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Sarla Mittal Vs. K.C. Jain - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 780 of 1981
Judge
Reported in21(1982)DLT334; 1982RLR455
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14(l)
AppellantSarla Mittal
RespondentK.C. Jain
Cases Referred and Krishan Kumar v. Vimla Sehgal
Excerpt:
tenancy - eviction - section 14 (1) of delhi rent control act, 1958 - additional rent controller passed order of eviction against petitioner-tenant - revision filed against said order - evidence shows that requirement of landlord is reasonable and bona fide - bona fide requirement for use and occupation constitutes valid ground for eviction - finding of fact cannot interfered with under revisional jurisdiction under section 25b (8) even if such finding of fact is wrong - landlord established ingredients of section 14 (1) (e) - landlord entitled to order of eviction against tenant - revision petition liable to be dismissed. - - 00 .the landlord is in occupation of the rear portion of the said house as well as of one garage and two servant quarters on top of the garage. rent controller..........25b(8) has been filed by the tenant against the judgment dated 9th march, 1981 of the additional rent controller, delhi ordering her eviction on an application having been filed by the respondent-landlord under section 14(l)(c). (2) the tenant is in occupation of the front portion of he uilding bearing no. b-7, anand niketan, new delhi. the said portion consists of three bed rooms, one drawing cum-dining room, three bath rooms, one kitchen, one store, lobby and one garage on the ground floor and a terrace and a bath room on the roof of the first floor. the premises were let out with effect from 1st february, 1974 at a monthly rentofrs.looo.00 . the landlord is in occupation of the rear portion of the said house as well as of one garage and two servant quarters on top of the garage. (3).....
Judgment:

B.N. Kirpal, J.

(1) This revision petition under Section 25B(8) has been filed by the tenant against the judgment dated 9th March, 1981 of the Additional Rent Controller, Delhi ordering her eviction on an application having been filed by the respondent-landlord under Section 14(l)(c).

(2) The tenant is in occupation of the front portion of he uilding bearing No. B-7, Anand Niketan, New Delhi. The said portion consists of three bed rooms, one drawing cum-dining room, three bath rooms, one kitchen, one store, lobby and one garage on the ground floor and a terrace and a bath room on the roof of the first floor. The premises were let out with effect from 1st February, 1974 at a monthly rentofRs.lOOO.00 . The landlord is in occupation of the rear portion of the said house as well as of one garage and two servant quarters on top of the garage.

(3) The landlord filed an application under Section 14(1)(e) for eviction of the tenant. It was contended that the premises in dispute were let for residential purposes and the same were required bona fide by the landlord for use and occupation as residence for himself and for members of his family dependant upon him. It was stated that he had no other reasonably suitable residential accommodation.

(4) Summona were issued and, on the tenant filing an application along with an affidavit for leave to contest, the Additional Rent Controller fay order dated 2.II.1977 granted the leave prayed for. Thereupon written statement was filed by the tenant. It was, inter alia, contended that the tenancy had not been validly terminated, eviction was sought with regard to part of the premises, the landlord was not the owner of the premises the premises had been let out for residential-cum-commercial purposes, and that the petition had been filed with mala fide intention as the landlord had more accommodation in his occupation than his requirement. It was further stated that the landlord did not require the premises bona fide for his own use and occupation.

(5) The allegations made in the written statement were denied by the landlord in the replication which he had filed. Thereupon the parties led their respective evidence.

