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Pritam Dass Vs. Jiya Rani - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 297 of 1977
Judge
Reported inAIR1981Delhi269; 20(1981)DLT215; 1981(2)DRJ187; 1981RLR492
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 15(1)
AppellantPritam Dass
RespondentJiya Rani
Advocates: G.L. Seth and; V.M. Issar, Advs
Cases ReferredHem Chand v. The Delhi Cloth
Excerpt:
delhi rent control act - 1958 section 15(1) ; it is open to the rent controller to pass an order under section 15(1) of the act on a prima facie view of the evidence even in a case where the alleged tenant denies the existence of the tenancy qua the premises. in so saying we wish to clarify that the order under section 15(1) of the act is final so far as section 15(1) is concerned, though it is not final so far as the application on merits is concerned. this means that it will be open to the parties to lead evidence even on those points on which prima facie evidence may have been given before passing an order under section 15(1) of the act. prima facie determination of matter does not mean that order under section 15(1) will be passed again. all that it means is that full evidence may.....sachar, j.(1) the reference to the full bench has been necessitated because my lord the chief justice found an apparent conflict between the two division bench judgments of this court namely 1973 rcr 240 ram parkash kapur v. smt. bhagwanti devi and 1977 (2) del 139 ram nurain khanna v. ishar singh. the conflict relates to the nature of evidence that is required to be taken and what is the procedure to be followed by the rent controller while passing an order under section 15(1) of the delhi rent control act (hereinafter to be called the act). (2) the respondent/landlady filed an application for recovery of possession on the ground of non-payment of rent and substantial damage caused to the demised premises. the allegations were that the appellant who was a tenant in respect of a shop in.....
Judgment:

Sachar, J.

(1) The reference to the Full Bench has been necessitated because my lord the Chief Justice found an apparent conflict between the two Division Bench Judgments of this Court namely 1973 Rcr 240 Ram Parkash Kapur v. Smt. Bhagwanti Devi and 1977 (2) Del 139 Ram Nurain Khanna v. ishar Singh. The conflict relates to the nature of evidence that is required to be taken and what is the procedure to be followed by the Rent Controller while passing an order under Section 15(1) of the Delhi Rent Control Act (hereinafter to be called the Act).

(2) The respondent/landlady filed an application for recovery of possession on the ground of non-payment of rent and substantial damage caused to the demised premises. The allegations were that the appellant who was a tenant in respect of a shop in dispute was in arrears of rent @ Rs. 75.00 per month w.e.f. 1.10.1973. The appellant/tenant however, took the plea that the land underneath the superstructure belonged to the Delhi Development Authority which had cancelled the lease in favor of the respondent,/landlady and had taken back the possession and, thereforee, the respondent had no locus standi to eject the tenant. As for the superstructure it was contended that the appellant had built the superstructure himself. It was also claimed that the tenant had paid damages in respect of the premises in suit to the Delhi Development Authority. The contractual rate of rent being Rs. 75.00 per month was not disputed. The Rent Controller held that as the possession had not yet been taken from the landlady even if there was cancellation of the lease she could sue for recovery of rent and possession. He, thereforee, passed an order under Section 15(1) of the Act directing the appellant/tenant to deposit the arrears of rent w.e.f. 1.10.1973 till 31.12.1976.

(3) The tenant took up the matter in appeal to the Tribunal who also found that at no time physical possession of the plot had been taken by the Delhi Development Authority. It also took into account the fact that the premises in question had been let out to the appellant by the respondent in 1971 and that even if the lease had been cancelled the relationship of landlord and tenant could continue between the parties. He, thereforee, taking the prima facie view that the relationship of landlord and tenant had not ceased upheld the order of the Rent Controller, and in this he relied on the Division Bench Judgment in Ram Narain's case (supra) though Ram Parkash's case (supra) was referred to before him.

(4) The second appeal filed by the tenant came before the Hon'ble Chief Justice who has found that the alleged payment by the appellant to the Delhi Development Authority of the damages in persuance of an order under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act 1971 could not be equated to payment of rent as the appellant continued to be treated as unauthorised occupant, and no attornment was accepted by the D.D.A. The learned Judge was, thereforee, inclined to hold that on the pleadings the order passed under Section 15(1) was unchallengeable. But as the Tribunal had passed an order on prima facie view of the matter which according to Ram Parkash's case was not permissible in a situation where the relationship of landlord and tenant is denied without first deciding such a question finally, while Ram Narain's case permitted such a course, the learned Judge has referred the matter to resolve the conflict.

