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Shri Parmanand Vs. Smt. Sneh Lata and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberC.W. No. 2239 of 1981
Judge
Reported in1983(4)DRJ379; 1983RLR285
ActsSlum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956 - Sections 19
AppellantShri Parmanand
RespondentSmt. Sneh Lata and ors.
Appellant Advocate A.L. Sehgal, Adv
Respondent Advocate Ramesh Chandra and ; M.M. Sharma, Advs.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredIn Jyoti Prasad v. Administrator Union Territory of Delhi
Excerpt:
.....eviction under the slums act to a poor man with meagre means. there is undoubted burden on a tenant to honestly disclose all his assets and source of income. the petitioner does not deserve any protection of law because of his attempts to suppress the income and to mislead the court. he cannot, by any description, be described as such a person who will not be able to secure alternate accommodation within his means if he is evicted from the suit premises. - - this also includes areas like chandni chowk. where the competent authority is satisfied that the most satisfactory method of dealing with the condition in the area is clearance of the area by demolition of all the buildings the action can be taken under sections 9 and 10. under section 11 such area can be redeveloped after..........the proper course, according to me, is to dispose of the matter here itself.6. petitioner is tenant in house no. 3751, gali barna, sadar bazar, delhi. the whole of the first floor and the second floor are in his possession and occupation the landlord purchased the said house in 1974 and filed the present application in 1976. in his application the landlord submitted that the tenant owns residential house being house no. 3858, gali barna, sadar bazar delhi which he purchased after he became a tenant m the suit house. the present value of that property is rs. 60,000/- to rs. 65.000/-. he also averred that the personal income of the tenant was rs. 1500/- per month. his son nanak chand has an income of about rs. 1,000/- to rs. 1,200/- per month as a practicing advocate. his two other.....
Judgment:

S.B. Wad, J.

1. This is the tenant's petition against the order of the Competent Authority (Slum) dated 27.5.1981 permitting the landlord to file eviction petition against him. After the said order the landlord has filed the petition for eviction of the tenant on the ground of bona fide personal requirement, (Section 14(1)(e)) and the tenant's securing alternate accommodation (Section 14(1)(h) of the Delhi Rent Control Act. Against the said order the tenant preferred a writ petition in this Court being Civil Writ Petition No. 2239 of 1981. The petition was dismissed in liming. The Supreme Court granted a Special Leave Petition against the order of this Court which was later on converted into Civil Appeal No. 1790 of 1982. On May 3, 1982 the Supreme Court disposed of the said appeal with the following order :

'Having given our anxious consideration of the matter, we are of the opinion that the High Court should consider the matter afresh. The High Court shall hear the parties and then come to a decision as to whether the condition pre-requisite for the grant of a certificate under sub-section 4 of Section 19 of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act 1956 has been fulfilled or not. The matter is, thereforee, remitted back to the High Court. The appeal is disposed of accordingly. There shall be no order as to costs. The High Court shall endeavor to dispose of the writ petition within a period of four months from today.'

2. The landlord filed a petition for permission under Section 19 of the Slum Act on 10.11.1976. Section 19(4A) of the Act lays down that in granting or refusing to grant the permission the court shall consider whether alternative accommodation within the means of the tenant would be available to him if he was evicted. The question of the 'means' of the tenant, that is, his financial position, has to be ascertained by the Competent Authority. This would enable the Competent Authority to decide whether alternate accommodation can be hired by the tenant within his means. Counsel for the tenant submitted that the tenant's financial position on the date of the application under Section 19 as also his financial position as of today should be looked into. There could not have been any dispute with this proposition. The petition is now being considered six years after its filing. It must be seen whether today, that is on the date of the granting the permission or otherwise what is the financial status of the tenant. I, thereforee, directed the tenant and his sons to file fresh affidavits in this court giving details of their income and financial position. The affidavits are accordingly filed. The landlord was also given an opportunity to file an affidavit. The same has how been filed with some documents.

