B.N. Kirpal, J.
(1) In this writ petition the challenge is to the order of the Financial Commissioner who allowed respondent No. 2 to 5's application under Section 19 of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Slum Act').
(2) The petitioner was a tenant of part of premises No. 4843, Mohalla Darzian,.Bara Hindu Rao, Delhi. The rate of rent was Rs. 18.00 per month. The demised premises consisted of one room. According to the petitioner the said room did not have any residential amenities and he used the said room for commercial purposes only. On 5th September, 1967 landlords filed an application under Section 19 of the Slum Act before the Competent Authority. In the application it was stated that the petitioner herein was a tenant in respect of a Baithak in the aforesaid house bearing Municipal No 4843 Mohalla Darzian, Bara Hindu Rao, Delhi. The landlords sought permission to institute proceedings for eviction of the tenant. The grounds on which the eviction was sought were that the tenant was irregular in payment of rent and had not paid the rent though notice of demand had been served and secondly that the premises were let for residential purposes but were being misused for commercial purpose. The said applition was raised by the tenant. Affidavits were filed on behalf of both the parties. According to the petitioner herein his family consisted of 21 members and the earnings of the family were only Rs. 600.00 per month. It was mentioned that the petitioner was a craftsman and was a man of humble means. The landlords reiterated the averments made in the petition under Section 19 and further stated that the tenant was in occupation of premises No. 4920 in Gali Darsian as well as premises No. 4824 in the same lane and in addition there to was also in occupation of premises No. 6648-49 situated at Ahate Kidara, Bara Hindu Rao, Delhi.
(3) Before the Competent Authority it was admitted that the petitioner herein had separate residential accommodation in house No. 4920, Gali Darziau, Delhi. The Competent Authority found that the premises in dispute were admittedly being used for commercial purposes. It held that the Authority was concerned with the present circumstances of the case and it was admitted that at the time of the hearing of the application the premises were being used for commercial purposes The Competent Authority found that the total monthly earnings of the petitioner herein were only Rs. 600.00 . By order dated 26th September, 1969 the application of the landlords was rejected on the ground that the petitioner herein could not acquire alternative accommodation within his means.
(4) The landlords filed an appeal to the Financial Commissioner. It appears that during the hearing of the appeal it was contended on behalf of the landlords that the tenant had recently acquired anew shop at a monthly rent of Rs. 35.00 . It was contended that the premises had been let for residential purposes and the same were no longer being used for residential purposes and the tenant was residing in another house It was also stated that the tenant was an affluent businessman who was acquiring more and more accommodation for his professional work. The tenant, however, submitted before the Financial Commissioner that the premises in questiod were not taken for residential purposes and the earnings of the family were only Rs 600.00 per months which were insufficient to enable him to get alternative accommodation. The tenant did not deny that another commercial premises had been taken on rent by him.
(5) By order dated 4th April, 1970 the Financial Commissioner held that the premises had been let by the landlords for residential purposes. He observed that there was a misuse of the premises and the tenant would be liable to eviction under the provisions of Section 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Act. It was further observed that admittedly the tenant had hired another shop in the locality and he could, thereforee, it necessary, hire another shop if he was evicted from the premises in question. The Financial Commissioner came to the conclusion that the tenant's eviction would not entail the creation of another slum. The application under Section 19 of the landlords was accordingly allowed.
(6) The aforesaid decision of the Financial Commissioner is sought to be challenged in this writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution.
(7) It was contended on behalf of the petitioner that the premises in question were not taken for residential purposes. The submission on behalf of the petitioner is that the premises were taken on rent in December, 1954. The Shops and Establishment Act came into force with effect from 1st February, 1955. Within a period of 90 days the petitioner applied to the Shops and Establishment Authorities and obtained the license which showed that the premises in question were being used for commercial purposes. The respondentslandlords, however, contend that the premises were let for residential purposes and this is stated to be evident from the rent receipts also.