(6) As already noted, by judgment dated 9th March, 1981 the Additional Rent Controller allowed the eviction application and ordered the eviction of the tenant. The Additional Rent Controller found that the eviction petition had not been filed in respect of a portion of the tenanted premises. He also held that respondent-herein was the owner of the premises. With regard to the purpose of letting, the finding of the Addl. Rent Controller was that the premises in dispute had been let for residential purposes alone. With regard to the allegations of mala fide against the landlord, the Addl. Rent Controller found that the landlord was in possession of two bed rooms in the main building, one garage two small rooms above the garage which had been described as servant quarters with an enclosed verandah. According to the landlord, which version was accepted by the Addl. Rent Controller, the two servant quarters were being occupied by the landlord's son who was using one of them as a sitting room and another as bed room. The garage was stated to be in the occupation of the landlord's unmarried daughters who were studying in Jesus & Mary College, New Delhi. One of the two bed rooms was being used by the landlord and his wife for their sleeping and another room was being used as dining-cum-telephone room. In addition thereto the landlord had a covered space in the verandah which, according to the Rent Controller, could not be used as a living room. The Rent Controller found that though the daughters were occupying the garage and the son was occupying the servant quarters the said accommodation could not be regarded as reasonably suitable for the landlord. The Additional Rent Controller also took into consideration the fact that the landlord had children from his first wife and it was observed that additional accomomdation was also required to attend to their needs. The Addl. Rent Controller found as a fact that the landlord was a man of status, the landlord himself had income from pension and investments and his son had income from his business. It was further observed that there was no evidence which could lead the Addl. Rent Controller to the conclusion that the landlord wanted to evict the tenant with object of getting enhanced rent. It was also noticed that the landlord had offered to the tenant to exchange the respective portions occupied by them but the tenant had turned down this offer. According to the Addl. Rent Controller this clearly proved the bonafides of the landlord.

(7) The aforesaid decision of the Additional Rent Controller ii now challenged before me in the present petition filed under Sub-section (8) of Section 25B. At the time of hearing some attempts were made by me to see if the disputes between the parties could be amicably settled. The efforts, however, did not bear any fruit.

(8) The only contention raised before me by the learned counsel for the petitioner was that the premises were not required by the landlord bona fide for his own use and occupation. In this regard it was also submitted that the landlord bad sufficient accommodation. It was vehemently urged that since the letting out of the premise to the tenant in February, 1974 there has been no change in the circumstances of the landlord which could justify his wanting more accommodation.

(9) It is in evidence that the landlord had taken a loan of Rs. 25,000.00 for the purposes of construction of the house. This is deposed to by A.W. 4 who was an Assistant of the Life Insurance Corporation. The loan was repayble in half-yearly Installments ofRs.l250.00 . The loan was taken in 1969 and according to this witness Installments had been paid uplo 13th September, 1977, the deposition of the witness was recorded on 29th March, 1978. There is considerable force in the contention of Mr. Narulathat at the time when the premises were let the landlord required money from the rent in order to pay off the loans taken for the purpose of construction of the house. The property had been constructed in 1969. It is in evidence of AW4 that the Installments were paid up to 13th September, 1977. The petition for eviction was filed on 14th July, 1977. During this period at least Rs 20,000.00 out of this loan had been repaid. The son of the landlord had started his advertising business. The landlord himself was an income tax assessed and a man of status. It would, thereforee, show, as rightly contended by Mr. Narula, that the need of the landlord to get more rent in order to enable him to repay the loan had ceased to exist or in any case had considerably diminished. This is acircumstance which had changed and this is a complete answer to the aforesaid contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner-tenant.

(10) In any case, what has to be seen is as to whether the need of the landlord on the date when he Filed the petition for eviction was bona fide or not. In this connection the contention of the tenant was that the plea of the landlord was for insufficiency of accommodation and not unsuitability of accommodation. According to Mr. Jain the trial court has decided the case on the ground of unsuitability of accommodation. I am unable to appreciate this argument. In the eviction petition the ground for eviction which was given, inter alia, was as follows : -

'THEthird son aged about 21 years........................is of marriageable age and has to be married. He is occupying the two small rooms above the motor garage, one as his bed room and the other as the sitting room for the visitors in connection with his business activity.........They maintain a car for their business activity which has to be parked out of the garage in spite of a garage being in occupation of the petitioner because the same has to be used as the sleeping space for the two unmarried daughters, both students of third and second year respectively in Jesus & Marry College, New Delhi and aged 19' years and 18 years respectively there being no other accommodation available for the purpose'.

