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Nanda Brothers Exports (P.) Ltd. Vs. Shanti Devi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 96 of 1980
Judge
Reported in20(1981)DLT49; 1981(2)DRJ160; 1981RLR437
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 21
AppellantNanda Brothers Exports (P.) Ltd.
RespondentShanti Devi
Advocates: Soli J. Sorabjee,; K.N. Kataria,; C.M. Oberoi,;
Cases ReferredBiswabani Pvt. Lid. v. Santosh Kumar Datta and
Excerpt:
.....the property indefinitely as distinguished from a specific or particular limited period of say one year, two years or five years. on the other hand, if he gives a special reason why he can let out only for a limited period and requires the building at the end of that period, such as that he expects to retire by then or that he is going on a short assignment or on deputation and needs the house when the returns home it is good compliance. sorabjee urged that out of the said twin conditions, the first one was not at all satisfied. since the landlady failed to do so, the additional controller could simply not satisfy himself whether strict compliance of the conditions and safeguards laid down in section 21 has been made. they want to come home due to their old age and the business in..........required for the present as the owner is residing abroad and was not likely to return before one year. the premises were being let out for residential purposes. gurdev singh on behalf of the nanda bros. deposed that the statement of the attorney is correct and that he agreed to take the premises on rent on the condition that he will vacate them on or before the expiry of one year. the learned addl. controller then having regard to the facts stated in the petition and the statements of the parties granted permission under section 21 of the act to rent out the rpremises for a limited period of one year. the appellant did not vacate the premises as agreed. the landlady filed an execution petition before the addl. controller for eviction. (2) the learned additional controller by his order.....
Judgment:

M.L. Jain, J.

(1) The respondent Shanti Devi is the owner of the disputed premises which were at one time in the occupation of the Nigerian Embassy for three years. They vacated them in 1972. These were then hired by the Hindustan Paper Corporation in 1975 for their office purposes. They vacated them after seven months. Then the premises were taken by the South Town School for 2/3 years in April, 1976. They had to vacate before expiry of their term as the School found some problem in regard to the bye-lane. In January, 1977 M/s Nanda Bros. Exports (P) Ltd. came in on a limited tenancy under section 21 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (the Act). An application was made by Shanti Devi on February 3, 1977 before the Addl. Rent Controller stating that the building in question was lying vacant and is not required by her for at least one year as she is living abroad and will require the said premises after one year. The Addl. Controller examined her attorney Brij Mohan, who stated that the premises were not required for the present as the owner is residing abroad and was not likely to return before one year. The premises were being let out for residential purposes. Gurdev Singh on behalf of the Nanda Bros. deposed that the statement of the attorney is correct and that he agreed to take the premises on rent on the condition that he will vacate them on or before the expiry of one year. The learned Addl. Controller then having regard to the facts stated in the petition and the statements of the parties granted permission under section 21 of the Act to rent out the rpremises for a limited period of one year. The appellant did not vacate the premises as agreed. The landlady filed an execution petition before the Addl. Controller for eviction.

(2) The learned Additional Controller by his order of February 8, 1980 accepted the petition and directed eviction of the appellant. An appeal to the Rent Control Tribunal failed.

(3) In this second appeal, the substantial question of law that is being canvassed is based upon the decision of the Supreme Court in 8.B. Noornah v. Prem Kumari Khanna, : [1980]1SCR281 . It was argued that the sanction was void and that being so, after the expiry of the limited period of one year, the appellant became a statutory tenant : Biswabani Pvt. Lid. v. Santosh Kumar Datta and others, : [1980]1SCR650 and could not be asked to vacate the premises otherwise than under the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 14 of the Act.

(4) It is nobody's case that the tenancy was collusive or fraudulent or that if the permission is held to be void the tenancy will fall through The argument of Mr. Soli J. Sorabjee for the appellant is that the permission of the Addl. Controller was bad in law because the conditions stated therein were not satisfied. It was the duty of the Addl. Controller to have satisfied himself before granting permission that the conditions stated in the section were fulfillled. He invited my attention to paragraph 16 of S.B. Noronah (Supra) :

