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Panna Lal JaIn Vs. Memo Devi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 603 of 1980
Judge
Reported in24(1983)DLT66
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14A
AppellantPanna Lal Jain
RespondentMemo Devi
Advocates: G.N. Aggarwal,; Raj Panjwani and; Vijay Panjwani, Advs
Cases ReferredSmt. V.L.Kashyap v. R.P. Puri
Excerpt:
.....of those portions already obtained by assessed - as per provisions petitioner not entitled to claim eviction under section 14a against other tenant - his right in respect of same exhausted - petition dismissed. - - (1) this revision petition as well as civil revision no. ' (5) the main part of sub-section (1) of section 14a confers a right to recover immediate possession of any premises let out by a landlord if the landlord satisfied two conditions, namely, (1) he was in occupation of a residential premises allotted to him by the central government or any local authority and (ii) he was required to vacate the said residential accommodation in pursuance of a general or special order made by that government or local authority or in default to incur certain obligations on the ground..........of more than one dwelling house and it shall be lawful for such landlord to indicate the dwelling house, possession of which he intends to recover.'(5) the main part of sub-section (1) of section 14a confers a right to recover immediate possession of any premises let out by a landlord if the landlord satisfied two conditions, namely, (1) he was in occupation of a residential premises allotted to him by the central government or any local authority and (ii) he was required to vacate the said residential accommodation in pursuance of a general or special order made by that government or local authority or in default to incur certain obligations on the ground that he owned in the union territory of delhi a residential accommodation in his own name or in the name of his wife or dependent.....
Judgment:

G.C. Jain, J.

(1) This revision petition as well as Civil Revision No. 604 of 1980 (Panna Lal Jain v. Sunder Lal) raise common questions of law and facts and would be disposed of by this common judgment.

(2) Panna Lal Jain, the petitioner, is owner of a three-storeyed house, bearing No. 431 I, Gali Bhaironwali, Nai Sarak, Delhi. The extent of the accommodation in the said house is shown in the site plan Exhibit A-14. On the ground floor there were three tenants. Memo Devi, Mahabir Pershad and Sunder Lal. Memo Devi was in occupation of a Kotha, store room, Dalan and some space under the staircase shown as red in the site plan. Sunder Lal was in possession of a Kotha and Dalan while Mahabir Pershad was in occupation of one Dalan only. On the first floor there was only one tenant, Ram Kishan Gupta. His tenancy premises consisted of a room, two Kothas, Dalan, kitchen, shown as red in the plan Exhibit A. 14. Mela Rem was in occupation of a room, store and kitchen on the second floor of the house.

(3) The petitioner was working as a stenographer in the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and was admittedly in occupation of a residential accommodation i.e.Qr. No. 18/94 Ibbetson Road, New Delhi, allotted to him. by the Central Government. On September 9, 1975 the Government of India, Ministry of Works and Housing, Directorate of Estate, New Delhi, issued a memorandum (copy Exhibit A-3) requiring, inter alia, that the Government servants who own houses either in their own names or in the names of any members of their families shall be required to vacate the Government accommodation allotted to them within three months from October 1, 1975. If they did not vacate Government accommodation by that period they would be charged license fee at the market rate. Pursuant to this office memorandum the petitioner admittedly vacated the said Government accommodation on January 6, 1976.

