(1) We have to construe sub-sections (1) and (4) of section 19 of the Slum Areas (Improvement & Clearance) Act, 1956 (hereinafter called the Act) after taking into. account the legislative context of such construction. The premises occupied by the petitioners in this and the connected writ petitions as tenants were formerly evacuee property and, thereforee, rents payable by these temants are very low, namely Rs. 2.50, Rs. 5.00 and Rs. 3.50 per month in Writ Petitions 911, 912 and 913 of 1969 rspectively. The evacuee property was later acquired by the Government under Section 12 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 and sold to one Smt. Sarla Gupta by public auction. The sale certificate was issued to Smt. Saria Gupta. The petitioners admit Smt. Sarla Gupta to be their landlord.
(2) The Arya Pritinidhi Sabha, Punjab, a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act and the Arya Samaj. Kishan Ganj, Delhi, a Society not so registered, both made an application under Section 19(1) of the Slum Areas (Improvement & Clearance) Act, 1956 (hereinafter called the Act) to the Competent Authority 'or permission to evict the tenants alleging themselves to be the 'Iandlords vis-a-vis these tenants on the ground that the premises had been purchased in auction from the Government in reality by the Arya Samaj benami in the name of Smt. Sarla Gupta. Later, the Arya Samaj, Kishan Ganj, Delhi and Smt. Sarla Gupta had executed a deed of trust in favor of the Arya Pritinidhi Sabha, Punjab whereby the legal ownership of the property in premises vested in the trustees, namely, the Arya Pritinidhi Sabha. Punjab, the beneficial owner being the Arya Samaj, Kishan Ganj. Delhi, Still later Smt. Sarla Gupta also . executed a deed of disclaimer by which she disclaimed any title to the premises and admitted the legal title to be in the name of Arya Pritinidhi Sabha. Punjab. Smt. Sarla Gupta did not join as an applicant in the above mentioned petitions under Section 19 of the Act.
(3) The tenants resisted the petitions on the ground that they were the tenants of Smt. Sarla Gupta but not of the Arya Pritinidhi Sabha, Punjab and the Arya Samaj, Kishan Ganj, Delhi. They denied that the title to the premises had vested in the Arya Pritinidhi Sabha, Punjab and pointed out that the Arya Samaj, Kishan Ganj, Delhi was not a registered body and could not, thereforee, maintain the petition against the tenants.
(4) The Competent Authority held (vide Annexure 'C' to, the writ petition) that the Arya Pritinidhi Sabha, Punjab was not proved to be a registered body and the relationship of landlords and tenants between the parties was also not proved. The Competent Authority, thereforee, declined to grant permission to them for the eviction of the tenants. It did not, thereforee, inquire into the question whether the tenants could find alternative accornmodaion within their means if they were eventually evicted from the premises.
(5) In the appeal filed by the alleged landlords under Section 20 of the Act to the Administrator, the Judicial Secretary, Delhi Administration acting for the Administrator reversed the order of the Competent Authority on 27-5-1969 (Annexure 'D' to the writ petition) and granted the permission for instituting proceedings for the eviction of the tenants on the view that where a tenant denies his relationship with the alleged landlord filing the petition under Section 19, the permission must invariably be granted. The reason is that in granting permission in such cases neither party is put to any loss. The alleged landlords can approach the Tribunal vis-a-vis the jurisdiction to decide the question of tenancy and obtain the eviction of the tenants. On other hand, if the alleged landlords failed to prove their status as landlords then they would be unsuccessful in evicting the tenants and the permission granted under Section 19 of the Act would not in any way prejudice the tenants.