'WHAT,then, are those conditions and safeguards? The first condition is that the landlord does not require the demised premises 'for a particular period' only. This means that he must indicate to the authority before which sanction is sought for letting what is the particular period for which he can spare the accommodation. The Controller must be satisfied that the landlord means what he says and it is not a case of his not requiring the property indefinitely as distinguished from a specific or particular limited period of say one year, two years or five years. If a man has a house available for letting for an indefinite period and he so lets it, even if he specifies as a pretense, a period or term in the lease, Section 21 cannot be attracted. On the other hand, if he gives a special reason why he can let out only for a limited period and requires the building at the end of that period, such as that he expects to retire by then or that he is going on a short assignment or on deputation and needs the house when the returns home it is good compliance. The second condition is that the letting must be made for a residential purpose. The house must be made over 'as a residence'. If it is let out for a commercial purpose, section 21 will no apply, whether the ritual of a sanction under that provision has been gone through or not. 'Thirdly, the Controller's permission is obligatory where he specifies the particular period for which he gives permission and further qualifies the permission for use as a residence. The Controller exercises an important regulatory function on behalf of the community. The fact that a landlord and a potential tenant together apply, setting out the formal ingredients of section 21, does not relieve the Controller from being vigilant to inquire and satisfy himself about the requisites of the landlord's nonrequirement 'for a particular period' and the letting itself being 'as a residence'. A fraud on the statute cannot be permitted especially because of the grave mischief that may be perpetrated in such event.'

(5) Relevant portions of paragraphs 18 and 21 on Mr. Sorabjee further relies are:

'WHENan application under section 21 is filed by the landlord and/or tenant, the Controller must satisfy himself by such inquiry as he may make, about the compulsive requirements of that provision. If he makes a mindless order, the court, when challenged at the time of execution, will go into the question as to whether the twin conditions for sanction have really been fulfilled. Of course, there will be a presumption in favor of the sanction being regular, but it will still be open to a party to make out his case that in fact and in truth the conditions which make for a valid sanction were not present.'

'THElaw that non-performs stultifies the rule of law and so it is that we stress the need for strict compliance. Or else, the sanction is non est.'

(6) Mr. Sorabjee urged that out of the said twin conditions, the first one was not at all satisfied. At the time of making the application under section 21 the landlady should have given reasons why she was abroad, in what connection and exactly for what period and for the strict compliance of the law, it was necessary that such reasons should be special reasons. To lend support to his argument the learned counsel pointed out that if the South Town School was to remain a tenant for three years they would be there until 1979 and thereforee it could not be believed that: in this case the premises were really required in 19 78. She should have specified in which country she was living and why she was returning after one year : on account of loss in and of short period of business or of treatment or of repatriation or on account of some other valid and certain reasons. Since the landlady failed to do so, the Additional Controller could simply not satisfy himself whether strict compliance of the conditions and safeguards laid down in section 21 has been made. The order was a routine mindless order and, thereforee, non est.

(7) Dr. L.M. Singhvi and Mr. Bhatia for the respondent on the other hand, contended that the appeal raised no question of law and further that by no stretch of imagination the order of the Additional Controller under section 21 can be considered a mindless order.

(8) A perusal of the record shows that her attorney did depose that the premises were available only for one year because she was residing abroad and was likely to return. Since her statement was not challenged and there was no controversy on the point there was no more any need for any specification of reasons. Even today there is no allegation of collusion or fraud. There was thus full compliance with the provisions 'of section 21 of the Act and the learned Additional Controller could not have declined permission. He properly exercised his regulatory function.

(9) However, in the execution proceedings Gurdev Singh deposed that Shanti Devi is a permanent resident of Bangkok, meaning thereby that there was no chance of her coming back. Brij Mohan her attorney, on the other hand, deposed that Shanti Devi let out the premises for one year because she wanted to come back for settling down here. She and her husband wanted to leave Thailand because of the political situation in South East Asia. She is about 53 years and her husband 63 years old. They are both Indian citizens. They want to come home due to their old age and the business in Thailand being no more good. Their relations are living in Delhi and Punjab. She has come to Delhi from Thailand twice and her husband thrice, They came to Delhi for the purpose of getting the suit property vacated and to find out as to when they can shift from Thailand to Delhi. thereforee, the bona fides of the landlady have been established and the permission given by the Additional Controller under section 21 cannot even today be considered a non-performing direction. It was as clear now as it was in 1977 that Shanti Devi would be returning in a year's time. I, thereforee, find that the conditions stood satisfied. It is not necessary to disclose in the petition as to why the landlady was to return in a year's time. It is as already stated not a case of collusion between the attorney and the tenant. I may, however, add that Biswabani (supra) has no application here because in that case the tenant became a statutory tenant in spite of the invalidity of the subsequent lease because the initial lease was valid, while in this case, if the permission under section 21 of the Act were held invalid or nan est. the very foundation of the tenancy is knocked down and the respondent is entitled to eviction. I shall refrain from further discussion because none of the parties pursued this controversy and no argument were heard thereon.

(10) As I find no force in the argument advanced on behalf of the appellant, the appeal is dismissed with costs. The appellant is allowed two months time to vacate the premises.


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