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Madan Mohan Lal Sri Ram Pvt. Ltd. Vs. P. Tandon - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 197 of 1980
Judge
Reported in21(1982)DLT16; 1981(2)DRJ308
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14(1)
AppellantMadan Mohan Lal Sri Ram Pvt. Ltd.
RespondentP. Tandon
Advocates: Ravinder Sethi and; R.L. Gupta, Advs
Cases ReferredKasturilal Nandraj v. Bakshi Ram
Excerpt:
.....contemplated by clauses (a) to (d) of section 22. (9) thenext question which must necessarily follow is as to whether in the preseat case the petitioner can be permitted to invoke the provisions of section 22 of the act. 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. 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 givenby the additional controller is unassailable......under section 14(1)(e) read with section 25b of the act having been dismissed by the additional rent controller, delhi. (2) the respondent is the tenant of the first floor of 6, pusa road, new delhi which is admittedly owned by the petitioner. these premises were let out to the respondent for residence. on 31st january, 1977 the present eviction petition was filed on the ground that the accommodation was required bona fide by the petitioner-company for allotment to its employees for use as residence on license basis and there was no other suitable accommodation available with the company. (3) on an affidavit having been filed by the respondent leave to contest was granted. the respondent in his written statement raised a number of contentions. the main contentions raised by the.....
Judgment:

B.N. Kirpal, J.

(1) By this petition under Section 25B(8) of the Delhi Rent Control Act the petitioner is seeking the eviction of the respondenttenant, the petitioner's application under section 14(1)(e) read with Section 25B of the Act having been dismissed by the Additional Rent Controller, Delhi.

(2) The respondent is the tenant of the first floor of 6, Pusa Road, New Delhi which is admittedly owned by the petitioner. These premises were let out to the respondent for residence. On 31st January, 1977 the present eviction petition was filed on the ground that the accommodation was required bona fide by the petitioner-company for allotment to its employees for use as residence on license basis and there was no other suitable accommodation available with the company.

(3) On an affidavit having been filed by the respondent leave to contest was granted. The respondent in his written statement raised a number of contentions. The main contentions raised by the respondent and which were accepted by the Additional Rent Controller, were that the provisions of Section 14(l)(e) were not applicable when premises are required by a limited company for its employees and secondly the petitioner did not require the premises in question bona fide for its employees. In support of its case the petitioner examined one Shri Radha Krishan and the respondent examined himself. The Additional Rent Controller formulated the following points for determination in the case :

'1. Whether the petitioner is owner of the premises 2. Whether the petition is maintainable by the petitioner 3. Whether the petitioner requires the premises bona fide 4. Whether the petitioner has no other reasonable suitable accommodation ?'

(4) The trial court held that the petitioner was the owner of the premises. With regard to point No. 2 the trial court came to the conclusion that on a correct interpretation of Section 14(l)(e) the said provision was not available to a company and the same could be invoked only by natural persons. With regard to the other two points the trial court came to the conclusion that the premises were not required bona fide by the petitioner. The eviction petition was accordingly dismissed by the Additional Rent Controller by his order dated 29th November, 1979.

(5) The first contention which has been raised before me by Mr. Sethi, the learned counsel for the petitioner, is that the provisions of Section 14(l)(a) could be invoked by the petitioner in the present case. His contention is that a landlord in Section 2(e) of the Act means any person who is entitled to receive rent. The word 'person' would include a corporate body. He has further submitted that Section 22 of the Act is an addition to the remedy which is available to a landlord under Section 14.

(6) The two relevant provisions which have to be construed in this case are Section 14(1)(e) and Section 22. Section 14(l)(e) reads as under :-

'(E) that the premises let out for residential purposes are required bona fide by the landlord for occupation as a residence for himself or for any member of his family dependent on him, if he is the owner thereof, or for any person for whose benefit the premises are held and that the landlord or such person has no other reasonably suitable residential accommodation.'

