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Uma Rani Vs. Vinod Kumar Dubey - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 80 of 1980
Judge
Reported in21(1982)DLT199
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14(1) and 14A
AppellantUma Rani
RespondentVinod Kumar Dubey
Advocates: A.D. Singh and; T.S. Sodhi, Advs
Cases ReferredShri Krishan Chand Chopra v. Shri Satya Paul Chaddha and
Excerpt:
.....against babu ram and dig vijay singh must..........seeking to challenge the order of the rent controller, delhi dated 23rd october, 1979 whereby the rent controller, delhi had dismissed the eviction petitions filed by the landlady. (2) the petitioner is the owner of house no. 439, bhola nath nagar, shahdara, delhi-32. in the said house there were a number of tenants. the petitioner's husband was a government employee and was in occupation of government accommodation at turkman road, new delhi. the government had passed an order requiring the persons occupying the government allotted accommodation to either vacate the premises or, in default, incur certain obligations on the ground that those allottees were owning residential accommodation in delhi. on the aforesaid ground and also on the ground of bonafide personal need under section.....
Judgment:

B.N. Kirpal, J.

(1) This judgment will dispose of Civil Revisions 80 to 82 of 1980. In all these petitions the landlady is seeking to challenge the order of the Rent Controller, Delhi dated 23rd October, 1979 whereby the Rent Controller, Delhi had dismissed the eviction petitions filed by the landlady.

(2) The petitioner is the owner of House No. 439, Bhola Nath Nagar, Shahdara, Delhi-32. In the said house there were a number of tenants. The petitioner's husband was a Government employee and was in occupation of government accommodation at Turkman Road, New Delhi. The government had passed an order requiring the persons occupying the government allotted accommodation to either vacate the premises or, in default, incur certain obligations on the ground that those allottees were owning residential accommodation in Delhi. On the aforesaid ground and also on the ground of bonafide personal need under Section 14(1)(e) of the Act the petitioner filed eviction petitions against seven tenants. During the pendency of the proceedings, one tenant vacated the premises and three petitions were withdrawn by the petitioner and three petitions were dismissed by the Rent Controller, against which the present revision petitions have been filed. According to the petitioner her family consists of herself, her husband, two daughters and two sons, out of which one son is married. According to the petitioner the accommodation which was in her occupation was insufficient and she bonafide required the tenants to vacate the premises. It was also stated in the eviction petitions that the petitioner's husband owned a house in Gali Mandir Wall, Sir Sayyad Ahmed Road, New Delhi, but the same was in occupation of a tenant, namely Sh. Ishwar Dass, and as that property was situated in a slum area the same could not be vacated. It was also alleged in the petition that the petitioner herself was an acute patient of diabetics and hypertension and the said property belonging to the husband was situated in a very small street of old Delhi and was not suitable for her. The case of all the respondents was almost common. Their contention was that the petitioner had a more than sufficient residential accommodation. It was stated by them that the aforesaid house owned by her husband had fallen vacant, as the tenant Sh. Ishwar Dass had left the said premises and, thereforee, the petitioner did not bonafide require any further premises. It was also mentioned that Miss. Tara Gupta, one of the tenants in the house in question, had vacated some part of the premises in her occupation and another tenant Sh. Jagan Nath Ghatterjee had vacated two rooms. According to the respondents on the petitioner acquiring the aforesaid premises vacated by Miss Tara Gupta and by Jagan Nath Chatterjee and by taking into consideration the accommodation available with her husband at Darya Ganj, the petitioner cannot be said to bonafide require more premises. 3. Evidence was led by both the parties before the Rent Controller, Delhi. The Rent Controller held that the petitioner was in occupation of the following accommodation:

'ONE room 14' X 16', 2 rooms, 8' X 14', one room 7' X 16', one room 8' X 7', one room 8' X 10', one room 5.6' X 6', one room 5.9' X 11 ' and one room 5.9x11'.'

Before me it is admitted by the respondents that the petitioner is in occupation of only one room of the size of 8' X 14' and not two rooms as has been held by the trial court in paragraph (2) of its order. The trial court further held, with regard to the use of the said rooms, that according to the petitioner :

'ROOM 14' X 16' is being used as a drawing room, room of the size of 8' X 14' is being used as dinning room, and one room 8' X 10' is being used as a kitchen, room of the size of 7' X 16' is being used as a bed room for his married son, room of the size of 16' X 7' is being used as a store, room of the size of 5.9' X 11' is being used as a store for storing goods and edibles.'