(5) Mr. Seth, the learned counsel for the appellant, contends that as the appellant had raised the plea that the land underneath belonged to D.D.A. and as superstructure was built by him and had denied that he was the tenant of the respondent no order under Section 15(1) could have been passed until it was first finally decided by the Rent Controller that the appellant was a tenant ; in short passing an order on a prima facie view of the matter was impermissible. Now Clause (a) of proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 14 permits the Controller to pass an order for the recovery of possession of premises on the ground that the tenant has not paid the whole of the arrears of rent legally recoverable from him within 2 months of the date on which the notice of demand for arrears of rent has been served on him by the landlord. Section 15(1) provides that in such a proceeding the Controller shall after giving the parties an opportunity of being heard make an order directing the tenant to pay to the landlord within one month of the date of order an amount calculated @ of rent at which it was last paid........... Sub-section (2) of Section 15 provides that if in proceedings for recovery of possession on grounds other than referred to in sub-section (1) the tenant contests the claim for eviction the landlord may apply to the Controller for an order on the tenant to pay to the landlord the amount of rent legally recoverable. Sub-section (3) provides that if in any proceedings referred to in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), there is any dispute as to the amount of rent payable by the tenant, the Controller shall fix an interim rent..... to be paid in accordance with the provisions of sub sections (1) and (2). Sub-section (4) covers a situation where there is a dispute as to the person or persons to whom the rent is payable, the Controller may direct the tenant to deposit with the Controller the amount payable by him under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) or sub-section (3) and in such a case no person shall be entitled to withdraw the amount deposited until the Controller decides the dispute and makes an order for payment of the same. Sub-section (6) provides that if the tenant makes payment or deposit as required by sub-section (1) or sub-section (3) no order shall be made for the recovery of possession on the ground of default in the payment of rent by the tenant.....

(6) The scheme of the Act recognises, that any proceedings brought for the recovery of possession will necessarily take time. No doubt Section 15(1) is primarily meant for the protection of the tenants. See : [1964]1SCR259 Om Parkash Gupta v. Dr. Rattan Singh. B ut at the same time it is clear that the legislature was keen to see that the tenant did not continue to stay in the premises without paying the arrears and also paying the current rent. That is why it evolved a detailed procedure to do justice both to the tenant and the landlord, the latter being assured that he would not be denied the rent for the premises simply because litigation had commenced in regard to that. Of course the Legislature also gave protection to the tenant by laying down that in an application for recovery of possession on the ground of non-payment of rent by providing that no order for recovery of possession will be made on the grounds specified in clause (a) of proviso to sub-section (1), if a tenant makes payment or deposit as required by Section 15. Now in any such eviction application the tenant may put forth a large number of defenses, namely-that he has paid the rent and no arrears are due ; or that the rate of rent is different from the one claimed by the landlord ; or that there is no relationship of the landlord or the tenant or similar defense.