(6) The tenants, thereforee, filed these three writ petitions challenging the orders datied 27-5-1969 whereby permission for institution of proceedings for the eviction of the tenants was granted under Section 19 of the Act by the Administrator sitting in appeal under Section 20 of the Act. Shri Bhargava, learned counsel for the petitioners argued that the order granting permission for the eviction of the tenants was without jurisdiction firstly because the relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties was not proved and secondly because the Administrator did not consider, though he was required to do so under Section 19(4) of the Act, whether the tenants would be able to find alternative accommodation within their means on eviction,
(7) In opposing the writ petitions Smt. Sarla Gupta herself filed the counter-affidavit on behalf of the two Arya Samaj Bodies. She referred to the execution of the deed of trust dated 1-8-1966 and the deed of disclaimer dated 9-12-1969 by her to show that she herself had never any title to the premises which were vested in the Arya Pritinidhi Sabha, Punjab as the legal owner and in the Arya Samaj, Kishan Ganj, Delhi as the beneficial owner. She further pointed out that the tenants had not paid arrears of rent for the last four years. One of the petitioners, namely, Satish Chander in C.W. No. 912 of 1969 was not residing in the premises at all. He was Assistant Director in the Government of India and was drawing a basic salary of Rs. 825.00 per month in addition to usual allowances. The petitioner Doctor C. R. Abrol in C.W. No. 911 of 1969 had two clinics and also a telephone in his own name. He was also earning well. The last petitioner, Shri Mela Ram in C.W. No. 913 of 1969 was a shopkeeper who was also earning well. All the three tenants are, thereforee, able to secure alternative accommodation within their means if they are evicted. Shri S. N. Marwaha appearing for the respondents urged that it was not necessary for the Administrator to decide if the relationship of landlord and tenant existed before granting permission to the alleged landlord for the eviction of the tenant. We have, thereforee, to consider whether the Competent authority under section 19 (and, thereforee, the Administrator in appeal under section 20) were incompetent to grant permission to the landlords for the eviction of the tenants except after finding firstly that the relationship of landlords and tenants existed between the parties and secondly that the tenants would be able to obtain alternative accommodation within their means after eviction.
(8) The first question relates to the jurisdiction of the Competent Authority under Section 19. Shri Bhargava on behalf of the petitioners urged that the Competent Authority was bound to. inquire and come to a decision as to whether the relationship of landlords and tenants existed between the parties and that it has no jurisdiction to grant the permission to the landlords for the eviction of the tenants unless and until it finds that such a relationship existed between the parties. The twin object of the Act as spelt out in its long title is 'the improvement and clearance of slum areas and the protection of tenants in such areas from eviction'. While the rest of the Act is concerned with the improvement and clearance of the slum areas. Chapter Vi thereof is concerned with the protection of tenants in slum areas from eviction. Under the general law i.e., the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 or the principles of justice, equity and good conscience underlying if the landlord is entitled to terminate the tenancy of his monthly tenant by notice given either under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act or under the principles underlying it. Restrictions on this right of landlord have been placed by the Rent Control Legislation in Delhi first by the Delhi & Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952, which was later succeeded by the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958. When, thereforee, the Slum Areas (Improvement & Clearance) Act, 1956 was enacted. Section 13 of the Delhi & Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952 had already restricted the right of the landlord to evict the tenant. A landlord may terminate the contractual tenancy by notice. Nevertheless the statutory tenancy continued and the eviction of the tenant could not be obtained unless the landlord satisfied the Court of the existence of any of the specified grounds on which alone the eviction would be ordered. As recognised by the Supreme Court, thereforee, in Jyoti Parsad v. Administration for Union territory of Delhi, : 2SCR125 , an additional restriction on the right of the landlord to evict the tenant is imposed by Section 19 of the Act. The protection given by section 19 is available only to tenants. The Act does not define either 'landlord' or 'tenant'. It is clear, thereforee, that the relationship of landlord and tenant has to be determined according to the general law. Section 2(f) of the Act defines occupier'. An occupier may be of five kinds as specified therein. Out of them only two kinds are tenants. The benefit of Section 19 is not, thereforee, available to the other kinds of occupier. It would appear necessary, thereforee, for the Competent Authority to determine if the person claiming benefit of Section 19 is a tenant vis-a-vis the applicant-landlord before it can decide either to grant the permission or to refuse the permission to the landlord for the eviction of the tenant.
(9) Shri S. N. Marwaha, learned counsel for the respondents tried to argue that the existence of a relationship of landlord and tenant was not a necessary pre-condition for the exercise of the jurisdiction of the Competent Authority under Section 19. He invited our attention to the following words in Section 19(1) :-
'19(1) No person shall, except with the previous permission in writing of 'the Competent Authority,- (a) institute a proceeding for obtaining any decree or order for the eviction of a tenant from any building or land in a slum area; or (b) execute such a decree or order'.