3. The Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956 was passed on 29.12 1956. The Act provides for the improvement and clearance of slum areas in certain Union Territories of Delhi and for the protection of tenants in such areas from eviction. Under Section 3 of the Act the Competent Authority can declare an area to be slum area. Most of the old town of Delhi, what is called old Delhi, is declared as slum area. This also includes areas like Chandni Chowk. Sadar Bazar etc. The protection of the Act is available not only to the tenants of the residential buildings but also to commercial buildings. The word ''slum' is not defined in the Act but Section 3 which empowers declaration of slum area throws some light on the concept of slum in the Act. Buildings which are unfit for human habitation or by reason of delapidation, over crowding, faulty arrangements and design fall in the category of slum. The areas where such buildings exist and where there are narrow and faulty streets, lack of ventilation light or sanitation facilities, the area can be declared as a slum area. This is so because such conditions are detrimental to safety, health or morals of the people. Most of the old towns in India including old Delhi have such conditions. Where the competent authority is satisfied that the most satisfactory method of dealing with the condition in the area is clearance of the area by demolition of all the buildings the action can be taken under Sections 9 and 10. Under Section 11 such area can be redeveloped after clearance. But where the conditions are not so bad, the Competent Authority can, under Section 4, carry put the improvements of the buildings unfit for human habitation at the cost of the occupier of the said buildings. The Authority can also order demolition of buildings unfit for human habitation. In Jyoti Prasad v. Administrator Union Territory of Delhi : [1962]2SCR125 the Supreme Court has held that the object of the Act was orderly elimination of slums. Section 19 of the Act gives protection to the tenants staying in the slum areas. The tenant cannot be evicted without the permission of the Competent Authority. In the said decision of the Supreme Court the Supreme Court interpreted Section 19 to mean that the protection was an interim protection for the slum dwellers until they are moved in better dwellings. It is not known with what success the slums are eliminated by the Competent Authority, in the last 25 years. There is a phenomenal increase of population in Delhi in the last 25 years. By same token there is an explosion of population in slum areas. The commercial establishments have increased and prospered beyond imagination. Most of the wholesale business and trade is carried out in the said areas. The residents of the slum areas do their business or work in the commercial establishments in the area. Vested interests have thus developed in the continuation of the slum areas. The provisions of the Act are to be enforced on the background of these social realities.

4. Section 19(4)(1) prescribes that, while granting or refusing the permission to institute eviction proceedings the Competent Authority shall take into account as to whether within the means of the tenant alternative accommodation would be available to him if he were to be evicted. Naturally a landlord is required to state in his petition that the tenant has sufficient means to secure alternate accommodation. In other words, he must give assessment of the financial position of the tenant. To know the financial position of any person is almost impossible. Even the Income-Tax Authorities are not able to do it satisfactorily. The landlord, thereforee, can only give a rough estimate. It is also very difficult to establish as to what accommodation would be available for what rent. The rents are increasing in Delhi so fast that for most of the people a large chunk of their income goes in the navment of rent Another indeterminate factor is whether alternative accommodation would be available at all in a city like Delhi. If the provisions of Section 19(4)(A) are to be literally applied in no case the evidence would he so preponderant as to pass an order permitting the landlord to file an eviction petition That is why Section 19(3) provides that the enquiry into the circumstances of the case should be a summary euquiry. The Legislation does not expect that the petition should be tried like a suit with elaborate evidence produced by both sides. The unfortunate experience, however, is that this proceeding is treated as one more round of litigation to stop the eviction order as if it is a suit.

5. Although the enquiry is to be a summary enquiry, Section 19(5) requires that the Competent Authority shall record a brief statement of reasons if it refuses to grant a permission. The Act does not state that while granting permission the reasons should be stated. In the present case, the Competent Authority has stated all the evidence and the submissions of the oarties in its order. It came to a conclusion that the tenant had not come to the court with clean hands, in regard to discloser of his means. However, no reasons were stated. The Supreme Court, thereforee, thought that the order must disclose whether the requirements of Section 19(4)(A) are satisfied. The Supreme Court expects that a reasoned order should be passed for this purpose and it has directed this court to do the same. One way to dispose of the matter was to remand the same to the Competent Authority to record its findings and pass a reasoned order. However, since six years are already spent at the initial stage of the permission itself, the proper course, according to me, is to dispose of the matter here itself.

