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Kasturi Lal Nand Raj Vs. Bakshi Ram - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 392 of 1980
Judge
Reported in19(1981)DLT329; 1981RLR380
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 25B(5) and 25B(8)
AppellantKasturi Lal Nand Raj
RespondentBakshi Ram
Advocates: Charanjit Singh and; K.L. Sethi, Advs
Cases ReferredSmt. Bijoli Boy v. Amar Kumar
Excerpt:
.....petition dismissed. - - on the question of sufficiency of accommodation, the additional rent controller held that the accommodation in occupation of the respondent was not sufficient for his family and he bona fide needed the first floor in the occupation of the petitioner as well. if the high court is required to interfere in each and every case in which leave is declined by the rent controllers, the purpose of the amendment by which section 25b was incorporated into the act would be completely defeated. pleas like asking for enhanced rent are so commonly raised that they need not be commented upon the decision of the rent controller may be correct or incorrect. looking at the plan of the building, i am satisfied that the finding given by the additional controller is..........by the petitioner. following the procedure prescribed by section 25b of the act, the additional rent controller, delhi, decided the matter by his impugned order declining to grant leave to the petitioner to defend the eviction petition and ordering his eviction from the premises in his occupation. the statutory period of six months was given to the petitioner to vacate the premises and it was ordered that the order of eviction would not be executed before the expiry of 6 months from the date of the order. the petitioner has filed the present revision. petition contesting the decision to the effect that leave to defend eviction has been declined to him. (2) the additional rent controller has based his decision on the principle of law enunciated by this court in numerous decisions. he.....
Judgment:

Prakash Narain, J.

(1) The petitioner is a tenant of the respondent on the first floor of premises No. B-184, Double Storey, Ramesh Nagar, New Delhi. The respondent filed an application for eviction of the petitioner from the premises in his occupation claiming that he needed the said premises for occupation of himself and members of his family dependent upon him. The respondent's case, thereforee, was one which fell within the ambit of clause (e) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958. As required by the provisions of section 25B of the said Act, the petition filed by the respondent was dealt with under the said section. Summonses were issued to the petitioner of the petition filed by the respondent in the Form specified in the Third Schedule of the said Act. Consequently the petitioner moved an application dated 9th May, 1979, supported by an affidavit setting out the grounds on which he wanted to contest the eviction petition and praying that he be granted leave to defend the same. The respondent filed a reply to the application moved by the petitioner. Following the procedure prescribed by section 25B of the Act, the Additional Rent Controller, Delhi, decided the matter by his impugned order declining to grant leave to the petitioner to defend the eviction petition and ordering his eviction from the premises in his occupation. The statutory period of six months was given to the petitioner to vacate the premises and it was ordered that the order of eviction would not be executed before the expiry of 6 months from the date of the order. The petitioner has filed the present revision. petition contesting the decision to the effect that leave to defend eviction has been declined to him.

(2) The Additional Rent Controller has based his decision on the principle of law enunciated by this court in numerous decisions. He has cited the same in his order. On merits, examining the pleadings, he has come to the conclusion that the pleas raised by the petitioner were not bona fide or tenable on the face of it. This is what the petitioner challenges by the revision petition filed in this court.

(3) There is no dispute regarding what law is applicable. The short question is whether the Additional Rent Controller has presumed facts as proved or not proved when that was not the stage at which it could be done.

(4) The petitioner in his application for leave to defend the eviction petition pleaded:

(A)That the eviction petition was not bona fide inasmuch as the respondent did not require the premises for himself and the members of his family, but wanted to sell the same. There were negotiations between the petitioner and the respondent for sale of the property, but the transaction could not be finalised as the petitioner had offered Rs. 25,000.00 for the property, while the respondent was demanding Rs. 40,000.00 . It was also pleaded that the respondent has been availing the services of some unnamed property dealers for getting suitable buyer of the property and some persons had even come and seen the property;

(B)That the accommodation in possession of the respondent comprised of three living rooms, courtyards on both sides, with kitchen, bath and latrine and that was sufficient for him and the members of his family. It was disputed that any married daughter came to stay with the respondent. It was also disputed that one married daughter, whose husband allegedly was away to Udhampur, was staying with him.

(C)The accommodation in occupation of the respondent was ample for his need. The respondent had disputed the averments made by the petitioner in his application. He denied that there were ever any negotiations for the sale of the property or it was ever the intention of the respondent to sell the property to anybody. According to him, he was not possessed of any other property and he wanted bona fide the entire property on the ground floor and the first floor for residence of himself and the members of his family. Regarding the married daughters, his case was that according to Hindu custom, the married daughters being in Delhi used to come and stay with him time to time and the children of those daughters also come and stay.

(5) The documents which had been placed on record by the parties were a plan of the property, a copy of the notice dated 14th February, 1979 sent by the respondent's counsel to the petitioner, some medical treatment chit's, a photostat copy of the sale deed by which the respondent had purchased the property, some house tax receipts, etc., on the part of the respondent and a copy of the reply, dated 15th March, 1979 sent by the counsel for the petitioner to the respondent.

(6) From all the material before the Additional Rent Controller, he came to the conclusion that the plea of the petitioner regarding sale of the property either to him or to any-one-else was a frivolous plea. On the question of sufficiency of accommodation, the Additional Rent Controller held that the accommodation in occupation of the respondent was not sufficient for his family and he bona fide needed the first floor in the occupation of the petitioner as well.