(10) His argument was that the word 'person' used in Section 19(1) was wider than the word 'landlord'. thereforee, even a person who is not a landlord may apply under section 19(1) to / the Competent Authority for permission to evict a tenant. We are unable to agree. In our view, the word 'person' in this context signifies only a landlord and no one else. For, Section 19(1) prohibits two kinds of proceedings for obtaining any decree or order, namely, (a) for the eviction of a tenant; and (b) for the execution of a decree or order of eviction of a tenant. A proceeding which can be brought only against a tenant as such must necessarily be by a landlord. These proceedings constitute a well known class of proceedings between landlords and tenants. They are distinguished from proceedings .based on title in which relationship of landlord and tenant is immaterial. The proceeding between the landlord and the tenant is based on the relationship arising either out of a contract or operation of law. The essence of the relationship is that the tenant is stopped from disputing the title of the landlord at the inception of the tenancy. The very object of Chapter Vi of the Act is to protect only the tenants and not other kinds of occupiers. The proceedings to which Section 19 relates are those against tenants. It follows, thereforee that such proceedings can be initiated only by the landlords. In our view, thereforee. Section 19 applies only to proceedings between the landlord and tenant.
(11) Since the relationship of landlord and tenant has to exist from before the application under Section 19 is made by the landlord, it is a condition precedent which must be satisfied before the landlord can make an application under Section 19. The Competent Authority proceeds on the basis that such relationship exists before it can decide the specific question whether the permission should be granted or not. The jurisdiction of the Competent Authority under Section 19 'is, thereforee, to grant or not to grant the permission for eviction. But the exercise of this jurisdiction depends on the fulfillment of the jurisdictional condition that the application is made by a landlord for permission to evict a tenant. When the relationship is admitted by the parties the Competent Authority straightway proceeds to decide. whether the permission sought by the landlord should be granted or not. If the relationship is denied by the landlord then the Competent Authority must dismiss the application of the landlord on the ground that no permission is needed under Section 19 for the filing of a suit for possession based on title. If the relationship is denied by the tenant then the Competent Authority has theoretically got two courses open to itself. It may either refer the landlord to the civil Court for a finding that the relationship exists between the parties. Such a finding becomes res-judicuta between the parties. The landlord can file a petition under Section 19 on the basis of such a finding and the tenant could not thereafter dispute the relationship. The Competent Authority can proceed to decide whether the permission to the landlord should be granted or not. But such a course of action would encourage frivolous denials of relationship of landlord and tenant. Section 19 has given jurisdiction to the Competent Authority to decide a certain question. Jurisdiction would be made largely infructuous if a mere denial of the relationship by the alleged tenant could put the Competent Authority out of action and unable to proceed further. thereforee, the second course which is the only possible one in the circumstances and which must be adopted by the Competent Authority, is to determine whethe' the relationship of landlord and tenant exists between the parties. The Competent Authority does not have the final jurisdiction to determine the existence of the relationship. Its authority extends only to make a preliminary inquiry into the relationship solely for the purposes of knowing, whether it can proceed further under Section 19 to decide the main question whether permission should be granted or not. The finding given as a result of the preliminary inquiry will not be rest judicata between the parties and would be liable to be questioned collaterally either by a civil suit or by a writ petition. The mere fact that the question of relationship cannot be finally determined by the Competent Authority is, however, no reason why it should not be inquired into at all by it.'
(12) In Rex v. London, etc., Rent Tribunal Ex parte Honig, 1951 (1) K.B. 641, tenant had made an application to the Rent Tribunal under the provisions of the Furnished Houses (Rent Control) Act, 1946. The landlord took the stand that the tenancy had already been terminated and, thereforee, there was no existing relationship of landlord and tenant. The Court held that the tribunal was bound to determine whether the relationship of landlord and tenant existed at the time of the application made by the tenant to it (vide Goddard, C.J. at pp. 644-645).
(13) In Om Prakash Gupta v. Dr. Rattan Singh, 1963 P.L.R. 543, the tenant denied that the applicant before the Rent Controller was his landlord. The Supreme Court, however, held B that the Controller must determine whether the relationship of landlord and tenant existed between the parties.