(7) The scope of Section 15(1) came up for consideration before the Supreme Court in : [1964]6SCR181 V. N. Vasudeva v. Kirorimal Luhariwa. In that case the tenant had pleaded that he was entitled to adjust his professional fee against the rent due. The Rent Controller, however, found that there was no proof on the file that the tenant had any right to make any adjustments of rent against his professional fee and thereafter passed an order under Section 15(1) which order was confirmed up to the High Court. Before the Supreme Court the counsel for the tenant sought to contend that an order under Section 15(1) for deposit of rent could only be made at the end of the case and not at an interim stage and also in case a proper opportunity had been given to the tenant to prove his plea by leading evidence. This plea was negatived by the Supreme Court which held that an order under sub-section (!) of Section 15 is not a final order but is preliminary to the trial of the case and is made only where the rent has in fact not been paid and that it was not necessary that there should have been a full trial. The Court held that the Rent Controller had the affidavits and other material before him and if on that he came to the conclusion that the agreement pleaded by the tenant was not acceptable he could pass an order under Section 15(1) but it went on to caution that, no doubt, the appellant is entitled to lead oral evidence in regard to the agreement but for that he will have an opportunity hereafter. At the moment he is being asked to deposit the arrears in court, which admittedly are outstanding. In Ram Pakarsh's case the Bench held that the scheme of the Act appears to be that the Controller before passing an order under Section 15(1) should decide whether the person against whom eviction is sought is a tenant qua the premises. The Bench assumed that the words ''an opportunity of being heard' necessarily imply that an order under Sections 15(1) and (3) can only be passed after deciding the facts necessary to give him jurisdiction otherwise the specific provision of hearing in the context will become a redundant formality. In this regard, and we say so with respect, the Division Bench ignored the interpretation of Section 15(1) given in Vasudeva's case which has specifically held that it was not necessary to have a full trial before the Rent Controller gets jurisdiction to pass an order under Section 15(1) of the Act. The Bench though it adopted the reasoning in Kulwant Kaur v. Jiwan Singh I.L.R. (1972) : that Rent Controller cannot decide on prima facie view, did not subscribe to the view of Deshpande, J. (as his lordship then was) that it was necessary to decide the existence of relationship of landlord and tenant 'between the parties', and held that it was sufficient for the Rent Controller to have jurisdiction to decide that rent of the premises is payable by the person against whom order is to be passed and that this point cannot be decided on the basis of prima facie evidence, and must be decided finally before passing an order under Section 15(1) of the Act. But it did not agree with Deshpande, J. fully and held that the Rent Controller need not decide at this stage if a person claiming the rent is entitled to receive it. It will thus be seen that the Bench only carved an exception against passing an order on prima facie view of evidence to the limited situation where a question arose whether the peri.on against whom eviction is sought is a tenant of the premises. According to the Bench if a person admits his tenancy qua the premises the Controller will have full jurisdiction to pass an order under Section 15(1) of the Act without deciding the other controversy even if the tenant takes the plea that the landlord who has filed the application for eviction is not his landlord. In view of Despande, J's own observation in Kulwant Kaur's case that the very object of Section 15(1) is that pending the decision of the petition the Controller must see that the tenant continues to pay to the landlord the rent at the rate at which it was lust paid, his further finding that there should be a final order under Section i;(l) and nol on a prima facic view, could only have meant that an order under Section 15(1) is cone-rued but it could not have meant that before deciding all the issuees that may arise in ihe trial, order under Section 15(1) cannot be passed, as it would be contradicory, and if it so meant cannot be considered to be laying correct law. The Bench realised the mischief of delay that may arise if an order under Section 15(1) was to be postponed after the decision on the question of tenancy, if raised, was decided first. But it sought solace by assuing that there will be very few persons who would deny the tenancy and repudiate the protection of the Act and the apprehension of likely delay is more imaginary than real. Apperently the Bench missed to notice a vital aspect that in a given case, a tenant finding that he has no case under the Rent Act may repudiate the tenancy, but that by no means would imply that: lie will be immediately evicted. The owner will have to file a regular civil still for possession with all the expenses for payment of a full court fee on the market value of the property and also years of delay in litigation.

(8) But the real question is whether- there is any justfication for holding that order under Section 15(1) of the Act c:in only be passed by first deciding finally the question, whether there is a relationship of landlord and tenant, if the alleged tenant happens to deny such a relationship. We can find none. If this view was accepted, one of the equally strong objects of Section 15(1) of til'.-Act, namely, to compel the tenant to pay the rent during the pendency of the proceedings for eviction application on the pain of having his defelice struck off, would be defeated in most of the cases because such a dispute may well be raised quite frequently. As a matter of fact in the subsequent Division Bench Judgment in (2nd 1977(2) Delhi 139) Ram Narain Khanna v. Ishar Singh, this view was not accepted and it was held that an order under Section 15(1) is in the nature of an order preliminary to the trial of the case and that the finding as to arrears of rent under sub-section (i) or sub-section (3) is final only for the purpose of these provisions and not for the purpose of trial. It was also held that though determination about the arrears or the defendant being a tenant is final for the purpose of Section 15(1) yet at the same time it is prima fade for the purpose of trial and that notwithstanding the order under Section 15(1) of the Act that the alleged tenant is a tenant in the premises, the alleged tenant would :-till be entilled to plead on merits during the trial that he is not the tenant of the person who claims to be the landlord. The Bench concludes that the finding on the relationship of the landlord and the tenant has again got to be prima facie as the basis for the ultimate finding given at the end of the trial.