Section 22 reads as under :-

'22. Where the landlord in respect of any premises is any company or other body corporate or any local authority or any public institution and the premises are required for the use of employees of such landlord or in the case of a public institution, for the furtherance of its activities, then, notwithstanding anything contained in Section 14 or any other iaw, the Controller may, on an application made to him in this behalf by such landlord, place the landlord in vacant possession of such premises by evicting the tenant and every other person who may be in occupation thereof, if the Controller is satisfied (a) that the tenant to whom such premises were let for use as a residence at a time when he was in the service or employment of the landlord, has ceased to be in such service or employment, or (b) that the tenant has acted in contravention of the terms, express or implied, under which he was authorised to occupy such premises; or (c) that any other person is in unauthorised occupation of such premises ; or (d) that the premises are required bona fide by the public institution for the furtherance of its activities.'

(7) There can be no dispute that the word 'person' would ordinarily include a juristic entity. The submission on behalf of the respondent however, is that Section 22 is a specific section which deals with the right of a company to get back the premises for the use of its employees. It is contended by Shri Gupta that Section 14(l)(e) and Section 22 operate in the same sphere but as section 22 is confined only to specific categories of landlords the said section must prevail. 'Sections 14(1) and 22 of the Act came up for consideration before a single Bench of this Court in Chuni Lal v .University of Delhi, 1970 R.C.R. 742. V.S. Deshpande, J. (as he then was) held that the grounds which are available to corporate bodies and public institutions under Section 22 are in addition to the grounds available to them under Section 14 of the Act. In that case the learned Judge was concerned with the eviction of the tenant under the provisions of Section 14(l)(b), (d) and (h). The occasion to consider the applicability of Section 14(l)(e) did not specifically arise therein. It is true that a company can obtain premises for use by its employees and this would be regarded as the company obtaining premises for its own use. (See L.I.C. of India, Kanpur v. State of U.P. & Ors., 1977 (2) R.C.J. 18, 1976 ALJ 478, H.C. Sharma v. L.I.C. 1969 R.C.R. 436 and B.M.Lall v.Dunlop Rubber co., : [1968]1SCR23 ). The question which arises in the present case is, however, slightly different. What is to be seen is, does Section 22 override Section 14(l)(e) or not, in so far as companies, body corporates or local authorities or public institutions are concerned when they require the premises for use of their employees To my mind, (whenever any such type of landlord requires the premises for use of its employees, it is Section 22 alone which would be applicable and not Section 14(l)(e). This does not mean that the other provisions of Section 14 cannot be invoked by such a landlord. As held in Chuni Lal's case (supra), the grounds under Section 14 are in addition to the grounds under section 22. This is because Section 22 is concerned only with specific type of cases, namely, where premises are required by a company for use of its employees. Section 22 is not concerned with the other grounds which are available under Section 14. It may be that some circumstances may exist where a company may require premises, not for its employees, but still for its residence. In such a case Section 14(l)(e) can also be invoked. One such case can be where ' the premises are required for residence of the company's Chairman, who may not be regarded as an employee of the company. In such a case the company would be entitled to invoke the provisions of Section 14(l)(e). Where, however, as already observe, the company requires the premises for its employees only the provisions of Section 22, which have been specifically enacted for such a purpose, would be attracted'! Just as Section 25-B is a special category which has been carved out which provides for special procedure for eviction to landlords who require the premises for their personal necessity, as held by the Supreme Court in M/s. Jain Ink Mfg. Co. v. L.I.C. of India and another, 1980 (2) R.C.J. 459, similarly Section 22 is a special category which has been carved out of Section 14 of the Act.

(8) It will be seen that under Section 14(l)(e) a landlord has, inter alia, to prove that the premises are bona fide required by him for residence for himself or for members of his family and he has no other reasonably suitable residential accommodation. Under Section 22, on the other hand, the landlord has to prove that the premises are required for use of its employees and, in addition thereto, the Controller must be satisfied about the existence of any of the four contingencies contemplated by clauses (a) to (d) of section 22.

