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Avtar Krishan Bhatnagar Vs. Kanwal Narain - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 390 of 1978
Judge
Reported in23(1983)DLT275; 1983(4)DRJ140; 1983RLR14
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections l4(1); Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Order 7, Rule 7
AppellantAvtar Krishan Bhatnagar
RespondentKanwal Narain
Advocates: O.P. Hans and; G.N. Aggarwal, Advs
Cases ReferredMunni Lal v. Dulara Slngh
Excerpt:
.....code 1908 - order 7, rule 7.subsequent events can always be taken into account to mould the relief. - - in this case the controller as well as the tribunal have found as a fact that such a relationship did exist and this finding is based on the evidence of the cheques and other evidence such as previous relationship between the parties existing before the death of shrimati kaoshalya rani. these are all good grounds for eviction under the act. suppose the government had not made a second allotment to the tenant in 1974. the first allotment of 1966 would have been good enough to evict him even when he was not in possession of government accommodation at the time of tiling the petition. the rent acts have throughout their history consitu ted an interference with constract and..........section 14(1) of the act. the additional rent controller by orderated november 5, 1977 decided the ground of allotment of residence to the tenant against the landlords on the ground of nonpayment of rent he held that the tenant was in arrears of rent. but this being the first default he held that the tenant was entitled to the benefit under section 14(2) of the act so he allowed him to deposit the arrears of rent within one month failing which he was to be evicted. lf he com plied with his order, then he was not to be evicted. another question regarding the rate of the rent. was also raised before the controller. the landlord claimed rent at the rate of rs 54.00 per month. the tenant said that rent was rs 18.00 per month. this he decided in favor of the land' lord and held that the rent.....
Judgment:

Avadh Behari Rohtagi, J.

(1) This is a tenalt's appeal from the order of the Rent Control Tribunal dated November 4, 1978.

(2) The landlord- respondent filed an application for eviction against the tenant-appellant on two grounds. One was the ground of non-payment of rent under clausc(a) of Section 14(1) of the Delhi Rent Control Act (the Act). The other was that the tenant had been allotted a residence. This is ground under clausc(h) of Section 14(1) of the Act. The Additional Rent Controller by orderated November 5, 1977 decided the ground of allotment of residence to the tenant against the landlords On the ground of nonpayment of rent he held that the tenant was in arrears of rent. But this being the first default he held that the tenant was entitled to the benefit under Section 14(2) of the Act So he allowed him to deposit the arrears of rent within one month failing which he was to be evicted. lf he com plied with his order, then he was not to be evicted. Another question regarding the rate of the rent. was also raised before the Controller. The landlord claimed rent at the rate of Rs 54.00 per month. The tenant said that rent was Rs 18.00 per month. This he decided in favor of the land' lord and held that the rent was Rs. 54.00 per month.

(3) From the order of the Additional Controller the tenant appealed lo the Tribunal. The landlord cross-appealed. By order dated November 4, 1978, the Tribunal passed an order of ejectment on the ground of clause(h) of section 14(1) of the Act. It held that the tenant was allotted a residence and was liable to eviction. On the question of the rate of rent it came to the conclusion that the rent of the premises was Rs. 18.00 per month. From the order of the Tribunal, the tenant has come in second appeal to this Courts The landlord has field cross-objections in the appeal.

(4) First, I will take up the appeal of the tenant. Mr. Hans, counsel for the tenant, has raised two principal arguments before me. In the first place, he says that there was no relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties and, thereforee, no eviction could have been ordered. He has referred me to -Balquis Jhan Begum v. Sibqhatulla and another, 1971 R.C.R. 95 and Sheodhari Rai v. Suraj Prasad Singh, : AIR1954SC758 . I am afraid I cannot agree with him. Both the Controller and the Tribunal have uniformly found that there existed a relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties. This is essentially a finding of fact. In the second appeal the tenant cannot be allowed to contest this finding of fact. A finding of fact is binding in second appeal. Mr. Hans assails this finding on the ground that Shrimati Kaushalya Rani was the landlady of the premises and after her death in 1970 the respondent had to establish his right to the property in order to become the landlord of the tenant. It was in evidence that the tenant had issued as many as five cheques after the death of Shrimati Kaushalya Rani in favor of the present landlord on account of rent. On this evidence the Controller and the Tribunal concurrently found that the tenant had attorney to the landlord and thereforee he was estopped from questioning the title of the landlord. I will, thereforee, not disturb this find' ing of fact and reject the submission of Mr. Hans that mere payment of rent does not necessarily establish the relationship of landlord and tenant. In this case the Controller as Well as the Tribunal have found as a fact that such a relationship did exist and this finding is based on the evidence of the cheques and other evidence such as previous relationship between the parties existing before the death of Shrimati Kaoshalya Rani.

