(1) This second appeal by the defendant is directed against the judgment and decree date 24-9-1982 passed by the Additional District Judge, Delhi whereby the plaintiff's appeal was allowed and his suit for ejectment was decreed.
(2) The plaintiff-respondent filed a suit for ejectment against the appellant. It was alleged that the appellant was a tenant of the plaintiff at a monthly rent of Rs. 275.00 in respect of the entire ground floor of the properly in dispute. A part of the premises was being used for running a post office while the remaining portion for the residence of the Sub-Postmaster. It was further alleged that the premises were taken on rent prior to 1964 for a limited period of three years. The occupation of the appellant, thereforee, became illegal after the expiry of the said period of three years. The respondent had earlier filed a petition for eviction on the grounds of clause (k) of Sub section (1) of section 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, which was dismissed as not maintainable. It was also alleged that since the premises were taken on lease by the Government, the provisions of Delhi Rent Control Act did not apply.
(3) The suit was contested by the appellant. It was pleaded in the written statement that the suit was barred by the principles of rest judicata. The plaint does not disclose any cause of action and that the suit was not maintainable for want of notice under Section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure. On merits, it was pleaded that the appellant was a tenant and the provisions of Delhi Rent Control Act being applicable, the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
(4) On the pleadings of the parties, the following issues were framed by the learned trial Judge :-
1. Whether the suit of the plaintiff is barred under Section 3 of the Delhi Rent Control Act O.P.D. 2. Whether the suit is barred on the principles of rest judicata as alleged in pre-objection No. 2 O.P.D. 3. Whether the suit is not maintainable for want of notice under Section 80 Civil Procedure Code O.P.D. 4. Whether there is no cause of action O.P.D. 5. Whether the plaintiff is entitled to the relief as prayed for O.P.D. 6. Relief.
(5) The learned trial Judge decided all the issues in favor of the defendant and against the plaintiff. Consequently the suit was dismissed with costs. Dissatisfied with the judgment and decree of the trial Court, the plaintiff filed an appeal before the Additional District Judge, Delhi. The Addl. District Judge reversed the findings on all the issues and decreed the suit of the plaintiff.
(6) It is against the aforesaid judgment and decree that the present appeal had been filed by the Union of India. The short question that has been canvassed and requires determination is whether on a true interpretation of Section 3 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, the said Act is applicable to to the premises in dispute. Section 3 of the Delhi Rent Control Act is, as under :-
'SEC.3.-Nothing in this Act shall apply :- (a) to any premises belonging to the Government. Or (b) to any tenancy or other like relationship created by a grant from the Government in respect of the premises taken on lease, or requisitioned, by the Government ; Provided that where any premises belong to Government have been or are lawfully let by any person by virtue of an agreement with the Government or otherwise, then notwithstanding any judgment, decree or order of any court or other authority, the provisions of this Act shall apply to such tenancy.'
(7) Admittedly Sub-section (a) of Section 3 does not apply to the facts of the present case inasmuch as the premises do not belong to the Government. As regards Sub-section (b) a plain reading of the same would also lead to the conclusion that the same has no application to the present case. It applies to any tenancy or other like relationship created by a grant from the Government in respect of the premises taken on lease or requisitioned by the Government. This indicates that the section would be applicable only in cases where the Government is either the owner or the landlord of the premises. The Government may become landlord after taking the premises on lease or by requisition and then creating the tenancy or lease or license in favor of a third party. That is not the case here because the premises are admittedly occupied by the Government itself. The contention of the learned counsel for the appellant is that original Rent Act of 1947 did not contain comma after the word ''requisitioned''and this having been so introduced for the first time in 1958 Act a meaning has to be given to the same. According to the learned counsel, the effect of the comma after the word 'requisitioned' is that Section 3(b) will cover the cases where the Government is a tenant. This, in my opinion, is not the correct reading of the section. The comma has been put because the section contemplates lease or requisitioned and after both these words, comma has been introduced.
(8) Reliance was placed by the learned Counsel on State Bank of India, Faizabad v. Hari Naraiil and another 1980 (1) RCR 136. This case is clearly distinguishable on facts. The learned Judge of the Allahabad High Court was dealing with a specific provision under the U.P. Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972. Section 2(l)(a) of the Act exempts a public building from the applicability of the Act. The words 'public building' have also been defined in Section 3(0) as follows:-
'PUBLIC Building' any building belonging to or taken on lease or requisitioned by or on behalf of the Central Government, or a State Government (including the Government of any other State) and includes any building belonging to or taken on lease by or on behalf of any local authority or any public sector corporation.'
(9) This definition itself takes care of the building taken on lease or requisitioned by the Government and as such the applicability of the Act has been excluded by virtue of Section 2(l)(a) of the said Act. The learned Addl. District Judge has also placed reliance on the same judgment and observed that the provisions of U.P. Act and Delhi Act are para materia This observation, in my opinion, is unwarranted.
(10) For the reasons recorded above, the impugned judgment and decree passed by the learned Additional District Judge, cannot be sustained and is accordingly set aside. The appeal is consequently allowed and the suit filed by the plaintiff-respondent is hereby dismissed. In the circumstances, the parties are left to bear their own costs througout.