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Nagendra Kumar Vs. Malik Tejram Anand and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy;Civil
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberC.R. No. 725/73
Judge
Reported in29(1986)DLT167
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14(1), 43 and 50(4); Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 39, Rules 1 and 2
AppellantNagendra Kumar
RespondentMalik Tejram Anand and anr.
Appellant Advocate Keshav Dayal and; Ram Bihari Gupta, Advs
Respondent Advocate S.N. Sapra, Adv.
DispositionPetition succeeds
Cases ReferredMalik Tej Ram v. Didwani Brothers Pvt. Ltd.
Excerpt:
.....petition against the firm on the basis of non-payment of rent and that the learned additional rent controller had passed an order under section 15(1) of the act against the firm and on the failure of the firm to pay the rent, the controller had struck off its defense the senior sub-judge (shri b. the appellant remained unsuccessful in her appeal before the rent control tribunal. for instance, a person who alleges himself to bet he tenant and whose tenancy is denied by the landlord as well as the landlord who alleges that the person is not his tenant, can go to the civil court to substantiate his contention. ordinarily, only such a person will go to the civil court who has failed to get a favorable order from the controller' and that after the decision of the controller is known, the..........respondent') from executing the order of eviction dated 6th august, 1971 passed by the additional rent controller, delhi;- (shri k.b. andley) in eviction petition no. 299 of 1969 malik tej ram v. didwania brothers pvt. ltd. and another.2. briefly stated the facts of the cases are that respondent is the owner of premises bearing no. 35/219, lajpat nagar iv, new double storey, new delhi 14. he filed a petition under section 14(a)(b) & (e) of the delhi rent control act, 1958, against respondent no. 2 m/s. didwani brothers pvt. ltd. (herein called 'the firm') impleading the petitioner as a co-respondent for of possession of the suit premises on the allegation that the firm was in arrears of rent since after 11th march, 1966 who had neither paid nor tendered the whole of the arrears of the.....
Judgment:

Prithvi Raj, J.

1. This revision petition is directed against the judgment dated September 18, 1973, Passed by Shri B.B. Gupta, Senior Sub-Judge, Delhi, whereby he confirmed the order dated 21st March, 1973 passed by Shri M.A. Khan, Sub-Judge 1st Class, Delhi, dismissing the application of the petitioner under Order 39 Rules 1 and 2 C.P.C. for grant of ad interim injunction restraining respondent No. 1, Malik Tej Ram Anand (herein called 'the respondent') from executing the order of eviction dated 6th August, 1971 passed by the Additional Rent Controller, Delhi;- (Shri K.B. Andley) in eviction petition No. 299 of 1969 Malik Tej Ram v. Didwania Brothers Pvt. Ltd. and another.

2. Briefly Stated the facts of the cases are that respondent is the owner of premises bearing No. 35/219, Lajpat Nagar IV, New Double Storey, New Delhi 14. He filed a petition under section 14(a)(b) & (e) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, against respondent No. 2 M/s. Didwani Brothers Pvt. Ltd. (Herein called 'the firm') impleading the petitioner as a co-respondent for of possession of the suit premises on the allegation that the firm was in arrears of rent since after 11th March, 1966 who had neither paid nor tendered the whole of the arrears of the rent legally recoverable from it within two months of the date on which the notice of demand for payment of arrears of the rent was served on it; that the firm on or after the 9th June, 1952 sublet, assigned or otherwise parted with the possession of the whole of the premises to the petitioner without obtaining the consent of the respondent and that the premises let out for residential premises were required bona fide by respondent for occupation as a residence for himself and for members of his family dependent upon him and that the respondent had no other suitable and sufficient residential accommodation with him.

3. The case of the respondent was that the premises had been taken on rent by the firm from the erstwhile owner Shri Narain Singh Kohli for residence of the petitioner who was their employee. The petitioner having left the service of the firm which agreed to vacate the premises and deliver its possession to the respondent. However, the firm did not deliver possession of the premises and on the contrary sub-let, assigned or otherwise parted with the possession of the premises to the petitioner without the consent in writing of the respondent. The respondent accordingly contended that the petitioner was residing in the premises as an unauthorised sub-tenant.

4. The firm resisted the application, inter alia, on the ground that the premises in question were taken on rent by the petitioner from the previous landlord Shri Narinder Singh Kohli on 1st April, 1958, and since then he had been occupying the same as a lawful tenant, and that the firm had only taken guarantee to secure the payment of the rent on behalf of the petitioner who was the actual tenant of the premises. The allegations regarding sub-letting ect, were denied on the ground that the petitioner has been residing in the suit premises since the date of inception of the tenancy in his favor as a direct lawful tenant.

