persons, who were occupying the stalls at Janpath and allotted shops in another new building was more than double the rent which is being charged from the petitioners in the Mohan Singh Place. The learned counsel for the petitioners said that the Janpath stall holders were to pay commercial rent. If so, the petitioners were going to pay 'economic rent' as they were being charged half of the commercial rent or less. Finally, the petitioners have nowhere alleged that the respondent was compellable to fix the rent at any particular figure. The Respondent 1s a public body, who have after hearing the petitioners, fixed the license fee as low as possible in view of the petitioners being displaced persons. The petitioners have no legal right that the rent should be fixed below the rate to which the petitioners have already agreed as a condition precedent to the occupation of the shops. Their plea that the payment of rent was 'under protest' has no meaning, inasmuch as, they have no legal right to get license fee reduced. In fact, the petitioners ought to be grateful to the respondent for being so very considerate. The petitioners have been ungrateful and unreasonable in first agreeing to pay the agreed license fee as the condition precedent for the occupation of the shops and then refusing to sign the license deed, even though the terms thereof are the usual terms on which licenses are or may be granted by public bodies and are nto unreasonable. The petitioners adopted questionable means in trying to get possession of the shops without agreeing to pay the agreed license fee and execute the license deeds. We regret to find that the petitioners seem to have approached Shri Trilochan Singh, a Member of the Allotment Sub-Committee of the respondent who wrote the letter at annexure 'Z' to the rejoinder in which he purported to disclose what happened in the meeting of the Allotment Sub-Committee and his talks with other Members of the respondent which we think, was nto proper. If Shri Trilochan Singh was nto satisfied with the decision of the respondent in relation to the petitioners, the honourable course for him would have been to resign his membership, so that he might express himself freely without embarrassment.

(7) We find, thereforee, .that firstly the petitioners have nto complied with the terms on which they were allowed to occupy the shops and secondly there was no concluded contract between them and the respondent. They have, thereforee, no Contractual right to the possession of the shops in the Mohan Singh Place. (2) The Punjab Municipal Act, 1911 was applied to Delhi long before 1950. Subsequent Acts of the Punjab Legislature amending the said Act do nto become applicable to Delhi unless they are specifically made so applicable. Section 176-A was inserted in the said Act by the Punjab Act No. 12 of the 1950. The petitioners have nto shown that this amendment Act was ever applied to Delhi. Section 176-A was not, thereforee, law in Delhi. Even if it had applied, the respondent have stated that Mohan Singh Place was nto built to provide accommodation to the displaced persons. The petitioners have neither pleaded nor proved that Mohan Singh Place was built for persons displaced from Pakistan within the meaning of section 176-A. The question, thereforee, of leasing the shops therein to the displaced persons does nto arise at all. Consequently the question of the State Government laying down the conditions of such leases also does nto arise.

(8) The writ petition, being totally without merit, is dismissed, but. the petitioners being displaced person there will be no order as to costs.


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