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Indian Commerce and Industries Corporation Vs. R.C. Lai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 375 of 1982
Judge
Reported in22(1982)DLT351
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14(1)
AppellantIndian Commerce and Industries Corporation
RespondentR.C. Lai
Advocates: F.C. Bedi and; A.P. Gupta, Advs
Excerpt:
tenancy - bona fide requirement - section 14 (1) of delhi rent control act, 1958 - rent controller passed order of eviction against petitioner-tenant - revision filed against said order - premises let out for residential purposes - landlord has no suitable accommodation available to him - landlord bona fide requires premises in dispute - bona fide personal requirement of landlord constitutes valid ground for eviction - no infirmity in order passed by rent controller - revision petition liable to be dismissed. - - he even gave notice to him in 1975 to vacate the premises and thereafter filed a petition for his eviction which failed on account of the fact that there was some defect in the notice which had been given before filing the said petition. bedi, however, brought to my notice..........revision petition had been filed by the tenant against an order of eviction passed by the learned rent controller dated 21st october, 1981 whereby the learned rent controller accepted the petition filed by the respondent-landlord for eviction of the petitioner-tenant on the ground of his bona fide personal requirement. (2) on the filing of the revision petition i had given notice to the respondent to show cause why the revision petition be not admitted and have also sent for the records. (3) however, after hearing learned counsel for the petitioner and col. r. g. lal (retired), respondent who appeared in person, i find that there is no merit in the revision petition and the impugned order, in my view, does not call for interference. (4) the reasons in brief, for my aforesaid view are as.....
Judgment:

Yogeshwar Dayal, J.

(1) This revision petition had been filed by the tenant against an order of eviction passed by the learned Rent Controller dated 21st October, 1981 whereby the learned Rent Controller accepted the petition filed by the respondent-landlord for eviction of the petitioner-tenant on the ground of his bona fide personal requirement.

(2) On the filing of the revision petition I had given notice to the respondent to show cause why the revision petition be not admitted and have also sent for the records.

(3) However, after hearing learned counsel for the petitioner and Col. R. G. Lal (Retired), respondent who appeared in person, I find that there is no merit in the revision petition and the impugned order, in my view, does not call for interference.

(4) The reasons in brief, for my aforesaid view are as under :- There is a finding of the learned Rent Controller that the respondent Col. R. G. Lal, is the owner of the disputed premises. The disputed premises were let out for residential purposes and the respondent-landlord has no suitable accommodation available to him. He bona fide requires the premises in dispute for residence for himself and for the residence of his family members.

(5) The plea as to ownership was not even seriously challenged before the Rent Controller. The finding that the respondent-landlord has no other residential accommodation is given by the learned Rent Controller accepting the statement of Col. Lai that he was staying in K-90. Hauz Khas,New Delhi, since May, 1979 and there is no agreement of tenancy between him and the landlady of K-90, Hauz Khas, New Delhi.

(6) COL. Lal in his statement had also given a complete history of various places where he had been staying since he had let out the premises in August, 1968 to the petitioner.

(7) COL. Lai had also stated that the premises had been built by him somewhere in 1965 and at that time he was living in a rented accommodation and after completion of the building he shifted to his own house. At that time his family consisted of himself, his wife, a daughter and three sons. He lived in this house till he had let it out in August, 1968. He also stated that during 1968 his eldest son went abroad for further studies while rest of the family stayed here and when he let out the premises to the petitioner the entire family went to the house of his sister-in-law in Nizamuddin. His wife also went abroad in August, 1971 and come back after a short while to India and he himself continued to live in Nizamuddin till May, 1973. He_further stated that he and his wife again went to America in May, 1973 and his eldest son, who had gone abroad in 1968, did not come back and 'he is coming on 25th December, 1979'. This statement of Col. Lai was recorded as far back as on 13th November, 1979.