(4) Having enumerated the rooms in the aforesaid manner the trial court further observed that, 'the two rooms which were vacated by Sh. J.N. Chatterjee and one room which was vacated by Miss Tara Gupta are also in the possession of the petitioner.' The implication of this observation appears to be that the Rent Controller was of the view that the petitioner had the said three room which were vacated by J.N. Chatterjec and Miss Tara Gupta, in addition to the other rooms mentioned above. Before me it is admitted by the counsel for the respondents that this is not so. The rooms vacated by Sh. Jn Chatterjee and Miss Tara Gupta are included in the eight rooms the use of which has been shown by the petitioner. The Rent Controller further held that the ground regarding Section 14A of the Act was not pressed before him and in any event it was the petitioner's husband who was in government service and as such no cause of action for invoking the said provisions was available to the petitioner. After taking note of the petitioner's submissions that the premises at Darya Ganj owned by the petitioner's husband were being used for commercial purposes by her married son, the Rent Controller hold that the petitioner's husband could not be deemed as being dependent upon the petitioner for the purposes of accommodation. According to the Rent Controller this accommodation could meet the requirement of the married son. He further observed that the fact that the premises at Darya Ganj were being used for commercial purposes, and not for residence, showed that the need of the petitioner in the present eviction petitions was not bonafide. He further held that the lack of bonafides was also established by the fact that, though seven eviction petitions had been filed, the petitioner withdrew petitions against certain tenants. According to the Rent Controller, Miss Tara Gupta was a tenant in respect of six rooms, three of which were in the ground floor. He held that there was no reason to withdraw the petition against Tara Gupta as the need of the petitioner could have been met by her eviction. The petition was withdrawn after Miss Tara Gupta had surrendered one room to the petitioner. According to the Rent Controller the surrender of one room and the withdrawal of petition against Miss Tara Gupta showed that the need of the petitioner had been met by the room which was vacated by Miss Tara Gupta and if that was not so the eviction petition against her would not have been withdrawn. The Rent Controller ultimately came to the conclusion that though it was a choice of the landlady to seek the eviction of any of the tenants but such a choice should be genuine, honest and should not be malafide. Having come to the conclusion that the claim of the petitioner was not bonafide the Rent Controller dismissed the eviction petitions.

(5) Before me the first contention urged by the learned counsel for the petitioner was that the petitioner had not given up her ground under Section 14-A. Even if this be so, the petitioner cannot invoke the provisions of Section 14-A. Section 14-A can be invoked by those landlords to whom residential premises have been allotted by the government. In the present case residential premises were not allotted to the landlady. The allotment by the government was in favor of her husband and not in her favor. She obviously, thereforee, cannot invoke provisions of Section 14-A of the Act.

(6) It was next contended that the Rent Controller erred in coming to the conclusion that the claim of the petitioner for eviction was not bonafide. The petitioner is correct in contending that the premises which wee available at Darya Ganj could not be taken into consideration while decidinrg the need of the petitioner. It is true that the petitioner's husband had the vacant possession of the said premises. The Rent Controller has not found as a fact that the need of the petitioner and her entire family could be met by occupying the premises at Darya Ganj. It was wrong for the Rent Controller to suggest that these premises could meet the requirements of the married son of the petitioner. This seems to suggest that the petitioner should be compelled to disrupt the family. The petitioner has always lived along with the members of the family. She is entitled to say that this family should not be disrupted. The need under Section 14(l)(d) is to beseen of the family as one unit. It is now well established that it is for the landlord to select the premises where he wants to reside. Without doubt the whole family could not be accommodated in the house at Darya Ganj. As this is so the Rent Controller misdirected himself in taking the said premises into consideration for the purposes of adjudging the need of the landlady.

(7) The learned counsel for the petitioner has referred to a number of other infirmities in the order of the Rent Controller. The Rent Controller has not considered as to whether the need of the petitioner for additional accommodation in the house in question was genuine or not. In judging the need the Rent Controller ought not to have gone by the number of rooms which were in the occupation of the landlady. It is no doubt true that the number of rooms with the landlady were eight but the Rent Controller, however, observed that out of these eight rooms three rooms were being used for purposes of store and one room was being used as a bath room. The size of the remaining rooms is also not so big as to accommodate the members of her family comfortably. It has been held in Krishan Kumar v. Vimla Sehgal 1976 R.C.R. 249, that no one can say that when the landlord requires one separate room for each member of his family such a requirement is unreasonable. It was further observed that the landlord could not be asked that he must somehow put up within the limited accommodation in his possession. In the present case the need of the family has not been adjudged by the Rent Controller after having hold that the family of the petitioner consists of seven adult members.

(8) It is contended by the learned counsel for the respondents that the finding of the Rent Controller are pure findings of fact and, while exercising revisional jurisdiction they should not be interfered with. The findings of fact arrived at by the Rent Controller are ordinarily not interfered with, but if it is found that there has been some material irregularity in the order of the Rent Controller then the court would be justified in interfering with such an order, In the present case, while deciding the eviction applications, the Rent Controller did not consider the status and background of the family, nor had he taken into consideration the need of the family, he also over- looked the health of the landlady which required additional accommodation only on the ground floor. The Rent Controller also did not take into consideration that the court has held in Krishan Kumar's case (supra) that the landlord was entitled to ask for one room for each child and in Shri Krishan Chand Chopra v. Shri Satya Paul Chaddha and another, 1974 R.C.R. 578it was held that the requirement of the landlord and his family of having a separate room for dining and sitting could not be termed as whimsical or fanciful.