(14) The same view was expressed by one of us (Deshpande, J.) in S.A.O. 227-D of 1963 (Mrs. D. David v. Miss R. Mukha) decided on 17-12-69 relying on The Queen v. The Commissioners for Special Purposes of the Income, Tax (1888) 21 Q.B.D. C 313 and Magiti Sasamal v. Pandab Bissoi, : 3SCR673 after distinguishing Chhube Jagdish Prasad Chaturvedi v. Ganga Prasad Chaturvedi, : AIR1959SC492 .
(15) We find on the first question, thereforee, that the Competent Authority was bound to make a preliminary inquiry into the existence of the relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties under Section 19(1) with a view to be able to decide on the basis of such a preliminary inquiry whether permission should be given to the landlord to institute proceedings for the eviction of the tenant. If the Competent Authority arrived at a preliminary finding that the relationship of landlord and tenant did not exist between the parties then the Competent Authority was precluded from granting peimission sought by the landlord for the institution of a proceeding for the eviction of the tenant. It would be a contradiction in terms for the Competent Authority to hold that there was no relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties and yet to grant permission to the alleged landlord to institute proceedings for the eviction of the alleged tenant. It is true that the alleged landlord who has failed to obtain such a preliminary finding in his favor from the Competent Authority would be unable to make an application to the Controller for the eviction of the tenant under Section 14(1) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958. It is also true that the preliminary finding given by the Competent Authority under Section 19 is not rest judicata between the parties and the question of the relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties would have to be decided afresh by the Controller under Section 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, if necessary. The Supreme Court in 0m Parkash Gupta's case referred to. above, has, however, observed in relation to the proceedings before the Controller under the Delhi Rent Control Act 1958 that a mere denial of relationship by the tenant does not oust the jurisdiction of the Controller to inquire into the relationship with a view to determine whether the landlord was entitled to evict the tenant. The same observa- tion, in our view, would hold good regarding the jurisdiction of the Competent Authority under Section 19(1) of the Slum Areas ( Improvement & Clearance) Act, 1956. The Competent Authority is also a tribunal of limited jurisdiction. Nevertheless, it has also to make the preliminary inquiry and make preliminary finding as to the existence of relationship of landlord and tenant as it is the very basis on which it can exercise its jurisdiction under Section 19.
(16) We do not apprehend that the preliminary inquiry into the existence of the relationship of landlord and tenant can be magnified into a full scale trial by a litigous tenant to defeat or delay the grant of permission by the Competent Authority under Section 19. For, under Section 19(3) inquiry into the main question whether the permission should be granted or not is itself to be 'such summary inquiry into the circumstances of the case as it (Competent Authority) thinks fit'. A fortiori the preliminary inquiry into the existence of the relationship of landlord and tenant by the Competent Authority would be even more summary.
(17) In Rex v. Falham Hammersmith and Kensington Rent Tribanal. Ex parte Zerek 1951 (2) KB. 1 Goddard, CJ. at p. 7 and Devlin, J. at p. 10 were not inclined to limit the grounds on which a transaction of lease could be attached by the parties thereto. On the other hand, in Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Shri Badri 1966 D.L.T. 294 a Division Bench of the Punjab High Court sitting as a Circuit Bench at Delhi expressed itself against the right of a tenant to resist eviction before the Controller by denying the validity of the trust on which the title of the landlord rested.
(18) In our view, the preliminary inquiry by the Competent Authority is to be summary both in respect of the procedure of the inquiry and in respect of the matter to be considered by the Competent Authority, namely, the existence of the relationship of landlord and tenant.
(19) The second question is concerned entirely with the construction of sub-section (4) of Section 19 which reads as follows:-
'(4) In granting or refusing to grant the permission under sub-section (3), the Competent Authority shall take into account the following factors, namely :- (a) whether alternative accommodation within the means of the tenant would be available to him if he were evicted; (b) whether the eviction is in the interest of improvement and clearance of the slum areas; (c) such other factors, if any, as may be prescribed.'
