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Lal Chand Khanna Vs. Dr. Parmod Kumar Sood and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberC.R. No. 547 of 1978
Judge
Reported inAIR1980Delhi142; 17(1980)DLT234; 1980(1)DRJ11
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 25
AppellantLal Chand Khanna
RespondentDr. Parmod Kumar Sood and ors.
Appellant Advocate Harnam Dass, Adv
Respondent Advocate N.C. Sikri and ; A.K. Sikri, Advs.
Excerpt:
.....unit, which was not possible in the existing accomodation out of the portion vacated by another tenant sometime back was, however repelled on the ground that that accommodation consisted only of a kitchen and a store and the doctor couple and the children deserved better accommodation having regard to their status. in india, joint family living has over the years been under considerable strain for economic as well as tempera-mental reasons arising largely on account of a confect between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law with the result that a separate unit for some of the branches of the family within the family home is not an unusual occurrence......and traditions, it is not possible to ignore the peculiar domestic problem or style of living of a family. in india, joint family living has over the years been under considerable strain for economic as well as tempera-mental reasons arising largely on account of a confect between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law with the result that a separate unit for some of the branches of the family within the family home is not an unusual occurrence. in such a situation a bona fide claim for larger accommodation to have an independent unit within the family home could not with any reasonableness be turned down, particularly where the requirement is not of a dependent of an owner but of a co-owner himself. that relations were strained was not seriously disputed. if the couple and the two.....
Judgment:

H.L. Anand, J.

1. This is a tenant's petition under proviso to Sub-section (8) of Section 25-B of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 assailing the order of eviction. The principal question that it raised was as to the liability of the tenant to eviction merely on the ground that the premises at present available to owners, though otherwise sufficient for their requirements having regard to the extent of the accommodation and of the family, was nevertheless insufficient, because on account of strained relations between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law, a separate unit in the premises could not be provided for a branch of the family. Certain subsequent event have to an extent changed the context in which the order was made and have thrown up an additional problem as to their effect and the course to be followed in the changed circumstances.

2. The property, in which the premises in dispute is situated is jointly owned by the mother, principal of a government school and her two sons and two daughters. The elder son and his wife are both doctors and have two young children. The tenant occupies the first floor of the property while the ground floor has been in the occupation of the owners. The accommodation available with the owners at the relevant time consisted of three bed rooms, a drawing room, a verandah, a dining room, which is divided into two portions which serves as a kitchen and a store, there is an additional accommodation, maybe available by another tenant, consisting of a kitchen and a store measuring 9' x 9' and 9'x7' respectively. Eviction was sought, on the ground of insufficiency of accomodation, having regard to the extent of the family, as also on the additional ground that on account of strained relations between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law, the elder son and his branch must have an independent unit which was not possible in view of the existing accommodation available to the owners. During the pendency of the petition, one of the daughters was married. The plea of eviction on the ground of insufficiency of accommodation was not seriously pressed and in any event, the Addl. Rent Controller found that the accommodation could not be said to be insufficient having regard to the extent of the family and the real controversy before the Additional Rent Controller has been whether the eviction could be justified on the ground of compulsion arising out of strained relations between the mother and the daughter-in-law, necessitating a separate unit for the elder son and his dependants. Plea for eviction prevailed on the ground that the strained relations entitled the family to provide for a separate unit, which was not possible in the existing accomodation out of the portion vacated by another tenant sometime back was, however repelled on the ground that that accommodation consisted only of a kitchen and a store and the doctor couple and the children deserved better accommodation having regard to their status.

