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Gurcharan Singh Vs. R.N. Chaudhary - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 227 of 1979
Judge
Reported in21(1982)DLT477
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14(1)
AppellantGurcharan Singh
RespondentR.N. Chaudhary
Advocates: B.S. Narang,; R.R. Makhija and; Alakh Kumar, Advs
Cases ReferredAjit Singh v. Inder Saran
Excerpt:
.....examined on commission as he was not keeping well and because he was not keeping well the ground floor accommodation was more suitable for his residence. the landlord was apparently a well to-do person having export business and the landlord always needs a bed-room for himself and his wife, and another bed-room for his married son and that the grandson of the landlord also now needs some accommodation, but the accommodation in occupation of the landlord consists of only two bed-rooms. if there was any doubt in his mind, he could have asked for better particulars. it is also true that cases of illness must be proved by best evidence. as i stated earlier the petition for ejectment can always be amended but failure to amend the petition does not mean that the subsequent events cannot be..........examined on commission as he was not keeping well and because he was not keeping well the ground floor accommodation was more suitable for his residence. (8) the learned addl. rent controller had, however, opined that the accommodation in occupation of the family of the landlord on the first floor and the 'barsati' on the top is more than reasonably suitable for their needs and thus the finding of the learne addl. rent controller was reversed by the learned tribunal. (9) while reversing the finding of the learned addl. rent controller, the learned tribunal noticed the fact that the landlord had suffered an heart attack and was hospitalised and had been advised to reside on the ground floor. the learned tribunal noticed that the testimony of the landlord to this effect wa not challenged.....
Judgment:

Yogeshwar Dayal, J.

(1) This is a second appeal on behalf of the tenant Gurcharan Singh, against the order of eviction passed by the learned Rent Control Tribunal dated 3.5.1979 against him on the grounds covered by clause (e) of the provis to Sub-section (1) of Section 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'').

(2) The point involved in the appeal is whether the respondent-landlord bona fide requires premises in occupation of the tenant and whether he has no other suitable accommodation available with him.

(3) Two of the requirements which the landlord has to satisfy before he is entitled to an order for eviction on grounds covered under the aforesaid proviso are : (i) that the landlord bona fide requires the premises let out to the tenant for residential purposes and (ii) that the landlord has no other reasonably suitable residential accommodation.

(4) The finding of fact recorded by both, the learned Addl. Rent Controller and Tribunal, is that respondent-landlord is the owner of the premises in dispute and the premises were let out for residential purpose.

(5) There is a further finding that the family of the respondent-landlord consists of himself, his wife, his married son and the wife of his son and one grandchild. This was the family of the landlord when petition for eviction was filed as far back as 15.11.1973. At that time, there was also an unmarried daughter of the landlord but she has since been married. At the time of institution of the petition for eviction, there was also a married daughter of the landlord and she was not staying with the landlord.

(6) Another finding as recorded by the Tribunal is that the accommodation in occupation of the landlord is the first floor of the disputed house besides a 'barsati' on the second floor. The premises on the first fioor in occupation of the landlord consists of two bedrooms, a drawing cum-dining room with a glazed verandah along with other amenities and a 'barsati' on the top.

(7) The learned Tribunal also found that the landlord was examined on commission as he was not keeping well and because he was not keeping well the ground floor accommodation was more suitable for his residence.

(8) The learned Addl. Rent Controller had, however, opined that the accommodation in occupation of the family of the landlord on the first floor and the 'barsati' on the top is more than reasonably suitable for their needs and thus the finding of the learne Addl. Rent Controller was reversed by the learned Tribunal.

(9) While reversing the finding of the learned Addl. Rent Controller, the learned Tribunal noticed the fact that the landlord had suffered an heart attack and was hospitalised and had been advised to reside on the ground floor. The learned Tribunal noticed that the testimony of the landlord to this effect wa not challenged by the tenant in cross-examination of the landlord. The landlord was apparently a well to-do person having export business and the landlord always needs a bed-room for himself and his wife, and another bed-room for his married son and that the grandson of the landlord also now needs some accommodation, but the accommodation in occupation of the landlord consists of only two bed-rooms. The Tribunal also noticed that there is no accommodation available with the landlord for the visit of his married daughters. It was thus held that the family of the landlord needs one guest room and some accommodation for the grand child.

(10) The learned Tribunal also found that the tenant in his testimony did not impute any mala fides to the landlord which might have prompted him to file the present petition for eviction.

