Skip to content


Prem Chandra Sharma Vs. V.S. Talwar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 336 of 1979
Judge
Reported inILR1981Delhi308a
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14(1)
AppellantPrem Chandra Sharma
RespondentV.S. Talwar
Advocates: R.K. Makhija,; Alok Kumar,; S.L. Bhatia and;
Excerpt:
.....and bona fide requirement stood proved. in the revision petition, the tenant contended that the letting purpose was more than residential and had all ingredients of a composite purpose. allowing the revision petition,; 1. letting purpose was more than residential and has all ingredients of a composite purpose. the specific mention of personal office as a purpose of letting speaks eloquently about the intention of parties and the phrase 'and not for commercial purposes' does not take away the effect of what is specifically included in the purpose of letting.; 2. office is certainly not residence and a letting purpose which includes office must be understood to include a purpose other than residence only. once the letting purpose is shown to be composite, an eviction petition under..........office only. and not for commercial purposes.' it is so clearly mentioned in the rent deed. such letting purpose covers up the ground of eviction under section 14(1)(a) of delhi rent control act. the premises are being used by the respondent for residential purpose only. it is not even his case that he is using the same for any commercial purpose.'having regard to the clause in the agreement to let, quoted above, the learned rent controller gave leave to contest. (3) similar averments were made by the tenant in the reply to the eviction petition where the averment that premises were let for residence was emphatically denied and it was asserted that the premises were let both for residence and office- in the replication, on this point, the landlord emphasised that the premises were.....
Judgment:

Harish Chandra, J.

(1) The petitioner before me js a tenant who challenges an order of eviction passed against him by the learned Additional Rent Controller on grounds covered by clause (e) of Section 14(1) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958.

(2) The premises were let out by the landlord to the tenant under an agreement proved by the landlord and marked Ex. AW1/4. This agreement is on page 81 of the record of the lower court. Para 7 of the agreement provided as under :-

'That the Lesser shall pay all the taxes of any kind whatsoever including house tax ground rent as are or may hereinafter be assessed on the demised premises by the municipality or any other authority what so ever provided the premises are used for residence only.'

Para 12, towards the end of the agreement, provides as under :-

'That the Lessee shall use the premises for the purpose of Residential/Personal Office only and not for commercial purposes.'

In the application for eviction in para 18(a) the landlord averred that -

'That the petitioner who is the owner of the premises, which were let out to the respondent for residence, bona fide requires the same for residence for his wife and his son Shri Ashok Kumar Talwar ......'

In response to a notice of the eviction petition under the provisions of Section 25B of the Act. the tenant filed an application for leave to defend and set out 9 grounds therein. Ground number 3 was set out in the following words :

'(C)The premises were let out to the applicant/tenant for residence as well as personal office as would be clear from the lease-deed, referred to above. No application for eviction from such premises on grounds of personal bona fide need is contemplated under section 14(1)(e) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958. The petition for eviction is liable to rejection on this ground alone.'

In reply to the ground of the application, the landlord stated :-

3(C)'Para 3(c) of the respondent's application as stated is incorrect except that the premises were let oat to the respondent

'...for the purpose of residential/personal office only. and not for commercial purposes.' It is so clearly mentioned in the Rent deed. Such letting purpose covers up the ground of eviction under Section 14(1)(a) of Delhi Rent Control Act. The premises are being used by the respondent for residential purpose only. It is not even his case that he is using the same for any commercial purpose.'

Having regard to the clause in the agreement to let, quoted above, the learned Rent Controller gave leave to contest.

(3) Similar averments were made by the tenant in the reply to the eviction petition where the averment that premises were let for residence was emphatically denied and it was asserted that the premises were let both for residence and office- in the replication, on this point, the landlord emphasised that the premises were admittedly residential. The landlord explained that the user as 'Personal office' is an incidence of residential purpose only and permission in this behalf does not alter the letting purpose which remains for residence only.

(4) The landlord appeared as his own witness and examined seven other witnesses. Four witnesses were examined by the tenant and the Rent Controller proceeded to judgment, holding the purpose of letting as purely residential and the bonafide requirement of the landlord as having been proved and ordered eviction of the tenant.

(5) I do not find any infirmity in the finding about the bona fide requirement but I cannot say the same about the conclusion on the letting purpose.