(5) Secondly, counsel argued that on the ground of allotment of a residence to the tenant, the Tribunal Was in error in pausing an order of eviction because on the date of the tiling of the petition no residence had been allotted to the tenant. To appreciate this argument it is necessary to state a few facts which were brought out is evidence by the landlord. The tenant is a Government servent. He was allotted a two rooms quarter on September 15, 1966 in R.K. Puram Colony which he occupied for nearly 7 years. He vacated it on January 2, 1973. The landlord filed the eviction petition on May 17) 1974. 0n that day indisputahly there was no allotment in favor of the tenant. But soon after, on December 26, 1974 a three rooms quarter was allotted to the tenant in Nanakpura by the Government. He occupied it on January 6, 1975 and 'at the time the Tribunal decided the appeal he was in occupation of this three rooms quarter.

(6) Mr. Hans says that during the short interval of the relinquishment of the first quarter and the allotment of the second 'quarter the eviction petition was brought and at that time the landlord did not have a cause of action to seek ejectment of the tenant on thfi ground of allotment of a residence. I regret my inability to accept this. argument because it is based a fundamental fallacy with regard to the object of the Act and the protection which it affords to a tenant. The principle is that if there was an allotment once in favor of the tenant in 1966 in R.K. Puram, which premises he continued to occupy for as many as 7 years, he had become disentitled to the protection of the -Rent Act A cause of action arose to the landlord on the allotmentof the premises to the tenant in R.K. Puram. It does not matter that he vacated those premisss in 1973 arid that on th date of the filing of the petition on May 17, 1974 he was not in possession of an allotted accommodation.

(7) To the argument of Mr. Hans there arc two answeres. One is that the acquisition or allotment of a residence would disentitle the tenant to the protection of Rent Act. By relinquishing that accommodation the protection of the Rent Act if not revived. Once the tenant loses the protection of the Act, he becomes liable to enj -ctment. Such is the theory of the Rent Act. This principle was enunciated by this court in a division bench decilion in Hem Chand Baidv. Smt. Prem Wati Parekh, 1979 (2) R.C.R. 628. The division bench held that a tenant who voluntarily gives up the original premises and disentitles himself to the protection of the Rent Act, cannot revive the protection of the law by relinquishing the new accommodation and reverting to the original accommodation. Once the default is committed, the tenant loses the protection of the Rent Act. Whether the default is committed in the past or in the present is immaterial. This is the theory of default they propounded. This principle has been applied in Ganpat Ram v. Smt. Gyatri Devi, 1980 (2) R.C.R. 707 and Vardesh Chander v. Prem Nath, 1981 (1) R.C.R. 561.

(8) For all the sins of omission and commission the tenant must suffer an eviction order. Sins and suffering is the subject of section 14. The wages of sin is Eviction. It may be an omission to occupy the residential house for 6 months (clause (d) of section 14(1) of the Act) or it may be commission of an act of sub-letting in the distant past (clause (b) of s. 14(1) of the Act). Whether the default is in the remote past or in the present or in future it will not make any difference. These are all good grounds for eviction under the Act. This is what Hem Chand Baid holds. The instant case brings out in a neat form the difficulties in administering justice. Suppose the Government had not made a second allotment to the tenant in 1974. The first allotment of 1966 would have been good enough to evict him even when he was not in possession of Government accommodation at the time of tiling the petition. That means that the tenant would have neither Government accommodation nor private accommodation. From private accommodation he is evicted. Government accommodation he has lost already. He would be on the road as a result of eviction. Of course on the facts of this case there is no difficulty in reaching the conclusion I have reached because of the second allotment of Governments premise on December 26, 1974.

(9) I, To some the interpretation is everything and facts are nothing To others (I am among them) the law is not an abstraction ) it lives only in its application, and its concepts derive colour and shape from the facts of the particular case in which they are studied and to which they are applied, The relationship of law and fact is a two-way one) each affects the other. Different factual situations produce different legal results. Law concerns it self with the individual the particular and the concrets facts of a given case. The Rent Acts have throughout their history consitu ted an interference with constract and property rights for a specific purpose the redress of the balance of advantage enjoyed in a world of housing shortage by the landlord over those who have to rent their homes. (Scarman L. J. in Horford Investments v. Lambert (1976) Ch. 39.

(10) I had taken a contrary view in Munni Lal v. Dulara Slngh, 1976 R.G.R.220. The Division Bench in Hem Chand Baid overfed me. They said that I was wrong. They rebuked me as being guilty of judicial indiscipline. If this relegates me to the company of undisciplined soldiers I must face that consequence with such fortitude as I can command.

(11) So far as this court is concerned, the question is one conclused by the Division Bench ruling in Hem Chand Baid by which I am bound.

(12) The second answer to Mr. Hans's argument is that subsequent events can always be taken into account to mould the relief. It is not disputed that a three rooms accommodation was allotted to the tenant in 1971 which he continued to occupy till the decision of the Tribunal) I, thereforee, concur in the conclusion of the Tribunal on the ground of a residence to the tenant and affirm the order of eviction made against him

(13) There remains the question of rate of rent. This is a question of fact. The Tribunal on evidence has come to the conclusion that rent was Rs. 18.00 per month. I am not prepared to differ from the Tribunal's finding on the rate of rent.

(14) For these reasons) the appeal and the cross objections are both dismissed. The parlies are, however) left to bear their own costs.


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