3. At the hearing of the petition, it was not seriously disputed on behalf of the owners that but for the strained relations the accomodation available with the owners was adequate for their requirement, particularly having regard to an admitted subsequent event of the second daughter also having been married away, even though the other son was of marriageable age and was likely to be married in the near future. The real question in controversy between the parties has, thereforee, been if the eviction could be justified merely with reference to the compulsion arising out of strained relations between the mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law and consequential need to provide an independent unit. During the pendency of the petition, certain other events made a substantial change in the context in that the elder son and his wife left India for a long stay in a foreign country, the son on an assignment, said to be at present for two years, and the wife, though retaining her service in India, probably for the same period, partly to be able to staywith her husband and partly on account of medical treatment. Parties were, however, at variance as to the precise period during which the couple would be away from the country, as also the real purpose of the wife's departure. It was, however, not disputed that the son had sold away his car before leaving the country. His wife also left with him though retaining her link with her present employer in India. It was also not seriously disputed that their two children remained in India with the rest of the family and would perhaps pursue their studies during the absence of their parents under the supervision of their grand-mother. Two subsequent events were sought to be pressed into service on behalf of the owners in that one of the married daughters had come to stay with the family and that the other son, having established himself in business, was likely to be married shortly and negotiations in that behalf had taken place. It was, however, not disputed that married daughter, who had come to stay with the family during her confinement, had since delivered herself of a baby and returned to her in-laws. The likelihood of the other son getting married was not seriously disputed, although, fortunately for the family, no suggestion has been made that the marriage of the second son was likely to create further dissension in the family.

4. That first question that is posed for determination is as to whether the mere compulsion arising out of the strained relations could justify the provision for an independent unit for the elder son so as to entitle the owners to an order of eviction on the ground of personal bona fide need. While, it is true that the test in such cases is that of the bona fide requirement of a family having regard to its extent, status, custom and traditions, it is not possible to ignore the peculiar domestic problem or style of living of a family. In India, joint family living has over the years been under considerable strain for economic as well as tempera-mental reasons arising largely on account of a confect between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law with the result that a separate unit for some of the branches of the family within the family home is not an unusual occurrence. In such a situation a bona fide claim for larger accommodation to have an independent unit within the family home could not with any reasonableness be turned down, particularly where the requirement is not of a dependent of an owner but of a co-owner himself. That relations were strained was not seriously disputed. If the couple and the two children have to make separate arrangement for messing and to have a residential unit within the home in such a way as to avoid unnecessary confrontation and conflict, such a unit could not be provided on the ground floor. The observation of the Additional Rent Controller that a doctor couple with two children could not be required to be hustled into two small rooms, which are being used as a kitchen and a store, was not seriously challenged. It is true that out of three bed rooms, one can be allotted to the mother, while the remaining two can be divided between the two brothers, but that would hardly leave a bedroom for the children, as indeed for the future requirement of the other son, who is due to be married. There would also be not provision for one or the other daughter of the family when they come to stay with the mother, which is quite a frequent occurrence in the Hindu families. The compulsion of the circumstances, at the material time, would, thereforee, justify the eviction order and I see no reason why it should be reversed.

5. That leaves for consideration the effect of the absence from India of the couple, the need for whose separate establishment within the home was the reason for the order of eviction and the course to be followed in the rather unusual circumstances with which the Additional Rent Controller was not faced. The owners were unable, in the absence of the couple, to place any material on record which may indicate the precise terms of the contract of the assignment abroad or the likelihood of its extension. There is also no clear indication as to how long the wife was likely to remain away from the country. The tenant is obviously under an handicap to provide any useful material except a vague allegation that their stay abroad is likely to be for an indefinite period. It was not seriously disputed on behalf of the owners that with only two children of the couple with the family the precipitate situation had obviously been relieved to a very large measure. It was also not seriously disputed that even if the wife returned to India earlier than the husband, temporarily or permanently, the position obtaining earlier would still be eased to an extent, It was also not disputed on behalf of the tenant that unless the couple migrated from India, it could not be said that the problem arising out of the strained relations had been completely solved, even though the situation may have been temporarily eased. If that be so, there would be no justification to vary the order of eviction, even though it may be unfair to allow it to be carried out in the existing circumstances. The son has, in any event, to remain out of India for about two years and the period may perhaps be extended.

6. Having regard to all the circumstances, it appears to me that proper course to follow would be to uphold the order of eviction subject, however, to the direction that it would not be carried out until the son returned on the conclusion of his foreign assignment.

7. I would, thereforee, dismiss the petition subject, however, to the direction that the eviction order would not be carried out until the son returns to India on the conclusion of his assignment. If and when the order is sought to be carried out, the tenant would be entitled to raise a plea that the son had not returned to India on the conclusion of the assignment or that there had been no change in the situation obtaining at present and if such a plea is raised, the Additional Rent Controller would decide the question, after hearing the parties in accordance with law, but with expedition.

8. In the peculiar circumstances, the parties would bear their respective costs of proceedings in this Court.


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