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Ram Prakash Chawla Vs. Amril Kaur - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberRegular Second Appeal No. 149 of 1972
Judge
Reported in20(1981)DLT145; 1981(2)DRJ211
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 2
AppellantRam Prakash Chawla
RespondentAmril Kaur
Advocates: A.C. Shubh and; S.R. Gupta, Advs
Cases ReferredIn Nedunuri Kameshwaramma vs. Sampati Subba Rao
Excerpt:
.....the civil court had jurisdiction to pass a decree for..........the civil procedure is whether the property in dispute is premises within the meaning of the delhi rent control act .this question has arisen in the following circumstances. the plaintiff-respondent let out a plot of land bearing municipal no. 355 measuring 200 sq. yards' situated at prem gali gandhi nagar, delhi to the defendant/appellant at a monthly rent of rs. 45.00 with effect from 1st december, 1965 in terms of a rent note dated 19th november, 1965. the tenancy was for a period of eleven months. the appellant occupied the said plot for keeping his animals and using the same as dairy. the respondent permitted him to construct 10 or 11 feet high boundary wall with two doors, verandah and a tin shed. the appellant was also permitted to consruct a khoka or a hut instead of tin shed.(2).....
Judgment:

Sultan Singh, J.

(1) The only question in this second appeal under Section 100 of the Code of the Civil Procedure is whether the property in dispute is premises within the meaning of the Delhi Rent Control Act .This question has arisen in the following circumstances. The plaintiff-respondent let out a plot of land bearing Municipal No. 355 measuring 200 sq. yards' situated at Prem Gali Gandhi Nagar, Delhi to the defendant/appellant at a monthly rent of Rs. 45.00 with effect from 1st December, 1965 in terms of a rent note dated 19th November, 1965. The tenancy was for a period of eleven months. The appellant occupied the said plot for keeping his animals and using the same as dairy. The respondent permitted him to construct 10 or 11 feet high boundary wall with two doors, verandah and a tin shed. The appellant was also permitted to consruct a Khoka or a hut instead of tin shed.

(2) The appellant after occupying the plot is alleged to have constructed a boundary wall besides other structure. It is admitted that the entire structure was raised by the appellant and not by the respondent. The respondent terminated the tenancy and filed the present Suit for possession and recovery of arrears of rent. The suit for possession was decreed by the trial court which was confirmed by the first appellate court. In this second appeal, learned counsel for the appellant submits that the property let out to the appellant is 'premises' within the meaning of Section 2(i) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (hereinafter called 'the Act') which reads as under:

'PREMISES'means any building or part of a building which is, or is intended to be. let separately for use as a residence or for commercial use or for any other purpose, and includes :- i) the garden, grounds and outhouses, if any, appertaining to such building or part of the building; ii) any furniture supplied by the landlord for use in such building or part of the building ; but does not include a room in a hotel or lodging house'.

(3) His contention is that after construction of the structure as agreed by the respondent the plot of land and the structure became 'premises' under his tenancy and that the agreed monthly rent of Rs. 45.00 included the rent fore the structure. A bare reading of the rent note admittedly executed by the appellant shows that the rent of Rs. 45.00 was for plot only and not for the structure which was to be raised by the appellant. As a matter of fact there is no clause in the agreement for payment of rent for the structure raised by the appellant. The short question is whether the property which was initially let to the appellant was the premises within the meaning of the Delhi Rent Control Act. For the purpose of determining as to whether the property was premises, one has to find what was the nature of the property at the time of letting. It is an admitted case of the parties that when the property was letout, it was an open piece of land. There was no structure of any nature whatsoever. The respondent had only allowed the appellant to construct the boundary wall besides other structure with a view to enable the appellant to keep animals on the plot and use the same as a dairy. What was let the appellant was not a building or part of any building but a plot of land only. The word 'premises' within the meaning of the Delhi Rent Control Act means any building or part of a building which is, or is intended to be, let separately for use as a residence or for commercial use or for any other purpose. As there was no building at the time of letting, it cannot be said that there was any intention on the part of the respondent to let any building the appellant. The various terms of the 'rent note' also do not show that there was any agreement to let the structure that might be built by the appellant himself.

(4) The intention of the parties is clear from the contents of the rent note. Subsequently also there has been correspondence between the parties and a letter dated 14th September, 1966 Ex. P. 1 from the appellant to the respondent shows that only the plot of land was let to him as admitted in this latter. Two witnesses Dw 2 and Dw 3 produced on behalf of the appellant also state that the rent settled between the parties was, an agreement only for the letting of the plot and not any building.

(5) The question, however, is what is the effect of the structure raised by the appellant on the plot of land admittedly belonging to the respondent. Section 108 clause (h) of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 reads as under :

'INthe absence of a contract or local usage to the contrary, the Lesser and the lessee of immovable property, as against one another, respectively, possess the rights and are subject to the liabilities mentioned; in the rules next following, or such of them as are applicable to the property leased ;- h) the lessee may (even after the determination of the lease) remove, at any time (whilst he is in possession of the property leased but not afterwards) all things which he has attached to the earth; provided he leaves the property in the State in which he received it'.

