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Jag Mohan Lal Vs. Tara Chand Verma - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. F.A.O. 69 of 1980
Judge
Reported in18(1980)DLT508; 1980(1)DRJ132; 1980RLR735
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14(1) and 15(1)
AppellantJag Mohan Lal
RespondentTara Chand Verma
Advocates: Harbans Singh,; L.C. Goyal and; C.L. Sachdev, Advs
Excerpt:
.....of the order of controller--it a party is at fault in not attending the court it has ro suffer.b. delhi rent control act, 1958 - section 15(1) --held :--under section 15(1) the controller has no discretion to extend prescribed time of one month. - - 8.00 per month which the tenant failed to pay in spite of notice of demand dated 6/11/1975. the appellant tenant in his written statement pleads that he had paid up todate rent and that notice of demand was invalid. by the said order order the landlord was also called upon to furnish better particulars will, regard to his ground of substantial damage to the premises. the notice is dated 6/11/1975. thus the landlord demanded rents for three years expiring 18/10/1975. the argument of the learned counsel for the appellant is that the..........demand dated 6/11/1975. the appellant tenant in his written statement pleads that he had paid up todate rent and that notice of demand was invalid. on 3/4/1978 the controller adjourned the eviction proceedings for arguments relating to the deposit of rent under section 15(1) of the act to 22/5/1978 on which date the arguments were heard, documents were also filed by the partie and the case was adjourned for orders to 26/5/1978. on 26/5/1978 it appears that none was present and under section 15(1) of the act directing the appellant-tenant to deposit arrears of rent with effect from 1/1/1975 within one month from that date and to continue to deposit month by month by 15th of each succeeding month at the rate of rs. 8.00 per month was passed. by the said order order the landlord was also.....
Judgment:

Sultan Singh, J.

(1) This is tenant's appeal under section 39 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (hereinafter called 'the Act') challenging the judgment and order of the Rent Control Tribunal dated 5th January, 1980 confirming the order of eviction passed by the Additional Controller under section 14(l)(a) of the Act.

(2) The appellant has raised three questions :

(i) That the notice of demand dated November, 1975 is invalid. (ii) That the order under section 15(1) of the Act passed on 26/5/1978 came to the notice of the parties on 19/7/1978 and thereforee the time to deposit arrears of rent would commence from 19/7/1978 and not from 26/5/1978 : and (iii) The authority under the Act have discretion to decline to pass eviction order under section 14(1)(a) of the Act, even if the order under section 15(1) of the Act has not een strictly complied with.

