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Rattan Chand and ors. Vs. Arora Provision Stores - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 298D of 1963
Judge
Reported in4(1968)DLT61
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 57(2)
AppellantRattan Chand and ors.
RespondentArora Provision Stores
Advocates: T.N. Sethi,; Jai Krishan and; A.N. Arora, Advs
Cases ReferredSmt. Mohan Devi and Kumari Jia Rani v. Delhi Development Authority
Excerpt:
.....had adopted an attitude of denying everything, even his signatures on the receipts issued by shanti parkash as well as the receipts issued subsequently. a right of appeal carries with it a right of rehearing on law as well as fa. the broad popular conception of the words 'appeal' and 'revision' influenced by the distinction reflected in the code of civil procedure is of course well known, but i am unable, as at present advised, to construe the word 'apeal' as used in the afore- said second proviso so as to exclude revisions from its fold. the plaint in this case was clearly presented before the enforcement of the act of 1958. the right of appeal being a vested right, the new act, unless it expressly or by necessary intendment applies, cannto confer it on the parties to the pending..........a preliiminary objection that no petition for revision is competent in the present cass. the delhi rent control act no 50 of 1958 was enforced 31st december, 1958 and the present revision was presented in this court on 9th august, 1963. it is argued that under the aforosaid act, there is no provision for a revision and the only remedy available under section 39 of the said act is a second appeal involving some sustantial question of law. but then here again it is contended that the revision cannto be treated as a second appeal because of time bar. no' second appeal could be dled on 9th august 1963 because that would be barred by limitation.(5) shri sethi has met this objection by drawing iny attention to section 57 of the said act which reals as under :- '57. repeal and.....
Judgment:

I.D. Dua, C.J.

(1) This revision is directed against the older of the learned Additional Senior Subordinate Judge dated 13th March 1963 allowing the appeal and revers sing the order of a learned Subordinate Judg 1st Class dated 31st August 1961 whereby the plaintiff's suit. for recovery of Rs. l,080.00 and for ejectment against the defendant was decreed.

(2) The suit in the trial Court had been instituted by Smt. Mohan Devi, wife of Shri Gopi Chand, forma pauperis on the allegations that M/s. Arora Provision Stores of Delhi was a tenant under her with regard to a khokha situated at Phatak Mishri Khan, Daryaganj. Delhi, at a monthly rent of Rs.30.00 and that no rent had been paid from 1st February, 1951 to 31st January, 1954. On the pleadings, the following three principal issues were settled:-- 1. Whether the relationship of landlord and tenant exists between the parties 2. If issue No.1 is proved, whether any valid ntoice of demand was served upon the defeneant 3 Whether the plaintiff has a locus standi, to bring this suit To what amount, if any, is that plaintiff entitled that trial Court cams to the conclusion that the plaintiff was the mtoher of Shanti Parkash, who had since, died. The deceased had taken some land on rent from the Delhi Improvement Trust as far back as 1944 and had constructed certain khokhas thereon which were given on rent to the defendant and also to some tohers. The relationship of landlord and tenant was denied on the ground that Shanti Parkash had left behind a minor daughter and a widow. The widow of Shanti Parkash was allaged to have remarried which was supported by the statement of the widow's father. There was no rebuttal. In so far as Vie minor daughter is concerned, Smt. Mohan Devi also claimed to be her guardian and the rent was being sought to be recovered buth on her own behalf and on behalf of the minor daughter. It was added that the defendant had also attorney to Smt. Mohan Devi after the death of Shanti Parkash. This last assertion was of course denied by the defendant. It was observed by the trial Court that the defendant had adopted an attitude of denying everything, even his signatures on the receipts issued by Shanti Parkash as well as the receipts issued subsequently. The defendant even denied his signatures on the ntoice which according to that trial Court, were identifiable even to the naked eye. The trial Court after a discussion of the entire evidence came to the conclusion that the defendant had attorney to the plaintiff and paid her rent and taken receipts in token thereof. The statements of the defendant's witnesses were nto believed and an adverse inference was particularly drawn in view of the defendant's conduct in denying everything. The relationship of landlord and tenant was thus held proved. The defendant's attempt to prove that he had attorney to the Improvement Trust by producing receipts was nto taken into account because of want of plea of attornment to a paramount title-holder. The plaintiff was thus held to have locus standi to file the suit and also entiled to recover the rent and sue for ejectment. On these findings, ntoiced earlier, the plaintiff's suit was decreed.