(20) Section 19(4) has two aspects. The first is, whether it is mandatory. The second is, whether it is exhaustive. In the absence of any rules made under Section 19(4)(c) only two considerations have been specified to be taken into account by the Competent Authority, namely, (a) whether alternative accommodation within the means of th& tenant would be available to him if he were evicted; and (b) whether the eviction is in the interest of improvement and clearance of the slum areas. These two considerations appear to us to be alternative and not cumulative. If the eviction is in the interest of improvement and clearance of the slum areas then the premises may have to be either demolished or improved by repairs. This would involve the vacation of the premises by the tenant even if the tenant is too poor to find accommodation within his means. For, as observed by the Supreme Court in Jyoti Prasad's case referred to above at p. 143 'the Act itself contemplates eviction in cases where on the grounds of the house being unfit for human inhabitation it is to be demolished either singly under s. 7 or as one of a block of buildings under Ch. IV. So long thereforee as a building can, without great detriment to health or safety, permit accommodation, the policy of the enactment would seem to suggest that the slum dweller should not be evicted unless alternative accommodation could be obtained for him'. But if on the other hand, the eviction of the tenant is not necessitated by the demolition or repairs o.f the premises then the Competent Authority must consider if alternative accommodation within his means would be available to the tenant if he were evicted. If it comes to the conclusion that he would not find such alternative accommodation within his means then the Competent Authority is precluded from granting the permission for his eviction. The following reasons seem to us to show that Section 19(4) is mandatory as well as exhaustive.
(21) Knowing fully well that in addition to the protection given to the tenant against eviction by landlord under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act, the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952 had imposed further restrictions on the right of the landlord to evict the tenant, the Legislature enacted this Act in 1956. Section 19 which was a part of the Act as originally enacted prohibited the execution of a decree or order for eviction obtained by a landlord against a tenant living in a slum area except with the previous permission in writing of the Competent Authority. In Jyoti Pershad's case thereforee, the validity of Section 19 was challenged on the ground that it imposed an unreasonable restriction on the fundamental right of the landlord guaranteed by Article 19(l)(f) of the Constitution to hold and dispose of his property which included the right of evicting his tenants. This right of eviction which was already restricted would be totally denied to the landlord if the Competent Authority were to refuse permission to him to evict his tenant in a slum area. The discretion given to the Competent Authority was also challenged as being arbitrary and unfettered. The Supreme Court repelled both the contentions. As to the first contention their lordships at p. 143 observed as follows :-
'OBVIOUSLY, if the protection that is afforded is read in the context of the rest of the Act, it is clear that it is to enable the poor who have no other place to go to, and who if they were compelled to go out, would necessarily create other slums in the process and live perhaps in less commodious and more unhealthy surroundings than those 'from which they were evicted, to remain in their dwellings until provision is made for a better life for them elsewhere. Though thereforee the Act fixes no time limit during which alone the restraint on eviction is to operate, it is clear from the policy and purpose of the enactment and the object which it seeks to achieve that this restriction would only before a period which would be determined by the speed with which the authorities are able to make other provisions for affording the slum dweller-tenants better living conditions. The Act, no doubt, looks at the problem not from the point of view of the landlord, his needs, the money he has sunk in the house and the possible profit that he might make if the house were either let to other tenants or was reconstructed and let out, but rather from the point of view of the tenants who have no alternative accommodation and who would be stranded in the open if an order for eviction were passed.'
(22) The second contention urged at pp. 144-145 was that Parliament should have enacted with reference to the several grounds on which eviction could be had under the Rent Control Act, the additional restrictions or further conditions which would be taken into account by the Competent Authority. This contention was repelled by the Supreme Court at p. 146 by observing as follows :-
'IT is not at the 'sweet-will and pleasure' of the Competent Authority that permission to evict could be granted or refused, but 'on principles gatherable from the enactment, as explained earlier (in the words at p. 143 quoted above).'