(9) It will thus be seen that both the Division Benches agree on almost all the points and the difference is limited to a very small extent. Even the earlier Division Bench in Ram Parkash's case did not accept fully the observation of Deshpande, J.-that the Rent Controller is bound to decide the existence of relationship of the landlord and the tenant 'between the parties' before passing an order under Section 15(1) of the Act. It held that barring the eventuality where the alleged tenant denies the tenancy qua the premises in all other cases the Rent Controller can pass an order under Section 15(1) of the Act. But we see no justification turn excluding this particular eventuality from the ambit of Section 15(1) of the Act. In Vasudeva's case the Supreme Court haiving held that an order under sub-section (1) of Section 15 is not a final order, but is preliminary to the trial of the case, it is apparent that the power to pass an order under Section 15(1) cannot be left to be dependent upon the type of defenses that are taken. Once it is held as it has to be in view of the Vasudeva's case (supra) that order under Section 15(1) is at interim stage then notwithstanding the denial by the alleged tenant of existence of relationship of tenancy it would be permissible for the Rent Controller to pass an order to effectuate the object of Section 15(1). As one of us (Sachar, J.) stated in V. D. Malhotra v. Lila Malhotra and others (S.A.O. 55 of 1970) decided on 18th May, 1970), that Section 15 does not contemplate that all the defenses which the tenant raises as to the maintainability of the eviction petition should be decided before an order under Section 15 can be passed, 'By the very nature of things this would defeat the whole object of Section 15 which is to pass an interim order till the conclusion of the proceedings'.

(10) The fallacy in leaving open any defense which would take away the jurisdiction to pass an order under Section 15(1) of the Act would lead to anomalous and uncertain results. An illustration of it may be mentioned- the Judgment of H. L. Anand, J. in I.L.R. (1995) Del 96 Balbir Singh v. Lt. Col. Man Mohan lal, where the learned Judge has taken the view that where the tenant raises questions as to the maintainability of the petition or disputes his liability to pay the rent or raises a dispute with regard to the quantum of rent, an order under Section 15(1) should not be made except...... until these questions have been finally determined, In that case the learned Judge notwithstanding that he was a party to the earlier Division Bench in Ram Parkash's case has broadened the situation in which the order under Section 15(1) should not have been passed at the interim stage, to include where only the quantum is disputed. This is directly against even the earlier Division Bench. In our opinion it is not a correct statement of law. In our opinion what influenced the learned Judge was the Full Bench Judgment in D.C M.'s case which according to him, if a default is committed, almost made it impossible for the tenant to avoid eviction but that Full Bench, however, has been modified in part by the Supreme Court and thereforee the reasoning in this judgment cannot be accepted We must express our dissent from such a view because this proposition will completely negate the very purpose of Section 15(1). In the very nature of things various defenses by the alleged tenant on various points are bound to be taken. Even Section 15(3) provides for an interim rate of rent to be fixed where rent is disputed and Section 15(4) provides for payment of rent where dispute is as to the persons to whom the rent is payable. Thus the simple fact that a dispute has been raised does not oust the jurisdiction to pass an order under Section 15(1). Of course the Rent Controller may in a given case not pass an order under Section 15(1) of the Act if he feels that the circumstances so warrant because an order under Section 15(1) to pay to the landlord rent at the rate at which it was last paid is not mandatory but is directory. Vide : [1970]2SCR390 :H.M.Chawla v. J.S. Sethi. The reliance by the Division Bench and also Deshpande, J on the observations of Shah, J. in M. M. Chawla's case was also misplaced. In that case as the dispute was raised about the rent payable under Section 15(3) the tenant contested that the standard rent should be determined irrespective of the fact that an application turn fixation of standard rent was barred under Section 12. The court held that Section 15(3) only provides for fixation of interim rent to be paid at that rate till standard rent is determined, but thereby it is not implied that the standard rent is to be determined as an issue arising in an action for ejectment and held that a separate application under Section 12 will have to be filed and if such an application for fixation of standard rent has become barred then Section 15(3) will be of no assistance. Thus that case has no relevancy.