(7) The learned counsel for the petitioner assails the decision and submits that though the Additional Rent Controller has quoted the correct law, he has misapplied the same thus committing an error of jurisdiction. According to the learned counsel the petitioner should have been afforded an opportunity to prove the case pleaded by him regarding the intention of the respondent to sell the property either to the petitioner or to some one else. If the petitioner had been able to prove his averments in this regard, it would have shown that the eviction petition was not made bona fide. With regard to sufficiency of accommodation the learned counsel says that the obsevation of the Additional Rent Controller that the respondent's family required a drawing room is a figment of the trial court's imagination, as no case of requirement of a drawing room was ever pleaded. He assails the averment regarding the protection available to the tenant under section 19 of the Act on the ground that the protection is only available on a certain contingency happening after the eviction. Regarding sufficiency of accommodation, the learned counsel for the petitioner says that the respondent has exaggarated the size of his family and if the petitioner had been able to show to what extent the exaggeration had been made and that one married daughter was certainly not living with the respondent as claimed by him, it would have affected the question of the bona file of the landlord in bringing an eviction petition. In support of the plea regarding the intention of the respondent to sell the property, the petitioner's counsel invited my attention to the reply given by him to the notice on behalf of the respondent and says that the sale negotiation between the petitioner and the respondent was not an after-thought inasmuch as the same is mentioned in paragaraph 4 of the reply, dated 15th March, 1979.

(8) Learned counsel for the respondent submits that in paragraph 4 of the reply, dated 18th March, 1979, to the notice given by the respondent's counsel, two facts are pleaded: (1) that the landlord wanted the tenant to increase the rent and (2) when he declined to increase the rent negotiated for sale of the property. It is also pointed out that the name of Daljit Singh Newahr was not mentioned in the said reply, dated 15th March, 1979. It is mentioned for the first time in the application for leave to defend the eviction petition. Counsel contends that the name of the broker has purposely not been given so as to negotiate with some broker who may come and oblige the petitioner and give evidence on his behalf. No plea regarding brokers or anybody coming to see the property was taken in the reply, dated 15th March, 1979. thereforee, merely making an allegation without any basis would not attract the rule enunciated by H.L. Anand J. in Delhi Cloth and General Mills v. T. S. Bhatia, A. R. No. 559 of 1976, decided on 18.2.1977 or the rule enunciated in the case reported as Smt. Bijoli Boy v. Amar Kumar, etc. 1977 R.L.R. 464, relied upon by the Additional Rent Controller. Learned counsel for the respondent has stressed that no names of any witness or anybody is mentioned at any stage. The plea regarding the landlord wanting the rent to be increased is an usual plea which is taken. Surprisingly enough, this plea, though raised in the reply to the notice, is not mentioned in the revision petition. From all these, learned counsel says that merely because certain pleas are raised does not mean that leave must be granted in every case.

(9) In my opinion, the scope of revision postulated by the proviso to clause (8) of section 25B of the Act is rather restricted. The High Court would interfere in revision only when there is gross illegality or what is sometimes called material irregularity or non exercise of jurisdiction or exceeding the jurisdiction. If the High court is required to interfere in each and every case in which leave is declined by the Rent Controllers, the purpose of the amendment by which section 25B was incorporated into the Act would be completely defeated. The legislative intent of incorporating section 25B was that where a landlord bona fide come to court seeking possession of his own property for his own residence, the tenant should not be allowed to defect the very purpose by delay. Pleas like asking for enhanced rent are so commonly raised that they need not be commented upon The decision of the Rent Controller may be correct or incorrect. In cannot be interfered with in revision unless there is some gross illegality. The High court may interfere when there is great injustice being caused. I am, thereforee not inclined to commend upon the finding with regard to the size of the family of the respondent or the need of his family members. Even otherwise, prima facie. I find nothing wrong in the finding. Merely because the Additional Rent Controller has mentioned the need for a drawing room does not make the finding perverse. Looking at the plan of the building, I am satisfied that the finding given by the Additional Controller is unassailable.

(10) The only point on which the petitioner can perhaps rest his argument is the allegation with the regard to the respondent's alleged intention to sell the property. In my view, the way in which the Additional Rent Controller has seen the case cannot be called such an approach which would raise any question of illegality or jurisdiction. In appeal one may take a different view. But that is the precise distinction one has to keep in mind. Reappreciation of an approach is not the function of the revisional jurisdiction. It is only when the approach of the trial court is wholly untenable or perverse that interference is called for.

(11) Learned counsel for the petitioner has urged that in view of the law settled by the cases relied upon by the Additional Rent Controller opportunity had to be given to the petitioner to substantiate the allegation. regarding the respondent's intention to sell the property, because if that fact was proved the respondent would have been non-suited and the eviction petition would have been shown to be mala fide. The. Additional Rent Controller has called this plea of the petitioner as frivolous primarily on a reading of paragarph 4 of the application for leave to defend wherein the broker's name has not been mentioned. Secondly, according to the Additional Rent Controller, the admitted fact of the negotiations not fructifying between the petitioner and the respondent shows that the plea was false One can assail such an approach and perhaps, even interfere. But keeping in view the legislative intent, I find rather difficult to interfere in the present case. The requirements of section 14(1)(e) have been fulfillled in the present case. Only if the petitioner had been able to prove the proposed sale the bona fide aspect may have been in doubt. That the plea was frivolous, as held by the Additional Rent Controller, can be sustained on reading the reply to the notice referred to above. No price is mentioned in that reply. Name of Daljit Singh Newahr is not mentioned. When the negotiations took place is not known. What was the date, month of the offer or the counter-offer is not dsclosed. In these circumstances, the plea as raised could only be regarded as vague and frivolous. This is the view that has been expressed by the Additional Rent Controller which cannot be called untenable.

(12) I, thereforee, dismiss this revision petition. The petitioner shall vacate the premises within six month from today. If he does not do so, the eviction order will become executable. The. respondent is entitled to Ids costs. Counsel's fee Rs. 330.00 .


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