(6) Under this provision a tenant is entitled to remove structure which he had raised on the earth provided he restores the property to its original condition. The other condition is that he can remove structure during the period of his possession and not afterwards. This right is subject to contract between the partics. In the present case the agreement was that the appellant would raise structure for his use and that he would get Rs. 800.00 from there spondent. There is no term for the removal of the structure on payment of any amount incurred by appellant towards its cost. There is no term regarding paymet of any compensation over and above Rs .800.00 by the respondent to the appellant. Thus in the facts and circumstances of the case it is clear the plot of land was let to the appellant who was to raise structure and the appellant was entitled to receive a compensation of Rs. 800.00 only on account of the cost of the structure; In other words the appellant was not entitled to remove the structure, In Ram Saran and others vs. Harbhajan Singh and another, 1964 (66) Plr 377 it has been observed that for the purpose of determination as to whether the property included in the tenancy is 'premises' or not it has to be seen as to what was actually let by the landlord in a particular case. Further it is observed that where the landlord had only leased out a vacant piece of land, the mere fact that some temporary contstructions have been raised by the tenant for his own use would not in any way convert the same into a building. In Dr. K. A. Dhairyawan and others vs . J. R. Thaknr others. : [1959]1SCR799 land was leased for a fixed period and the tenant constructed building on the land. In the lease deed there was covenant for delivery of possession of the building to Lesser on the expiry of the term of lease without any compensation. It was held that there was a demise only of the land and not of building and consequntely the provisions of the Rent Control Act did not apply. In Krishanapasuba vs.Dattatraya, Air 1966 S. C. 1024, there was lease of open land. Tenant at his own cost built shed of corrugated iron sheets on portion of land before execution of the rent note. There was condition in the rent note that structure was to be removed by the tenant on termination of tenancy. Although the tenant had constructed the shed before the execution of the rent noe it was held that the tenancy was in respect of open plot only and, thereforee, the Rent Control Act was not applicable as the propetry let out was not premises within the meaning of the Rent Act. In A. R. Salay Mohamed Sait etc. vs. Jaffer Mohamed Sait's Memorial Dispensary Charity and others, 1969 (1) MLJ 16 (SC) it has been observed that it the lease is of vacant land only, and the structures belonged entirely to the lsseess the operation of the Rent Act would be excluded. It is further observed that by mere fact that there were structures on the demised land at the time of the original lease or at the time of renewal of the lease, which do not belong to the Lesser, the demise of the land cannot be construed as demise of a building on the ground that the land became an integral part of the building. In J. R. Sethi vs. D. D. Jain 1972 S.C. 1727, the tenant transferred the land together with the structure put up by him without putting the landlord in possession. It was held that the transfree would be tenant only of the land and no 'accommodation' would be deemed to have been rented to the transferee and consequently, Section 3 of the U.P. (Temporary) Control of Rent and Eviction Act, 1947 would not be attracted in a suit for eviction of the transferee.

(7) As already observed the definition of 'premises' as given in the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 shows that it means any building or part of a building which is, or is intended to be, let separately for its use. Two essential conditions, thereforee, follow from it. One is premises must consist of a building or a part of a building and second they must be let or intended to be let for a purpose. In the instant case before me there was no building at the time of letting. Morever, there was never any intention on the part of the respondent to let any structure at any time to the appellant. In Sh. Gobind Sahai vs. Narain Dass etc. R. S. A. No. 240 of 1967 decided on 7-9-1971 this Court held that the land bounded by walls and covered by a roof and capable of being used for a useful purpose is normally a building. It has further been held that the erection of superstructures by a tenant after the letting is irrelevant for determination of the question as to whether what bad been let out by the landlord constitutes premises within the meaning of Section 2 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958.

(8) I am of the opinion that the property let out to the appellant in this case was not a premises within the meaning of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 but was only a plot of land and as such the Civil Court had jurisdiction to pass a decree for possession.

(9) The learned counsel for the the respondent further submits that no question of law arises in the second appeal and that the construction of document i.e. the rent note to prove the nature of the property let out to the appellant does not involve any question of law. He submits that there is concurrent finding of fact of the two courts that the property let out to the appellant was not premises but an open piece of land and, thereforee, this Court should not interfere in second appeal. I find force in this submission of the respondent. In Nedunuri Kameshwaramma vs. Sampati Subba Rao, 1963 S.C. 884, it has been observed that construction of documents (unless they are documents of title) produced by the parties to prove aquestion of fact, does not involve an issue of law, unless it can be shown that the material evidence contained in them was misunderstood by the Court of fact. The legal inference from the proved facts may, however, still raise a question. The rent note admittedly executed by the appellant is not a document of title. A bare reading of the rent note shows that it was only a plot of land which was let to the appellant. Nothing has been brought to my notice to show that any material evidence on record was misunderstood or ignored by the courts below. I am, thereforee, also of the view that this second appeal does not involve any question of law. There is no merit in this appeal and the same is hereby dismissed with costs. Counsel's fees Rs. 200/.


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