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Shri Suraj Parkash Chhabra Vs. Shri Gobind Ram - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.A.O. No. 135 of 1974
Judge
Reported in17(1980)DLT498
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14 and 39(2); Evidence Act - Sections 101 and 114; General Clauses Act - Sections 27
AppellantShri Suraj Parkash Chhabra
RespondentShri Gobind Ram
Appellant Advocate S.P. Mahajan, Adv
Respondent Advocate R.K. Makhija and ; Alakh Kumar, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredSaiddudin v. Mahabir Singh
Excerpt:
.....service of notice by landlord on tenant had not been proved - allegedly landlord failed to prove that envelope containing notice bore correct address of tenant - said finding is finding of fact which cannot be interfered with in appeal under section 39 (2) - no substantial question of law raised - appeal not maintainable by virtue of section 39 (2). - - in the present case, however, the inference drawn by the learned rent controller is precisely based on the failure of the landlord to prove that the envelope bore the correct address of the tenant. 160 the learned judge observed :i am of the view, thereforee, that the inference from the admitted facts of the case drawn by the controller that the landlady did not need the premises bonafide for her residence was, correct and that the..........this is an appeal under section 39(2) of the delhi rent control act, 1958. in the order of the learned rent control tribunal under appeal, the only point decided against the appellant was with regard to the service of notice and the appeal against the order of the learned rent controller was allowed on a finding that the service of the requisite notice had not been proved. thus the only point before me is whether this finding of the learned rent control tribunal can and needs to be set aside. no other point arises or is urged.2. on behalf of the appellant the attention of the learned rent controller was drawn to ex. a3, copy of the notice dated 10th april, 1961 and ex. a4 the postal receipt in respect of the registration of the dispatch of the notice and ex. a5 being the a. d. form.....
Judgment:

Harish Chandra, J.

1. This is an appeal under Section 39(2) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958. In the order of the learned Rent Control Tribunal under appeal, the only point decided against the appellant was with regard to the service of notice and the appeal against the order of the learned Rent Controller was allowed on a finding that the service of the requisite notice had not been proved. Thus the only point before me is whether this finding of the learned Rent Control Tribunal can and needs to be set aside. No other point arises or is urged.

2. On behalf of the appellant the attention of the learned Rent Controller was drawn to Ex. A3, copy of the notice dated 10th April, 1961 and Ex. A4 the postal receipt in respect of the registration of the dispatch of the notice and Ex. A5 being the A. D. form in respect of the said notice and argued that service of the notice should be presumed to have been made in view of Section 114 of the Evidence Act, Section 27 of the General Clauses Act and in the light of the ratio of the judgment, Harihar Benerji v. Ramshaski Roy and Ors., reported as A.I.R. 1918 P C102.

3. Against this? the learned counsel for the respondent had urged that the presumption of service did not arise as the notice had not been addressed to the appellant at the correct address.

4. The respondent--tenant was residing in House No. 4455 (new) Katra Raiji, Paharganj, Delhi, but Ex. A8, copy of the notice, is addressed to him at House No. 4456. There is no evidence to show whether the envelope containing the original of Ex. A3 was addressed at House No. 4455 or at House No. 4456. Ex. A5 the A.D. form, however, bears the correct address of the respondent i.e. House No. 4455.

5. The learned Rent Tribunal further noted that in the cross-examination of the respondent it was put to him that he was residing in House No. 4456. This shows that the appellant was always under the mistaken impression that the House No. of the respondent was 4456 and not 4455.

6. All this may have had little significance if the signatures on Ex. A5 the A.D. form could be said to be undisputably that of the respondent. The respondent has, however, not only denied service of notice but has also denied signatures of Ex. A5 as his.

7. Having regard to all these circumstances, I am of, the view that the only finding relevant to the decision of this appeal and the only one challenged before me is undoubtedly a finding of fact and I cannot see any way how the appeal can escape the mischief of Sub-section (2) of Section 39 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958.

8. Mr. S.P. Mahajan, learned counsel for the appellant has made strenuous efforts to detect a substantial question of law as the basis of his appeal in order to cross the hurdle of Sub-section (2) of Section 39. He contends that from the evidence on record a presumption of service of notice should have been drawn and since such a presumption was not drawn the inference of the notice not having been served raises a substantial question of law. He relies upon Harihar Benerjee's case, (supra). Oh page 112 of the report their lordships quoted from the judgment in Gresham House Estate Company v. Rossa Grande Gold Mining Company where it was held that if a letter properly directed, containing a notice to quit, is proved to have been put in the post office, it is presumed that the letter reached its destination at the proper time according to the regular course of business of the post office, and was received by the person to whom it was addressed. Their lordships then added that the aforesaid presumption would appeal to apply with still greater force to letters which the sender has taken the precaution to register and has not rebutted but strengthened by the fact that a receipt for the letter produced is signed on behalf of the addressee by some person than the addressee himself.'

9. It appears to me clear that the ratio of the above decisions would apply only if the starting point is, '..................a letter properly directed... .........'. The letter must be correctly addressed for the suggested inference of presumption to be drawn. In the present case, however, the inference drawn by the learned Rent Controller is precisely based on the failure of the landlord to prove that the envelope bore the correct address of the tenant. The above authority, thereforee, has no application to the facts of this case. For the same reasons the judgment in Radha Kishan v. State of Uttar Pradesh, : (1963)IILLJ667SC , and Smt. Kailashwanti v. Fazal Mobeen, 1979(2) R.C.R. 170, have no application as in these cases there was no dispute about the addressee having been addressed at the correct address.

10. Mr. Mahajan then relied upon Balgovind Rastogi v. Bhargava School Book Depot, : AIR1958All369 , which was a case where the notice had been received by some body who had signed acknowledgment on behalf of the addressee. It was held that the onus to prove that the person who signed the acknowledgment was neither his servant nor a member of his family and that the onus of proving that notice has not been received by him was upon the addressee. In the facts of the present case, however, no such acknowledgment had been admitted. In fact an acknowledgment form has been produced and it has been claimed that it bears the signature of the tenant. The tenant, however, has denied his signatures in support of his plea that the notice was never received by him. Needless to say, if the A.D. form had been admittedly signed by the tenant, the controversy would not be occasioned. Similarly, if the A.D. form had been signed on behalf of the tenant, the ratio of the aforesaid judgment would apply and would be for the tenant to prove that he did riot receive the notice in spite of the A.D. form having purportedly signed on his behalf. It is, however, a qualitative difference of facts when the A.D. form purports to bear the signature of the tenant but the same are denied.

11. Mr. Mahajan suggested that it was the duty of the court to havegone into the question of whether the disputed signatures on the A.D. formwere that of the tenant or not. I am afraid I am not aware of any suchduty. Mr. Mahajan has relied upon Bissesswar Poddar v. Nabadwip ChandraPoddar and Anr., 0065/1961 : AIR1961Cal300 , but the relevant portions of thisjudgment only suggest that the court may itself look at the disputed signatures and compare the same with the admitted signatures or hand-writing andcome to a conclusion. The fact that the court may do so or has the power todo so does not. suggest that it has also the duty to clo so.

12. I, thereforee, reiterate that in the facts of this case, the finding that the service of the notice by the landlord on the tenant has not been proved. Is a pure finding of fact, which cannot be interfered with in an appeal under Section 39(2) of the Act.

13. Mr. Mahajan has then drawn my attention to the judgment of Mr. Justice V. S. Deshpande in O.P. Kapoor v. Padma Kaur, reported as 1972 R.C.R. 160 the learned Judge observed :

'I am of the view, thereforee, that the inference from the admitted facts of the case drawn by the Controller that the landlady did not need the premises bonafide for her residence was, correct and that the reversal of the decision of the Controller by the Tribunal was unjustified as the Tribunal had not good grounds to draw a contrary inference from the same facts. As I had occasioned to point out in Saiddudin v. Mahabir Singh, : AIR1971Delhi240 , the inference from primary facts may be called a finding of a secondary fact. Such an inference is one of fact if it can be drawn by a lay man but would be a conclusion of law if it involves construction of a statute. In the present case, the inference is whether the landlady had a bonafide need for the premises within the meaning of Proviso (e) to Section 14(1). This was, thereforee, a question of law. In view of the divergent inference drawn by the Controller and the Tribunal it becomes a substantial question of law within the meaning of Section 39 of the Act giving me jurisdiction to entertain the appeal and decide this question.'

Mr. Mahajan contends that the judgment under appeal being one of reversal, the ratio of the judgment quoted above applies and a substantial question of law is discernible. I am afraid the above observations have no application to the facts of this case which is based on a pure finding of facts of the lack of service of the notice and does not involve any findings by way of inferences.

14. In conclusion, I reiterate my view that no substantial question of law is raised or comes up for being decided in this appeal and the appeal is, thereforee, not maintainable by virtue of Section 39(2) of the Delhi Rent Control Act. The appeal is dismissed with costs.


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