(8) He further went on to state that his second son had also gone to U.S.A. but his third son is living here and his daughter has since been married and none of his sons, who had gone abroad, have given up their Indian citizenship. He and his wife came back to India in 1975 and right from 1975 he had repeatedly been requesting the tenant to vacate the premises. He even gave notice to him in 1975 to vacate the premises and thereafter filed a petition for his eviction which failed on account of the fact that there was some defect in the notice which had been given before filing the said petition.

(9) The present petition was thereafter filed on or about 12th January, 1979.

(10) It has also come in the statement of Gurdayal Singh, who was a colleague of Col. Lai in the army, that Col. Lai was living with one Mrs. Kaul as paying guest and Mrs. Kaul now 'wants him to vacate the premises'. It was in this state of evidence that the Rent Controller gave a finding that Col. Lai has got no other reasonably suitable accommodation with him.

(11) I have also gone through the evidence and I find no reason to differ from the findings of the learned Rent Controller.

(12) The main contention before me, which was raised by Mr. F. C. Bedi on behalf of tenant, was about the purpose of letting. On consideration of the entire evidence, the learned Rent Controller came to the conclusion that the premises were residential and were let out for residential purposes. The Rent Controller also found that the tenant has got his business in Gadodia Market, Fatehpuri, Delhi, and has a separate godown in Peelikothi . After going through the entire evidence, I am in complete agreement with the learned Rent Controller that the premises were let out to the petitioner for residential purposes.

(13) Mr. Bedi, however, brought to my notice the fact that four years after the letting of the premises, the tenant had got a telex installed in the premises and this shows that the tenant was using the premises for his business purposes as well. The learned Rent Controller has rightly noticed that the landlord was not even cross-examined as to the purpose of letting when the premises were let out and the landlord was merely cross-examined as to the user of the premises four years after letting. There was no plea by the tenant that the landlord had ever consented to change of user. The learned Rent Controller also Found that there was no worthwhile evidence of any business being carried on in the premises in dispute. The Controller also felt that merely because some business correspondence was being received could not convert the purpose of letting into one, which is non-residential.

(14) I am in complete agreement with the appreciation of evidence by the learned Rent Controller and I do not find any Reason to interfere with that finding in revision.

(15) The main thrust of the arguments of Mr. Bedi, however, is that the requirement of the landlord is mala fide. In this connection the learned counsel also referred to the letter dated 30th January, 1978 (Ext.R-9) sent by the landlord to Seth Kajaria. This letter reads as under :-

'DEAR Seth Kajaria, With the approach of the month of February, I have had a detailed talk with your son Seth Hari Kajaria here yesterday. As there are no indications yet of his vacating our house G-124 defense as I had requested you way back in November last when you were in hospital, I have given him another alternative to his continued staying on in the bungalow. Since my requirement of a house is urgent and genuine, I have suggested that he should pay increased rent of Rs.2,000.00 as month with effect from October, 1977 as you had offered to pay to enable me to put up a small self contained bed-setting room with bath and a small kitchen on the tei race, that is to say above title existing drawing room cum dining room on the first floor. My wife and I could live there along with such members of the family who may happen to be with us. This alternative is being suggested as an exceptional case until you make alternate arrangements for your residence. I also heard an amazing confession from Seth Hari Kajaria that he himself would not like to continue to live in Delhi but that it is you as a father who would want him to live here. As such he wants to consult you in this matter. I have told him that time it an important factor and that he should speak to you about this matter on the phone and decide quickly so that I can start moving. I would thereforee urge you to decide very quickly. I trust you are progressing favorably and that unlike my other letter to you, you will write to me promptly. With kind regards, Yours very truly, sd/- R. C. Lal P. S. If you do not agree to the alternative I have suggested, I would request you to vacate my house positively by 28th February, 1978.'

