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Nanak Ghand Gupta Vs. Ish Kumar Verma - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 157 of 1978
Judge
Reported in18(1980)DLT118
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14A
AppellantNanak Ghand Gupta
Respondentish Kumar Verma
Advocates: L.B. Gupta,; P.K. Agarwal and; B.C. Chopra, Advs
Cases ReferredIn Kanta God v. B.P. Pathak
Excerpt:
.....used as handle to evict other tenants - impugned order justified. - - i think he was perfectly right in so..........possession of 'not more than one dwelling house.' he is given the option to indicate the dwelling house possession of which he intends to recover. the proviso has to be read in the light of the main section. the main section does not confer any right to a full dwelling house or the whole of the dwelling house as is now contended before me. (11) in kanta god v. b.p. pathak, 1979(1) r. g. r. 485 this question arose before the supreme court. the court said : 'it is true that when an officer is sought to be evicted by the government from its premises he has to be rehabilitated in his own house by an accelerated remedial procedure provided by section 14a read with section 25b of the act. but this emergency provision availiable merely to put the government servant back into his own.....
Judgment:

A.B. Rohatgi, J.

(1) The revision petition filed by the landlord from the order of the Rent Controller raises one question. It is about the meaning of the term 'dwelling house' as used in the provision to Section 14A(1) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (the Act).

(2) The undisputed facts of this case are these. Nanak Ghand Gupta, Petitioner, is the landlord of house No, 6349, Block No. 7, Gali No. 1 in Dev Nagar, Karol Bagh, New Delhi. The respondent Ish Kumar Verma, is his tenant in a portion of this house. One room was let to him on November 11, 1962 at a monthly rent of Rs. 35.00 . He was also given the right to use the W.G. and bath in common with the landlord.

(3) The landlord is a government servant. He was living in this house till 1974. He had three rooms in his possession. On August 9, 1974 he was allotted Government quarter No. N/552, Sector 8, in R.K. Puram, New Delhi. When he shifted he kept out of the three rooms which were with him two rooms in his possession. And in these two rooms some members of his family continued to live. One room out of the three he let on 3rd October, 1974 to a tenant, Udey Bhan by name, on a monthly rent of Rs. 130.00 .

(4) In September, 1975 the Government passed a general order requiring Government servants who owned their houses in Delhi to vacate the Government accommodation. As the landlord owned this house in Dev Nagar he vacated the Government accommodation on June 2, 1976. He came back to his house.

(5) On January 3, 1976 the landlord instituted two eviction petitions against two tenants. One was against Udey Bhan. The other was against Ish Kumar, respondent. Both the petitions were tried by the Rent Controller. He passed an order of eviction against both of them on April 2, 1976.

(6) Udey Bhan vacated the room in his tenancy on May 17, 1976 and handed over vacant possession to the landlord. But Ish Kumar, aggrieved by the order of the Controller, filed a revision petition in the High Court under Section 25B(8) of the Act. He challenged the order of the Controller refusing him leave to contest the case. He claimed that he be given an opportunity to defend the petition. This court allowed the revision application and set aside the order of eviction against Ish Kumar. The matter was remanded to the Controller to redecide the case after giving an opportunity to both the parties to lead evidence.

(7) The Rent Controller retried the case. He heard the parties. He took evidence. After hearing evidence and arguments he came to the con clusion that the landlord was not entitled to evict Ish Kumar, respondent. He dismissed the petition for his eviction by order dated November 30, 1977. From his decision the landlord has come in revision under S. 25B(8). Counsel for the landlord has mainly based himself on the proviso to Section 14A(1). It will be convenient at this stage to read the relevant portion of Section 14A.

'14A.(1) Where a landlord who, being a person in occupation of any residential premises allotted to him by the Central Government or any local authority is required) by, or in pursuance of, any general or special order made by that Government or authority, to vacate such residential accommodation, or in default to incur certain obligations, on the ground that he owns) in the Union Territory of Delhi a residential accommodation either in his own name or in the name of his wife or dependent child) there shall accrue, on and from the date of such order, to such landlord, notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in this Act or in any other law for the time being in force or in any contract (Whether express or implied), custom or usage to the contrary, a right to recover immediately possession of any premises let out by him; Provided that nothing in this section shall be construed as conferring a right on a landlord owing, in the Territory of Delhi, two or more dwelling houses) whether in his own name or in the name of his wife or dependent child, to recover the possession of more than one dwelling house and it shall be lawful for such landlord to indicate the dwelling house, possession of which he intends to recover.'

(8) The argument of the landlord's counsel is that under the proviso the landlord has been given a right to recover possession of one dwelling house and thereforee the landlord was entitled to evict not only Udey Bhan but also Ish Kumar as both were tenants in one dwelling house. I was referred to Smt. V.L. Kashyap v. R. P. Puri, 1977(1) R. C. j. 47, Paramjit Singh v. Smt Prakash Kaur, 1977(1) R.C.J. 731 and K.Nambiar v. 8.C. Mittal and another, 1977(1) R.G.J. 907.