5. The petitioner who was imp leaded as a co-respondent, averred that he was lawful tenant in respect of the premises and that the firm was a mere name-holder and a Benami for him further alleging that the grounds of eviction alleged in the petition were not available to the respondent. Shri K.B. Andley, Additional Rent Controller, vide his judgment dated 6th August, 1971, held that the firm was a tenant in respect of the demised premises and that from the oral and documentary evidence placed on the record no tenancy in favor of the petitioner could be spelt out by any stretch of imagination. In the premises, it was held that the firm was not a Benami tenant for and on behalf of the petitioner as alleged by the petitioner. The Controller found the grounds, on which the eviction of the firm was sought, in favor of the respondent and held that a valid notice terminating the tenancy of the firm had been duly served. Accordingly an order of ejectment regarding the premises in question was passed in favor of the respondent and against the petitioner and the firm with costs.

6. The petitioner and the firm feeling aggrieved by the aforesaid order challenged the same in separate appeals under Section 38 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (herein called 'the Act') before Shri G.C. Jain Rent Control Tribunal who by his judgment dated 1st August, 1972, disposed of the appeals by a common judgment and dismissed the same with costs.

7. The petitioner subsequently filed a suit seeking permanent injunction restraining the respondent his servants, representatives and agents from executing order of eviction dated 6th August, 1971 passed by Shri K.B. Andley, Additional Rent Controller in eviction Petition No. 299-E of 1969-re: Malik Tej Ram Anand v. Didwani Brothers Pvt. Ltd. and Anr. In the suit the petitioner moved an application under Order 39 Rules 1 and 2 read with Section 151 C.P.C. for grant of an ad interim injunction restraining the respondent from executing the aforesaid order and from dispossessing him from the premises in suit.

8. Shri M.A. Khan, Sub-Judge 1st Class, Delhi, who heard the application, dismissed the same by his order dated 21st March, 1973. The petitioner challenged the order of Shri M.A. Khan before Shri B.B. Gupta, Senior Sub-Judge who by his order dated 18th September, 1973, dismissed the appeal with costs. The petitioner has challenged the aforesaid order in the present revision petition.

9. The learned Senior Sub-Judge by his impugned order held that the petitioner had no prima facie case. Receipts of rent, he held, were issued in favor of the firm and not in the name of the petitioner. Noticing that the respondent had filed the ejectment petition against the firm on the basis of non-payment of rent and that the learned Additional Rent Controller had passed an order under Section 15(1) of the Act against the firm and on the failure of the firm to pay the rent, the Controller had struck off its defense the Senior Sub-Judge (Shri B.B. Gupta) noted that the Additional Rent Controller had held that the firm was the tenant and the petitioner was sub-tenant which finding was upheld by the High Court in that a revision petition filed by the petitioner was dismissed in liming. Accordingly, the learned Senior Sub-Judge Posed a question to himself: whether the question of title raised by the petitioner was one that could take out the case from the preview of section 43 of the Act entitling the petitioner to seek relief under section 50(4) of Act. He held that no question of title was involved and that except for the bare allegation of the petitioner there was no prima facie evidence on the record to show that the petitioner in fact was a tenant that the firm was only a guarantor or surety. In the premises the appeal was dismissed.

10. The first appellate Court was evidently influenced by the fact that the finding of the Rent Controller that the petitioner was a sub-tenant and in fact the firm was a tenant had been upheld by this Court in S.A.O. No. 259 of 1972 which was dismissed in liming. Accordingly, he took the view that the order of the Controller confirmed in appeal by the Tribunal having become final, could not be called in question in a suit under Section 50(4) of the Act.

11. The view taken by the first appellate Court is erroneous and cannot be supported on a true interpretation of section 50(4) of the Act which does not forbid a civil court, amongst others, from entertaining any suit on proceeding for the decision of any question of title to any premises to which the Act applies. Such a question was considered in case D. David v. Miss R. Makha, 1972 RCR 253, In that case the respondent landlord filed and application against the appellant alleging her to be a tenant for her eviction from the premises, amongst others, on the ground of non-payment of rent. The Controller passed an order under Section 15(1) of the Act asking the appellant to deposit the rent of the premises. The appellant disputed her liability to make such a deposit on the ground that she was not a tenant at all but the owner of the house. The question whether the respondent was a landlord and the appellant a tenant was gone into by the Controller who rejected the objection of the appellant and asked her to deposit the rent in Court under Section 15(1) of the Act. The appellant remained unsuccessful in her appeal before the Rent Control Tribunal. In second appeal in the High Court the question which arose for determination was whether the decision of the Controller regarding the relationship of the landlord and tenant raised a question of law within the meaning of Section 39 of the Act. It was held that the exercise of the jurisdiction of Controller in evening a tenant under Section 14 or in fixing standard rent under Section 9 of the Act was based on the assumption that the relationship of landlord and tenant exists; that he is not required by any provision of the Act to decide the existence of relationship; and that his finding on the question as to the existence of the relationship of landlord and tenant and of the title of the landlord to the premises was not final but was challengeable in a regular suit filed in a civil Court. In the premises, it was held that if the appellant was desirous of challenging the concurrent findings of the Controller and the Recent Control Tribunal as to the jurisdictional facts, her remedy was to file a suit in the civil court, the jurisdiction of which is preserved by Section 50(4) of the Act.