The reading of this shows that the plea of the landlord, inter alia, was that the accommodation in the main building was insufficient and, thereforee, the son and the daughters had to be accommodated in the rooms above the garages and in one of the garage, which was obviously unsuitable. To my mind, and as held by the trial court also, the living accommodation with the landlord in the main building was clearly insufficient. The necessity for more living accommodation compelled the landlord to house his daughters in the garage and his son in the servant quarters. It was not denied that the servant quarters arc meant to be occupied by bonafide servants and the garage is not meant to be used for living purpose. The necessity which had arisen due to shortage of accommodation compelled the landlord to alter the use of the servant quarters and the garage. A tenant cannot be heard to contend that, because the landlord is using garage and servant quarters for the residence of members of his family, he cannot ask for more accommodation from his tenant. Neither the garage nor the servant quaters can be regarded as bed. rooms fit for being used by the landlord for housing his children. It is now settled law that a landlord is entitled to live comfortably in his own house arid it is bona fide for him to ask for a room for each of his children. (See Shyam Sunder v.Rameah Buroh, 1978 (2) R.L.R 678 and Krishan Kumar v. Vimla Sehgal, 1978 (1) R.L.R.819. Admittedly in the main building the landlord was occupying only two rooms, a covered verandah and a small store which had been converted into a kitchen, besides a bath room. The need of the landlord was for a drawing room, dining room and at least two, if not three, bed rooms. This amount of accommodation was obviously not available in the main building. The need for more accommodation compelled the landlord to use the garage and the servant quarters for residential purposes. This clearly showed that the need of the landlord for more accommodation was genuine, for otherwise there would have been no occasion to accommodate his children in the servant quarters and in the garage. Merely because the children are occupying the servant quarters and the garage docs not mean that their need for suitable residential accommodation has come to an end. Garage and servant quarters could not be regarded as suitable residential accommodation. It may here be noticed that during the pendency of these proceedings, one of the daughters of the landlord has got married. This will, however, not alter the position. This daughter was sharing the garage with her sister. The need for separate bed rooms in the main house for the landlord's son and daughters continues to exist.

(11) Mr. Jain has stated that the Addl. Rent Controller erred in observing that the covered verandah in the house was only 4.'5' wide. In fact it was 8 ft. wide. This submission of Mr. Jain is correct, but this will not improve his case. The said covered verandah is being used as a store. This has been so stated by the landlord and there is no reason to disbelieve him. In any case even if this verandah is taken into consideration the landlord still does not have sufficient accommodation in the main building.

(12) It was also contended that the landlord had let out the garage block to various tenants. This fact is admitted. The last tenant was one Shri Ahiuwalia, but after Shri Ahiuwalia vacated, the said portion was occupied by the landlord himself. This clearly shows that he required additional premises and, thereforee, rather than letting out the said portion he occupied the same himself. This is the view which has been expressed by the Addl. Rent Controller, and to my mind rightly so.

(13) The plea of lack of bona fides can be answered by yet another circumstance. It is admitted that the landlord, prior to the filing of the eviction petition, had offered to the tenant to shift to the portion occupied by the landlord. The exchange which was proposed was not accepted by the tenant. The offer of exchange by the landlord showed that the bona fide required additional accommodation. It is not in dispute that the accommodation in the occupation of the tenant is more than the accommodation which is occupied by the landlord. If the landlord had wanted the tenant to vacate the premises with a view to let them out again at a higher rate then he would never have made such an offer.

(14) The question as to whether the premises are required by the landlord bona fide for his use and occupation is a pure question of fact. The counsel for the tenant has been unable to show that the said judgment is perverse. A finding of fact cannot be lightly interfered with in revisional jurisdiction under Sub-section (8) of Section 25B even if such a finding of fact is wrong. In the present case, however the finding of fact appears to be supported by the evidence on record and the conclusion of the trial court cannot be said to be perverse or one which no reasonable person could have arrived at. In my view the landlord has been able to establish the existence of the Ingredients of clause (e) of Sub-section (1) of Section 14 and he was entitled to an order of eviction against the tenant.

(15) For the aforesaid reasons the revision petition is dismissed with costs. Counsel's fee Rs. 500.00


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