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B.N. Mittal Vs. Goswami - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 77 of 1977
Judge
Reported in1978RLR601
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act - Sections 15(2)
AppellantB.N. Mittal
RespondentGoswami
Advocates: M.L. Mehta,; T.N. Sethi and; M.M. Sudan, Advs
Cases ReferredIn Ariana Afghan Airlines v. Cycle Equipment
Excerpt:
.....since there was no explanationn whatever furnished for the defaults, it was not open to the controller to overlook them. thereforee, the tribunal was perfectly right in reversing the order of..........to a landlord's petition for recovery of possession was ordered to be struck out. the additional rent controller had declined to strike out the defense, and his order was reversed by the tribunal. (2) the landlord's petition for recovery of possession was based on the ground that he needed the premises for occupation as a residence for himself and the members of his family dependent upon him, and, also on the ground that the tenant had caused substantial damage to the premises. on 3rd september 1974 controller made an order u/s 15(2) of the act. he ordered the tenant to deposit arrears of rent with effect from 1st september, 1973 at the rate of rs. 270 per month with him one month, and to continue to deposit rent at that rate month by months by the 15th day of each succeeding month. it.....
Judgment:

T.P.S. Chawla, J.

(1) This is a second appeal u/s 39 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958. It is brought against an order made by the Rent Control Tribunal by which the defense of the tenant to a landlord's petition for recovery of possession was ordered to be struck out. The Additional Rent Controller had declined to strike out the defense, and his order was reversed by the Tribunal.

(2) The landlord's petition for recovery of possession was based on the ground that he needed the premises for occupation as a residence for himself and the members of his family dependent upon him, and, also on the ground that the tenant had caused substantial damage to the premises. On 3rd September 1974 Controller made an order u/s 15(2) of the Act. He ordered the tenant to deposit arrears of rent with effect from 1st September, 1973 at the rate of Rs. 270 per month with him one month, and to continue to deposit rent at that rate month by months by the 15th day of each succeeding month. It appears from this order made by the Controller that the tenant neither disputed the rate of rent nor the period for which arrears were due. He only raised the point that a co-owner of the premises also claimed the rent, and had filed a suit for partition of the property. Presumably, that was the reason why the Controller ordered that the rent would not be paid over to the landlord till he proved his 'exclusive title'.

(3) On 20th May, 1976, the landlord filed an application u/s section 15(7) of the Act for striking out the defense of the tenant as he had failed to comply with the order made u/s 15(2). In his reply the tenant simply denied that he had failed to comply with that order. The true position as regard the deposits made by the tenant emerges clearly from a statement which was filed by the landlord before the Controller, and was not disputed by the tenant. (Table showing deposits and defaults is detailed in para 4)

(4) The Controller rejected the application by the landlord for striking out the defense of the tenant because all the deposits had been made before that application was filed, that, this he said, showed that the 'delay' was not 'contumacious'. In appeal the Tribunal pointed out the error made by the Controller in thinking that all the deposits had been made before the application for striking out the defense was filed by the landlord. The application was filed on 20th May, 196. and the deposit on 22nd June, 1976 of rent for February, March and April, 1976 was made afterwards. The Tribunal held that the defaults were 'deliberate or volitional' and exhibited the tenant's utter disregard' for the order made under section 15(2), The tenant, it was emphasized, had not even tried to explain the lapses on his part. For these reasons, the appeal was allowed.

(5) Counsel for the tenant submitted before me that on some occasions the tenant deposited advance, and this indicated his bonafide. I am unable to accept this submission. When one looks at the ten defaults enumerated above the impression left is that the tenant was acting according to bids whim and fancy. Whenever if suited him he deposited rent advance; and when it did not, he delayed it for as long as he liked. This conduct, I think, justifies the observations of the Tribunal that the tenant was acting in 'utter disregard' of the order for depositing rent.

(6) Besides, the tenant has made no attempt at all to explain each or, indeed, any of the defaults. In his reply to the application moved by the landlord u/s 15(7) of the Act, he pleaded that he had complied with the order for depositing rent. This plea was clearly wrong Since there was no Explanationn whatever furnished for the defaults, it was not open to the Controller to overlook them. In those circumstances, it was not possible to exercise the discretion given by section 15(7) of the Act in any other way except against the tenant. That is exactly what the Tribunal, did, and I can see no reason for interfering with the order in appeal.

(7) Moreover, I do not find any question of law arising in this appeal, let alone a 'substantial' question of law. In exercising the direction u/s 15(7) the Tribunal has not proceeded on any wrong principle The Additional Rent Controller proceeded on no principle at all. thereforee, the Tribunal was perfectly right in reversing the order of Controller.

(8) No doubt, it was stated in Bharat Pulverising Mills P. Ltd. v. Tarachand Malik B. Trust 1971 RLR. 35, that the defense of the tenant should be struck out only when he displays 'a contumacious or willful disregard' of the order for depositing rent. As I have already said, the conduct conduct of the tenant in the present case qualifies for that description. In Ariana Afghan Airlines v. Cycle Equipment 1978 Rlr 427; it was ruled that the defense should not be struck out if the tenant has 'substantially complied with the order or there are circumstances of a motivator nature. Here there are ten defaults by the tenant, most of which are far from trivial. There are no mitigating circumstances, and the tenant has not pleaded any. Neither of these cases, cited by counsel for the appellant, can alter the result on the present facts.


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