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Lalit Kumar Vs. Saroj Kumari - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 56 of 1969
Judge
Reported in5(1969)DLT408
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14(1)
AppellantLalit Kumar
RespondentSaroj Kumari
Advocates: Daljit Singh and; Vijay Kishan, Advs
Excerpt:
.....which have to been seen.; that the premises were needed by the landlord bona fide. ; that the rented accommodation which the landlady had, in the instant case, would be included in the expression 'reasonable suitable accommodation' in proviso (e), inasmuch as the person has a legal right to hold the rented accommodation from which he cannto be evicted by the landlord under the provisions of the delhi rent control act. ; however, that the said rented accommodation being only of one room with a finshed, was much worse than the accommodation afforded by the premises let out by the landlady to the tenant and very inconvenient for her to live in, besides being economically of no gain to her in the circumstances of the case. ; second appeal from the order of shri m.l. jain rent control..........wife and a midwife by profession. she acquired the premises in 1962 when she was occupying rented accommodation paying rent of rs. 35.00 per month. she nevertheless let out the premises to the appellant in 1963 on a monthly rent of rs. 60.00 the relations between the parties later became strained. the appellant applied to the rent controller for fixation of standard rent and the respondent filed a petition before the controller for the eviction of the appellant on the ground that the respondent wanted the premises bona fide for her own residence. the standard rent has, in the meanwhile, been fixed at rs. 35.00 per month, that is at the same figure at which the landlord has to pay for the rented accommodation in which she is living. the sole question for decision, thereforee, is.....
Judgment:

V.S. Deshpande, J.

(1) This is a tenant's appeal against the concurrent orders of the Controller and the Rent Tribunal ordering his eviction from the premises on the ground that they are required by the respondent-landlord bona fide for her own residence and that she has no other reasonable suitable residential accommodation within the meaning of proviso (e) to sub-section (1) of section 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (hereinafter called 'the Act').

(2) The facts are nto really in dispute. The respondent-landlord is a deserted wife and a midwife by profession. She acquired the premises in 1962 when she was occupying rented accommodation paying rent of Rs. 35.00 per month. She nevertheless let out the premises to the appellant in 1963 on a monthly rent of Rs. 60.00 The relations between the parties later became strained. The appellant applied to the Rent Controller for fixation of standard rent and the respondent filed a petition before the Controller for the eviction of the appellant on the ground that the respondent wanted the premises bona fide for her own residence. The standard rent has, in the meanwhile, been fixed at Rs. 35.00 per month, that is at the same figure at which the landlord has to pay for the rented accommodation in which she is living. The sole question for decision, thereforee, is whether the respondent-landlord has satisfied the requirements of proviso (e) to sub-section(l)of Section 14 of the Act. I shall deal with each of these requirements one by one.

(3) The premises were admittedly let by the respondent-landlord to the appellant-tenant for residential purposes and it is nto disputed before me that the respondent-landlord is the owner of the premises.

(4) The first aspect of the question in dispute is whether the premises are 'required' by the landlord for occupation as a residence for herself. The word 'required' means that the premises are needed by the landlord. That is to say, the landlord, in fact, is in need of the premises for her residence and that her desire for the premises is nto merely fanciful or unjustified by some other reason. The need of the landlord is the sole justification of the requirement of the premises by her. This need, in my view, is to be judged as an objective fact by the Rent Control authorities and, if necessary, by this Court. The need is based on a hard reality. It is nto a question of sentiment or desire nto based on reality. Nor is it a question of opinion whether the opinion is of the landlord or of the Rent Control authorities or of this Court. On the contrary, the need is to be assessed on consideration of the facts of each case and according to the standard of a reasonable person. The standard of the need would, of course, vary according to the circumstances of each case and of the special particulars of the need of the landlord in a particular case. The respondent is already without the protection of her husband. She is in need of a decent residence suitable for her status in life which will give her the protection needed by a single woman as to her residence. The desire to live in one's own house and to abandon the rented accommodation is a legitimate aspiration which has to be given effect to by the Rent Control authorities and by this Court unless there are reasons to show that this desire is unjustified in any particular case.