(9) In my opinion the landlord is not entitled io evict the tenant Ish Kumar. The landlord is entitled to the same ''residential accommodation' which he was occupying previously. It is not in dispute that he had three rooms in his possession before he shifted to the Government premises on August 9, 1974. At the time of shifting two rooms he had kept with himself. One room he had let to Udey Bhan. When he vacated the Government accommodation on June 2,19 76 he was entitled to come back to his house. He had to be restored to his former capacity. He was entitled to ask Udey Bhan to vacate. And Udey Bhan vacated and handed over the possession of the room. So the landlord got the same 'residential accommodation' which he had previously in his possession. Section 14A gives the landlord a right to recover immediately possession of any premises let out by him. 'This means that if he is asked to vacate the 'residential premises' allotted to him by the Government he can ask his tenant to vacate the 'residential accommo- dation' let out to him. Now Udey Bhan was let one room on October 3, 1974 immediately after the landlord had shifted to the Government accommodation. Ish Kumar, the present respondent is an old tenant. He cannot be asked to vacate.

(10) The proviso to Section 14A(1) says that if the landlord owns two or more dwelling houses he will be entitled to recover the possession of 'not more than one dwelling house.' He is given the option to indicate the dwelling house possession of which he intends to recover. The proviso has to be read in the light of the main section. The main Section does not confer any right to a full dwelling house or the whole of the dwelling house as is now contended before me.

(11) In Kanta God v. B.P. Pathak, 1979(1) R. G. R. 485 this question arose before the Supreme Court. The Court said :

'IT is true that when an officer is sought to be evicted by the Government from its premises he has to be rehabilitated in his own house by an accelerated remedial procedure provided by Section 14A read with Section 25B of the Act. But this emergency provision availiable merely to put the government servant back into his own residential accommodation cannot be used as weapon for evicting several tenants if he has many houses let out to various persons. The object of Section 14A is fulfillled once the landlord recovers immediate possession of his premises from one of his tenants. The right is exhausted thereby and is not availiable for continual applications for eviction agains all other tenants holding under him.'

(12) What is the intention of the Section The object is to reinstate the Government servant in the residential accommodation owned by him. Otherwise he will be rendered homeless. The word used in the main Section is 'premises'. 'Premises' means any part of a building which is, or intended to be, let separately for use as a residence, [S. 2(1)]. In the present case the premises let after the allotment of the Government accommodation consisted of one room to Udey Bhan. The landlord was entitled to evict him. He did so. He has now been reestablished in his house. Under S. 14A he cannot go on evicting every tenant of his. This is obviously contrary to the intendment of S. 14A and is interdicted by the proviso to S. 14A(l). To allow the landlord to evict the present tenant will be to allow him to use S. 14A as a 'weapon'. The Supreme Court has warned us of the danger of S. 14A being used as a 'Weapon'.

(13) If the landlord finds that the accommodation with him is insufficient and he needs more accommodation for his residence, his remedy is to file proceedings under S. 14(1)(e) of the Act. This was also the view of the Rent Controller. I think he was perfectly right in so holding. Section 14A cannot be used as a handle to evict other tenants. Nor is it a substitute for S. 14(1)(e) of the Act.

(14) The term 'premises' has to be understood in the context. The context will govern the meaning. In the context it means a 'residential accommodation', to use a term of the Section. The premises may consist of a separate dwelling unit. It may mean a dwelling apartment. It may mean a complete dwelling house. It may mean only one room as in this case. This will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. But to say that the landlord is entitled to the possession of whole of the dwelling house in a case such as the present will not be right.

(15) In Kanta Goel's case three-room tenement on the first floor of a building and let separately to a tenant was held to be a 'dwelling house', though there was also another four-room apartment on the same floor of the house. It was ruled that the landlord was not entitled to evict another tenants once he had exercised his right and secured possession. The court said that these were two separate dwelling houses and the landlord had a right to one dwelling house and no more.

(16) Mr. L.R.Gupta on behalf of the landlord raised the argument that the house in question built on plots Nos. 74 and 75 is one dwelling house. In the view I have taken it is not necessary for me to decide whether the premises in question constituted two dwelling houses or one.

(17) Before parting with this case I must mention that counsel for the parties have not questioned the jurisdiction of this court to decide the present case. Both of them agreed that this revision petition may be decided under S. 25A of the Act. An appeal was filed before the Rent Control Tribunal from the order of the Controller. To that the tenant objected on the ground that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to decide the appeal. The landlord then brought this revision. The tenant thereforee is estopped from objecting to the jurisdiction of this court to hear the present revision petition.

(18) For these reasons the revision petition is dismissed. The parties are, however left to bear their own costs.


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