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Urvinder Estate Private Ltd. Vs. Karam Chand Prem Chand Private Ltd. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 12 of 1967
Judge
Reported inILR1970Delhi210
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 115; Constitution of India - Article 227
AppellantUrvinder Estate Private Ltd.
RespondentKaram Chand Prem Chand Private Ltd. and ors.
Advocates: P.S. Safeer,; N.S. Sistani and; P.L. Vohra, Advs
Cases Referred and Ved Parkash Kapur v. Harish Chander Rastogi. These
Excerpt:
civil p.c., section 115 - revision against an order of the rent controller--nto competent--constitution of india, article 227--applicability of, to such a case.; that the rent controller and the tribunal constituted under the rent control act were nto civil courts in the strict sense of that term, and were, thereforee, nto amenable to the revisional jurisdiction of the high court under section 115, c.p.c.; that powers under article 227 of the constitution are to be exercised only where manifest injustice has occurred, and that, in the instant case, the order in question does nto appear to be so manifestly unjust as may require interference under article 227 of the constitution.; petition under section 115 of c.p.c. from the order of shri p. c. saini, additional rent controller, delhi...........examining shri phool chand god, an architect, was nto acceded to by shri p. c. saini. additional rent controller, who was then dealing with the case. the learned additional rent controller remarked that the landlord had already examined one architect and shri phool chand could nto be allowed to be examined as he had nto till then filed his report, though it was ready with him. against that order dated 26-12-1968, the landlord preferred a civil revision to this court. (4) a preliminary objection was raised by shri p. l. vohra, learned counsel for the tenant, that no revision was competent against the order of the additional rent controller. shri p. s. safeer, on the other hand, contended on behalf of the landlord that while passing the impugned order shri saini was acting as controller.....
Judgment:

Jagjit Singh, J.

(1) Messrs Karan Chand Prem Chand Private Limited known as Sarabhai Chemicals are occupying as tenants a portion of the ground floor, including a loft. of building No. 12. Block No. 3. Asaf Ali Road. New Delhi. At first rent was being paid at the rate of Rs. 1,250.00 per month besides house-tax and actual charges for water and electricity. With effect from February 1. 1958, the rent was increased to Rs. 1,750.00 per month. House-tax and actual charges for water and electricity were in addition to that.

(2) On January 4. 1961. Sarabhai Chemicals applied, under section 9 of the Delhi Rent Control Act. 1958 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') for fixation of standard rent. At that time the premises belonged to Sardar Bahadur Mohan Singh and his wife. Shrimati Lajwanti. and their son Gurbachan Singh. During the pendency of the proceedings the property was purchased by Messrs Urvinder Estates Private Limited. Afterwards Sardar Bahadur Mohan Singh also died.

(3) The new landlord opposed the application for fixation of standard rent. Evidence on behalf of the tenant was concluded on December 18, 1963. Recording of evidence, produced by the landlord, could not. for one reason or the other, start before February 28, 1966. On that date statements of Shri K. A. Patil, Assistant Professor of Engineering. School of Planning and Architecture, and Shri Narinder Singh. a property dealer, were recorded. On December 26. 1966, Shri K. L. Pandit, another property-dealer, and Shri Charanjit Singh were examined but the request made on behalf of the landlord for examining Shri Phool Chand God, an architect, was nto acceded to by Shri P. C. Saini. Additional Rent Controller, who was then dealing with the case. The learned Additional Rent Controller remarked that the landlord had already examined one architect and Shri Phool Chand could nto be allowed to be examined as he had nto till then filed his report, though it was ready with him. Against that order dated 26-12-1968, the landlord preferred a civil revision to this Court.

(4) A preliminary objection was raised by Shri P. L. Vohra, learned counsel for the tenant, that no revision was competent against the order of the Additional Rent Controller. Shri P. S. Safeer, on the other hand, contended on behalf of the landlord that while passing the impugned order Shri Saini was acting as Controller under the Act but as a court of small causes and nto only a revision is competent hut it is a lit case where this Court should interfere on the revisional side. In the alternative a plea was taken that the present petition can be retarded to have been made under article 227 of the Constitution of India and the impugned order should be set aside, Shri Safeer placed reliance on sections 36(2) and 37(2) the Act. which read as under :

'36................(2) The Controller shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure. 1908. when trying a suit in respect of the following matters, namely : (a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath; (b) requiring the discovery and production of documents; (c) issuing commission turn the examination of witnesses; (d) any other matter which may be prescribed; and any proceeding before the Controller shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of section 193 and section 228 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), and the Controller shall be deemed to be a civil court within the meaning of section 480 and section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (5 of 1898).' (2) Subject to any rules that may be made under this Act. the Controller shall while holding an enquiry in any proceeding before him, follow as far as may be the practice and procedure of a court of small causes. including the recording of evidence.'

