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N. Dutt Vs. Sat Parkash BhasIn and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 29 of 1969
Judge
Reported in7(1971)DLT112
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 9, 15(1) and 15(2)
AppellantN. Dutt
RespondentSat Parkash BhasIn and ors.
Advocates: S.N. Anand,; M. Wadhwani and; H.S. Dhir, Advs
Excerpt:
- - the sub-tenant cannot be placed in a position better than that of the tenant and allowed to raise this plea, when the tenant himself has not raised it or cou!.....from february 1, 1967 at the agreed rate of rs. 500.00 per month within one month. in appeal, the rent control tribunal accepted the plea of the sub-tenant and held that he was a mere sub-tenant and not a tenant hable to pay rent to the landlords. there was no privity of contract between them. for this reason the directions to the sub-tenant to pay rent were set aside, the landlords have filed a second appeal in this court being s.a.o. 426 of 1968. (2) after the matter went back to the controller from the rent control tribunal, the sub-tenant prayed for fixation of standard rent. the landlords raised objection that the liability of the sub-tenant to pay rent has been negatived. he, thereforee, is not entitled to get the sandard rent fixed. the additional controller disallowed the.....
Judgment:

P.N. Khanna, J.

(1) Sat Parkash Bhasin and Sardari Lal Bhasin. here in referred to as 'the landlords', are the two owners of the premises in dispute, which were let out by them to one Mrs. Miran Gupta, herein referred to as 'the tenant' The premises, however, are in the occupation of Mr. N. Dutt, herein referred to as 'the subtenant' who is Director, Nalanda Public College and to whom the same were sub-let by the tenant. The landlords filed an application for eviction of the tenant, from the suit premises on the ground that the tenant, inter-alia, had without their consent sublet, assigned or otherwise parted with possession of the premises in dispute in favor of Mr. N. Dutt who was also made a party to the eviction petition. The landlords applied under section 15(2) of the Act for direction for the payment of the arrears of rent and future rent. It was the sub-tenant, who contested the application. The Additional Controller rejected the subtenant's pleas and ordered him to pay the arrears of rent with effect from February 1, 1967 at the agreed rate of Rs. 500.00 per month within one month. In appeal, the Rent Control Tribunal accepted the plea of the sub-tenant and held that he was a mere sub-tenant and not a tenant hable to pay rent to the landlords. There was no privity of contract between them. For this reason the directions to the sub-tenant to pay rent were set aside, The landlords have filed a second appeal in this court being S.A.O. 426 of 1968.

(2) After the matter went back to the Controller from the Rent Control Tribunal, the sub-tenant prayed for fixation of standard rent. The landlords raised objection that the liability of the sub-tenant to pay rent has been negatived. He, thereforee, is not entitled to get the sandard rent fixed. The Additional Controller disallowed the sub-tenant's prayer for adducing evidence lor fixation of standard rent. In appeal, The Rent Control Tribunal agreed with the Additional Controller and dismissed the appeal It held that N. Dutt was admittedly a sub-tenant and as such had no right to set an a plea for fixation of standard rent. The sub-tenant feeling aggrieved by this order has come up in second appeal, which is S.A.O. 29 of 1969. Both the appeals, S.A.O. 426 of 1968 and S. A. O. 29 of 1969 are being disposed of by this judgment.

(3) The learned counsel for both the parties have referred to the definition of the word 'tenant' given inclause (1) of section 2 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958. The learned counsel for the landlords relies on the said definition for repelling the argument on behalf of the sub-tenant that be was not a tenant under the landlords and had no privity of contract with them and could not, thereforee, be called upon to pay to them arrears of rent. The learned counsel for the sub- tenant relies on the said definition to support his contention that the sub-tenant can ask for fixation of standard rent as he is deemed to be a tenant by virtue of the said definition.

