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O.P. Bahal Vs. B.A.K. Sharoff - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 379 of 1967
Judge
Reported inAIR1973Delhi39
ActsGeneral Clauses Act, 1897 - Sections 27; Evidence Act, 1872 - Sections 114
AppellantO.P. Bahal
RespondentB.A.K. Sharoff
Advocates: Y. Dayal,; Maehswar Dayal,; H.R. Khanna,;
Cases ReferredBhagwanti v. Waryum Singh
Excerpt:
.....benefit of section 14(2) of the act, an order for eviction was passed by the controller and was upheld by the rent control tribunal. it is well known that letters are delivered into the residence of the addressee and not personally to the addressee. waryum singh 1965 plr 12 (short notes of cases) (1). in that case, the registered letter had been returned with the remark endorsed by the postman that the addressee had refused to accept the same. (9) learned counsel then tried to argue that the concurrent findings of the controller and the rent control tribunal that the tenant had enjoyed the benefit of section 14(2) of the act in the previous proceeding was wrong......with the endorsement that it could not be delivered. the presumption of the delivery of the notice, thereforee, arose in this case only under section 114(f) of the evidence act and not under section 27 of the general clauses act. (7) the second mode of service is relevant in the present case only to show that it could not be effected by that mode and, thereforee, the third mode of service became relevant. it was necessary for the landlord, thereforee, to show that it was not practicable to deliver the notice to the tenant personally or to a member of his family or servants at his residence and, thereforee, he had to resort to the third mode of service, namely, affixation of the notice to a conspicuous part of the property. the registered envelop was finally returned by the.....
Judgment:

V.S. Deshpande, J.

(1) The respondent landlord filed a petition for eviction against the appellant tenant on the ground that the tenant had not paid arrears of rent from 17-12-1960. Clause (a) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (hereinafter called the Act) requires the landlord to serve a notice of demand for the arrears of rent on the tenant in the manner provided in section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, the relevant part of which runs as follows:-

'EVERYnotice under this section must be in writing, signed by or on behalf of the person giving it, and either be sent by post to the party who is intended to be bound by it or be tendered or delivered personally to such party, or to one of his family or servants, at his residence, or if such tender or delivery is not practicable affixed to a conspicuous part of the property.'

It will be seen that three alternative modes of service of notice are contemplated therein, namely:-

(1)by post, (2) by delivery to the addressee or to one of his family or servants at his residence, and (3) by affixation to a conspicuous part of the property.

(2) The landlord adopted all the three modes. Firstly, the notice of demand dated 11-12-1964 was sent to the tenant at the address of the premises in which he lived under a certificate of posting which is Exhibit A5. Secondly, it was sent by registered post. But the registered envelop was returned with remarks that nobody from inside gave a reply and, thereforee, the cover was being returned. The cover was, however, returned on 21-12- 1964. But before the return, the registered letter was taken to the house of the tenant on the 15th, 16th and 17th of December 1964. As it could not be delivered to the addressee on the 17th December 1964, a copy of the notice was affixed by the landlord to the house of the tenant in the presence of the landlord's lawyer.

(3) The Controller as well as the Rent Control Tribunal held that the notice of demand had been properly served. The petition for eviction was, thereforee, in order under clause (a) of the A proviso to sub-section (1) of section 14 of the Act, As the tenant had already enjoyed the benefit of section 14(2) of the Act, an order for eviction was passed by the Controller and was upheld by the Rent Control Tribunal.

(4) Shri Yogeshwar Dayal for the appellant tenant in this second appeal urged that the notice of demand had not been properly served. Regarding the first method of service, namely, the posting of the notice under certificate of posting on 11-12-1964, learned counsel argued that the notice was not received by the tenant. Under section 114 Illustration (f) of the Evidence Act. there is a presumption that the common course of business has been followed in particular cases including this case of delivery of the letter by the postman to the addressee. It is well known that letters are delivered into the residence of the addressee and not personally to the addressee. The tenant was said to be out of town. If, so, the members of his family who were said to be residing in the premises should have received the letter in the common course of business. Learned counsel argued that the tenant went into the witness-box to deny that he received the letter and such denial should be sufficient to rebut the presumption raised by section 114(f) of the Evidence Act. He relied on a short-note report of a decision by Falshaw, C.J. in Bhagwanti v. Waryum Singh 1965 Plr 12 (Short Notes of Cases) (1). In that case, the registered letter had been returned with the remark endorsed by the postman that the addressee had refused to accept the same. The learned. Judge was of the view that the addressee could not produce any evidence other than his own that he has not refused to accept the letter. After such denial, it was for the sender of the letter to show that the addressee had refused to accept the letter. The Punjab decision is not in point. The question there was whether the endorsement made by the postman could prevail against the evidence of the addressee denying the refusal of the letter. The letter was admittedly not delivered to the addres see. On the contrary, the presumption under section 114(f) of the Evidence Act is that the letter was delivered to the addressee. The question which arises for consideration is how the addressee can rebut this presumption. The answer is also given by the counter-illustration (f) below section 114 of the Evidence Act. The presumption that the usual course of the post was followed would not arise if it is shown that such usual course was interrupted by disturbances. To show that the common course of business was not followed in a particular case, some extraordinary happening or event must be proved which prevented the common course of business being followed. In the present case, no such happening or event has been proved. The presumption that the common course of business must have been followed has not, thereforee, been rebutted. The evidence of the tenant denying the receipt of the letter has no value because he was admittedly out of town when the letter would have been delivered at his residence. No member of his family has gone into the witness-box to deny the receipt of the letter. Nor has the postman been examined to show that in the ten days beginning with 11th December 1964 no such letter was delivered by him at the address of the tenant.