(16) It will be noticed that the landlord was in a great predicament. He had come to India and had no house to live in. The tenant, it appears. has been making promises to vacate the house but the promises were made only to be broken. In this situation, the landlord made an alternative suggestion to the tenant that the latter pay a rent of Rs. 2,000.00 a month and in this connection referred to an offer made by the tenant. This suggestion was also hedged with the condition that the tenant could continue only till he was able to find an alternative residence. One has to appreciate the predicament of the landlord who had no place to live and banking upon the promises of the tenant to vacate. The appreciation of this letter by the learned Rent Controller, in my view, is correct and no mala fides can be imputed to the landlord.

(17) Mr. Bedi then brought to my notice a photostat copy of the letter of the landlord to Seth Kajaria dated 16th January, 1980 which reads as under :-

'DEAR Sir, In view of your unbecoming attitude over the past few years, in vacating C-124, defense Colony, for my personal residence for my retirement, I have completed negotiations for the sale of the property in question to Mr. Kamal Nath, M.P. of Calcutta. Please consider this 30 days notice to vacate the property as of this day, and restore the property in good shape and form. Kindly acknowledge receipt. Yours truly, sd/- Col. R. G. Lal

This letter was sent during the pendency of the ejectment petition and Col. Lai filed an affidavit to explain the circumstances in which he wrote this letter to the tenant in great mental stress and strain. He stated in the affidavit that he had been requesting the tenant for more than four years to vacate the premises. He had to come to Court per force. In the meanwhile when his son come back to India during Christmas of 1979, they had no house where they could live. Seeing the difficulty of his father, the son persuaded him to sell or exchange the house with Shri Kamal Nath, M.P., who was a friend of his since school days. Unfortunately a difficulty arose because the house in dispute was not vacant and the purchaser or person agreeing to exchange could accept only the vacant house and that he has been on road for several years and was mentally harrassed and humiliated. He, however, undertook before the Court that he has no intention of either selling or exchanging the house during his life time.

(18) While deciding such cases the Court might put itself in the position of a landlord, who has retired from service, has no house to live, has to spent years after years in Court to get even a house vacated. What is he to do if the tenant does not vacate the house within the reasonable time and fails to appreciate the difficulties of the landlord Such person would naturally try to obtain a house on rent. But the difficulty of a retired man to find an alternative accommodation on reasonable rent in Delhi is well-known. He may, in such circumstances, might think of exchanging his house with someone else so that he may find a shelter for himself. But the plan of the landlord to find an alternative house by exchanging his house with some other house might also fail unless he can give vacant possession of his own house to the transferees.

(19) It will be noticed that the premises in dispute, according to the landlord, were given to the tenant by way of a petition under Section 21 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'). Under that provision a landlord can let out, for residential purposes, his house, if for a temporary but definite period he does not need it. This fact was not disputed by the tenant when he applied for leave to defend and after the leave was allowed to him he not only denied the fact that the premises were let out under Section 21 of the Act but also took up the position that the premises were let out to him for residential-cum-commercial purpose, which involved the landlord in a lengthy litigation. The learned trial Court has accepted the version of the land lord that the records of the proceedings under Section 21 of the Act were destroyed and, thereforee, the landlord could not prove particulars thereof.

(20) Since the landlord had to go away to America and he could not apply for execution within six months, which is the statutory period, for taking back possession let out under Section 21 of the Act, the landlord has been requesting the tenant right from 1975 to vacate the premises but to no avail.

(21) It is in this predicament and on the advise of his son that the landlord wrote the aforesaid letter to the tenant. The mental stress and strain under which this letter was written was not questioned in cross- examination of the landlord as noticed by the landlord as noticed by the learned Rent Controller.

(22) I also find that in the circumstances of the case, no mala fides can be imputed to the landlord nor can it be held that his need is not genuine or immediate.

(23) I completely agree with the reasoning and conclusion of the learned Rent Controller on all aspects of the case.

(24) For the aforesaid reasons, the show cause notice is discharged and the revision petition is dismissed.

(25) The petitioner is, however, allowed time till 15th September, 1982 to vacate the premises in question on the condition that the petitioner gives an undertaking to this Court within a fortnight to vacate the same by the aforesaid date and to pay the rent regularly every month till the period allowed for vacating the premises.


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