6. Petitioner is tenant in House No. 3751, Gali Barna, Sadar Bazar, Delhi. The whole of the first floor and the second floor are in his possession and occupation The landlord purchased the said house in 1974 and filed the present application in 1976. In his application the landlord submitted that the tenant owns residential house being House No. 3858, Gali Barna, Sadar Bazar Delhi which he purchased after he became a tenant m the suit house. The present value of that property is Rs. 60,000/- to Rs. 65.000/-. He also averred that the personal income of the tenant was Rs. 1500/- per month. His son Nanak Chand has an income of about Rs. 1,000/- to Rs. 1,200/- per month as a practicing Advocate. His two other sons were also running the business in metal scraps under the name of Rishi Metal Udyog. All the sons were staying with the tenant. It was then stated that the tenant has a car and a scooter. He had a fixed deposit account in Delhi Cloth and General Mills Ltd. the tenant has T.V. and refrigerator and gold and silver ornaments worth several thousands of rupees. In reply the tenant submitted that House No. 3858 was being used for commercial purposes and was thereforee, hot an alternate accommodation. It was denied that the value of property No. 3858 is Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 65,000/-. He denied the existance of Television, Refrigerator and gold and silver ornaments. He also denied that he had fixed deposits. He stated that his income was Rs. 300/- per month, his Advocate son was getting Rs. 350/- per month and his two other sons who were running the business were getting Rs. 203/- per month. The tenant also denied that he had car and a scooter. Because of these denials the landlord had to furnish the evidence in support of his averments. A witness from Delhi Cloth and General Mills Ltd. was summon ed. He produced the fixed deposit accounts of the petitioner in the said mills. The car number and the scooter number were also furnished. In his affidavit by way of evidence the tenant had to admit that there was a fixed deposit account with Rs. 15,000/- as a balance. He admitted that there was a car and a scooter but stated that they belonged to his son Nanak Chand. Of course, Nanak Chand was staying with him. He also admitted the existance of T.V., Refrigerator and gold and silver ornaments but stated that they were brought by the daughters-in-law and was their Stridhan. He admitted that the car was purchased for Rs. 6,500/- but stated that Rs. 3,000/-were borrowed from one Shri Laxmi Chand. Counsel for the landlord has submitted that Laxmi Chand is the tenant's son-in-law. He then submitted that the amount of Rs. 15,000/- lying in the deposit in Delhi Cloth and General Mills was meant for the marriage of his daughter Miss Maina Devi. The account was started by his wife with himself, his wife depositing Rs. 10,000/-at the first instance from her Stridhan. He then submitted that his income was Rs. 240/- per month, that the income of his two sons running the metal scrap business was Rs. 200/- per month and the income of his Advocate son was Rs. 247/- per month. He also submitted that in 1974-75 the income of his Advocate son was Rs. 350/-, for 1976-77 it was Rs. 247/- and the income in 1978 was Rs. 247/- per month. The affidavit in which these admissions were made was filed by the tenant oa 21-12-1978, that is, two years after the filing of the petition.