(11) The distinction that has to be borne in mind is that though no doubt under Section 15(1) the Controller has to pass an order directing the tenant to pay to the landlord the rent at the rate at which it was last paid after giving an opportunity of being heard, it does not mean that all issues winch may be raised at this point of time must be finally decided before passing an order. It ' is clear that in any application lor eviction disputes may be raised not only that the relationship of landlord and tenant did not exist but the dispute with regard to the rats of rent, the amount of rent and the party which is entitled to receive the rent. Ram Parkash's case his accepted that the dispute about the amount of rent and the parly to whom they are payable are covered by sub-section (3) or sub-section (4), and order under Section 15(1) can be passed, and the dispute on these points can be decided subsequently during the trial of the appliication. In Ram Narain case the Bench went further and accepted that it is not necessary to determine the existence of relationship qua the landlord before passing an order under Section 15(1). The only exception thus is whether the tenant admits himself to be a tenant. We do not find any justification to make such a limited exception. We feel that for the purpose of passing an order under Section 15(1) no exception can be made for any particular kind of defense by the alleged tenant which will take away the jurisdiction of the Rent Controller to pass an order under Section 15(1). Whether the defense raised disputes the rate of rent, the amount payable or whether the relationship of landlord and tenant exists between the parties or whether the alleged tenant denies the tenancy qua the premises, are all questions of equal significance. Take an illustration where the landlord claims arrears of Rs. 20,000.00 and the tenant takes the plea that only Rs. 2,000.00 is due. According to Ram Parkash's case it will be open to the Rent Controller to pass an order under Section 15(1) on prima facie view of the matter that Rs. 20,000.00 were due and direct the said amount to be paid as arrears. The result will be that if the tenant was not to pay the said amount, his defense would be liable to be struck off under Section 15(7), while even if a.rrears asked are Rs. 500.00 and the tenant chooses to deny the existence of tenancy, no order under Section 15(1) can be passed. Is not the position anomalous and untenable ' Can it seriously be suggested that in the former case no prejudice is caused by passing an order under Section 15(1) of the Act while it will be in the latter case. The illustration will show the weakness of the conclusion in Ram Parkash's case which seeks to exclude the power of passing an order under Section 15(1) of the Act depending upon a particular type of defense. It should be appreciated that the legislature has advisedly drawn a middle course in between cheeking extreme confamacy on the part of the tenants and giving him absolute immunity for the payment of rent during the proceedings. That is why in view of M.M.Chawla's case an order under Section 15(1) is not obligatory but is directory and it will be open to the Rent Controller to so modulate the relief in each case if on facts of that particular case it feels that an order under Section 15(1) of the Act should bepassed only finally. The difference between the power to pass an order under Section 15(1) and the propriety to pass an order under Section 15(1) are two distinct and separate matters. : AIR1953Cal409 D. R. Gellatly v. J. R. N. Cannon relied by Mr. Seth is of no assistance because the Bench clearly found that the tenant has precluded himself by his own act from raising the plea against an order being passed under Section 14(4) of the Act against him, apart from the fact that these observations were obiter, 0m Parkash Gupta v. Dr. Rattan Singh (1963) 543 P.L.R. only recognised that Controller will no doubt have to determine the question of relationship of tenancy because a simple denial of relationship cannot oust the jurisdiction of tribunals and though the tribunals are of limited jurisdiction but they are tribunals of exclusive jurisdiction and their orders are final and not liable to be questioned in collateral proceedings like aseparate suit for eviction or execution proceedings. But this authority does not decide as to what is to be the nature of evidence and proof required at the stage of passing an order under Section 15(1) of the Act. No doubt if a point is raised by the tenant like abatement of rent because he has been denied the full use of premises some sort of an enquiry will be necessary before an order under Section 15(1) can be passed but the said enquiry may be bassed, as naturally it would be at that stage, on prima facie evidence. Vide Rajinder Pershad v. Saroj Mal and others AIR 1973 CJ 313.

