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Tara Singh Harbhajan Singh and ors. Vs. Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal Nos. 38 , 39 and 40 of 1971
Judge
Reported in9(1973)DLT456
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Order 23, Rule 3; Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 22 and 37(2)
AppellantTara Singh Harbhajan Singh and ors.
RespondentGurdwara Prabandhak Committee
Advocates: Y. Dayal,; S.C. Malik and; Vijay Kishan, Advs
Cases ReferredNathu Ram Vaid v. Tibbia College Board
Excerpt:
.....- it was ruled that order 23 rule 3 of the code would be applicable to the proceedings before the rent controller - further, on a combined reading of section 37(2) of the delhi rent control act, 1958 and rule 23 of the delhi rent control rules, it was clear that the controller had to follow the procedure of a court of small cases - - (7) the tribunal held that even though the orders for eviction were based on compromise and as such on the consent of the parties but the admissions made by the tenants were quite sufficient for the controller to be satisfied about the facts which entitled him to pass the orders and the same were, thereforee, valid and enforceable. (8) shri yogeshwar dayal, appearing for the tenants, has raised the following contentions in support of the appeals :(1)that..........of 'karah parshad'. the applications were assigned for disposal to shri d. c. aggarwal, rent controller. before notices could be issued, the tenants appeared before the rent controller and filed separate memos of compromise stating that the claim of the landlord was admitted and an order for eviction may be passed in its favor subject to the condition that time for vacating the premises may be granted till october 31, 1970. on january 2, 1969, orders for eviction in terms of the compromise were consequently passed against two of the tenants (appellants in s. a. os. 39 and 40 of 1971) after recording their statements. on january 7, 1969, the third tenant (appellant in s. a. o. 38 of 1971) also appeared before the controller. his statement was also recorded and an order for.....
Judgment:

S.N. Shankar, J.

(1) This order will dispose of S. A. 0s. 38 of 1971, 39 of 1971 and 40 of 1971.

(2) The appellants (hereafter called 'the tenants') in all these three appeals are in occupation of three different shops in property No. 1833-39, Gurdwara Sis Ganj, Chandni Chowk, Delhi as tenants of the respondent (hereafter called 'the landlord') at rates of rent which it is not material to mention for decision of the controversy in these appeals.

(3) In February, 1967, the landlord filed three separate applications under Section 19 of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956 for permission to file suits for eviction against the tenants. In November, 1968, permission was granted on the basis of a compromise entered into between the parties according to which the landlord agreed to allow time to the tenants to vacate the premises in their respective occupation by October 31, 1970.

(4) On November 21, 1968, after obtaining permission, the landlord filed three separate applications for eviction against the tenants under Section 22 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (hereafter called 'the Act'). It was alleged that the landlord was a religions and charitable, public institution and its activities besides public worship also included the running of 'Guru Ka Langar' (free kitchen for all), Mussafarkhana, education, free dispensaries, libraries etc. and that the premises in occupation of each of the tenants was required for the furtherance of its activities. It was further stated that the space available to the landlord for keeping shoes etc. of the pilgrims daily visiting the Gurdwara was insufficient and those coming from outstations were specially put to great inconvenience and difficulty, and, due to paucity of space 'The langar' (free Food), it was averred, was being served in the gallery of the main Gurdwara itself which created unnecessary noise disturbing the tranquility of the atmosphere at the shrine and that the shops in occupation of the tenants after removal of the intervening walls were intended to be used as the place for preparation of 'Karah Parshad'. The applications were assigned for disposal to Shri D. C. Aggarwal, Rent Controller. Before notices could be issued, the tenants appeared before the Rent Controller and filed separate memos of compromise stating that the claim of the landlord was admitted and an order for eviction may be passed in its favor subject to the condition that time for vacating the premises may be granted till October 31, 1970. On January 2, 1969, orders for eviction in terms of the compromise were consequently passed against two of the tenants (appellants in S. A. Os. 39 and 40 of 1971) after recording their statements. On January 7, 1969, the third tenant (appellant in S. A. O. 38 of 1971) also appeared before the Controller. His statement was also recorded and an order for eviction in terms of the compromise was passed against him also on January 9, 1969.