(23) In Smt. Parvati Devi v. Tibbia College Board, Delhi and another, a Division Bench of this Court found it difficult to reconcile itself to the position that the landlord should be denied the right to evict his tenant solely on the ground that the tenant would not be able to find alternative accommodation within his means if he is evicted. It was thought highly unjust that a tenant who for instance fails to pay rent or damages, the premises should be allowed to stay in the premises merely because he is unable to find alternative accommodation within his means. A similar view was expressed by a learned Single Judge of this Court in Chander Bhan v. Chattar Singh, 1968 D.L.T. 501 subsequently. A Division Bench of this Court referred the correctness of the view expressed in these two decisions to a Full Bench in Digambar Prasad v. S. L. Dhani etc. 1970(') Rent Control Journal 165. But the Full Bench dismissed the writ petition of the tenant on the preliminary ground that his conduct in refusing to pay rent for a long period was such as to disentitle him to the discretionary remedy by way of certiorari. With great respect, it seems to us that the decision of the Supreme Court in Jyoti Pershad's case should be sufficient to enable us to construe Section 19(4) as being mandatory and exhaustive even though such construction may prevent the landlord from evicting his tenant except on one of the grounds expressly mentioned therein. The discretion given to the Competent Authority to give or refuse permission under the unamended Section 19 was to be exercised, according to the Supreme Court, on principles gatherable from the enactment. It is well known that such discretion if exercised on irrelevant or extraneous considerations, would have been struck down as illegal and ultra virus the Act. The Legislature, thereforee, inserted a new sub-section (4) in Section 19 to give effect to the observations of the Supreme Court by expressly laying down the considerations which must guide the Competent Authority in exercising the discretion. The new Section 19(4) says 'in granting or refusing to grant permission under sub-section (3) the Competent Authority shall take into account the following factors.' The Legislature has, thereforee, enacted what it considers to be the relevant considerations which will guide the Competent Authority. It is difficult to resist the inference that any other considerations would be irrelevant and cannot be taken into account by the Competent Authority.
(24) The rule expressio unius est exclusio alterius would seem to apply. It is stated in Craies on Statute Law (Sixth Edition) at p. 260 in the following words :-
'ANOTHER general rule with regard to the effect of an enabling Act is expressed in the maxim, Expressio unius est exclusio alterius, 'Express enactment shuts the door to further implication.' 'If there be any one rule of law clearer than another, it is this, that, where the legislature have expressly prescribed one or more particular modes of dealing with property, such expression always excludes any other mode, except as specifically authorised.'
(25) The Competent Authority is creature of the statute. The power given to it by Section 19(1) has to be exercised only after taking into account the factors stated in Section 19(4) and not otherwise. The principle stated by Lord Roche in Nazir Ahmed v. King Emperor was as follows :--
'WHERE a power is given to do a certain thing in certain way the thing must be done in that way or not at all. Other methods of performances are necessarily forbidden.'
(26) The principle was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in State of Uttar Pradesh v. Singhara Singh and others, : 4SCR485 . Their lordships at p. 491 observed as follows :-
'IF this were not so, the statutory provision might as well not have been enacted.'
(27) It seems to us, thereforee, that the Competent Authority while exercising the discretion given to it must take into account the factors stated in Section 19(1) and nothing else. It has constantly come to our notice that landlords applying for permission to the Competent Authority under Section 19 needlessly state the reasons why they want to evict their tenants. These reasons have usually reference to the various provisos to Section 14(1) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 which have to be satisfied before the Controller under that Act would pass an order of eviction. In our view, it is entirely unnecessary for the landlords to plead any of these grounds in as much as they are relevant under the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 but are completely irrelevant under the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956. The Competent Authority is precluded from considering those grounds for the reasons stated above. At the same time the Competent Authority cannot shirk the consideration of such of the factors stated in Section 19(4) as would be relevant on the facts of the particular case before it. If the Competent Authority were either to ignore the factors stated in Section 19(4) or to take into account other factors such as these stated in the various provisos to Section 14(1) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 then it would be guilty of construing Section 19(4) in such a way as to evade its application altogether. The Competent Authority would then be doing the same work as is to be done later by the Controller under the Delhi Rent Control Act. 1958. There is absolutely no warrant for doing so. Taking into account such irrelevant considerations by the Competent Authority is not only a violation of Section 19(4) but is also a usurpation of the powers given to the Controllers under the Delhi Rent Control Act. 1958. Such a practice can lead to serious anomalise.
(28) For the above reasons we disagree with the view expressed by the learned Judicial Secretary in the impugned orders dated 27-5-1969 that the Competent Authority must grant permission for eviction under Section 19 whenever the relationship of landlord and tenant is denied by the tenant. For the same reasons, the giant of the permission to the landlord for the eviction of the tenant without taking into account the provisions of Section 19(4)(a) by the learned Judicial Secretary was also unjustified. The reasoning in the impugned orders not being supportable, the question is whether they should be quashed.