(3) The relevant facts for the decision of these questions are : The respondent-landlord sent a notice of demand dated 6/11/1975 to the appellant-tenant. The main controversy centres round this notice and thereforee it is desireable to re-produce the same: To Shri Jagmohan, S/o Shri Jagdishwar Prashad, XVI/149, Joshi Road, KarolBagh, New Delhi. Dear Sir, Under instructions from and on behalf of my client Shri Tara Chand Verma.S/o Shri JagganNath, resident of XVI/liO, Joshi Road, Karol Bagh, New Delhi, I serve you with following notice :- 1. That my client Shri Tara Chand is the owner of premises bearing No. XVI/140, and 150 (new) Joshi Road, Karol Bagh, New Delhi, having purchased the same in auction from the Managing Officer, Jam Nagar, House, New Delhi. The conveyance deed has been issued and he is deemed to be the ownerw.e.f.19/9/1972. 2. That your father Shri Jagdishwar Prashad was allottee of premises No. XVI/149, Joshi Road, KarolBagh, New Delhi, under the Custodian and was paying Rs. 8.00 as license fee. Shri Jagdishwar Prasad, your father has since died. The Rehabilitation Department has declined to substitute your name as allottee instead of your father. Your position is, thereforee, now of an unauthorised occupant and you are liable to pay damages for use and occupation to my above said client@ Rs. 16.00 (sixteed) per month for the last three years amounting to Rs. 576.00 which please pay within a week of the receipt of this notice. 3. In case, you satisfy my client that you have been a tenant under the Custodian Managing Officer (which fact is denied) then you should pay a rent which your father was paying to my above said client for the last three years. In case, you prove to be a tenant: then your tenancy which is monthly and commences from the 19th of each English calendar month .is terminated. 4. You should, thereforee, handover peaceful and vacant possession of the said premises to my above said client on the 18/12/1975 or on such other date on which the tenancy expires according to you. 5. In case of your failture, to pay the amount or to handover possession of the of the premises, legal proceedings will be against you at your risk and costs. Please taken notice accordingly. Carban copy retained. Yours faithfully, sd/- Pt. Jagdish Chandra Advocate. 'In reply, the appellant admitted that he was the tenant. He however asserted that nothing was due from him as rent and .that he was not under any obligation, to pay the amount of rent and handover the possession to the landlord. The landlord thereforee filed a petition for the eviction of the appellant on various grounds on 7/1/1978 but for purposes of this appeal only surviving ground is under clause (a) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 14 oftheA.t. It is alleged by the landlord that renrs were due to him from the appellant-tenant with effect from 19/9/1972 at Rs. 8.00 per month which the tenant failed to pay in spite of notice of demand dated 6/11/1975. The appellant tenant in his written statement pleads that he had paid up todate rent and that notice of demand was invalid. On 3/4/1978 the Controller adjourned the eviction proceedings for arguments relating to the deposit of rent under section 15(1) of the Act to 22/5/1978 on which date the arguments were heard, documents were also filed by the partie and the case was adjourned for orders to 26/5/1978. On 26/5/1978 it appears that none was present and under section 15(1) of the Act directing the appellant-tenant to deposit arrears of rent with effect from 1/1/1975 within one month from that date and to continue to deposit month by month by 15th of each succeeding month at the rate of Rs. 8.00 per month was passed. By the said order order the landlord was also called upon to furnish better particulars will, regard to his ground of substantial damage to the premises. The order was announced in open court and the case was adjourned to 19/7/1978 on which date it appears that the particulars of substantial damage were filed, from the order sheet it further appears that the parties said that they were under the impression that no order under section 15(1) of the Act has been passed. Thereafter the appellant-tenant deposited all arrears of rent on 24/7/1978 and deposited monthly rents at Rs. 8.00 per month during the pendency if the eviction proceedings. Deposit of rents is not disputed but the contention of the landlord is that the order under section 15(1) of the Act was not complied with as the deposit was made on 24/7/1978 i.e. beyond one month from the date of the order under section 15(1) of the Act. The Additional Controller held that there was no comliance with order under section 15(1) of the Act and thereforee the tenant was liable to be evicted. He accordingly passed the order of eviction. He also held that the notice of demand was valid. On appeal the Tribunal confirmed the order of the Additional Controller.

(4) The contention of the learned counsel for the appellant is that the notice of the demand repudiates the relationship between landlord and tenant, its demand for damages is vague, indefinite self- contradictory and it does not mention the amount alleged to be due to the respondent. From the notice re-produced above it is clear that the respondent treated the appellant's father as an allotee and after his death the respondent was not treated as an allotee of the premises and as such the respondent demanded damages for use and occupation but the respondent-landlord in para 3 of the notice alleged that if the appellant has been a tenant under the Custodian then ha should pay the rent which his father was paying for the last three years. The notice is dated 6/11/1975. Thus the landlord demanded rents for three years expiring 18/10/1975. The argument of the learned counsel for the appellant is that the notice does not recognise the relationship of landlord and tenant and thereforee the same is bad. He further submits that damages have been demanded and thereforee the notice is bad. It appears that landlord was not definite whether the appellant was an unathorised person or not. He accepted his father to be an allottee of the premises- he thereforee asked him to pay damages for use and occupation. He however asked the appellant to pay the rents at the rate paid by his father if he was a tenant. In para 3 there is a specific demand by the landlord to the tenant to pay rent for a period of there years. Section 14(1)(a) of the Act reads reads as under :

'S. 14 (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law or contract, no order or decree for the recovery of possession of any premises shall be made by any court or controller in favor of the landlord against a tenant ; Provided that the controller may, on an application made to him in the prescribed manner, make an order for the recovery of possession of the premises on one or more of the following grounds only namely ; (a) that the tenant has neither paid not tendered the whole of the arrears of the rent legally recoverable from him within two months of the date of which a notice of demand for the arrears of rent has been served on him by the landlord in the manner provided insection 106 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 ;