(3) On appeal, the learned Additional Senior Subordinate Judge took into account Ex. D 5 a judgment of a learned Subordinate Judge dated 29th May, 9146 whereby the claim of the Delhi Improvement Trust against Shanti Parkash and Bhishan Singh for the recovery of Rs. 652.00/6 as arrears of rent and damages was decreed and ejectment was ordered against Shanti Parkash. I find from the record that a written statement by the defendant dated 12th July 1954, has on it, a large number of exhibit marks, including Ex. D 5 which do nto purport to be signed by (he Court or by anyone else on its behalf. Obviously. there was consid rable confusion and no supervision in the Trial Court in the matter of exhibit marks. I hope in future the Court would pay the required attention to the exhibit marks. From Exhoit D.5,the Appellate Court comcluded that the lease in favor of Shanti Parkash had come to an end in 1946. But it said that though the appellant became a tenant of Shanti Parkash in th' year 1949, nevertheless, as Shanti Parkash had no right or title to pass to the tenant, the tenancy could nto be deemed as valid and, thereforee, the appellant was at liberty to start paying rent or damages to the title paramount which was the Delhi Improvement Trust Section 118 of the India Evidence Act was considered by the lower Appellan Court to be inapplicable to such a case. The receipt of rent by Smt. Mohan Devi. according to the Court below, did nto make her a landlord. In the final result, the order of the trial Court was reversed and it was held that Smt Mohan Devi was nto the landlord of M/s. Arora Provision Stores.

(4) On revision before me, Shri A. N. Arora, learned counsel for the respondent M/s. Arora Provision Stores, has raised a preliiminary objection that no petition for revision is competent in the present cass. The Delhi Rent Control Act No 50 of 1958 was enforced 31st December, 1958 and the present revision was presented in this Court on 9th August, 1963. It is argued that under the aforosaid Act, there is no provision for a revision and the only remedy available under section 39 of the said Act is a second appeal involving some sustantial question of law. But then here again it is contended that the revision cannto be treated as a second appeal because of time bar. No' second appeal could be dled on 9th August 1963 because that would be barred by limitation.

(5) Shri Sethi has met this objection by drawing iny attention to section 57 of the said Act which reals as under :- '57. Repeal and savings.-(i) The Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, ;952 (33 of 1952), in so far as it is applicable to the Union territory of Delhi is hereby repealed. (2) Ntowithstanding such repeal, all suits and toher proceedings under the said Act pending, at the commencement of this Act, before any court or toher authority shall be continued and disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the said Act, as if the said Act had continued in force and this Act had no: been passed. Provided that in any such suit or proceeding for the fixation of standard rent or for the eviction of a tenant from any premises to which section 54 does nto apply the court or toher authority shall have regard to the provisions of this Act: Provided further that the provisions for appeal under the said Act shall continue in force in respect of suits and proceedings disposed of there under.' It is submitted that the provisions for appeal under the repealed Act are to continue in force in respect of suits and proceedings disposed of there under. According to Shri Sethi, the word 'appeal' should be deemed to include revisons, whereas Shri Arora contends that the word 'appeal' could nto have been intended to include revision. Shri Sethi has, however, in the alternative praved that this revision may be treted as a petition under Article 22. of the Constitution and relief granted on that basis. Shri Arora has in support of submission drawn my attention to the observations contained in paragraph 7 of the judgmeat of the Supreme Court in Hari Shankar v. Girdhari Lal, which reads as under:-

'THEdistinction between an appeal and a revision is a real one. A right of appeal carries with it a right of rehearing on law as well as fa.ct, unless the statute conferring the right of appeal limits the rehearing in sorne way as, was find, ha... been done. in second appeals arising urder the Code of Civil Procedure. the power to hear a revision is-generally given to a superior Court so that it may satisfy itself that a particular case has been decided according to law. Under S. 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the High Court's powers are limited to see whether in a case decided there has been an assumption of jurisdiction where none existed, or a refusal of jurisdiction where it did, or there has been material irregularity or illegality' in the exercise of that jurisdiction. The right there is confined to jurisdiction and jurisdiction alone. In toher Acts, th? power is nto so limited, and the High Court is enabled to call for the record of a case to satisfy itself that the decision therein is according to law and to pass such orders in relation to the case, a- it thinks fit.' As against this,. Shri Sethi has cited a decision by D. Falshaw C.J. in Messrs. Gulab Raj Kishorel Lal v. Shri Banarsidas Chandiwala Sewa Smarak Trust, Delhi', wherein it is observed tint proceedings under section 35 of the Delhi Rent Control Act of 1952 constitute rehearing of the case.

(6) I do nto think these decisions can be pressed into service for the purpose of construing the scope and effect of the second proviso contained in section 57 of the 195S Delhi Rant Act. The word 'appeal has nto been defined anywhere. Atleast at the bar, my attention has nto been drawn to any provision in which the word appeal as used in the aforesaid Act has been defined. The broad popular conception of the words 'appeal' and 'revision' influenced by the distinction reflected in the Code of Civil Procedure is Of course well known, but I am unable, as at present advised, to construe the word ''apeal' as used in the afore- said second proviso so as to exclude revisions from its fold. In Nagendranath De. v. Sureshchandra De', the Privy Council, observed as follows :-

'THEREis no definition of appeal in the Code of Civil Procedure, but their Lordships have no doubt that any application by a party to an appellate court, asking if to set aside or revise a decision of a subordinate court, is an appeal within the ordinary acceptation of the term and that it is no less an appeal because it is irregular or incompetent.'