(5) The only reason urged against this aspect of the claim of the respondent-landlord is that when she acquired the premises in 1962 she did nto occupy them herself, but leased them to the appellant-tenant. Ordinarily, a landlord, who prefers to stay in a rented accommodation and lets out her own house to a tenant, 1) would be presumed to be satisfied with the rented accommodation. If she had nto been so satisfied, she would nto have rented house to a tenant. If she changes her mind later and wishes to evict the tenant from her own house, ordinarily she would have to show that circumstances have changed in the meanwhiie, which justify the change of her mind. That is to say, though she was satisfied with her rented accommodation when she let out her own house to the tenant, the conditions are ahead and she is nto now satisfied with the rented accommodation and is now justified in desiring to live in her own house. This rule is, however, nto an absolute one. There can be cases in which a .landlord may let out his own house to a tenant, though the landlord is nto really satisfied or comfortable in the rented accommodation. For instance, the landlord may wish to obtain such rent for her own house as would enable her to pay the rent of her accommodation, and leave her a margin of profit. We cannto shut cur eyes to this aspect of human nature. It cannto also be said that there is something inherently had in a landlord doing so. it is obvious to me that this was precisely the reason why the respondent-landlord let out her own house to the appellant-tenant, while continuing to reside in the rented accommodation. As soon as however, the tenant made an application for the fixation of standard rent, the landlord feared that the contractual rent may be reduced and it would nto be worthwhile for her to continue in the rented accommodation and forego the comforts of living in her own house. This Explanationn of the conduct of the landlord in changing her mind appears to me a good and sufficient Explanationn. I am satisfied, thereforee, that the landlord 'required' the premises for her own residence.

(6) The next question is whether she required the premises 'bona fide'. The meaning of 'bona fide' in this context appears to be twofold. Firstly, her need must be a genuine one and nto a frivolous one. It cannto be disputed that she genuinely needs her own house to reside in it. She cannto be blamed if she prefers to live in her own house rather than in a rented house. The second aspect of the bona fides is that the landlord is nto motivated by extraneous considerations in trying to recover the possession from the tenant with a view to let it out again to another tenant on a. higher rent. The provision made in Section 19 of the Act for the restitution of the possession to an evicted tenant in such a case would bring out this meaning of bona fide. There is nothing to show that the landlord intends to relate to a tenant on a higher rent. For, the standard rent of the premises has already been fixed and she cannto now think that she can get a higher rent by relating the same premises. The bona fides of the landlord is also to be determined objectively by these considerations. The mere fact that the relations between the parties were strained or that the tenant had applied for the fixation of standard rent would nto deprive the requirement of the premises by the landlord of its bona fides. The motives of the landlord are nto relevant in this connection. It is the hard objective need and the legitimacy of the purpose which have to be seen. It is clear, thereforee, that the premises are needed by the landlord bona fide.

(7) The last requirement to be satisfied by the landlord is to show that she has no other reasonable suitable residential accommodation. Such accommodation would include rented accommodation, . inasmuch as a person has a legal right to hold the rented accommodation from which he cannto be evicted by the landlord except under the provisions of the Act. The rented accommodation in her possession was pleaded by her to be one room with a tin roof. The tenant did nto plead that she had more accommodation. The Rent Controller actually inspected the accommodation in the possession of the landlord and came to the conclusion that it was one room only. He inferred, thereforee, that she has to live and cook in the same room. The Rent Controller did nto state in the spto inspection report that the room has a tin roof, but the learned counsel for the respondent stated at the Bar that this was so and expressed his readiness to have the accommodation seen again by another Commissioner to prove this point. The spto inspection of the Rent Controller enabled him to believe the evidence of the landlord and her witnesses in preference to the evidence of the tenant and his witnesses. This is a finding of fact, which is based on good evidence. On this finding it is clear that the accommodation in possession of the landlord is much worse than the accommodation afforded by the premises let out by her to the tenant. It must be extremely uncomfortable for a person to live in a single room with a tin roof in Delhi, which has a long summar. It is also very inconvenient to live and cook in the same room. It cannto be said, thereforee, that the rented accommodation of the landlord is reasonably suitable for her.

(8) The suitability of the rented accommodation can be judged nto only by the physical sufficiency and the comforts of the accommodation, but also by economic considerations. The landlords is paying Rs. 35.00 per month as rent for the said accommodation. For the same rent her tenant is enjoying much better accommodation. There is no reason why the landlord should continue to suffer nto only physical discomfort but also economic loss and why she should nto have her own house so that she can get better comforts by spending the same amount of money, viz. Rs. 35.00 per month. She would be saved from the payment of the rent and she would also lose exactly the same amount of income, if she shifts from the present accommodation to her own house.

(9) I, thereforee, agree with the concurrent findings of the Rent Controller and the Rent Control Tribunal and dismiss the appeal, but make no order as to costs. I also allow the appellant-tenant two months, time to vacate the premises.


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