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Girdhari Lal Vs. G.C. JaIn and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Appeal No. 768 of 1978
Judge
Reported in17(1980)DLT269; 1980RLR299
ActsSlum Area (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956 - Sections 19(1); Constitution of India - Article 226
AppellantGirdhari Lal
RespondentG.C. JaIn and anr.
Advocates: Uma Dutta and; P.B. Bahl, Advs
Cases ReferredShri Baghbir Aggarwal v. Kishori Lal
Excerpt:
- - but from the evidence adduced it appeared to the competent authority that rajinder kumar was a man of means and that he was doing good business. he shop and establishment department clearly show that rajinder kumar is in control of the business and he is all in all. he has to disclose with perfect can dour has income and the income of his dependents......lal. then the authority set out to inquire about the means of both girdhari lal and rajinder kumar. girdhari lal is a pan and bidi seller. he is doing petty business on the road side and is earning a few rupees per day to maintain himself and his family consisting of himself, his wife, two minor daughters and a minor son who, he said, were living with him. from the evidence it does not appear that girdhari lal is a man of substance. nor is there any finding that he is possessed of means. but from the evidence adduced it appeared to the competent authority that rajinder kumar was a man of means and that he was doing good business. rajinder kumar denied that he had independent means. in his affidavit he stated that he had no income from rana general traders as the other partners have.....
Judgment:

A.B. Rohatgi, J.

(1) This is a tenant's petition under Article 226 of the Constitution for quashing the order of the Competent Authorit

(2) The petitioner Girdhari Lal is a tenant in respect of two rooms and a court yard under the respondent Shrimati Pushplata Sud in the ground floor of House No. 956/15 in Gali Kumharan, Paharganj, New Delhi. On 4th June, 1976, the landlady made an application for permission to the Competent Authority under Section 19(1)(a) of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956. The Competent Authority granted the permission. The tenant now seeks to challenge this order on the ground that it is without jurisdiction and illegal.

(3) Girdhari l admittedly has three major sons. They are Kewal Krishan, Tilak Raj and Rajinder Kumar. The landlady alleged that these three sons were living with their father Girdhari Lal and they were making individual contribution for the running of the household and other expenses of the family. The Competent Authority found as a fact that Kewal Krishan, the eldest son of Girdhari Lal, was not living with him and that he was living separately for the last many years. The same was his finding with regard to Tilak Raj. Though Tilak Raj's name appeared in the ration card of Ins father, Girdhari Lal, yet he was able to establish that he was a teacher in village Jakholi. He produced a certificate from the Sarpanch of that village in which he certified that Tilak Raj son of Girdhari Lal had been residing for the last ten years in the village and that his wife Swam Kanta was a teacher in the primary school at Jakholi. On this evidence the Competent Authority reached the conclusion that Tilak Raj with the family lived at Jakholi and was not residing with his father.

(4) As regards the third son Rajinder Kumar the finding of the Competent Authority is that he is residing with his father. Rajinder Kumar is a young man of 22 years. His name was admittedly shown in the ration card. On September 11, 1976 his name was deleted from the ration card at the request of Girdhari Lal. A witness of the rationing department appeared before the Competent Authority and deposed to this fact. This shows that after the landlady had made an application to the Competent Authority on 4th June, 1976, the tenant at once foresaw the difficulty which may arise in his way in future. ' He at once went to the rationing department. He made an application that the names of his sons Tilak Raj and Rajinder Kumar be deleted. The rationing department deleted the two names.

(5) The case of the landlady before the Competent Authority was that Rajinder Kumar is living with Girdhari Lal and he was doing brisk business and was earning as much as Rs. 100.00 per day. It was said that he was carrying on business in the name of R.K. Automobiles and Rana General Traders. The tenant denied that his son Rajinder Kumar was living with him. But the Competent Authority found as a fact that he was living with him because there was no independent evidence before him, as was adduced in the case of Tilak Raj, to arrive at the conclusion that Rajinder Kumar was living elsewhere. Rajinder Kumar made an affidavit that he was living with his elder brother Kewal Krishan. This was disbelieved because the circumstances suggested that the deletion of the name of Rajinder Kumar on 11th September, 1976 was motivated by the sole consideration that the landlady should not be able to take advantage of the fact that Rajinder Kumar was living with the tenant and the income of the two should be combined.