7. In this court the tenant Parma Nand and his two spns Nanak Chand and Virender Kumar have filed the affidavit regarding their income on 16-12-1982. He has asserted that the total income of the family at present is about Rs. 500/-. This is comprised of Rs. 200/- as his personal income, Rs. 200/- contributed by Virender Kumar and Rs. 100/- contributed by Nanak Chand. He has stated that since November, 1982 his Advocate son Nanak Chand has shifted his residence to Gurgaon. This is, of course, after the hearing of the petition had started in this court. After the death of his wife in 1967 the fixed deposit account Number P-50 which was a joint account Was changed to P-50A in his individual name. According to him his daughter was married in 1979; He spent Rs. 5,000/- on her marriage and gave Rs. 10,000/- cash by way of dowry. But he has also stated that a joint account was opened in 1971 (P-363) with his daughter but the same was closed on 24-9-1976, that is, three years prior to the marriage. House No. 3858, according to the new affidait, consisted of one room 13' x 18' on the ground floor, one room 13' x 18' on the first floor and a barsati measuring 13' x 7'. The latrine, in the house was a dry latrine. There was no bath and ho kitchen. The House was unfit for human habitation. The ground floor was being used by his son Virender Kumar for metal scrap business of Rishi Metal Udyog. The first floor was used by Nanak Chand, Advocate, as a lawyers office. He was originally working as a court Clerk of an Advocate by name Tarachand Brijmohan Lal. But since 1962 he left that job and Started working as a Parokar in the District Courts. hE further stated that property No 3858, belonging to him, is practically of no market value and is not worth more than Rs. 10,000/- Nanak Chand in his affidavit stated that he sold his scooter in 1975 and with that money and borrowing additional Rs. 3,000/- from Lachmi Chand he purchased an old Ambassador car for Rs. 6,500/-. It may be noted that in his affidavit filed in December, 1978 the petitioner Parma Nand had stated that the scooter was still there and the car was an additional vehicle purchased for Rs. 6,500/-. Nanak Chand admitted that he had purchased that house No. 1322/4 in Gurgaon on 9-3-1981 for Rs. 48,000/-. He stated that he had raised a loan for Rs, 48,000/-. The house was in his name and the name of his brother Virender Kumar and Master Vikas, minor son of deceased brother Rishi Kumar. No. particulars of the loan are stated in the affidavit. He had stated that since March, 1981 he is not staying with his father. He also stated that his income from the profession for the year 1978-79 was Rs. 7910/-. In the reply affidavit the landlord has pointed out that the tenant had not disclosed the purchase of a house at Gurgaon for Rs. 55,000/- on 9th March, 1981. Payment of Rs. 42,000/-was made by cheque in February, 1981. The source of this big amount is not disclosed in the affidavits. Another scooter was purchased in 1980 (DEK-8190) which was not disclosed even in the fresh affidavits. A telephone was also installed by the tenant in 1981 and this fact was also not disclosed in the affidavit. He has then pointed out that the business of Rishi Metal Udyog was not being carried out in House No. 3858 but in House No. 3909-A, Sadar Bazar and this is shown as a place of business with the Sales tax Department. By reference to the sale deed of the purchase of House No. 3858 and by reference to the Resolution of the Municipal Committee (Annexure 'X') he has submitted that House No. 3858 was a residential house in the residential area and was taken for that purpose. The accommodation in the said house was more as could be seen from the said documents. He has also pointed out that there is a kitchen in the said house. By reference to various fixed deposit accounts he has further submitted that the story of using the amount of Rs. 15,000/- for the marriage of the daughter made out in the tenant's affidavit was false. By various entries in the said accounts which are cash entries, it is submitted that large sums were being deposited in the said accounts which were infact the running accounts. The landlord has also submitted by reference to other entries that the tenant had not disclosed the other bank accounts in his name. At the bar it was submitted by the counsel for the landlord that the tenant had all along suppressed his true financial position from the Court and it was only after the evidence furnished by the landlord that the tenant had to make certain admissions. Even the affidavits filed in this court are not true and they suppress, number of financial dealings by the tenant.

8. From the evidence on record what is the general picture of the financial position of the tenant. According to him till November, 1981 all the sons were staying with him. He had claimed on that basis that in 1976 there were thirteen members in the family and after November, 1981 there are nine members residing in the suit premises. According to the tenant he had a very meagre income as a Court Clerk and then as a Parokar since 1962. In 1976, according to him, the income of the family was around Rs. 850/-. In December, 1982 the income was reduced to Rs. 500/-. From the various financial dealings and the properties disclosed in the evidence I am satisfied that the tenant has not truthfully disclosed his financial position to the court. I am also of the opinion that House No. 3858 which belongs to the tenant could and can be utilised by him for his residence. He had all the money to partly rebuild the same and to repair it for that purpose.