(12) Another fallacy in the conclusion of Ram Parkash's case seems to flow from the fact in assuming as if in an application brought for recovery of possession on the ground specified inclause (a) of proviso to sub section (1) of Section 14 the whole proceedings terminate, the moment a payment is made by a tenant as required by sub-sections (1) & (3) of Section 15. This is not the position in law. No doubt when proceedings under clause (a) of proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 14 are brought and if the tenant is not raising any dispute and complies with an order under Section 15(1) the proceedings will terminate ; but that will only be for the first time because the proviso to sub-section (2) of Section 14 clearly provides that no tenant shall be entitled to the benefit under the sub-section if he again makes a default in the payment of rent of those premises for three consecutive months, i.e. to say that if on subsequent occasions even if the tenant was to make payment or deposit as required by Section 15(1), be will not be able to avoid an order for recovery of possession unless he was able to establish on merits at the final stage that he was not in default. Thus it cannot be said that in all proceedings under clause (a) of proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 14 proceedings terminate by the compliance of an order under Section 15(1) of the Act. In cases where eviction proceedings on the ground of non-payment of rent are brought the only result of complying with order under Section 15(1) is that the defense of the tenant may not be struck off under Section 15(7) and he will, thereforee, be entitled to defend the application on merits; that is why the importance of maintaining a clear distinction between an order which is to be passed under Section 15(1) at the interim stage on a prima facie view of the matter and an order which is to be passed disposing of the application for eviction finally after full evidence has been led has to be appreciated.

(13) The so-called apprehension of irreparable harm and injury mentioned in Ram Parkash's case are problems common to all applications where interim injunctions and orders are sought. It is normal routine that in large number of cases interim injunctions are given on a prima facie view of the matter. Sometimes a party may be prohibited, from selling an article, in an action for passing off or infringement of trade mark filed against him. Some times a party may be prohibited from alienating property (and thus losing a good bargain) if a dispute is raised as to the title of the property. It is possible that in these cases ultimately the parly which has obtained the injunction may fail on merits but no body has yet suggested that because of that eventuality and the possibility of a strain on the party against whom injunction is given, no interim injunction should be given unless the case is finally decided. Similarly in the present case where an application is brought for recovery of possession it would work great injustice and hardship if by the mere device of raising a defense of denial of tenancy qua the premises the alleged tenant was able to avoid payment of rent during the pendency of the eviction application. This would be putting a premium on/vexatious and irresponsible defenses being taken by the tenant with impurity. It is not as if the mere allegation and ipsa dixit of the landlord as to the arrears of rent or the rate of rent are to be accepted as absolute truth by the Rent Controller when passing an order under Section 15(1) of the Act. The Rent Controller has full power to modulate its order keeping in view the kind of evidence that is prima facie put forth before it at the time of passing an order under Section 15(1). It can even refuse to pass an order and, thereforee, any such apprehension of grave prejudice to the tenant imagined in Ram Parkash's case seems to us to be too far fetched and of no practical significance.

(14) There is another reason why we feel that there is no injustice in holding that an order under Section 15(1) of the Act can be passed without fully deciding the issues raised in the main petition. The reason is that the Full Bench view of this Court which had held that if an order under Section 15(1) of the Act is not complied with there will be an automatic order of eviction, is no longer good law in view of the Supreme Court decision in Hem Chand v. The Delhi Cloth & General Mills Co. Ltd. & another:: : [1978]1SCR241 , wherein it has been held that the view of the Full Bench of the High Court in the present case that the Controller has no power to condone the failure of the tenant to pay arrears of rent as required under Section 15(1) is correct. But the Full Bench was in error in holding that the right to obtain an order for recovery of possession accrued to the landlord. In the event of the tenant failing to comply with the order under Section 15(1) the application for eviction will have to be heard giving an opportunity to the tenant, if his defense is not struck out under Section 15(7) and without hearing the tenant if his defense is struck out.