(29) The petitioners have come to this Court to claim the relief by way of certiorari under Article 226 of the Constitution. As pointed out by the Full Bench of this Court in Digambar Prasad's Case referred to above, however, this relief is discretionary and may be refused to a petitioner whose conduct is such as to disentitle him to it. Learned counsel for the respondents has pointed out with great force that the conduct of the petitioners in these writ petitions is reprehensible and the discretionary relief should, thereforee, be refused to them.
(30) Doctor C. R. Abrol is a medical practitioner having two clinics. His son Satish Chander is a Government officer getting a basic salary of Rs. 825.00 plus allowances per month. Mela Ram is a shopkeeper with a certain stock in trade and also a certain income from his shop, and yet all these three petitioners have stated that they do not own any immoveable or moveable properties. Such a statement shows a shocking disregard for verasity on their part. In paragraph 17(x) of the written statement filed by the respondents it has been stated that the tenants have been in arrears of rent for the last about four years. In their rejoinders, the tenants did not deny this fact. They merely stated that they were ready and willing to pay the rent to Smt. Sarla Gupta and that they had sent it to her by money order. The tenants were duty bound to pay rent. A valid tender of rent was not made by them in as such as they did not deposit the rent in Court and alternatively did not send the rent to the landlord by money order each month. The tenants have thus failed to pay rent to the landlords for over five years without justification.
(31) The tenants have denied the title of the landlords on flimsy technical and untanable grounds. The Arya Pritinidhi Subha, Punjab in a well known institution running numerous colleges, schools etc., and it was perverse on the part of the tenants to question the fact of its registration under societies Registration Act. Similarly the tenants have no justification to fight this litigation when Smt. Sarla Gupta whom they admit as their landlord has herself filed the affidavit showing that the title of the premises is in the respondents. Even before the Competent Authority the affidavit filed by the' office bearer of the Arya Samaj that Sarla Gupta has executed a trust deed in favor of the Arya Pritinidhi Sabha Punjab should have been sufficient to convince any reasonable person that the title is in the Arya Pritinidhi Sabha Punjab and not in Sarla Gupta. The conduct of the tenants, thereforee, deserve to be strongly condemned. This kind of conduct disentitles them to the relief by way of certiorari.
(32) Secondly the Competent Authority has itself gone wrong in doubting the registration of the Arya Pritinidhi Sabha Punjab and the execution of the trust deed by Smt. Sarla Gupta in their favor. Both these factors were duly proved by the affidavit filed by an office bearer of the Arya Samaj. The Competent Authority should have accepted the averment made in the affidavit as true particularly because the tenants were in the position to controvert the said averment. In view of the affidavit it was unnecessary for the landlords to produce either the Registration Certificate or a certified copy of the trust deed. The reasons for which the Competent Authority refused permission to the landlords were, thereforee, totally untenable. The decision of the Competent Authority was, thereforee, based on no evidence and was without jurisdiction.
(33) But neither the Competent Authority nor the Judicial Secretary purported to decide, whether the tenants were able to obtain alternative accommodation within their means if they were evicted, Satish Chander does not reside in the premises at all and is also getting Rs. 825.00 as pay plus the usual allowances. He is, thereforee, in a position to get alternative accommodation within his means and further he does not require any alternative accommodation at all. Doctor C. R. Abrol and Mela Ram have not come up honestly with a declaration of their means. Their own means were facts within their special knowledge. They suppressed them altogether by staling that they had no moveable or immoveable property. In view of this, the affidavits filed by the landlord regarding the means of Doctor C. R. Abrol and Mela Ram had to be believed. According to those affidavits both Doctor Abrol and Mela Ram are of means, able to find alternative accommodation while their means. It is only because neither the Competent Authority nor the Judicial Secretary considered this question that we had to do so to avoid the sending back of this case again for consideration of this point by the Competent Authority. After all the delay that has already occurred, we thought it imperative not to delay these cases further. In view of the above finding given by us it is unnecessary for us to send the cases back to the Competent Authority.
(34) The permission granted by the Judicial Secretary to the landlords for the eviction of the tenants was, thereforee, justified though not for the reasons given by the learned Judicial Secretary. The writ Petitions are, thereforee, dismissed but without any order as to costs.