(5) On October 6, 1970, the appellants filed objections under section 47 of the Code of Civil Procedure staling in substance that the orders for eviction passed against them were not on the basis of the satisfaction of the Rent Controller but on the basis of the compromise and as such were a nullity and were not enforceable and may, thereforee, be set aside. It appears that in the meantime the Government released in favor of the landlord one-half of the property which was situated adjacent to the suit premises. The tenants thereupon filed further objections that in view of the fresh acquisition of additional accommodation by the landlord its need had ceased to exist and for this reason also the decree became inexecutable. The trial court dismissed the objections of the tenants on December 15, 1970. Aggrieved from this, they went up in appeal to the Tribunal but their appeals were also dismissed on February 1, 1971. Hence the second appeals to the High Court.

(6) Mr. Justice Misra before whom the matters came up for hearing referred the cases for decision by a larger bench and that is how these appeals are before us.

(7) The Tribunal held that even though the orders for eviction were based on compromise and as such on the consent of the parties but the admissions made by the tenants were quite sufficient for the Controller to be satisfied about the facts which entitled him to pass the orders and the same were, thereforee, valid and enforceable. It also held that events that took place after the passing of the orders of eviction could not be taken into account by the Controller at the execution stage to determine whether the orders were inexecutable.

(8) Shri Yogeshwar Dayal, appearing for the tenants, has raised the following contentions in support of the appeals :

'(1)That the orders for eviction on the basis of compromise were illegal and unforceable as they were not the orders passed after the Controller had satisfied himself of the grounds on which the landlord sought to claim eviction. (2) That in any case the compromise on the basis of which the orders were passed contained no admission of the tenants that the landlord was a public institution within the meaning of Section 22 of the Act and for this reason orders of eviction under this section were not sustainable. (3) That there was no averment on the part of the landlord that the purpose for which the premises in suit were required was the purpose for furtherance of the activities of the landlord. (4) That the finding of the Tribunal that the objections of the tenants could not be entertained as they were filed at the execution stage was erroneous because the orders of eviction passed in these cases were not the final orders envisaged in section 22 and that it should have been held that proceedings under section 22 were still pending between the parties.'

(9) The first three contentions can conveniently be dealt with together. Para 18 (a) (ii) of the petition in clear terms stated as already pointed out that the landlord was a religious and charitable public institution and its activities besides public worship (including reciting of Holy Hymns, Kirtan, Kathas and Religious Dewans inside the Holy Gurdwara) also included the running of Gum Ka Langar (free kitchen for all), Mussafarkhana, education, free dispensaries, libraries etc. It was further stated in sub-para (iii) of the same para that the 'free langar' used to be served at that time in the gallery of the Gurdwara which created disturbance adversely affecting the serenity of the atmosphere of the Gurdwara and that in order to carry out the beneficent and charitable purposes of the landlord, it was intended to demolish the intervening walls of the six shops including the shops occupied by the present appellants so as to form a big room and the space will be utilised for the preparation of 'Karah Parshad'. All these averments were admitted by the appellants when each one of them was separately and personally examined by the Controller after the filing of the compromise deeds and each one of them said that the claims of the landlord were admitted to be correct. In para 1 of the compromise memos also they stated that each one of them was agreeable to the passing of a decree for eviction in favor of the landlord. Para 2 and 3 and the prayer clause of the compromise memos, which were all in indentical terms, read as under :-

'2.That the respondent feels and admits that the premises are required bonafide by the petitioner Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee for the furtherance of its activities and agree to vacate the premises and deliver the vacant possession to the petitioner by 31st October, One Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy. (31-10-1970). 3. That the petitioner Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee agrees not to evict the respondent......uptil 31-10-1970. It is prayed that the compromise may kindly be recorded and Decree be passed in favor of the petitioner and against the respondent in the terms mentioned above, leaving the parties to bear their own costs.'