(4) Clause (1) of section 2 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 reads as follows:- 114 ' 'tenant' means any person by whom or on whose account on behalf the rent of any premises is or but for a special contract would be, payable and includes a sub-tenant and also any person continuing in possession after the termination of his tenancy but shall not include any person against whom any order or decree for eviction has been made;'

(5) The word 'tenant', thereforee, means the person by whom or on whose account or behalf the rent is payable. As no rent is payable by or on behalf of the sub-tenant, a deeming provision has been made in the definition, to specifically include in it, a sub-tenant, who otherwise would not be covered by this definition. It would not have been necessary to make this deeming provision. if the subtenant was a person by whom or on whose account or behalf the rent was payable to the landlord. The definition of the word 'tenant', does not impose upon the sub-tenant any liability to pay rent It, on the other hand shows the although the sub-tenant is not liable to pay rent, he is deemed to be included in the term 'tenant', for certain purposes. The sub-tenant himself pleaded that he had no liability towards the landlords, when direction was given to him to pay.

(6) It is, thus, clear that the sub tenant in this case has no liability towards the landlords and cannot be asked to pay rent to them. The order of the Rent Control Tribunal to the effect that the sub-tenant cannot be directed to pay to the landlords, is thereforee, quite in order. But the order is incomplete, inasmuch as, while setting aside the order of the Additional Controller, it leaves undecided the landlord's prayer under section 15(2) of the Act, out of which the appeal before the Rent Control Tribunal had arisen. On such an application under section 15(2) having been made, the Controller has to make an order under section 15(1) directing the tenant to pay or deposit within one month, the arrears of rent and also to pay future rent.

(7) In this case, the direction was given by the Additional Controller to the sub tenant to pav the arrears of rent. On appeal, this direction was cancelled. But some one has to pay rent to the landlords. the sub-tenant is not liable to pay. the liability of the tenant could not be ignored. In fact, the learned counsel for the tenant had to conceder that Mrs. Miran Gupta, the tenant, remains liable to pay. The order of the Rent Control Tribunal. thereforee, did not bring the order of the Additional Controller in accord with section 10 of the Act, and has thereforee, to be suitably modified The tenant, Mrs. Miran Gupta is directed under section 15(2) of the Act to pay to the landlords or deposit with the Controller within one month from the date of this order, an amount calculated at the rate of rent at which it was last paid (i. e.Rs. 500.00 per month) for the period for which the arrears of rent are legally recoverable, including the subsequent period up to the end of the month previous to that in which the payment or deposit will be made; and to continue to pay or deposit month by month by the 15th of each succeeding month, a sum equivalent to the said rent (Rs. 500.00 per month) The learned counsel for Mrs. Miran Gupta, the tenant, stated at the back that his chent can have no objection to this order being passed directing her to pay the arrears of rent and furture rent. He. however, submitted that this order be left to be passed by the Additional Controller to whom the case be sent back for the purpose, There is, however, no justification for this submission. The appellate court always has the 115 power to pass any order which ought to have been passed or made and also to pass such further order as the case may require. The order of the Rent Control Tribunal, the appeal against which is S. A. 0. 426 of 1968 shall stand modified accordingly. But there will be no order as to costs.

(8) Coming to the appeal of the sub-tenant, there is no privity of contract, as he himself asserts, between him and the landlords, who cannot ask him to pay any rent. He, thereforee, has no locus standi to ask for fixation of standard rent, which, he cannot be called upon to pay. The standard rent, if fixed may be in respect of the premises. But it is fixed only on the application of the tenant or the landlord. The Act fixes a time limit for the purpose. The application by the tenant may have become barred by limitation. The sub-tenant cannot be placed in a position better than that of the tenant and allowed to raise this plea, when the tenant himself has not raised it or cou!d not raise it.

(9) In any case, a person who is not concerned with the rate of rent payable by a tenant of his landlords, cannot ask for the fixation of standard rent. It is not a case that the subtenant can say that by asking for fixation of standard rent he is looking after his own interest, which cannot be left to be taken care of by the tenant.

(10) In the circumstances, the contentions of the learned counsel for the sub-tenant have no substance. The sub-tenant's appeal, being S.A. O. 29 of 1969, is accorningly dismissed with costs. Counsel's fee Rs. 100.00.


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