(4) In April 1976 the petitioner filed four separate applications against his tenants, Memo Devi, Sunder Lal, Mela Ram and Ram Kishan Gupta locking their eviction from their respective portions under Section 14A(1) read with Section 25B of the Delhi Rent Control Act 1958 (for short 'the Act'). Memo Devi died on or about the next date of the filing of the eviction petition against her and her legal representatives, respondents Hem Chand Sharma and two others in Civil Revision No. 603 of 1980), were substituted in her place. During the pendency of the eviction petitions filed against Memo Devi and Sunder Lal the petitioner admittedly obtained eviction orders under Section 14A against Ram Kishan Gupta, tenant in a portion on the first floor, and Mela Ram tenant in a portion of the house on the second floor, under Section 14A(1) of the Act and obtained possession of the said premises. The petitions filed against Memo Devi and Sunder Lal were decided by the learned Controller on April 30, 1980 by two separate orders. The preliminary objections raised by the respondents that the petition was not maintainable because of the modification of the above-mentioned office memorandum of Government of India and for want of necessary permission under the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act were rejected holding that the petitioner had vacated the Government accommodation before the said office memorandum was modified in 1977 and no permission under Section 19 of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act was required for filing a petition seeking eviction under Section 14A(1). Correctness of these findings has not been assailed before me in these petitions. Learned Controller, however, dismissed the petitions on the ground that the petitioner having obtained eviction orders against two of his tenants, namely) Ram Kishan Gupta and Mela Ram, his right to claim eviction under Section 14A(1) stood exhausted. Assailing the said finding of the learned Controller, the petitioner-landlord has filed these petitions under Section 25B(8) of the Act. Section 14A(1) of the Act reads as under :-

'14A.Right to recover immediate possession of the premises to accrue to certain persons. (1) Where a landlord who, being a person in occupation of any residential premises allotted to him-by the Central Government or any local authority is required, by, or in pursuance of, any general or special order made by that Government or authority, to vacate such residential accommodation, or in default, to incur certain obligations, on the ground that he owns, in the Union territory of Delhi, a residential accommodation either in his own name or in the name of his wife or dependent child, there shall accrue, on and from the date of such order, to such landlord, notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in this Act or in any other law for the time being in force or in any contract (whether express or implied), custom or usage to the contrary, a right to recover immediately possession of any premises let out by him : Provided that nothing in this section shall be construed as conferring a right on a landlord owning, in the Union territory of Delhi, two or more dwelling houses, whether in his own name or in the name of his wife or dependent child, to recover the possession of more than one dwelling house and it shall be lawful for such landlord to indicate the dwelling house, possession of which he intends to recover.'

(5) The main part of Sub-section (1) of Section 14A confers a right to recover immediate possession of any premises let out by a landlord if the landlord satisfied two conditions, namely, (1) he was in occupation of a residential premises allotted to him by the Central Government or any local authority and (ii) he was required to vacate the said residential accommodation in pursuance of a general or special order made by that Government or local authority or in default to incur certain obligations on the ground that he owned in the Union territory of Delhi a residential accommodation in his own name or in the name of his wife or dependent child. Proviso to this sub-section, however, confines this right to recover the possession of only one dwelling house. That the petitioner has fulfillled the two conditions, mentioned above, has not been disputed. The dispute is regarding the meaning of the word 'premises' used in the expression 'right to recover immediate possession of any premises let out by him' in the context of the proviso.

(6) 'PREMISES' as defined in Section 2(i), unless the context otherwise requires, means any building or part of a building which is, or is intended to be. Jet separately for use as residence or for commercial use or for any other purpose, and includes garden, etc. The different portions of the building in question let out to separate tenants would, thereforee, fall within the definition of the word 'premises'. The expression 'right to recover immediately possession of any premises let out by him' would, thereforee, mean a right to recover immediately possession of any portion of a building separately let out by the landlord.

(7) By virtue of provisions contained in Clause (2) of Section 13 of the General Clauses Act 1897 in all Central Acts and Regulations words in singular shall include the plural and vice versa. It can, thereforee, be urged that the word 'premises' used in the above-mentioned expression means more than one portions of the building separately let. Section 13 of the General Clauses Act, however, applies only when there is nothing repugnant to the subject or context. Proviso to Section 14A(1) restricts the right of the landlord to recover possession of only one dwelling house. In. the presence of this proviso the word 'premises' used in the main part of Section 14A(1) would be interpreted in singular i.e. only one premises and not number of premises separately let out. The legislature in the main part of Section 14A(1) has used the word 'premises' while in the proviso the word used is a 'dwelling house'. Learned counsel for the petitioner, thereforee, argued that this circumstances indicates that what was intended by the Legislature was that the landlord was entitled to recover possession of the entire house or an independent unit and his right was not confined to only a portion of his residential house separately let out which was not a unit in itself. The purpose of enacting Section 14A, argued the learned counsel, was to make available the suitable accommodation to the Government employees who were required to vacate the Government accommodation allotted to them. Such Government employees were not expected to live in a small portion separately let out. The term 'dwelling house' thereforee meant the whole house or at least an independent unit.