9. The petitioner had three accounts in the Delhi Cloth and General Mills Company Ltd. The first account was a joint account with his wife who died in 1967. This was started by deposit of Rs. 10,000/- in cash. The tenant now claims that this amount was from the stridhan of his wife and the amount was deposited for the purposes of daughter's marriage. , From 1967 up to the end of 1976 the account was a single account in the name of the tenant. There are five entries of deposit of the cash of Rs. 5,000/- each in this account. In addition there is an entry of Rs. 8,000/- deposited in cash. Thus about Rs. 50,000/- are deposited by cash in the said account. The petitioner claims to be a very poor man with meagre income as Paroker during this period. The source of this amount to about Rs. 50,000/- is not explained by the petitioner. Apart from this there are transfer entries of a large amounts by way of cheque. The petitioner has not disclosed his bank accounts from where the amounts were transferred. Admittadly, according to him in 1971 he constructed a room and a barsati in House No. 3858. The source of the amount spent for this construction is also not disclosed by him. In 1970 a scooter was purchased ostensibly by his son Nanak Chand which was with him up to 1978. In 1975-76 a second hand car was purchased for Rs. 6,000/-. It is said that Rs. 3,000/- were borrowed from a third person. He happens to be the son-in-law of the petitioner. Nanak Chand has claimed the balance of Rs. 3,000/- was secured by the sale of the scooter but petitioner's affidavit shows that the scooter was with him up to 1978 while the car was purchased in 1975-76. A third account was opened in the joint name of the petitioner and his daughter Maina Devi in September, 1971 and was closed in June, 1972, This account was opened with the cash deposit of Rs. 10,000/-. Daughter Maina Devi was married in 1979. A joint account with her was closed as stated above in 1972. Thus the entire story given out by the petitioner that an amount of Rs. 15,000/- was spent for the marriage of the daughter is not supported by the accounts at all. The source of spending Rs. 15,000/- for the marriage of the daughter on the available evidence is not disclosed by the petitioner. It may be that he had a cash with him or that this amount was withdrawn by him from his un-disclosed bank accounts. In 1980 a house was purchased allegedly by his son Nanak Chand. He was living with the petitioner, his father. The source of about Rs. 55,000/. spent for this house is not disclosed. In 1980 one more scooter was purchased and also a telephone was installed in the suit premises. The sources for these expenses are also not disclosed, There is a Refrigerator T.V. and ornaments. It is said that they are received as a part of the dowry in the marriages of the sons. These admitted assets show that the petitioner and the family is not (only) a poor family but a prosperous family.

10. Section 49 gives a protection against eviction under the Slums Act to a poor man with meagre means. The measure of his small means is judicially recognised in a formula that if he leaves the slum area he will create a slum elsewhere. thereforee, there is undoubted burden on a tenant to honestly disclose all his assets and source of income. Right from holding three accounts in Delhi Cloth Mills to all the assets purchased by him from time to time and moneys deposited were suppressed by the tenant. It was only after the landlord produced the evidence that the tenant had to willy nilly accept them. He has further suppressed the fact that House No. 3858 which he owns is a residential house. This is proved by the sale deed of the house produced by the landlord. The house is in a residential area and was expressly purchased by him for the purposes of residence. There is an averment to that effect in the sale deed. The tenant claimed that the house was a commercial house and was used by his sons for profession purposes. A residential house in the residential area cannot be converted into a commercial establishment according to law. That the house is a residential house is further confirmed by the resolution of the Municipal Committee denying permission for additional construction which is filed as Annexure ''X' by the landlord. The petitioner has falsely stated that the ground floor of his house No. 3858 is used by his sons' firm Rishi Metal Udyog. This is proved by a copy of the Sales-tax certificate produced by the landlord. It shows that Rishi Metal Udyog carries on business at House No. 3903A in Ward No. 32. Thus instead of making honest disclosure the petitioner has suppressed the facts and tried to mislead the court by giving incorrect facts.

11. The petitioner cannot, by any description, be described as such a person who will not be able to secure alternate accommodation within his means if he is evicted from the suit premises. He also does not deserve any protection of law because of his attempts to suppress the income and to mislead the court. The evidence discloses that he has sufficient means to carry on appropriate constructions and repairs in House No. 3858 as required by the Municipal Authorities so as to make it a residential house. The evidence does not disclose that the petitioner can claim the benefit of Section 19 of the Slums Act. The Authority under the Slums Act was, thereforee, right in granting the permission to the landlord to evict the tenant.

12. For the reasons stated above the writ petition is dismissed with costs. Counsel fee Rs. 500/-.


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