(5) It was urged that as the Controller has the same powers as are vested in a civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure in the matter of summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath it follows that if a witness should have been examined but is nto examined then this Court can interfere on the revisional side. It was further submitted that according to section 37(2) of the Act while holding an inquiry into the proceedings before him the Controller has to follow as far as may be the practice and procedure of a court of small causes, including the recording of evidence, and consequently while so acting the Controller, for all intents and purposes, has to be regarded a court of small causes and that would attract the application of section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure. In my opinion the contentions of the learned counsel for the landlord are nto correct. Section 36(2) of the Act only gives some specified powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure for trying a suit to the Controller and merely because one of those powers relates to summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath does nto mean that section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure has as well been made applicable. The language of section 37(2) cannto be stretched to imply that the Controller while holding an inquiry in any proceedings before him ceases to be a Controller and becomes a court of small causes and, thereforee, a civil court subordinate to the High Court for purposes of section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure. It is only the 'practice and procedure of a court of small causes' that has to be followed by the Controller while holding an inquiry into any proceedings before him. Thereby he does nto become a Judge of a court of small causes.

(6) It may be noted that under the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952 (No. xxxviii of 1952), which previously applied to the Union territory of Delhi, there was no right of second appeal to the High Court but section 35 specifically conferred revisional powers on the High Court. Section 57 of the Act repealed the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952, in so far as it was applicable to the Union territory of Delhi. Under section 39 of the Act, a second appeal lies to the High Court from an order made by the Tribunal. Section 37 of Act No. xxxviii of 1952, had as well provided for the procedure of a Court of Small Causes to be followed. If the intention had been that inquiry under Act xxxviii of 1952 was to be regarded as proceedings taken by a Court of Small Causes then section 35, vesting powers of revision on the High Court, would have been unnecessary. Under the Act. which now applies, no revisional powers have been given to the High Court though a second appeal may lie against an order of the Tribunal. Thus the Controller while acting under the Act cannto be regarded to be a civil court subordinate to the High Court in the strict sense of that term and. thereforee, no revision lies under section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure against any of his orders.

(7) In the case of Central Bank of India Limited v. Gokal Chand a Bench while dealing with the question of appeal to the Tribunal.. under section 38 of the Act. made the following observations :-

'.. . . the best guide for interpreting section 38 of the Delhi Rent Control Act. 1958, is provided by the decision of the Supreme Court in Shankar Lal Aggurwula's case and every order made by the Rent Controller either under the express provisions of the Act or under the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure incorporated into it by virtue of section 37(2) would be appealable provided such an order finally decides a dispute between the parties or deprives a party of a substantial and important right is nto a mere formal or interlocutory order.In other words, every such order would be appealable except merely procedural orders or orders which do nto effect the rights or liabilities of the parties, it may be asked that if, in view of the wide language of section 38, every order is appealable, then where is the justification for limiting the rights of appeal by excluding orders, which are either merely procedural or orders which do nto effect the rights or liabilities of the parties. The answer is furnished by the decision of the Supreme Court, the object of the provision and the implied limitation in the use of the expression 'order'. When an order is made appealable it must in the context mean that it is an order affecting the rights or liabilities of the parties. So far as the exclusion of the procedural orders is concerned, appeals could nto have been intended by the statute at an interlocutory stage, for. really sepaking. such orders do nto seriously effect the rights or liabilities of the provision of the Act and the implied limitation in the use of the expression 'order'. When an order is made appealable. it must in the context mean that it is of the parties in the sense that any irregularities in procedure would always he open to challenge at the final appeal stage. The very fact that appeals have been provided at intermediary stages would lend support to the view that mere procedural irregularities are nto intended to be made appealable at that stage. As I have said earlier, restricting the appeal to orders made under express provisions of the Act would lead to serious injustice, but apart from that I see no justification in cutting down the scope of a provision, conferring rights of appeal. The above discussion. thereforee, yields this result that every order made by the Rent Controller, except merely procedural orders or orders nto affecting the rights or liabilities of the parties, would be appealable, provided it is made under the provisions of the Act or under the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure made applicable and the nature of each order has to be seen to find out whether or nto it falls within the category of appealable orders. .The order in question declining to issue commission relates merely to mode of roof of a particular fact and is. in my opinion, an order of a procedural nature and nto affecting the rights or liabilities of the appellant and. thereforee, nto an appealable order.'