In M/s. Mela Ram & Sons v. Commissioner of Income-tax. Venkatarama Ayyar J., speaking for the Court, spoke this ; -

'ANYapplication by a party to an appellate Courtiirt asking it to set aside or revise- a decision of a subordinate Court, is .an appeal within the ordinary accepration of the term.'

The word 'appeal' has, in my view a wider meaning than is suggested I on behalf of the learned counsel for the respondent when it is used in the second proviso to section 57(2) because the purpose which appears to me to have been intended to ha achieved by this proviso is to apply to the pending controversies the provisions of the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act of 1952. I do nto find any principle on which the appeals should have been allowed to be governed by the previous Act and nto the revisions, which remedy was expressly given by the earlier, statute to the aggrieved party. The scheme ofActxxxviii of 1952, so far as provisions for appeals and revisions are concerned, does nto seem to me to justify any distinction between the two remedies. The intention of the legislature thus seems to me to allow the proceedings initiated under the 1952 Act to be completed up to the final stage of buth appeals and revisions by the provisions of the earlier Act.

(7) There is also antohar way of looking at the matter, the right of appeal and revision is nto a matter of procedure, but is a substantive right and generally speaking the institution of the suit carried with it the implication that all rights of appeal and revision then in force are preserved to the parties thereto till the rest of the career of the suit. The right to enter the superior Court accordingly accrues when the Us commences and such a right can be taken away only by a subsequent enactment either expressly or by necessary intendment. The right of revision haying nto been so taken away, it remained intact. Section 37 of the Act of 1958, by way of abundant caution, retains the right of appeal expressly. The right of revision must be held to be retained under the rule of law just stated. It is nto contended that by the rule of exclusion, the right of revision can be deemed to have been taken ' away.

(8) But assuming that no revision is competent, a second appeal under the Act of 1958 would seem to me to be more difficult to sustain. The plaint in this case was clearly presented before the enforcement of the Act of 1958. The right of appeal being a vested right, the new Act, unless it expressly or by necessary intendment applies, cannto confer it on the parties to the pending proceedings. In that event, we might consider the possibility of applying section 115, Civil Procedure Code, or Article 227 of the Constitution. It is, however, unnecessary in this case to dilate on this aspect.

(9) Coming to the merits of the controversy, I am constrained to observe that the order of the learned Additional Senior Subordinate Judge proceeds on an erroneous hyptohesis. If after Exhibit D. 5 which was of the year 1946, the impugned attornment took place in 1949, it is nto understood how this attornment could be held to be nullified merely because of the fact that there was no title in the person in whose favor the attornment had taken place. The legal position apparently was nto fully canvassed before the lower Appellate Court. But this apart, my attention has been drawn to an order of the District Judge, Delhi dated 18th February, 1963 made on appeal from the order of the Estate Officer dated 31st March, 1962 in Shri Bishan Sing.'Smt. Mohan Devi and Kumari Jia Rani v. Delhi Development Authority, M. C..A. 227-A of 1862. In -this order, there is a reference to some compromise and also to some payment of a substantial amount in lieu of which the plto in question was releaaed in favor of the lessees. The finding of the learned District Judge may hereby reproduced in his own words :-

'ASI have stated above, the vorious factors mentioned clea.rly show that the respondent who kept quiet over the continuous possession of the appellant of the land in dispute for nearly 14 years must have done so for some pressing reason and this leads me to believe that there must have been some sort of compromise between the parties, which led the appellant even to pay the time-barred claim of the respondent. In these circumstances, I am constrained to hold that the appellant happens to be in possession of the premises with the consent implied or toherwise of the respondent. The appeal, is accordingly accepted and the order of the Estate Officer is set aside.'

No objection has been taken before me as to the admissibility of this judgment. In the interest of Justice, thereforee, I am inclined to admit: it in evidence. However, this would nto conclude the matter. In order, thereforee, to avoid multiplicity of proceedings, I consider it more appropriate to call for a report from the trial Court on the question as to whether theie was any compromise between the appellants or their predecessors-in-interest and the Delhi Developmant Authority with respect to their rights to the plto in question and if so, what is its effect. The parties would be at liberty to lead evidence on this aspect. The report of the trial Court would be submitted to this Court through the lower Appellate Court which would of course express its own opiaion on the conclusions of the Court of first instance. On receipt of the report this revision would be set down for hearing.

(10) parties are directed to appear in the trinl Court on 8th January, 1968 when antoher short date would be given for production of evidence. The report should be submitted to this Court by the middle of February, 1968.


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