(8) To my mind the question as to whether the premises were initially let for residential purposes or not is immaterial. The Slum Act was enacted with the object of providing for the improvement and clearance of the slums and for protection of the tenants in such areas from eviction Section 19 of the Slum Act provides for the proceedings for eviction against the tenants being taken only after obtaining permission from the Competent Authority. Not only is that Act meant to provide for improvement and clearance of the slum areas but it is also the spirit of the Act that the slum areas should not increase or expand in size. It is for this reason that under Section 19(4)(a) permission to institute eviction proceedings is granted only after the Competent Authority has taken into account the factor as to whether the tenant would be able to acquire alternative accommodation within his means. Section 19 is not concerned with the purpose for which the accommodation is let. All that it is concerned is with the fact as to whether it will be within the means of the tenant to find alternative accommodation or not. To my mind what is relevant while considering an application under Section 19 is not the purpose for which the premises were let but the actual use to which the accommodation is being put to by tenants. If there is a misuse that may be a ground for eviction under Section 14 of the Rent Control Act. The Competent Authority, however, has only to consider as to whether the tenant would create another slum if he was evicted because he may not be a man of means. What the Competent Authority has to see are the facts and circumstances which exist at least on the date of filing of the application under Section 19. Mr. Mathur contends that the use to which the premises are being put at the time of the application is immaterial and what is relevant is the purpose for which the accommodation is Jet. There is nothing in Section 19 which would compel me to read this limitation into the said section. If such a contention is accepted it may be completely contrary to the letter and spirit of the Act To give an example, situations may arise where premises which are taken for commercial purposes are due to dire necessity, used for residential purposes. The business may have had to be closed because of heavy losses and the tenant may not be in a position to afford to live in any accommodation except in the commercial premises which bad originally been taken for commercial purposes. Is the Competent Authority to shut his eyes to the fact that at the time when the application under Section 19 is filed the premises are in fact being used for residential purposes and the tenant has no means to find alternative accommodation In my opinion the answer must be in the negative. If the permission is granted then, in such a case, there can be no doubt that a tenant, if he is forced to leave the premises, would create a slum somewhere else. The Slum Act has been enacted with one of its objects being to prevent such a situation arising. To my mind, thereforee, the Competent Authority has to see the purpose for which the accommodation is being used at the time when the application under Section 19 was filed and it is wholly immaterial as to what was the letting purpose. The finding of the Financial Commissioner that the premises bad been let for residential purposes is, thereforee, not really relevant for deciding this case as, admittedly, the premises were being actually used for commercial purposes.
(9) The next question which arises is that even if the premises are being used for commercial purposes, is the petitioner a man of means and should his eviction be ordered or not It will be seen that the Competent Authority found as a fact that the monthly income of the petitioner was Rs. 600.00 . The Financial Commissioner did not specifically go into this aspect of the case. It is however, not denied that after the filing of the application under Section 19 the petitioner herein did acquire additional commercial premises. According to the petitioner the additional premises acquired is only a Kothari and not a shop. The respondents-landlords have placed on record the rent note whereby the petitioner herein had taken the additional premises. According to this rent note the premises which are taken were known as a Baithak. These premises were taken on a monthly rent of Rs. 35.00 with effect from 1st January, 1970. The obtaining of these premises shows two things. Firstly, it shows that the business of the petitioner was obviously improving so that he required additional premises and secondly it shows that a Baithak could be available in the same vicinity for Rs. 35.00 per month-: The petitioner was paying a rent of Rs. 18.00 in respect of the demised premises. If the petitioner could get another Baithak for Rs. 35.00 then it would not be unreasonable to come to a conclusion that, if the petitioner were evicted, he would be in a position to get another premises for about the same rent at which he got the additional premises. This would certainly be within his means, even if his means are taken to be Rs. 600/ per month. The Financial Commissioner has observed that it is possible for the petitioner to hire another shop and this finding cannot be said to be without any basis. It is true that the Financial Commissioner has not determined the monthly income of the petitioner. The Financial Commissioner, however, seems to have proceeded on the basis that the monthly income is not more than Rs. 600.00 . The aforesaid finding has been arrived at by the Financial Commissioner only because it was admitted that another commercial premises had been acquired by the petitioner in this very locality. The rent note shows that the premises which were acquired were a Baithak. The demised premises in this case are also a Baithak. It was not, thereforee, unreasonable for the Financial Commissioner to have come to the conclusion that if the petitioner is evicted it would be possible for him to obtain another shop in the same vicinity. He has also found that the petitioner's eviction would not entail the creation of another slum. This finding has been given presumably because the petitioner acquired an additional commercial premises and that also at a reasonable rent of only Rs. 35.00 per month.
(10) For the aforesaid reasons, the writ petition is dismissed. There will however, be no order as to costs.