(6) On the means of Rajinder Kumar the Competent Authority was of the view that as he was living in the premises in question his income should be clubbed with that of his father Girdhari Lal. Then the authority set out to inquire about the means of both Girdhari Lal and Rajinder Kumar. Girdhari Lal is a pan and bidi seller. He is doing petty business on the road side and is earning a few rupees per day to maintain himself and his family consisting of himself, his wife, two minor daughters and a minor son who, he said, were living with him. From the evidence it does not appear that Girdhari Lal is a man of substance. Nor is there any finding that he is possessed of means. But from the evidence adduced it appeared to the Competent Authority that Rajinder Kumar was a man of means and that he was doing good business. Rajinder Kumar denied that he had independent means. In his affidavit he stated that he had no income from Rana General Traders as the other partners have expelled him from the partnership. But he did not produce the partnership deed and the deed of dissolution of Rana General Traders, where admittedly he was at one time a partner as his own allegation of expulsion would seem to suggest. He did not disclose his share and his investment in that concern where lie was a partner at one time.

(7) With regard to the business of R.K. Automobiles there was positive evidence before the Competent Authority. The chief clerk of the Shop and Establishment Department was produced. He said that R.K. Automobile was registered with their department on 9th September, 1975, and Rajinder Kumar, son of Girdhari Lal, is shown as the 'employer and occupier' of the business. The shop itself is registered for repair work of scooters, and motor cycles. In his affidavit Rajinder Kumar denied all this. He said that he was not the proprietor of R.K. Automobiles and that he was occupying a part of the shop by the 'courtesy' 'of the owners and landlords. In the face of the authentic evidence of the Shop and Establishment Department the Competent Authority disbelieved Rajinder Kumar on this count also. The Authority arrived at the conclusion that the business of R.K. Automobiles is the business of Rajinder Kumar and that he had falsely deposed that he was not the owner or the occupier of the workshop. The words 'owner and accupier' recorded in i.he Shop and Establishment Department clearly show that Rajinder Kumar is in control of the business and he is all in all.

(8) Now Rajinder Kumar did not disclose his income from the two businesses. The Competent Authority felt handicapped in performing its task. It could not determine the means of the tenant. It, thereforee, held that the tenant had 'not come dut clean hands .and has tried to make a false case regarding the separate living of his son Rajinder in Naiwala for the last four years and also about his means and income. Such a respondent who has not come with clean hands and who has tried to create false evidence, does not deserve protection under the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act.' This was the conclusion of the Competent Authority.

(9) I find nothing wrong with this approach. S. 19 requires the Competent Authority to ascertain the means of the tenant. Means of the tenant are within his knowledge. He has to disclose with perfect can dour has income and the income of his dependents. But if he does not do so the Competent Authority is entitled to raise an adverse inference. This is what the Competent Authority has done in this case. The 'clean hands' theory is just another name of adverse inference which a tribunal is entitled to raise if a party does not disclose the information he possesses. The Competent Authority has to apply the means test. That is the determinative test., If the tenant does not assist in the enquiry and does not state his means or the means of the dependents the authority can do nothing else except to raise the presumption of adverse inference.

(10) Mr. Uma Datta, counsel for the tenant has criticised this approach. His principal criticism is against the 'clean hands' theory as he called it. He referred me to Shri Baghbir Aggarwal v. Kishori Lal (1979) 2 R.C.J. 566. In my opinion, this authority is on a dilferent question. The division bench considered the type of conduct which under Article 226 of the Constitution would disentitle a petitioner from relief. They held that the conduct must be such as has a close connection with the question that the Competent Authority is required to answer, namely, the question of means. The division said: 'Such conduct as in the present case would have to be connected with the means of the tenant to find alternative accommodation if he were evicted within the meaning of Section 19(1)(a) of the Act.' In the case before me the tenant's conduct and the conduct of his son in failing to disclose fully and frankly their means is such conduct as has the closest connection with the inquiry the Competent Authority was called upon to make.

(11) Now it is settled law that the Court is entitled to have regard generally to the conduct of the applicant and to the special circumstances of the case in deciding whether to grant him the remedy he seeks. In granting him relief under Article 226, if the tenant has not disclosed his income and has not supplied the relevant information about his means, in my opinion his conduct ought to disentitle him from relief.

(12) For these reasons the writ petition is dismissed. In the circumstances of the case I make no order as to costs.


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