(8) The contention of Shri Safeer was that as the order in question did nto decide any dispute between the parties and did nto determine a substantial and important right but was a mere formal or interlocutory order and so nto being appealable a revision must lie against it. I am unable to agree to that proposition. Every order which is nto appealable is nto necessarily revisable under section 115 of the Code.

(9) Relying upon the observations made in South Asia Industries Private Ltd. v. S. B. Sarup Singh and others, Shri Safeer next urged that the order passed by the Additional Rent Controller was nto an order under the Act and for that reason it could be regarded to be an order under the Code of Civil Procedure and is open to the revisional jurisdiction of the Court. In that connection it was as well mentioned that if the order is held nto to be revisable then the present petitioner (i.e. the landlord) would be left without a remedy.

(10) Gosain J. had. of course, in the case of South Asia industries Private Limited observed that only the orders made by a Rent Controller under various provisions of the Delhi Rent Control Act authorising him to pass certain orders could be said to fall within the ambit of the words ''made under this Act', as used in section 38, and that other orders such as interim orders were nto orders made under the Act and were nto appealable. In the case of Central Bank of lndia(1) S. S. Dulat and S. K. Kapur, JJ. had taken the view that subject to any rules that may be made under the Act such provisions of the Code as relate to the practice and procedure of a Court of Small Causes stand incorporated in the Act and any order made under any such provisions would be an order ''under this Act'. With respect I am in agreement with this view. The distinction sought to be drawn between orders under the Act and formal and procedural orders passed by a Controller nto to be under the Act is difficult to sustain. It is also nto possible to agree with Shri Safeer that the impugned order nto being appealable the present petitioner will be left without a remedy unless the order is considered to be revisable. The observations made in the case of Central Bank of India, which have been extracted above, contain a reply to the contention of the learned counsel. The learned Judges had remarked that so far as a procedural order nto seriously affecting the rights or liabilities of the parties is concerned it is open to challenge at the final appellate stage. 'The landlord will. thereforee. nto be without a remedy.

(11) Muhammed Unis and another Hardayal Hardy J.' held that the Rent Controller and the Tribunal constituted under the Act were nto civil courts in. the strict sense of that term and were, thereforee, nto amenable to the revisional jurisdiction of this Court under section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure. A reference may as well be made to Messrs Pitman Shorthand Academy v. Messrs B. Lila Ram and Sons and others and Ved Parkash Kapur v. Harish Chander Rastogi. These cases also support the view that the Rent Controller and the Appellate Tribunal are nto civil courts subordinate to the. High Court in the strict sense of that expression although they have trappings of such a court.

(12) The impugned order nto being revisable it is unnecessary to consider whether the order on merits could he interfered with in exercise of revisional jurisdiction.

(13) Another submission made by Mr. Safeer was that even if the impugned order is nto revisable under section 115 of the Code the Court should exercise its powers under article 227 of the Constitution of India.

(14) IT. however, seems to me that the present case is nto a fit one turn interfering with the impugned order in exercise of powers under article 227 of the Constitution. Those powers are to be exercised only in exceptional cases where manifest injustice has occurred.

(15) In the present case the landlord had ample opportunities lor producing his evidence. The record shows that many adjournments were even taken for producing the report of Shri T. R. Mohindra, an architect, who was at one stage intended to be produced by the landlord. On December 6, 1966. the counsel for the landlord made a statement that the entire remaining evidence would be produced on the 26th of that month and the evidence would be closed that very day without seeking any other adjournment. If Phool Chand was to be -examined on December 26, then his report should have been made available earlier. Producing that witness on the day fixed for evidence without his report having been submitted earlier necessarily meant an adjournment if the request for examining him was to be acceded to. The order does nto appear to be so manifestly unjust as may require interference under Article 227 of the Constitution. Shri Safeer referred to In re Annamalai Mudaliar. That case was. however. decided on its own facts.

(16) The revision nto being competent is dismissed with costs. The counsel's fee shall be assessed at Rs. 200.00. The record of the case should be immediately returned for further proceedings being taken in accordance with law.


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