12. The Above case was duly brought to the notice of the first appellate court but he did not assign any reason for not following it. The ratio of this decision was approved in a Division Bench decision of this Court in Vidyawant v. Takam Das and Anr., 1974 RCR 47, wherein it was observed that Sub-section (1) of Section 50 of the Act specifics the questions which are to be within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Controller such as (1) fixation of standard rent, (2) eviction of tenant and (3) 'any other matter which the Controller in empowered by or under the Act to decide'. Those questions alone are excluded from the jurisdiction of the civil court. While Sub-section (4) describes the questions which continue to remain with in the jurisdiction of the civil court and are not put into the exclusive jurisdiction of the Controller. The Division Bench observed that these questions are 'any question of title to any premises to which the Act applies' and 'any question as to the person or person who are entitled to receive the rent of such premises'. The Bench accordingly observed that the true test as to a matter which was included in the exclusive jurisdiction of the Controller to decide and that the formation of the relationship of landlord and tenant and the existence of such relationship was not to be decided by the Controller under any of the Act. The Bench observed, 'the decision of the Controller binds the parties only for the purpose of the proceeding before the Controller. It is however not final. For under Sub-section (4) of Section 50 of the Act, the person aggrieved by the decision can go the civil court to get the question of title decided by the civil court. For instance, a person who alleges himself to bet he tenant and whose tenancy is denied by the landlord as well as the landlord who alleges that the person is not his tenant, can go to the civil court to substantiate his contention. Ordinarily, only such a person will go to the civil Court who has failed to get a favorable order from the Controller' and that after the decision of the Controller is known, the party against whom the decision is given is free to go to the civil court under Sub-section (4) of Section 50 of the Act.

13. That being the position in law the first appellate Court was wrong in holding that the question of title raised by the petitioner was not such as to take out the case from the purview of Section 43 of the Act enabling the petitioner to contest the finding of the Rent Controlled confirmed by the Tribunal under Sub-section (4) of Section 50 of the Act. The Petitioner having raised the question of title contending that he is a tenant under respondent being an aggrieved party from the judgment of Shri G.C. Jaing, Rent Control Tribunal, dated 1st August, 1972 is entitled to challenge the same in the civil Court, under Sub-section (4) of Section 50 of the Act.

14. The balance of convenience lies in favor of the petitioner, her being in occupation of the premises in question. What is required to be borne in mind at the time of granting an ad interim injunction is that the Court is not to consider the claim of the petitioner closely or to arrive at a conclusion that he was likely to succeed. The Court is only required to see that the petitioner has succeeded in bona fide raising a substantial question which needs to be investigated by the Court at the trial. If so, the status quo ante has to be preserved and the Court shall order accordingly. Further, what is to be considered is (i) whether the petitioner has a prima facie case in the suit, (ii) whether he would suffer irreparable loss if the temporary injunction is not granted, and (iii) which way the balance of convenience lies. (See Baldev Raj v. D.D.A., 1971 RLR 84, Kapur Chand v. Municipal Corporation, 1972 RLR 205; and Gopal Krishan Kapur v. Romesh Chander, 1973 RLR 542.

15. Now the case of the petitioner is that he had taken on lease the premises in question from the previous landlord Shri Narain Singh Kohli in April 1958 and that he was occupying the same as a lawful tenant while the firm had undertaken to secure the payment of rent on his behalf. In Support of his contention the petitioner Produced some letters which had been duly noted by the Rent Control Tribunal in its judgment dated 1st August, 1972 What value is to be attached to the said letters is a question for the civil court to decide but apparently they do support the contention of the petitioner. For the purpose of granting ad interim injunction it is not open to the Court to subject the material to closer scrutiny for the purpose of deciding if on account of any inherent characteristics of the situation or the probabilities the petitioner may not succeed in his contention. See Gopal Krishan's case(supra).

16. For the reasons stated above the petitioner succeeds, the impugned order dated 18th September, 1973, passed by Shri B.B. Gupta, Senior Sub-Judge. Delhi is set aside. The application of the petitioner dated 22nd September, 1971, under Order 39, Rules 1 and 2, Read with Section 151 C.P.C. is accepted. It is ordered that the petitioner shall not be dispossessed from the premises in question in pursuance of the orders date 6th August, 1971, passed by the Additional Rent Controller (Shri K.B. Andley) in eviction petition No. 299 of 1969 in re : Malik Tej Ram v. Didwani Brothers Pvt. Ltd., till the disposal of the suit. The stay in respect of dispossession shall be operative subject to petitioner's depositing the rent every month as and when it falls due. If the petitioner fails in so ding, the stay shall stand vacated. The above observations shall however, be without prejudice to the merits of the case.

17. In the circumstances of the case, the parties shall bear heir respective costs.


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