(11) The learned Tribunal thus found that the accommodation already in occupation of the landlord is not reasonably suitable for his residence and for the residence of the family members dependant upon him.

(12) In view of the aforesaid findings, the learned Tribunal reversed the decision of the learned Addl. Rent Controller and passed order for eviction of the tenant on the aforesaid grounds.

(13) Mr. B.S.Narang, learned counsel for the tenant appellant, submitted that in the ejectment application the facts relating to the aforesaid requirement of the landlord are contained in para 18(a)(ii). In this connection, it was submitted that (i) no details of the family have been mentioned therein (ii) there is no mention of any illness of heart or difficulty of age as a ground of bona fide requirement, (iii) no details were at all mentioned as to the present accommodation available with the landlord, (iv) no details of the requirement of the landlord were given and (v) no details as to the social status of the landlord were disclosed and non-disclosure of these facts militates against the bona fide requirement of the landlord.

(14) Further elaborating his submission, learned counsel for the tenant contended that details of accommodation with the family of the landlord were given in para 18 (a) (ii) of the written-statement but in para 18 (a) (ii) of the replication filed by the landlord, there was no denial of the alleged extent of accommodation with the landlord and his family.

(15) It will be noticed that there is a pure finding of fact as to the accommodation available with the landlord. The finding is that the accommodation available with the landlord consists of the first floor, just above the premises in occupation of the tenant. Besides, the landlord also has a 'barsati' on the second floor.

(16) In the ejectment application, the landlord had mentioned his residence as house No. III-H/10, 1st floor, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi and the same address was given in para 3 (a) of the petition. The premises in occupation of the tenant were described as house No. lll-H/lO, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi.

(17) The finding of the learned Addl. Rent Controller was that apart from the first floor accommodation, the landlord had a 'barsati' on the second floor. The ground floor is in occupation of the tenant and the first and the second floors are in occupation of the landlord. The disputes centres round the accommodation on the second floor. In the eviction petition, the landlord had not given details of accommodation but had stated that he is in occupation of the first floor. The tenant in his written statement alleged that besides accommodation on the first floor, the landlord also has two rooms on the second floor. This fact was denied by the landlord in replication.

(18) During evidence, the landlord in cross-examination stated 'I have a 'barsati' on the second floor which is a little smaller than drawing room'. The tenant-appellant in his examination-in-chief stated on the second floor the petitioner is in possession of one room) one small room besides bath and latrine.' The tenant, in cross-examination, on the suggestion given on behalf of the landlord has stated that 'it is incorrect to suggest that on the second floor, there is only one 'barsati' with no bath and latrine.' As stated earlier, the learned Addl. Rent Controller, so far as the second floor is concerned, gave a finding that the landlord is in occupation of accommodation on the first floor and is in occupation of 'barsati' on the top floor. The Tribunal also affirmed this finding.

(19) It is true that details of the accommodation were not given in the ejectment application but the landlord had fully described the premises staling that he is in occupation of the first floor of house No. III-H/10, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi. The tenant had been in occupation of the ground floor right since 1967 and he was not in any way taken by surprise by the non-disclosure of the details of accommodation in occupation of the landlord. If there was any doubt in his mind, he could have asked for better particulars. In any case, the tenant himself gave the details of the property in occupation of the landlord and both the courts below have, after considering the entire material on record, given the aforesaid findings.

(20) The same is the position about the details of the family members of the landlord.

(21) As to the non-mentioning of the status of the landlord, in his written-statement the tenant did not have the courage to suggest that the landlord is so poor as not to deserve to occupy the first as well as the ground floor as that would be the natural consequence of the order of ejectment. It will be noticed that it has come in evidence that the only son of the landlord was having lucrative job with Tatas and was drawing handsome salary ; and the landlord who is doing business of export persuaded his son to resign his job of fancy salary (of those days) and asked his son join his own business. It has come in evidence that the son was employed as Electrical Engineer with Tata Hydro for three years and has been educated in Delhi and Baroda. It has also come in evidence that the landlord is assessed to incometax and. the salary of his son, when he resigned from Tata Hydro, was then Rs. 1200.00 per month.

(22) The very fact that the son of the landlord was an electrical engineer and yet he was made to resign his lucrative job to join the family business shows the extent of family business. Thus, mere non-mentioning of the status of the landlord is of no consequence.