(15) Thus the rigour of non-compliance of order under Section 15(1) is not as disastrous as was contemplated by Ram Parkash's case. Further it has been held by a Bench of this Court in Kehar Singh v. M/s. Raghunandan Saran Ashok Saran AIR 1978 CJ 530 that an order under Section 15(1) need not be appealed against and that it will be open tot he party to challenge the said order in the final order of eviction that may be passed. Thus it is not as if an order under Section 15(1) of the Act passed on the basis of prima facie evidence will become immune from challenge if not immediately appealed against. A party may rest after an order has been passed under Section 15(1) and challenge the same in an appeal against the final order passed on application for eviction. This again highlights that there are not these grave consequences of non-challenging of order under Section 15(1) of the Act at the initial stage. In our view,therefore; Ram Prakash's case was wrongly decided in so far as it limited the jurisdiction of the Rent Controller to pass an order under Section 15(1) of the Act on prima facie view of the matter in a case where the alleged tenant denied his tenancy qua the premises. We are in agreement with the view expressed in Ram Narain's case that an order under Section 15(1) of the Act can be passed on a prima facie view. 'Ve, thereforee, held that it is open to the Rent Controller to pass an order under Section 15(1) of the Act on a prima facie view of the evidence even in a case where the alleged tenant denies the existence of the tenancy qua the premises. In so saying we wish to clarify that the order under Section 15(1) of the Act is final so far as Section 15(1) is concerned, though it is not final so far as the application on merits is concerned. This means that it will be open to the parties to lead evidence even on those points on which prima facie evidence may have been given before passing an order under Section 15(1) of the Act. Prima facie determination of matter does not mean that order under Section 15(1) will be passed again. All that it means is that full evidence may not be taken at this interim stage:-. We answer the reference accordingly.

(16) On merit the appellant has no case even on the limited rule laid down in Ram Parkash's case. In the eviction application it was stated that the premises were let out to the appellant on 1.10.1971. The appellant in the reply to the eviction application took the stand that the land underneath the superstructure vested in the Delhi Development Authority and that previously is vested in Delhi Improvement Trust which had cancelled the lease in favor of the respondent on 7.3.1944 and Improvement Trust had entered into possession of the premises. It was further stated that the D.D.A. later on filed a suit for ejectment and obtained a decree against the respondent and the appeal was also dismissed some time in 1947. The further support to this argument was sought to be built up by pleading that on 12.3.1974 Mr. Chakravarty, Estate Officer, D.D.A. had passed an order directing the appellant to pay rent and damages to D, and that he pad paid the entire rent from 1st of January, 1961 up to 31.3 1974 to D.D.A. Thus D.D.A. had a superior title and the respondent could not claim to maintain the eviction petition. There was no specific denial of the fact that he was inducted in persuance of rent note. We feel that it would broadly be not open to the appellant to challenge the title of the respondent. That apart even the foundation for this challenge fails in view of the Judgment of Mr. P.S.R. Sawhney, District Judge, dated 18.2.1963 against the earlier proceeding taken against the predecessor-in-interest of the respondent under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, by which the learned District Judge noticed that though there was a suit for eviction against the predecessor- in interest of respondent later on there was some kind of compromise and the predecessor-in-interest of the respondent had continued to remain in possession of the land. It was, thereforee, held that the D D.A. had kept quiet over the continuous possession of the respondent of land in dispute for 14 years, and the predecessor-in-interest of respondent had even paid the time barred amount. By the said Judgment the possession of the respondent over the land in dispute was held to be proved. Thus the fact that the possession was taken back by the D.D.A. has not been firmly established in the case. But what is of significance is that the appellant does not dispute that he is a tenant of the land in dispute. He, thereforee, is not denying his relationship of being a tenant in regard to the premises. In that case even Ram Parkash's case will not come to his aid because in that case where the tenant admitted his tenancy qua the premises and his contention only was that the respondent was not the only landlord it was held that an order under Section 15(4) could be passed because it was a case where what was disputed Vas as to the person or persons to whom the rent is payable. In the present case the Rent Controller and the Tribunal saw no reason as to why the respondent should be deprived of receiving the rent during the pendency of the proceedings and, thereforee, passed an order under Section 15(1). No objection can be raised on merits to such an order.

(17) As a result the appeal fails and is dismissed but with no order as to costs. Parties are directed to appear before the Rent Controller on May 28 1981.


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