(9) Thenext question which must necessarily follow is as to whether in the preseat case the petitioner can be permitted to invoke the provisions of Section 22 of the Act. As long as the facts exist on the record, to my mind, it will be immaterial whether in the application the petitioner has written Section 14(l)(e) or section 22. It would, thereforee, be open to the petitioner, even at this stage, to invoke the provisions of section 22, but it has to satisfy ... that the conditions contained therein are complied with. Admittedly clauses (a), (c) and (d) of Section 22 are not attracted. It is the contention of Mr. Sethi that admittedly the premises were originally given for a period of 11 months, as is evident from Ex. RW1/1. Mr. Sethi, thereforee, is right in contending that it is implicit that under the terms of the agreement between the parties the premises had to be returned to the landlord after the period of tenancy had expired. The tenant not surrendering the premises could mean his acting in contravention of the said terms. The provisions of section 22(b) can thereforee, be invoked by the petitioner in the present case.

(10) The difficulty in the way of the petitioner is that the trial court has come to the conclusion that the premises are not required by the petitioner bona fide and that the intention of the petitioner appears to be motivated by other circumstances of either to sell the property or to convert it for commercial use. As already noted, even under Section 22 the landlord can obtain possession of the premises if they are required for use of its employees. Though the said section does not use the expression 'bona fide' it is evident that the requirement for the use of the employees by the employer must be bona fide. The trial court, while dealing with section 14(l)(e), observed as follows :-

'A reading of the statement of the petitioner's witness AW1 reveals that there is no obligation on the petitioner to provide accommodation to its employees. From the statement of AW1 it is further admitted that the petitioner intends to sell the property. It is also admitted that the other premises held by the petitioner have been converted into commercial use. The petitioner himself has got accommodation vacant in the premises in question. If the petitioner has a real intention to provide accommodation to its employees why the accommodation which is already vacant has not been allotted to its employees. The story of providing accommodation to its employees as it appears to me has only been set up to attract the provisions of law. Had there been any reality in the intention of the petitioner, the petitioner would have definitely formulated a scheme to allot the accommodation to its employees. What has been done is that simple and bare application have been taken. No scheme has been placed before me as to whom the accommodation will be allotted and what will be the mode of allotment of accommodation. Without framing of any rules and regulations thereforee I cannot accept that the petitioner has got any real intention to allot the accommodation to its employees if for the sake of arguments it is assumed that a petition u/s 14(l)(e) can be brought for such purposes. On the other hand, what I find that the intention of the petitioner in view of the statement of AW1 appears to be motivated by the other circumstances either to sell the property or to convert it for commercial use. Thus, I find that the petitioner does not require the premises bona fide. The petitioner has other accommodations but has not used the same for the alleged purpose.'

(11) Though the aforesaid observations were made in connection with Section 14(l)(e), they would apply with equal force to the provisions of section 22. The aforesaid finding of the trial court is purely a finding of fact. My jurisdiction under sub-section (8) of section 25B is a limited one. Dealing with section 25B(8) it has been observed by Hon'ble the Chief Justice in the case of Kasturilal Nandraj v. Bakshi Ram, 1981 Rajdhani Law Reporter 380 as follows:-

'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 illegalit 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 comes to court seeking possession of his own property for his own residence, the tenant could not be allowed to defeat the very purpose by delay. Pleas ike 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. It cannot be interfered with in revision unless there issome gross illegality. The High Court may interfere when there is great injustice being caused. I am, thereforee, not inclined to comment 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 givenby the Additional Controller is unassailable.'

(12) Nothing has been shown to me in this case which can possibly lead me to the conclusion that the order of the Additional Rent Controller suffers from any infirmity to bring the case within the exceptions noted by the Chief Justice in Kasturi Lals case. The order does not show that the Additional Rent Controller has acted with material irregularity and nor has he exceeded his jurisdiction. Merely because on the evidence on record I might come to a different conclusion would be no ground for my exercising jurisdiction under section 25B(8) unless it can be shown that while arriving at the conclusion the Additional Rent Controller acted contrary to law or did not have due regard for legal principles enuciated by the courts.

(13) For the aforesaid reasons the Revision Petition is dismissed. The parties are, however, left to bear their own costs,


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