(10) Para 2 of the compromise memo unambiguously conceded the existence of facts on which the landlord based his claim for eviction. The tenants admitted not only that the premises were required bona fide by the landlord but also that the same were required for furtherance of its activities. Having regard to the fact that these statements were made in answer to the claim for eviction made by the landlord under section 22 of the Act, no doubt is left in our minds that the tenants by their admission were further conceding that the landlord was an institution of the kind mentioned in section 22 that required the premises for furtherance of its activities. On these admissions the evidence before the learned Additional Rent Controller was more than sufficient and of unimpeacheable character on the points that he needed to be satisfied about. Any further investigation or adjudication by him was an idle formality. Reference in this connection may be made to K. K. Chari v. R. M. Seshadri (1973) 1 RCR 342 where after noticing that in the facts of the case it was clear that the tenant had accepted the position that the landlord had made out the statutory requirements entitling him to ask for possession of the prperemises, Mr. Justice Vaidialingam said :-

'UNDERthose circumstances, when the tenant has accepted the plea of the landlord, in our opinion, it is futile to hold that the Rent Controller must again embark upon an enquiry regarding the requirement of the landlord being bona fide and adjudicate upon the same..................'

(11) The result, thereforee, is that the orders for eviction in these cases, even though based on compromise, are still good and enforceable because while entering into compromise, the tenants admitted the existence of facts which entitled the landlord to orders prayed turn by them. As observed by the Supreme Court in Chair's case (supra) the correct legal position in such cases would be that where orders for eviction was based on consent of the parties that fact alone will not necessarily vitiate the orders if the jurisdictional fact i.e. the existence of one or more of the conditions mentioned in the provision which entitled the landlord to seek eviction, are shown to exist when the order for eviction is made. It is undoubtedly true that satisfaction of the court in terms of the Act is a pre-requisite of the order of eviction but it need not necessarily be recited in the order and the absence of that recitation will not make it inoperative if it is found that on the material before him the Rent Controller was satisfied about the grounds on which the order of eviction was passed by him. Admissions of the tenants for this purpose constitute not only good but conclusive evidence.

(12) Shri Yogeshwar Dayal, appearing for the appellants, relied on Ferozi Lal Jain v. Man Mal and another : AIR1970SC794 and Smt. Kaushalya Devi and others v. K. L. Bansal : [1969]2SCR1048 , where it was held that jurisdiction of the court to pass a decree for recovery of possession of any premises depended upon its satisfaction that one or more of the grounds mentioned in the Rent Act existed and that where the court had proceeded solely on the basis of the compromise arrived at between the parties the decree for eviction was not competent and was a nullity. Reference was also made to Bahadur Singh and another v. Mum Subrat and another 1969 RCR 151 in support of the same proposition. The ratio of all these cases is not attracted to the facts of the present case. These decisions have all been noticed by the Supreme Court in its latest decision in Chad's case (supra). In Bahadur Singh's case tl?e decree sought to be executed was on the basis of an award and in fact the landlord was not even a party to the reference on the basis of which the award was obtained. The court in that case, at no stage, had occasion to satisfy itself of the grounds on which the eviction was claimed. The same was the position in Kaushalya Devi's and Ferozi Lal Jain's cases. These cases, thereforee, do not help the appellants.

(13) In A. W. Benjamin v. Raj Kishan Jain 1971 RCJ 947 a similar situation came up for consideration by this Court. It was held that where the tenant expressly admitted the claim of the landlord, this constituted sufficient material for the Controller to legally record his satisfaction and finding-admission being the best evidence that could be relied upon for basing the judgment.