Under this clause notice of demand for arrears of rent is to be served and after service the tenant is expected to pay or tender the whole of arrears of rent legally recoverable from him within two months from the date of service of the notice of demand. What is required in this notice is demand of arrears of rent. This can be done by disclosing the period and the late of rent. The period of three years has been disclosed by the landlord. The rate of rent has been disclosed by saying that the tenant's father was paying Rs. 8.00 per month as license fee. Thus the period and the rate of rent are specifically mentioned in the notice. There is no vagueness. The appellant who claimed himself to be a tenant-in reply to this notice was thus aware of the period and the rate of rent i.e. he was required to pay the rents for three years at Rs. 8.00 per month. Learned counsel for the appellant has relied upon Pritam Lal v. Smt.Anand Kaur, 1976 R.C.R. 668 wherein the landlord claimed damages from the tenant and it was held by this court that rent and damages are two different things and that notice of demand was invalid as damages only were demanded. The facts of that case were entirely different from the facts of the present case. Here the landlord demanded the damages at Rs. 16.00 per month and he further said that rents be paid Rs. 8.00 per month if the appellant was a tenant in the premises. Thus there is demand of arrears of rent. It has been held in Harihar Banerji and others v. Ramshashi Roy and others., Air 1918 P.C. 102 that the test of sufficiency is not what it would mean to the stranger ignorant of all the facts and circumstances tooching the holding to which they purport to refer, but what would it would mean to a tenant presumably conversant with all the facts and circumstances. The Privy Council further observed that notice is to be construed not with a desire to find fault in it which would render it defective. I am, thereforee, of the view that the notice of demand in this case has complied with the requirements of clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 14 of the Act.

(5) The next question is from which date the period of one month prescribed insection 15(1) of the Act should becounted. The arguments by the controller were heard on 22/5/1978 when both the parties were represented. In accordance with order 20 rule I of the Code of Civil Procedure, the controller fixed 26/5/1978 as the date for pronouncement of the order. On 26/5/1978 it appears no body was present but the order was announced in open court. The court is not bound to communicate the result of a case to the parties and under Jaw the court is only required to fix a date for pronouncement of the judgment and that has been done in this case. Under section 15(1) of the Act a tenant is required to deposit rent within one month of the date of the order. thereforee the period of one month would start from the date when an order under section 15(1) of the Act was passed. Admittedly the order was passed on 26/5/1978 although the case of both the parties on 19/7/1978 was that they were not aware of the order having been passed under section 15(1) of the Act. The argument of the learned counsel for the appellant that the period of one month should start from the date of knowledge of the order. It cannot be so. The statute is specific that the arrears of rent are to be deposited within one month from the date of the order that may be passed by the controller. If a party is at fault in not attending, the court on the date on which the order is to be pronounced, he is to suffer There should be universal rule. It is for this reason that order 20 rule 1 of the code provides that when the judgment is to be pronounced on some future date the court shall fix a date for that purpose of which due notice shall be given to the parties or to their pleaders, the provisions of order 20 Rule 1 of the code have been completed with and thereforee the parties are deemed to have knowledge of the order passed on 26/5/1978 and thereforee the time for deposit of rents would start from that date. Section 15(1) of the Act is specific that the arreas are to be deposited within one month from the date of the order. I, thereforee, hold that the time for deposit of rent stared from 26/5/1978 and that it cannot be taken to commence from 19/7/1978.

(6) Lastly it has been argued by the learned counsel for the appellant that section 14(l)(a) is discretionary and that the court is not bound to pass an order of eviction on the ground covered by clause (a). I do not agree. The matter regarding interpretation of clause (a) is concluded by the Supreme Court in Hem Chand Vs . The Delhi Cloth & General Mills Co. Ltd. and another, : [1978]1SCR241 wherein it has been held that the controller has no discretion to extend time prescribed under section 15(1) of the Act. Admittedly rents were not deposited by the appellant in accordance with order dated 26/5/1978 passed under section 15(1) of the Act. The appellant-tenant thereforee ceased to have any protection under section 14(2) of the Act. The controller and the Tribunal were thereforee justified in passing an order of eviction on the ground of non-payment of rent as mentioned in clause (a) of sub-section There is thereforee no merit in the appeal. The same is dismissed with costs. Counsel fee Rs. 200.00 .


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