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Precision Steel and Engineering Works and anr. Vs. Prem Deva Niranjan Deva Tayal (H.U.F.) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 312 of 1980
Judge
Reported in20(1981)DLT420; 1981RLR679
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14(1) and 25B
AppellantPrecision Steel and Engineering Works and anr.
RespondentPrem Deva Niranjan Deva Tayal (H.U.F.)
Advocates: M.C. Bhandare,; P.P. Mittal,; Shanti Bhushan and;
Cases ReferredSmt. V.L. Kashyap v. R.P. Puri I.L.R.
Excerpt:
.....vested in him and has committed illegality and material irregularity in not appreciating that the petitioner had raised contentions which gave rise to triable issues. it is interesting to note that the petitioner-company's head office is in faridabad which is very near to delhi. it is interesting to note that in the affidavit filed in support of the application under section 25-b of the act, petitioner no......portion of a building at b-44, greater kailash, new delhi on the basis of what is called a license-deed. clause (6) of the said license deed reads as under : 'the licensees shall use the said premises for the residence of their directors, partners and officers. the licensees will, however, be free to use the said premises in part or in full also for office purpose provided the rules of the local authorities so permit and in such an event the licensees shall pay to the owners any increase in local taxes, etc. etc. occasioned by such change of use of the said premises from residence to office.'(3) it is said and is not disputed that the license-deed was renewed from time to time right from the first agreement dated september 13, 1971. after september 13, 1974 no fresh license deed was.....
Judgment:

Prakash Narain, A.C.J.

(1) This revision petition is directed against the order of Rent Controller, Delhi, passed on January 23, 1980, declining leave to defend to the petitioner, a tenant in the premises in question, against whom a petition for eviction had been filed by the respondent under clause (e) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, hereinafter referred to as the Act.

(2) It seems the respondent was inducted into the premises in question, being the front portion of a building at B-44, Greater Kailash, New Delhi on the basis of what is called a license-deed. Clause (6) of the said license Deed reads as under :

'THE Licensees shall use the said premises for the residence of their Directors, partners and officers. The Licensees will, however, be free to use the said premises in part or in full also for office purpose provided the rules of the local authorities so permit and in such an event the Licensees shall pay to the owners any increase in local taxes, etc. etc. occasioned by such change of use of the said premises from residence to office.'

(3) It is said and is not disputed that the license-deed was renewed from time to time right from the first agreement dated September 13, 1971. After September 13, 1974 no fresh license deed was executed and no other document was executed between the parties. The petitioner, however, continued to be in occupation of the premises and continued to pay Rs. 2,000.00 p.m. by way of rent.

(4) The respondent filed, as noticed earlier, a petition for eviction of the petitioner on the ground of personal bona fide need invoking clause (e) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 14 of the Act. According to him his family comprised of himself, his wife and two children both grown up. He was originally working for M/s. Ferguson & Company, a firm of Chartered Accountants, at Bombay. He left that firm some time in 1972 and came to Delhi and had intention of settling down in Delhi at that point of time. In May, 1974 he wrote a letter to the petitioner asking them to vacate the house so that he could occupy it himself. The petitioner did not do 80 and kept on putting him off. The respondent in September, 1977 went away to Arabia to find employment and livelihood there. He came back in February, 1978 and it is at that point of time that he finally decided to settle down in Delhi. In consequences, he first approached the petitioner to vacate the house but when they did not do so, he was compelled to file a petition for eviction in September, 1979. As the petition was filed on the ground of bona fide personal need, a prayer was made that the same be tried as summary proceedings, as permitted by the Act. Notice having been served on the petitioner of this application) it applied for leave to defend) as postulated by Section 25-B of the Act. That was the matter which came up before the Rent Controller. After considering the affidavits and documents on the record, the Rent Controller declined to grant leave. Aggrieved, the petitioner has came up to this court contending that the Controller has failed to exercise jurisdiction vested in him and has committed illegality and material irregularity in not appreciating that the petitioner had raised contentions which gave rise to triable issues.

(5) It is not necessary to dilate on the pleadings of the parties at any great length. Suffice it to say that two points really arose for consideration. First, whether the premises in question were let out merely as residential premises or were let out as residential-cum-commercial purposes. As an alternative, it was urged that even if the same are held not to have been let out originally for residential-cum-commercial purposes, the fact that the same have been used as a branch office of the petitioner from the very inception of the tenancy or from the time that the petitioner was inducted into the premises, the knowledge of the respondent should be construed as consent given by the respondent to the premises being used for residential-cum-commercial purposes. Secondly, it was urged that the respondent had alternative reasonable accommodation available to him inasmuch as he was living in premises bearing No. 32, Anand Lok, New Delhi of which he was the owner or coowner and this matter did raise a triable issue.

(6) The Controller had rejected both these contentions. On the question of 32, Anand Lok, New Delhi, the Controller had come to the conclusion that the said premises belonged to the brother of the .respondent and, thereforee, the premises were not available to the respondent as of right. On the first question, namely, the letting purpose, the Controller came to the conclusion that the Master Plan drawn up under the Delhi Development Act showed the area to be residential area and so, it must be held that the purpose of letting was for residential purpose only. The petitioner challenges both these findings before me and says that the Controller has not applied his mind to the correct law or the facts of the case.

(7) I will first take up the question of letting purpose. - It is common case that after September, 1974 there was no fresh license-deed. thereforee, it is doubtful whether clause 6 of the license-deed can be invoked by the petitioner. Assuming, however, that the letting purpose continued even after September, 1974 to be the same, as was mentioned in Clause 6 of the license-deed, we have to read that clause carefully. On a plain reading of the clause which I have already set out earlier, it is apparent that the letting purpose was for residence only. Permission was, however, granted by the landlord to the petitioner to use the premises wholly or in part also for office purposes provided the rules of the local authorities concerned permitted it. If the rules did not permit it, there was no permission under the license-deed. Neither any rule nor bye-law has been pleaded or brought to my notice or to the notice of the Rent Controller which would permit use of the premises in question for office purposes. Indeed, a document has been placed on record by the respondent which pertains to this very building, though its back portion. That document is Exhibit 'R'. The back portion was let out to the Fertiliser Corporation of India. It had applied to the Delhi Development Authority for permission to use the back portion for commercial purpose. The permission was refused and the Fertiliser Corporation of India was advised to take office premises in permitted localities in the same area. thereforee, one has to come to the conclusion that the rules of the local authorities did not permit this building to be used for office purposes. thereforee, the letting purpose was only for residential purposes and the conditional permission granted to use the premises for office cannot be taken advantage of by the petitioner to plead that the original letting was for residential-cum-commercial purposes. Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that this very aspect raises a triable issue and, thereforee, the Controller at this stage should not have gone into evidence and should have granted leave to the petitioner to defend the eviction petition. The argument cannot be accepted. Section 25-B of the Act was enacted by Parliament to give some respite to landlords bona fide needing premises for themselves and not compel them to undergo the trials and tribulations of a full-fledged trial to seek eviction. The legislative intent would be set at naught if documents filed along with an affidavit and referred to in the affidavit are not allowed to be seen and read during summary proceedings. Indeed, the documents filed along with an affidavit, as postulated by sub-section (5) of Section 25-B of the Act would become part of the affidavit. I do not see any infirmity in reference being made to those documents which are referred to in the affidavit in arriving at a correct conclusion in summary proceedings of the type postulated by Chapter Iiia of the Act. The same view has been expressed by another learned Judge in Shri Ramesh Chand. Sharma v. Shri Harpal Singh Sharma 1980 (2) R C J 630: : 18(1980)DLT412 . I, thereforee, hold that there was absolutely no infirmity in the conclusion arrived at by the Controller on the question of what was the letting purpose.

(8) I now come to the alternative submission that there was consent of the respondent inasmuch as the premises in question have been used as office premises of the petitioner from the very inception. In order to appreciate this, first of all, one has to see what the pleadings are. I need not refer to the pleadings in detail. Suffice it to say that the pleadings of the petitioner are not as clear-cut and precise as they should be. What is said is that to the knowledge of Shri Prem Deva, the father of the respondent the premises in question have been used as the Delhi office of the petitioner from the very inception. That pleadings should be clear-cut and precise, particularly in summary proceedings, can hardly be over-emphasised. One need only refer to Smt. V.L. Kashyap v. R.P. Puri I.L.R. 1977(1) Del22. The pleadings really are that it was within the knowledge of Mr.' Prem Deva that the premises in question have been used as office premises also by the petitioner. Knowledge cannot be equated to consent. Furthermore, consent has to be of the owner-landlord and not that of his father or even an attorney. It is interesting to note that the petitioner-company's head office is in Faridabad which is very near to Delhi. The Delhi Office is. presumably, a liasion office. A Director or an officer or a partner of the petitioner can live in the premises in question. That he mentions on the letter-heads that these premises are the Delhi office of the petitioner does not mean that the premises arc actually being used for commercial purposes. It may be a postal address or a contact address. However, all these are matters which need not be commented upon. Suffice it to say that in terms of sub-sections (4) and (5) of Section 25-B of the Act the precise pleadings had to be that there was either initial consent or subsequent consent of the owner-landlord to the use of the premises as office premises also. There is no pleading of subsequent consent. As fay as initial consent is concerned, it dates back to the time of the original license grasnted in September, 1971. That grant was in writing. The use to which the premises could be put is to be found in clause 6 of the license-deed. It is interesting to note that in the affidavit filed in support of the application under Section 25-B of the Act, petitioner No. I has conveniently omitted some portions of Clause 6 of the license-deed. thereforee, when the Rent Controllec came to the conclusion that the. consent, if at all, was in terms of Clause 6 of the license-deed, one cannot say he acted outside his jurisdiction or with such illegality or irregularity that this court should interfere with the order sought to be revised.

(9) I now come to the question of the alternative accommodation. The only alternate accommodation pleaded before me was 32, Anand Lok, New Delhi. The Rent Controller has rightly come to the conclusion that the premises belonged not to the respondent but to his brother. The documents on record show that the lease-deed is in the name of the mother and brother of the respondent. That he is living there is not disputed. The question is whether he is living there as of right. The respondent in his affidavit says that he is living on sufferance. Merely denying that contention does not an ount to a clear-cut pleading in terms of the law laid down by this court so as to raise a triable issue. I, thereforee, find nothing in the case which calls for interference. The revision petition is dismisled with costs. Counsel's fee Rs. 500.00 .


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