(14) Placing reliance on Springdales School and others v. Mrs. Sati Tahilramani 1969 RCJ 364 Shri Yogeshwar Dayal then argued that the learned Rent Controller had no jurisdiction to record the compromise as provisions of rule 3 of Order 23 of the Code of Civil Procedure were not applicable to the proceedings before him. There appears to be no warrant for this submission any more in view of the division bench decision by this Court in Subash Chander v. Rehmat Ullah (1973) 1 Delhi 181. On a combined reading of Section 37(2) of the Act and rule 23 of the Rules framed under the Act it is evident that the Controller has to follow the practice and procedure of a Court of Small Causes as far as they extend and on other matters he is to be guided by the Code of Civil Procedure. Order 23 would, thereforee, clearly apply to proceedings before the Controller. In M/s. Silver Screen Enterprises v. Devki Nandan Nagpal 1970 Rent Control Journal 98() the question of applicability of rule 3 of Order 23 was specifically considered by the Supreme Court in the context of the provisions of East Punjab Rent Restriction (Act 3 of 1949) and it was held that once a dispute was validly settled out of court, it was open to a party to move the court to pass a decree in accordance with the compromise and provisions of rule 3 of Order 23 would be attracted. In Bhagat Ram v. Dwarka Pershad and others 1971 RCJ 941 this Court also took the same view with reference to the provisions of the Act in question. The submission that the Rent Controller had no jurisdiction to record the compromise cannot thereforee be sustained.

(15) Shri Yogeshwar Dayal next argued that para 2 of the compromise simply admitted that the premises wire required by the landlord for furtherance of its activities and that this statement did not mean that the locus standi of the landlord as a public institution was conceded. There is no substance in this contention. Landlord's application for eviction was under section 22 of the Act. The claim of the landlord was admitted in the compromise and it was further stated that it was also admitted that the premises were required for furtherance of the activities of the landlord. This admission in the light of the pleadings and the case set up by the landlord is very pregnant. It necessarily implies an admission on the part of the tenants that they did not contest the character or locus standi of the landlord as a public institution to claim an order for eviction under section 22.

(16) Now coming to the last contention of Shri Yogeshwar Dayal, we find that this is also without merit. The learned counsel did not assail the finding that the objections of the tenants could not be agitated at the stage of execution of the orders under section 22. All that he contended was that the orders passed by the Controller were in fact not orders under section 22. In support of this submission he placed reliance on Nathu Ram Vaid v. Tibbia College Board 1970 RCR 164. In this case Deshpande J. held and rightly that an order under section 22 of the Act was not an order under section 14 and so did not attract the provisions of section 19(1)(a) of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956. The observations relied upon were made in this context. Proceedings under section 21 and 22 are not the same. In case of former, the order to place the landlord in vacant possession is to be based practically on the consent of the parties when the landlord says that he does not need the premises and the tenant agrees to take it on rent for the period the landlord does not need them. Proceedings under section 22, however, envisage settlement of controversy if the claim of the landlord is not accepted. An order under this provision, thereforee, deciding the dispute has to precede the formal order directing delivery of possession to the landlord. Proceedings under this section would, thereforee, be completed as soon as the main controversy is decided and it is held that the landlord is a Company or other body corporate or any local authority or any public institution and that the premises are required for the use of the employees of such landlord or in case of public institution for the furtherance of its activities. If this controversy is decided in favor of the landlord the proceedings under this section, so far as the Controller is concerned, are complete. The order deciding these facts would operate to bind the parties and the rest will be left for the execution of the order. It is, thereforee, not correct to say that after the Controller passed the order on the basis of admission by the tenants, proceedings under section 22 still remained pending before the Controller. The objections filed by the tenants, thereforee, after the passing of this order, to our minds, related purely to its execution. Under section 42 of the Act, every order under the Act passed by the Controller is executable as a decree of the civil court. The objections filed by the tenants, thereforee, were in the nature of objections during the execution of the order and as such were rightly held to be barred by section 47 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The contention, thereforee, has no merits.

(17) For the foregoing reasons, we find that there is no substance in these appeals. S. A. Os. 38, 39 and 40 of 1971 are, thereforee, dismissed but in the circumstances of the case, parties are left to bear their own costs.


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