(5) Learned counsel then relied on section 27 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 which is as follows:-

'WHEREany Central Act or Regulation made after the commencement of this Act authorizes or requires any document to be served by post, whether the expression 'serve' or either of the expressions 'give' or 'send' or any other expression is used, then, unless a different intention appears, the service shall be deemed to be effected by properly addressing, pre-paying and posting by registered post, a letter containing, the document, and, unless the contrary is proved, to have been effected at the time at which the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.'

(6) He argued that it is only if the letter is sent by registered post that the presumption about its delivery to the addressee would arise under section 27 of the General Clauses Act. In my view. the two presumptions are distinct. The first presumption arises by posting of the letter in the ordinary course without registration under section 114(f) of the Evidence Act. The raising of this presumption is not in any way prevented by section 27 of the General Clauses Act. The latter provision does not mean that no presumption of the delivery of letter can arise unless it is registered. The second presumption under section 27 of the General Clauses Act arises only when the letter is sent by registered post. But the provisions of section 114(f) of the Evidence Act and section 27 of the General Clauses Act are independent of each other and can stand together. They are not mutually repugnant. thereforee, when the landlord adopted both the procedures, both the presumption could arise in his favor. The presumption of the delivery of the registered letter could have arisen if the said letter had not been returned with the endorsement that it could not be delivered. The presumption of the delivery of the notice, thereforee, arose in this case only under section 114(f) of the Evidence Act and not under section 27 of the General Clauses Act.

(7) The second mode of service is relevant in the present case only to show that it could not be effected by that mode and, thereforee, the third mode of service became relevant. It was necessary for the landlord, thereforee, to show that it was not practicable to deliver the notice to the tenant personally or to a member of his family or servants at his residence and, thereforee, he had to resort to the third mode of service, namely, affixation of the notice to a conspicuous part of the property. The registered envelop was finally returned by the post-office on 21-12- 1964 with the report that nobody from inside responded to the post-man. The postman had to effect the delivery of the registered letter either on the addressee himself or to one of his family or his servants. As no one came out from the house and the postman could not go inside it, he could not deliver the registered letter to any of the above-mentioned persons. This report was made by the postman after several fruitless attempts of service. But before the registered envelop was returned with the final report, the landlord effected service by affixation on 17th December 1964. Learned counsel for the appellant argues that on 17-12-1964, the landlord could not have known that it had not been practicable to deliver the registered letter to the tenant or to any one of his family or servants and, thereforee, the affixation of the notice on 17-12-1964 was not valid service. This argument could have force if finally the postman had succeeded in delivering the letter after 17-12-1964. Such delivery would have deprived the landlord of any justification to effect the service by affixation of the notice. But the argument loses all force when it is seen that the postman went to the premises on the 15th and 16th of December, 1964 but could not succeed in delivering the letter to any one there. The landlord who lives in the same building became aware of this and, thereforee, concluded that the delivery of the letter was not practicable. He was, thereforee, justified in effecting the service by affixation on 17-12-1964. The final report of the postman showed that the anticipation of the landlord was correct.

(8) I am thus of the view that the notice of demand was served on the tenant in two ways authorised by section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act, namely:-

(1)by being sent under a certificate of posting, and (2) by affixation of the same to a conspicuous part of the property.

(9) Learned counsel then tried to argue that the concurrent findings of the Controller and the Rent Control Tribunal that the tenant had enjoyed the benefit of section 14(2) of the Act in the previous proceeding was wrong. The appellant is, however, precluded from raising such a contention by the following reasons. Firstly, the appellant is not interested in paying the arrears of rent in the present case. It is only if he was wanting to obtain the benefit of section 14(2) in the present case that it would have been material to enquire whether he was precluded from obtaining such benefit because he had once got it in a previous proceeding. As the tenant has not paid the rent arrears in the present case to obtain the benefit of section 14(2), the question whether he is entitled to the benefit of section 14(2) does not arise and, thereforee, the enquiry whether he had already obtained such benefit in the past becomes unnecessary. Secondly, on behalf of the tenant it was conceded both before the Controller and the Rent Control Tribunal that the tenant had obtained the benefit of section 14(2) in the previous proceeding. In view of such concession the tenant cannot contend in the second appeal that he had not obtained such benefit in the previous proceeding (Gauri Shanker v. M/s. Hindustan Trust 1972 R.C.R. 483 Lastly, the finding of the Controller that the tenant had obtained such a benefit in the previous proceeding should have been disputed by the tenant before the Rent Control Tribunal. But the grounds of appeal taken before the Tribunal are silent about this point. Similarly, the grounds of appeal in the second appeal also are silent on this point. A contention which was not raised before either the Controller or the Rent Control Tribunal cannot be allowed to be raised in the second appeal particularly because it has not been raised in the grounds of second appeal.

(10) The appeal is, thereforee, dismissed but without any order as to costs.


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