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Bulaki Dass Vs. Suraj Bhan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 984 of 1979
Judge
Reported inAIR1982Delhi117; 20(1981)DLT394; 1981(2)DRJ304; 1982RLR93
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14(1)
AppellantBulaki Dass
RespondentSuraj Bhan
Advocates: Arun Kumar,; S.L. Bhatia and; C.L. Arora, Advs
Cases ReferredUttam Chand v. Smt. Ram Murti Gupta
Excerpt:
.....life in his own house when he can have better comfort'.(9) looking from this angle the petitioner-landlord requires at least 11 living rooms for himself and members of his family......the accommodation available with him is quite enough. i do not think that the mezzanine floor room even though quite big in size can be rightly looked upon as a living room. it was so held by sultan singh, j. in uttam chand v. smt. ram murti gupta, 1980 (2) rcr 405, j. a consideration of municipal bye-laws etc. and i am in respectful agreement with his lordship. on a party of reasoning there is considerable force in the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner that barsati on the third floor along with open terrace is being used as barsati and the landlord cannot be compelled to use it as a living room. surely, barsati is designed and is meant for user for sleeping etc. in summer/rainy weather and it has its own utility. hence, the landlord can justifiably insist.....
Judgment:

J.D. Jain, J.

(1) Shri Bulaki Dass, petitioner in both the above mentioned revision petitions which are directed against order dated 13th April, 1979, of an Additional Rent Controller, dismissing his petition for the eviction of his tenants, Sh. Suraj Bhan and Sh. Ram Rattan, is the owner-landlord of property bearing municipal No. 1935, Katra Kushal Rai, Kinari Bazar, Delhi.

(2) This is a three-storeyed building. Besides that there is barsati floor and a mezzanine (dochhatti). The whole of the building is in the occupation of the petitioner-landlord and members of his family who are living with him in it excepting two small portions which are in the tenancy of the tenants Shri Suraj Bhan and Shri Ram Rattan. The demised premises with Shri Suraj Bhan compromises one room and a store with Kolki on the ground floor and a big room on the second floor with common bath and latrins as shown red in the siteplan Ex. All. One room and a kitchen on the second floor and store on the ground floor as shown green in the site-plan All with common bath and latrine constitute the tenanted portion of Shri Ram Rattan. In June 1977, the petitioner-landlord instituted eviction proceedings against both these tenants, being E-273/77 and E-274/77 on the ground of personal bona fide necessity. He, inter alia, alleged that the existing accommodation in his occupation was not reasonably suitable, being insufficient for him and members of his family which was fairly large and as such he was in bona fide need of the demised premises. He also asserted that he was having an income of Rs. 27.000.00 per annum from his business and as such he was assessed to income-tax. Further his sons had an income of about Rs. 4.000.00 each per annum.

(3) Both the eviction petitions were naturally contested by the tenants who asserted that the alleged requirement of the landlord was not bona fide inasmuch as the accommodation already in his occupation was quite sufficient for himself and members of his family. They pointed out that the landlord had not explained as to how the existing accommodation was not reasonably suitable for him and his family members.

(4) The undisputed facts of the case are that the petitioner is the ownerlandlord of the property in dispute. His family compromises (1) himself (2) his wife, (3) his eldest son Trilok Chand, who is a married person and has got four children, (4) his second son Shri Kailash Chand, who too is a married person and has got one son and three daughters, (5) his third son Shri Naresh Chand, also a married person having two sons, one of whom is living with his adoptive parents, and (6) his fourth son Shri Prem Chand, who is also a married person having two small children. Besides that the petitioner has got three daughters, of whom two were married at the time of filing the eviction petitioner and the third was married subsequently. Admittedly, the petitioner is in possession of the whole of the portion shown in blue in the site-plan Ex. All, which consists of the following :

ground floor One room 17' x 8' One room 19' x 9'-9' Bath W.C. Doghhati Floor One Room 19' x 9'-9'. First Floor One room 19' x 9' - 9' One room 11' x 8'. One store 8' x 8'-7' One Store 6' x8'-7' One bath 6' x 7'-10' One Kitchen 11' x 7'-10' Other covered space. Second Floor One room 16'-9' x 7'-6' One room 8'-6' x 7'-6' Third Floor Barsati with windows & girders 19'-3' x 10'-6'

(5) Even the income of the petitioner and his sons, as alleged by him, has been accepted to be correct by the learned Additional Rent Controller and there is no controversy with regard to the same in these revision petitions.

(6) Thus, the controversy between the parties lies in a narrow compass and all that has to be seen is whether the existing accommodation with the petitioner is reasonably suitable for him and members of his family as detailed above. The landlord stepped in the witness-box and simply averred that the present accommodation in his occupation was not sufficient and he genuinely required more accommodation. However, he has not explained how the existing accommodation with him is not reasonably suitable and how the same is being utilised by him and members of his family. The learned counsel for the respondents-tenants has, thereforee, canvassed with considerable fervour that the onus of proving that the need of the landlord for additional accommodation is genuine and for that matter the existing accommodation available with him is not reasonably suitable lay on him and as such he should have satisfied the Court objectively that his requirement was bona fide. Mere ipse dixit of the landlord, it is urged, would not be enough and the Court must be satisfied with regard to the good faith and genuine need of the landlord as a reasonable person objectively.

(7) No doubt, mere assertion of the landlord that he requires for his use the premises in the tenancy of the respondents raises no presumption that he is genuinely in need of the same and the landlord has to satisfy the Court on well-recognised objective tests that his claim for additional accommodation is genuine and he does not want to evict the tenants out of malafide intention or for extraneous reason. To put it otherwise, it is for the Court to determine objectively on the basis of the material on the record whether in a given case the requirement of the landlord is genuine or not having regard of course, to all relevant factors, for instance, the size of the landlord's family, the' financial position of the landlord and members of his family, social customs, conventions and usages etc. The whole problem, to say the least, has to be approached from the point of view of a reasonable man and not that of a whimsical landlord. Thus, all that has to be seen in the instant case is that having regard to the foregoing circumstances, the existing accommodation with the petitioner-landlord can be said to be reasonably suitable for him and members of his family. As at present, the eldest son of the petitioner has got four children, eldest of them is 22 years old by now, while his daughters are aged 15, 12 and 10. Naturally, thereforee, he will require one room for himself and his wife, another room for his eldest son who is evidently of marriageable age and at least one room for three daughters, even though he can legitmately claim a separate room for each of them having regard to the fact that they are fairly grown up and are studying. Likewise the second son of the petitioner needs at least three rooms, one for himself and his wife, one for his son and one for his daughters who are, of course, of tender age, being between the ages of 3 and 9 years. Surely, the landlord is not expected to huddle his sons and daughters together in one room. On a parity of reasoning, the third son of the petitioner will need two rooms, one for himself and his wife and the other for his son. Of course, the fourth son, who has children of tender age, may for the present be able to live in one room although one cannot be oblivious to his growing need for additional accommodation in near future. That besides it is beyond the pale of controversy that the three married daughters of the petitioner keep on visiting. So, the petitioner requires at least one additional room for being used as a guest room. It cannot be gain said that sometimes his daughters may be visiting the house of the petitioner at one and the same time, e.g. xx on festive occasions like Raksha Bandhan and sometimes they may even stayovernight. At least the landlord is entitled to make provision for the same. He is not expected to sacrifice his own comfort for the sake of the tenant.

(8) This was the view expressed by Avadh Behari Rohatgi, J, in Krishan Kumar v. Vimla Sehgal, 1976 Rcr 249. His Lordship observed that :

'NO one can say when he requires one separate room for each member of his family including himself and his wife his requirement is unreasonable. The law does not expect the landlord to sacrifice his comforts and live a crowded life in his own house when he can have better comfort'.

(9) Looking from this angle the petitioner-landlord requires at least 11 living rooms for himself and members of his family. So reliance by the learned Additional Rent Controller on the decision of this Court in Raghunath Kukaria v. S. Mangal Singh, Civil Revision Petition No. 354/77, decided on 27th October, 1977, is simply misplaced and the same is distinguishable on facts. It was, inter alia, noticed by V.D. Misra, J. (as his Lordship then was) that the landlord had not disclosed how many members of his family were males and how many were females. He did not even tell the ages of the various members of his family. Further, he had not given the dimensions of the rooms in his possession. So it was under these circumstances that his Lordship felt persuaded to allow leave to the tenant to contest the application for eviction. According to the learned Additional Rent Controller the landlord is in possession of six very big halltype double rooms besides two other rooms and stores and, thereforee, the accommodation available with him is quite enough. I do not think that the mezzanine floor room even though quite big in size can be rightly looked upon as a living room. It was so held by Sultan Singh, J. in Uttam Chand v. Smt. Ram Murti Gupta, 1980 (2) Rcr 405, J. a consideration of municipal bye-laws etc. and I am in respectful agreement with his Lordship. On a party of reasoning there is considerable force in the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner that barsati on the third floor Along with open terrace is being used as barsati and the landlord cannot be compelled to use it as a living room. Surely, barsati is designed and is meant for user for sleeping etc. In summer/rainy weather and it has its own utility. Hence, the landlord can justifiably insist on using the same as barsati and not as a living room. Even assuming, however, for the sake of argument that both these rooms can be used as living rooms, the existing accommodation with the petitioner still falls short of his total requirement. Needless to say that the stores in the house have their own special use, in that all purposes of safety etc. No landlord is expected to store his belongings and household effects in the living room. Thus, even taking the most charitable view of the whole matter, I have least hesitation in holding that the present accommodation with the petitioner-landlord is not reasonably suitable for him and members of the family living with him in the house in dispute. It may be pertinent to add here that he and members of his family are going in mess. Further, it may be noticed that an extravagent view regarding his requirements is not being taken in the sense that no provision is being made for drawing room of dining room as such. Under the circumstances, I am of the considered view that at least one of the two tenants must vacate the premises in his tenancy for the sake of the petitioner-landlord. Since the accommodation in the tenancy of Shri Suraj Bhan respondent consists of two rooms and a store room etc, I think this accommodation should be enough to meet the genuine requirements of the petitioner-landlord.

(10) To sum up, thereforee, I allow Civil Revision Petition No. 894/79 and order that the respondent Shri Suraj Bhan shall surrender vacant possession of the demised premises, as shown red in the site-plan Ex. A 11, to the petitioner within six months from today. Civil Revision Petition No. 895/79 against Shri Ram Rattan, respondent however, is dismissed as having become infructuous. Under the circumstances, no order is made as to costs.


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