(8) The term 'dwelling house' has not been defined in the Act. According to Webster's Third New International Dictionary it means 'a house or sometimes part of a house that is occupied as a residence in distinction from a store, office, or other building and that may legally include associated or connected buildings within the same curtilage'. This word, in my view, has to be read along with the word 'premises'. The purpose of adding the proviso was to restrict the rights of the landlords to claim eviction from only one tenant under Section 14A. Had this not been the intention, then there was no necessity of adding the proviso. It is correct that a senior Government employee who has been allotted a big bungalow and has been asked to vacate the same is not expected to live in a small portion of his house separately let out. But he has a remedy available to meet that situation. The remedy is to claim eviction under proviso (e) to Sub-section (1) of Section 14 of the Act from the other tenants. Such application are also governed by the special procedure prescribed. The Supreme Court in Kanta Goel v. B.P. Pathak & Ors. : [1977]3SCR412 held as under :-

'IT is true that when an officer is sought to be evicted by the government from its premises he has to be rehabilitated in his own house by an accelerated remedial procedure provided by Section 14A read with Section 28B of the Act. But this emergency provision available merely to put the government servant back into his own residential accommodation cannot be used as a weapon for evicting several tenants if he has many houses let out to various persons. The object of Section 14A is fulfillled once the landlord recovers immediate possession of his premises from one of his tenants. The right is exhausted thereby and is not available for continual applications for eviction against all other tenants holding under him. This is made clear by the proviso which makes plain that the section shall not be construed as conferring a right on a landlord owing two or more dwelling houses to recover possession of more than one dwelling house.'

(9) Following the above decision a learned Single Judge of this Court in Nanak Chand Gupta v. I sh Kumar Verma : 18(1980)DLT118 , held that the landlord having obtained eviction of the tenant from one room portion under Section 14A could not claim eviction of another tenant under the said section. I am in respectful agreement with the view taken in this case.

(10) Learned counsel for the petitioner has relied on a decision of a Single Bench of this Court in Smt. V.L.Kashyap v. R.P. Puri : 12(1976)DLT369 . In this case it was held that the words 'dwelling house' were not synonymous with the word 'premises' as defined in the Act Certain criteria were laid down for determining whether two parts of the building consisted of one or two dwelling houses. This judgment, however would not help the petitioner much in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in Kanta Gael's case (supra). I may add that the premises in possession of these two tenants are on the ground-floor while Ram Kishan Gupta and Mela Ram the two tenants against whom petitioner has obtained eviction orders under Section 14A(1), were in occupation of portions on the first and second floors respectively. The portions on the first and second floors are independent. Nothing is common except the entrance for going to the staircase leading to the first and second floors.

(11) For all these reasons I hold that the petitioner having obtained possession of the premises in occupation of his tenants Ram Kishan Gupta and Mela Ram in pursuance of eviction orders obtained under Section 14A, was not entitled to claim eviction under Section 14A against the other two tenants. His right stood exhausted.

(12) In conclusion, I find no merit in any of the revision petitions and dismiss the same. Parties are left to bear their own costs. Revision dismissed. the non-speaking order of the Chairman apparently is that it must be presumed that he has concurred with the reasoning contained in the order imposing punishment.

(13) Lastly, we may note, in the appeal filed by the appellant to the Chairman against the order imposing penalty, there is no grievance of the appellant that a formal domestic enquiry was not held. There is no plea that principles of natural justice have been violated, at least as regards the first charge regarding the writing of the threatening letters containing abusive language. This being so, it is not open to the appellant to raise such a contention either in the writ petition or in appeal before us.

(14) For the aforesaid reasons the appeal was dismissed with no order as to costs.


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