V.S. Deshpande, J.
(1) The question referred to the Full Bench is whether section 19 of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956 (simply called the 'Act' hereafter applies to a building which is used for a purpose other than residential.
(2) The petitioner landlord obtained an order for the eviction of the Respondent No. 2 tenant from a premises which is situated in a slum area. He filed a petition under section 19(l)(b) of the Act before the Competent Authority for permission to execute the order of evic- tion. The permission was refused by the Competent Authority. The said order was upheld by the Financial Commissioner in an appeal filed by the petitioner under section 20 of the Act. The petitioner thereup- on filed the present petition under Article 227 of the Constitution with a view to get the said orders set aside.
(3) The main ground on which the validity of the orders refusing the permission has been impugned is that section 19 of the Act protects from eviction only those tenants who are using the premises occupied by them for residential purposes. If such tenants do not have the means to find alternative accommodation then their eviction from the premises would result in the creation of a fresh slum by them as they would necessarily try to live in another slum after being evicted from one. On the other hand, tenants using the premises for non-residen- tial purposes would already be having some other place to live in. By being evicted from the premises they would lose their place of busi- ness but would continue to reside in their residences. It is argued that as section 19 does not apply to premises used for non-residential purposes, the Component Authority and the Financial Commissioner had no jurisdiction to extend the protection of section 19 to the tenant respondent No. 2 who is a company using the premises for non-residential purposes.
(4) The concept of a 'slum' both in the dictionaries as well as in Volume Ii of Encyclopadia Britannica is that is relates to urban residential areas. We have, thereforee, to see whether the concept to a 'slum' in the Act is the same or different, that is to say, whether it applies only to premises used for a residential purpose or it applies also to premises used for other purposes. A scrutiny of the scheme of the various provisions of the Act brings out the following :--
(1)Section 2(b)-the definition of 'building'-includes any structure or erection or any part of a building as so defined but does not include plant or machinery comprised in a building. The object of this definition is to show that any structure or erection would be a building. It makes no distinction between a kachha or a puce structure. The reason obviously is that buildings in a slum area are most likely to be in a had condition. It is significant, thereforee, that the plant or machinery situated in such a building are not included in a building. This indicates two things. Firstly, the Act contempl ates bulidings in a slum area being used for housing a plant or machinery. Since a building housing a plant or machinery can ordinarily be used only for non-residential purpose, a building used for a nonresidential purpose is included in the definition of a 'building' in section 2(b). Secondly, the plant or machinery are exempted from the definition of a 'building' because a building can be asked to be compulsorily improved under Chapter Iii or demolished under Chapter Iv of the Act, and in either event, the plant or machinery in the building would not be touched by the action taken against the budding. A Division Bench of this Court in Hafij Ali Hassan v. The Administrator for the Union Territory of Delhi, (Civil Writ No. 44 of 1966 decided on April 26, 1967) took this feature alone into account in deciding that the Act applies to buildings used for non-residential purposes. But we would have to consider all the relevant provisions In the Act before coming to the conclusion whether the concept of 'slum' in the Act differs from the one made out by the meaning adopted in the dictionaries and in the Encyclopadia Britannica. (2) The key to the understanding of the meaning of a slum area is provided by Chapter Ii which contains only section 3. Section 3(1) lays down two criteria on the satisfaction of either of which an area would be regarded as a slum area. The first criterion in clause (a) is that the buildings in that area are unfit for human habitation. The verb 'inhabit' and noun 'habitation', according to the dictionary meanings, can apply only to the residence of human beings in dwellings or homes and not to the use of buildings for non-residential purposes. The meaning of clause (a) is further elaborated in subsection (2) of section 3. But clause (b) of section 3(1) lays down the other criterion, namely, thal: the buildings which are detrimental to safety, health or morals would constitute a slum area. It cannot be said that a building which is detrimental to safety, health or morals must necessarily connote a residential building. It could equally be a non-residential building. A slum area would, thereforee, include residential as well as non-residential buildings according to Chapter Ii of the Act. (3) Chapter Iii of the Act deals with slum improvement. It is attracted only against buildings which are unfit for human habitation. Action there under cannot be taken in respect of buildings which are not unfit for human habitation. (4) Then we come to Chapter Iv which deals with slum clearance and re-development. Scciion 9(1) authorises the Competent Authority to order demolition of all the buildings in a slum area. The significance of the adjective 'all' used before the words ''the buildings' is that both residential and non-residential buildings can be ordered to be demolished under section 9(1). The criterion for the demolition of a residential building is given in section 3(1)(a) and section 3(2) while the criterion for the demolition of a non-residential building is given in section 3(l)(b). Apparently the Competent Authority would be satified that these two criteria are fulfillled in respect of residential and non-residential buildings respectively before ordering demolition of these two types of buildings under section 9(1). The proviso to section 9(1) enables the exclusion of a residential building from demolition if it is not unlit for human habitation and of a non-residential building if it is not dangerous or detrimental to health or morals. (5) Section 29 of the Act empowers the Competent Authority to direct any person carrying on any dangerous or offensive trade in a slum area to remove the trade from that area within such time as may be specified in the order. This is another indication that a building used lor anon-residential purpose is covered by the Act as forming a component of a shim area. (6) Section 32 prescribes the penalties under the Act. In sub sections (4) and (5) thereof, occupation of build-ings in a slum area by companies is expressly contemplated. This is another indication that buildings used turn non-residential purposes are covered by the Act as forming a component of a slum area no less than the buildings used for residential purposes.
(5) It is in the context of these provisions of the Act that we have to read section 19 of the Act. Clauses (a) and (b) of section 19(1) expressly apply to a building as well as land. There is no reference to the purpose for which the building or land may be put.- A building or land may be used for a residential or for a non-residential purpose. The absence of a mention of the purpose indicates that section 19 does not exclude non-residential purpose. Section 19(4)(a) uses the neutral word 'accommodation' which may include residential as well as non-residential buildings. Section 19(4)(b) refers to A build ment as well as clearance of the slum areas. We have already seenthat while improvement under Chapter Iii of the Act is confined to premises unfit for human habitation, slum clearance under Chapter Iv can include buildings used for residential as well as non-residential purposes.
(6) Our conclusion, thereforee, is that section 19 applies to buildings irrespective of the question whether they are used for residential or non-residential purposes. The question referred to the Full Bench is answered accordingly.
(7) The case may now go back to the Division Bench for the decision of the remaining questions. Costs of the reference would be costs in the main petition.