(23) The only thing left is about the non-disclosure of illness of the landlord by way of heart-attack. It will be noticed that the petition had been listed for evidence before the learned Addl. Rent Controller for 24-4-1974 and it was on that date that an application was filed on behalf of the landlord for his examination on commission on the ground that the landlord had suffered heart attack on 15-3-1974 and remained confined to bed in Jeewan Nursing Home from 16-3-1974 to 2-4-1974 and though he had been relieved from the hospital yet he had been advised complete rest and was not permitted to move out of bed. A certificate from Jeewan Nursing Home dated 9-4-1974 was filed along with this application. It is stated in the certificate that inter-alia the landlord had a myocardiol infarction-heart attack on 15th March, 1974 and he had been under treatment of Jeewan Nursing Home from 16-3-1974 to 2-4-1974 and had been advised complete rest for six weeks where after he was permitted to carry on little active duty.

(24) The aforesaid application was opposed on behalf of the tenant and he denied heart attack for want of knowledge but stated that since the landlord had been discharged from the hospital he was in a position to attend court.

(25) This was a subsequent development. It is true that the landlord could have amended eviction petition to plead his ill-health also as a ground for eviction of the tenant but the fact remains that these were developments during the pendency of the eviction proceedings of which the tenants had full notice.

(26) In view of the application of the landlord for his examination on commission, a Local Commissioner was appointed and the statement of the landlord was recorded on commission on 3-6-1974. In this statement, the landlord stated on oath that 'recently I have suffered heart attack and doctors advised me not to come up and down. I am staying on the first floor because I do not have accommodation on the second floor.' This statement on oath was not even challenged by the tenant in cross-examination of the landlord.

(27) Mr. Narang, learned counsel for the tenant appellant, submitted that petition for ejectment was filed on the ground of bona fide requirement because of paucity of accommodation with the landlord and not on the ground of unsuitability and, thereforee, without amendment of the petition, subsequent events relating to the illness of the landlord could not be taken into account by the Tribunal nor could the evidence led in that behalf by the landlord need have been challenged by the tenant.

(28) There can be no doubt that in cases of ejectment on the ground of bona fide requirement of the landlord, the Court is entitled to take into consideration the developments that may have taken place till the time of passing of order of ejectment in order to mould the relief. It is also true that cases of illness must be proved by best evidence. The subsequent developments should, however, relate to the requirement of the landlord. It is another thing as to how the subsequent developments should be pleaded and/ or proved. As I stated earlier the petition for ejectment can always be amended but failure to amend the petition does not mean that the subsequent events cannot be considered. Rules of natural justice require that the tenant should have full notice about it and should have time and opportunity to rebut it. In the present case, much before the evidence of the tenant commenced, the illness of the landlord was brought to the notice of the court as well as of the tenant and that is why the landlord was allowed to be examined on commission. The landlord even deposed about it in his testimony and this was never challenged in cross-examination. Thus, no prejudice has been caused to the tenant by non-amendment of the ejectment application. In fact, when the evidence of the landlord was being recorded and he was deposing about his illness because of heart attack, no objection was taken on behalf of the tenant to the recording of such evidence. Nor was the fact of illness challenged, as stated earlier.

(29) All rules of procedure, as has often been held, are for advancement of justice and it will be travesty of justice to deny the relief to the landlord at this stage.

(30) The landlord, during the pendency of this petition, also filed an application for bringing on record further facts by way of subsequent developments (C.M. 1138/82) which disclosed that the son of the landlord has since been blessed with two more children. Thus the son of the landlord has now three children, aged 10 years, 6 years and one year. This fact is not disputed in reply by the tenant but the tenant has stated that since the filing of the petition the unmarried daughter has been married. Thus. the position boils down to this that the family of the landlord consists of himself, his wife, his son, his son's wife and three grand children. It has also been found by the Tribunal that the first floor accommodation is neither sufficient nor suitable for the landlord.

(31) Looking at the subsequent developments which have taken place during the pendency of the appeal, it cannot be said that the claim for ejectment or the need of the landlord is not of a reasonable person. As observed by Anand, J. in Ajit Singh v. Inder Saran etc. 1979 (1) R L R 493, the expression 'required bona fide by the landlord' means honestly felt need of an owner which should satisfy both the objective as well as the subjective tests.

(32) Looking at the totality of the circumstances of the case and the extent of the family of the landlord it cannot but be held that the requirement of the landlord is reasonable and bona fide.

(33) The result is that the appeal fails and is dismissed.

(34) It is true that nine years have gone by since the petition for ejectment was filed but looking at all the circumstances of the case, the appellant is allowed one year's time from today to vacate the premises in question.


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