(9) The mere fact that the petitioner withdrew her eviction petition against Miss Tara Gupta does not mean that her need was satisfied by Miss Tara Gupta surrendering one room. The petitioner's husband was examined in this case. No question was put to him as to why the petitioner had withdrawn cases against other tenants including Miss. Tara Gupta. Without this being put to him the Rent Controller cannot presume that the petitioner's demand for additional accommodation have been satisfied. It may be that the landlady agreed to withdraw the . eviction petition on Miss Tara Gupta surrendering one room rather than -to continue to fight litigation in a hope that ultimately orders of eviction would be passed a against Miss Tara Gupta in respect of the entire premises. Moreover, it was always open to the landlady to choose against which tenant to proceed for eviction. It is possible that the petitioner did not consider the rooms in the occupation of Miss Tara Gupta as useful as the rooms in the occupation of other tenants against whom she proceeded. Merely, thereforee, because the petitioner withdrew her eviction petition against Miss Tara Gupta the Rent Controller fell in error in concluding that the petitioner's need had been fulfillled and the present eviction petitions were not filed bonafide.

(10) The learned counsel has also relied upon Nanalal Goverdhandas & Co. and others v. Smt. Samratbai Lilachand Shah : AIR1981Bom1 , and contended that the bonafide requirement was a state of mind and, thereforee, must be deposed to by the person who is requiring the premises namely the landlord himself. In that case it was held that if the landlord does not step into the witness-box to bring before the Court legal evidence for proving his requirement, then it could not be said that he reasonably and bonafide requires the premises. It was further observed therein that the landlord could delegate the authority to someone else to conduct the case but he could not delgate the duty to depose. With due respect I am unable to agree with the aforesaid observations. To my mind the bonafide requirement cannot be regarded as a state of mind. Whether the premises are required bonafide or not cannot be wholly left to the subjective satisfaction of the landlord. It is to be seen objectively by the court on the evidence produced before it, as to whether the landlord bonafide requires the accommodation in the occupation of the tenants or not. There is nothing in the Rent Control Act which suggests that the landlord must step into the witness box. It is open to the landlord to lead any evidence which he chooses in order to substantiate his averments that he bonafide requires the premises for his own residence. A similar objection, of the landlord not appearing in the witness box was also taken before this court in Khurshid Haider and others v. Mst. Zubeda Begum, 15 (1979) Dlt 233 but without success. In my view, thereforee, if the admitted facts on the record show that the need of the landlady was bonafide then she would be entitled to order of eviction even if she has not appeared in the witness box. The next question which arises is as to what is the bonafide requirement of the petitioner and against whom, if at all, the order of eviction should be passed.

(11) According to the petitioner apart from one dining room and one drawing room the petitioner and her husband, her two daughters were entitled to one bed room each. This would be in addition to kitchen and a bath room. According to this calculation the petitioner wants five bed rooms in addition to dining room, drawing room, kitchen and bath room. Even if the two daughters can live together, both being unmarried, it will not be unreasonable fur the landlady to ask for one bed room for herself, one for her daughters, one for married son and one for the unmarried son in addition to drawing room and a dining room. It is not disputed that at the present moment this extent of accommodation is not available with the petitioner. Out of the eight rooms in her possession one room is one room is being used as a bath room and as a kitchen. The area of one room which is being used as building store is 5' X 8'. This obviously cannot be used for living. Another store room is of the size of 7' X 8'. This again only can be used as a store and not for purposes of living. Then there is a large room of the size of 5' X 9' which is being used as a provision store. This could, possibly, be converted into a living room. If this be so the minimum additional requirement of the petitioner, to my mind, would be of two rooms. In the main building, out of the seven rooms, the petitioner is in occupation of five rooms, two rooms measuring 8 feet X 14 feet and 8 feet X 10 feet are in the occupation of Mr. Vinod Kumar Dubey. If the petitioner gets the possession of these two rooms, to my mind, her need for extra accommodation would be met. As it is, before the Rent Controller, the petitioner had offered not to press the eviction petition against Dig Vijay Pal Singh if her petitions against Babu Ram and Vinod Kumar Dubey were allowed. Taking into consideration the requirement of the petitioner, the rooms in the occupation of Vinod Kumar Dubey would be more suitable to her and with her getting the possession of these two rooms her requirement would be satisfied. This would mean that she would be entitled to anorder of eviction against Vinod Kumar Dubey and her eviction petitions against Babu Ram and Dig Vijay Singh must fail.

(12) For the aforesaid reasons Civil Revision Nos. 81 and 82 are dismissed but Civil Revision No. 80 of 1980 is allowed and the order of the Rent Controller in so far as the petitioner's eviction petition against Vinod Kumar Dubey was dismissed is quashed. The orders of eviction are passed against Vinod Kumar Dubey. He is, however, given six months time with effect from today to vacate the premises. The parties to bear their own costs.


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