(6) The agreement of letting clearly shows that the letting purpose was more than residential and has all the ingredients of a composite purpose. The specific mention of personal office as a purpose of letting speaks eloquently about the intention of parties and the phrase 'and not for commercial purposes' does hut take away the effect of what is specifically included in the purpose of letting.

(7) It is well-known that premises may be let out for residence only, for use as an office, for use as a shop and for other commercial purpose. Once any of the latter purposes is combined with the purpose of use as residence, the premises are let out for a composite purpose and for residence only.

(8) The meaning of the word 'office', not defined in the Act, in the Chamber's dictionary is a place where business is carried on. Office is certainly not residence and a letting purpose which includes office must be understood to include a purpose other than residence only.

(9) The learned counsel for the respondent has laid great stress on the qualifying prefix 'personal' to the word 'office' in the agreement. 'Personal office' can only mean his office i.e. office of the tenant as different from, let us say, the office of the firm in which the tenant may be a partner or of the Company in which the tenant may be a shareholder. The phrase 'personal office' used in addition to residential and conducted by a stroke which means this or that, one or the other, cannot be stretched to mean, as suggested by the learned counsel for the landlord, a study in a residence or a place in a house where one may keep a table and chair and files.

(10) Does a tenant ever need express permission of the landlord to use a part of the premises for reading a book or keeping a file or even a table to do writing work. The suggestion is too weak-kneed to detain me much on it and can be sustained only on an argument of the type that the landlord says (in the agreement of letting) what he means not or means what he says not.

(11) Reference may also be made to the earlier clause, i.e., clause 7 in the agreement of letting. By this clause the landlord agrees to pay taxes on the house provided the premises are used for residence only. This clause, if it stood by itself, could have been interpreted to mean that the landlord is securing itself from payment of taxes and imposition arising out of the misuse of premises by user other than for residence only but read with the latter clause, it can only mean that the user other than for residence only is permitted but with additional liabilities on the tenant.

(12) Assuming that the description of the letting purpose, 'residential/personal office only and not for commercial purposes' is not plain and unambiguous and admits of proving the intention of parties by evidence. What is the evidence led on the issue? Even though, as noted above, the landlord plead that what he meant by above-described letting purpose was residence only but there is not a whisper of it in his statement on oath or in that of any of the seven other witnesses examined by him.

(13) Clause (e) of Section 14(1) is available as a ground to seek eviction of tenants only, among other requirements, if the premises were let out for residence only and once the letting purpose is shown to be composite, an eviction petition under Section 14(l)(e), without more, must fail.

(14) Before concluding I may say a word about the great exercise undertaken in proving (1) that the premises are residential (2) that the premises have been used for residence only. The first of the two propositions of fact was admitted by the tenant but the second vehemently denied. The learned Rent Controller went into this aspect in some detail and acted against law in letting all this enter his consideration for a decision in favor of the landlord.

(15) It is settled law that if the agreed original letting purpose or an agreed novation and variation of the same is provable by documentary or clear evidence, it is only such proved purpose which is decisive and the nature of the premises or the purpose for which the same have been used for long or for short, has no relevance. This state of law flows from such elementary propositions as (1) a residential premises can be let out for composite or commercial purpose (2) a premises let out for residential purpose can be misused for composite or commercial purposes but such misuse does not change the letting purpose which is in the domain of the landlord or at any rate his concurrence for a user is necessary for the Un user to be indicative of letting purpose (3) premises let out for composite purpose have never been used for such permitted purposes and have been used for residence only. In none of these three situations. the actual user is decisive of the letting purpose. Equally irrelevant is the exercise to prove the dominant user as against the incidental user as indicative of letting purpose because to come within the mischief of composite purpose, i.e., a purpose other than for residence only, the non-dominant or the incidental user for office or commercial purpose is enugh.

(16) Reference to the nature of the premises and their long user can be relevant in determining letting purpose only in the absence of direct and definite evidence of the letting purpose and the learned Rent Controller could not, with any justification in law, stray into such enquiry in the face of the agreement of letting describing the letting purpose.

(17) In conclusion I hold that the decision of the learned Rent Controller on the letting purpose is not in accordance with law. I hold that the letting purpose is composite and not for residence only and, thereforee, the eviction application under Section 14(1)(e) was cot maintainable and liable to be dismissed. In the result, the petition is allowed, the judgment dated 28th February, 1979 of Shri R. L. Chugh in Suit No. 566 of 1976 is set aside and the said suit is dismissed. In the special circumstances of the case, I make no order as to costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //