Skip to content


international B. and F. Co. Vs. J.S. Rikhy - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 253 of 1984
Judge
Reported inAIR1985Delhi338; 1985RLR81b
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act - Sections 14A
Appellantinternational B. and F. Co.
RespondentJ.S. Rikhy
Advocates: P.R. Mridul,; C.L. Sarin,; Swatantar Kumar,;
Cases ReferredSarwan Singh v. Kasturi Lal
Excerpt:
.....had no locus standi to institute the petition, the respondent was not the exclusive or the sole owner of the property in question and at best he is owner of a limited share and thereforee only an owner of partial property and thereforee the provisions of section 14a dp not apply. the respondent bad not obtained the letters of administration or probate or succession certificate on the basis of the alleged will and .10 the absence of the same, the respondent had no legal right to invoke s. the respondent was to retire within a period of ten years and the premises will be required by the owner as he would like to stay with respondent in those premises. 14a was introduced by amending act 18 of 1976. a reading of the said section discloses that a right to recover immediate possession of..........additional rent controller delhi u/s 14(a) of the act. (2) the respondent owner landlord of the premises filed , petition u/s 14a of the act. [paras 18 (a) & 19 are then reproduced] (3) along with the petition, the petitioner filed numerous documents including photo stat copy of the will of his late father, photo stat copy of the regd. relinquishment deed dated 27.11.1982, lease deed dated 27.11.1982, death certificate of the father of the respondent death certificate of the mother of the respondent carbon copies of the letters dated 14.6.1v83 and 12.3.1983 sent by the respondent to the petitioner, letter of d.s.e.. northern railway of march 1983 to the respondent regarding recovery of enhanced penal rent from 9.4.1982 as per railway board's letter dated 23.9.1976, letter of.....
Judgment:

N.N. Goswamy, J.

(1) This revision petition by the tenant- company u/s 25B(8) of the Delhi Rent Control Act ('the Act') is directed against the eviction order dated 4.2.1984 passed by the Additional Rent Controller Delhi u/s 14(A) of the Act.

(2) The respondent owner landlord of the premises filed , petition u/s 14A of the Act. [Paras 18 (a) & 19 are then reproduced]

(3) Along with the petition, the petitioner filed numerous documents including photo stat copy of the Will of his late father, photo stat copy of the regd. relinquishment deed dated 27.11.1982, lease deed dated 27.11.1982, death certificate of the father of the respondent death certificate of the mother of the respondent carbon copies of the letters dated 14.6.1V83 and 12.3.1983 sent by the respondent to the petitioner, letter of D.S.E.. Northern Railway of March 1983 to the respondent regarding recovery of enhanced penal rent from 9.4.1982 as per Railway Board's letter dated 23.9.1976, letter of Divisional Superintendent dated 11.3,1983 sent to the respondent asking him to vacate government accommodation else penal rent will be charged. Letter of Divisional Railway Manager Northern Railway dated 25.7.1983 demanding enhanced penal rent from the respondent affidavits of the daughters of late father of the respondent letter dated 29.11.1982 sent by the respondent to the petitioner along with registration receipt and A.D. receipt asking for vacating the premises, letter dated 23.10.1982 of the petitioner addressed to the respondent and letter dated 29.9.1982 sent by the respondent to the petitioner asking him to vacate. Thereafter the respondent filed some further documents including the circulars of the Government regarding the owners of the property to vacate the official accommodation, the correspondence exchanged between the parties, photo stat copy of the letter of Mcd regarding the mutation of property in dispute in favor of the respondent photo stat copy of house tax receipt, letter of Personnel Officer, Northern Railway, addressed to the Accounts Officer regarding (he retirement of the respondent according to which the respondent was to retire on 31.3.1984 on attaining the age of superannuation and the memorandum of family settlement arrived at between the members of the respondent-family. The respondent filed yet another document dated 1.2.1984 being a notice issued by the Northern Railway to the respondent whereby he was called upon to pay a penal rent of Rs. 4412.50 w.e.f. 1.8.1954 if he does not vacate the premises earlier. The petitioner-tenant filed an application u/s 25B(4)(5) of the Act for leave to contest the petition. In the affidavit filed along with the application, it was alleged that the documents filed by the respondent were manipulated, the respondent had no locus standi to institute the petition, the respondent was not the exclusive or the sole owner of the property in question and at best he is owner of a limited share and thereforee only an owner of partial property and thereforee the provisions of section 14A dp not apply. It is further alleged in the affidavit that the relinquishment deed did not pass any title to the respondent. The respondent bad not obtained the letters of administration or probate or succession certificate on the basis of the alleged will and .10 the absence of the same, the respondent had no legal right to invoke S. 14A of the Act. It is further stated in the affidavit that the premises were leased out to the petitioner u/s 21 of the Act and as such the provisions of S 14A of the Act were not applicable till the expiry of the period u/s 21 which was in the nature of a decree. It has also been alleged in the affidavit that the premises were let for residential-cum-commercial purposes and the bona-fide requirement of the landlord was no ground for getting eviction. It is also alleged that on the date of the petition, the respondent was owning bids own house in Vasant Vihar on plot No. E 9/12.

(4) The respondent-landlord filed a counter affidavit wherein he reiterated his averment in the petition and denied the allegations in the application filed by the tenant. It was pleaded that the respondent had no title or interest left in the Vasant Vihar house since the same transferred to his brother by a valid gift and was the premises had been let out to an Embassy by his brother exclusively.

(5) The learned Add. Controller went into details and came to the conclusion that the tenant had no right to challenge the legality and validity of the Will and the family arrangement having been arrived at between the respondent and other members of his family. Relying on the documents filed by the respondent it was held that he was the owner or in any case a joint owner of the property in dispute and as such had full right to seek eviction u/s 14A of the Act. The pleas taken up by the tenant were found to be vague and false. Accordingly the leave to defend was refused and eviction order was passed.

(6) In this petition by the tenant, I had beard the learned counsel, for the parties at length and was taken through the documents on record. It is an admitted fact that the premises in dispute were leased out to the petitioner-company u/s 21 of the Act in 1977 for a period of ten years. The reason for entering into the said lease, as stated before the Rent Controller was that the son of the owner i.e. the respondent was to retire within a period of ten years and the premises will be required by the owner as he would like to stay with respondent in those premises. The father of the respondent died on 16.3.1980. He left a will dated 20.2.1977. According to the Will, the house in dispute was to be inherited by his widow and after her death by the two sons namely the respondent and his brother S.S. Rikhy. The widow died on 9.11.1982, thus the respondent and his brother became the joint owners of the house in question. They arrived at a family settlement. Accordingly by a registered relinquishment deed dated 27.1l.l982 S.S. Rikhy relinquished all his rights and title in the property in favor of the respondent. In turn the respondent executed a registered gift deed whereby he gifted his plot No. E-9/12, Vasant Vihar to his brother S.S.Rikhy. The will executed by the father of the respondent cannot be disputed by the petitioner- tenant inasmuch as the petitioners themselves had asked the respondent to furnish the necessary documents to them in order to enable them to pay the rent in future to the respondent. The necessary documents with no objection certificate were duly furnished by the respondent and admittedly the petitioner- tenant started paying rent to the respondent and kept on doing so right from 1982 till the present petition was filed. In any case such an argument is not available to the tenant in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in Kanta Gael V. B.P. Pathak 1977 (2) S.C. 814. That was also a case u/s 14A of the Act and contention of the learned counsel for the tenant was that he had no opportunity to establish his challenge to the Will on the basis of which the ownership was claimed by the landlord. It was observed in para 8 : 'Shri Nariman urged that the will had not been proved and that he had not been given an opportunity to establish his challenge of the will of Shai Dass. In the High Court the other Co-heirs were parties and there is nothing on record to show that they objected to the claim of the 1st respondent to the first floor on the strength of the will from his father. Ah objection for the sake of an objection which has no realistic foundation, cannot be entertained seriously for the sake of processual punctiliousness. We do not agree With the contention.'

(7) In the present case not only all the heirs of the last owner were parties to the petition but they also filed their replies to the petition of eviction and affidavits wherein they admitted the claim of the respondent to the extent that he was the sole owner of the property.

(8) The contention of the learned counsel, for the petitioner, was that the property having been leased out to the petitioner u/s 21 of the Act, no proceedings could be taken u/s 14A of the Act till the period, fur which the property had been let, had expired. This contention has obviously no force for the simple reason that S. 25B of the Act was enacted after the provisions of S. 21 existed and it was provided that every application by a landlord for the recovery of possession of any premises on the ground specified in S. 14(1)(e) or u/s 14A shall be dealt with in accordance with the procedure specified in this section. S. 14A was introduced by Amending Act 18 of 1976. A reading of the said section discloses that a right to recover immediate possession of the premises accrues to certain persons if the requisite conditions are satisfied. The section came up for interpretation in B.N. Muttoo v. Dr. T.K. Nandi, : [1979]2SCR409 . It was held that the requisite conditions for invoking section 14A were : (1) the landlord must be in occupation of any residential premises allotted to him by the Central Government or any local authority and (2) such landlord is required by a general or special order made by the Government or authority to vacate such residential accommodation or in default to incur certain obligations on the ground that he owns in urban territory of Delhi a residential accommodation either in his own name or in the name of his wife or dependent child. The section does not require that the person who is in occupation of the accommodation should be a government servant. It is necessary that person is required by the Govt. of authority to vacate such accommodation imposing certain consequences in the event of his not vacating.

(9) It is further stated in the section itself that this provision will be applicable notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in this Act or in any other law for the time being in force or in any contract (whether express or implied) custom or usage to the contrary, right to recover immediate possession of any premises let out by him. A mere reading of the section makes it clear that any such agreement entered into between the parties prior to the general or special instructions of the government asking the owner to vacate the premises will be no bar to the owner to ask for eviction u/s 14A of the Act. The contention of the learned counsel, for the petitioner that an order u/s 21 amounts to a decree and as such no second decree for eviction could be passed, has also no merit since the term 'decree' used in certain authorities cannot be equated with the decrees under the C. P.C. It remains an order and of course it is executable as a decree.

(10) The only other contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner was that if has not been proved that the respondent was the sole owner of the property and as such his contentions in the affidavit annexed to the application for leave to defend did disclose triable issues and leave should have been granted by the Addl. Controller. As I have already said the documents on record including the relinquishment deed executed by Shri. S. Rikhy in favor of the respondent the gift deed executed by the respondent with respect to his plot in Vasant Vihar and the document showing that the house in Vasant Vihar was let to the Embassy by S.S. Rikhy. I am of the opinion that it is not open to the petitioners to raise such pleas particularly when all heirs of Hans Rai Rikhy, the brother of the respondent have sworn affidavits to the effect that the respondent is the sole owner of the property in question and they have no right, title or interest in the said property. The statements made by all the heirs are against their own interest and I do not find any reason to doubt the same.

(11) It was also not disputed by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the respondent has retired from service since 31.3.1984 and he was in occupation of the government premises. Proceedings under Public Premises Act have already been taken against the respondent and he has been asked to pay a rent of more than Rs. 4, 000/- per month w.e.f. 1.8.1984 till he vacates the premises. In the circumstances, granting of leave? would amount to putting the respondent on road because admittedly there is no other accommodation available to the respondent at this point of time. Strong reliance was placed by the learned counsel for the petitioner on the case of Precision Steel & Eng Works v. Prem Deva Niranjan Deva Tayal Air 1882 SC. 1518. That was essentially a case u/s 14(1)(e) read with S. 25B of the Act. The Supreme Court itself drew distinction between sections 14(1)(e) and 14A of the Act by observing that the two provisions can be ill-compared inasmuch as in cases u/s 14A the landlord on ceasing to be a Govt servant is likely to be on the road. This observations was made after referring to the observation from Sarwan Singh v. Kasturi Lal : [1977]2SCR421 . Those observations fully apply to the facts of the present case inasmuch as the respondent has admittedly retired and proceedings for eviction have been initiated against him regarding the government premises which he is at present occupying. Besides the eviction proceedings, he has to pay more than Rs. 4000/- p.m. towards penal rent for those premises which a retired govt. servant can ill-afford. As regards the issue of ownership being a triable issue it may be observed that in view of the unimpeachable documents such as the mutation of the house in favor of the respondent the registered relinquishment deed, the registered gift deed and the affidavits of all heirs of Hans Raj I Rikhy, the issue no longer can be said to be a triable issue and the learned Addl. Controller was fully justified in refusing leave to contest the eviction petition.

(12) The requirement of S. 14A of the Act are fully satisfied in this case. The respondent is admittedly occupying the Government premises, besides the general instructions as noticed by their lordships of the Supreme Court in the cases referred to above, there are special instructions in the present case. A letter dated 11.3.1983 was issued by the Divisional Manager to the respondent informing him that since he was owning the house in Delhi he should either vacate the Govt accommodation else penal rent as per rules will be recoverred. By another letter of March 1983, the respondent was asked to pay one over half of the market rent amounting to Rs. 305.35 per month which was to be recovered w.e.f. 9.11.1982 i.e. the date the respondent acquired ownership of the house in question. By yet another letter dated 25.7.1983 the respondent was informed that due to upward revision of the rent a sum of Rs. 359.45 p.m. would be recovered. All these documents were filed along with the petition for eviction.

(13) The respondent was also served with the letter dated 18.1.1984 and letter dated 1.2.1984 from the Divisional Superintendent (Engineering) and Divisional Railway Manager respectively. These letters were also placed on record before the Addl. Controller. By the first letter, the respondent was informed that w.e.f. 1.6.1984 to 31.7.1984 he will have to pay the rent at Rs. 635/- per month i.e. the full market rent. He was, however, informed that no further permission for retention of the Govt premises will be granted and proceedings will be initiated for eviction under P.P.E. Act, 1971. He was also informed that the payment of settlement dues (D.C.R.G.) will not be made to him till the vacation of the Govt. premises. By letter dated 1.2.1984 the respondent was informed that if the government accommodation was retained beyond 31.7.1984, the respondent will be liable to pay Rs. 4412.50 p.m. as penal rent for the premises. He was advised in his own interest to vacate the railway accommodation before the 31.7.84 The counsel, for the petitioner contended during the course of arguments of the case as also by an application filed after the conclusion of the arguments that the letters had been manipulated and were issued at the instance of the respondent. He wanted roe to come to the-conclusion that the letters by the Senior Officers of the Railway were manipulated, the family settlement deed, the, registered relinquishment deed and the registered gift deed were executed only in order to evict the petitioner. This is, in my opinion, a far fetched argument which cannot possibly be accepted. The respondent would not pay such high penal rent unless he was compelled by the circumstances to do so.

(14) The petitioner is a limited company which can well afford to hire premises even if it has to pay a little higher rent and as against that the respondent who is a retired Govt servant cannot be expected to pay either the penal rent or hire other premises at an exhorbitant rent. The only fault of the respondent seems to be that he owns the house which has been let out to a cantankerous tenant who is not willing to accommodate the landlord when his needs are genuine and bona fide. Petition dismissed.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //