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Gurbachan Singh Vs. Raj Paul - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 17 of 1978
Judge
Reported in19(1981)DLT258; 1981(2)DRJ109
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 14(1)
AppellantGurbachan Singh
RespondentRaj Paul
Advocates: P.P. Juneja,; S.T. Singh and; Anjna Kalia, Advs
Cases ReferredPhiroze Bamanji Desai v. Chandrakant M. Patel and
Excerpt:
delhi rent control act, 1958 - section 14(1)(e): landlord residing in the house owned by his daughter-in-law, who is residing abroad, files eviction petition on the ground that it is inconsistent with his self-respect to continue to reside in premises owned by his daughter-in-law & that he has no other reasonably suitable residential accommodation.; the appellant has no claim and cannot enforce any legal right to remain in occupation of the premises belonging to his daughter-in-law and thereforee this house is not a reason-ably suitable accommodation. eviction petition allowed. - - ' in the present case the appellant-landlord is at best in occupation of the premises owned by his daughter-in-law on leave and license basis......is residing which belongs to his daughter-in-law. as. such, the petitioner has no other reasonably suitable residential accommodation. the petitioner or any of his family member does not own nor are they in occupation of any other residential accommodation.'(2) the respondent contested the eviction application on various grounds but the additional rent controller, as already stated, passed an order of eviction under section 14(l)(e) of the act holding that the appellant is the owner of the suit premises, that the premises were let for residential purposes, that he bona fide requires the suit premises for his own residence and that he has no other reasonably suitable residential accommodation. on appeal, the rent control tribunal held that the appellant was the owner of the suit premises.....
Judgment:

Sultan Singh, J.

(1) This second appeal on behalf of the landlord under section 39 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (hereinafter called 'the Act') is directed against the judgment and order dated 7th November, 197/ of the Rent Control Tribunal, Delhi, reversing the judgment and order dated 3rd April, 1976 of the Additional Re 'nt Controller and finally dismissing the appellant's application for eviction of the respondent under Section 14(l)(e) of the Act. The appellant inducted the respondent as a tenant in his house No. 49, Block No. 'A', Lajpat Nagar 1st, New Delhi, on 1st August, 1970, at Rs. 250.00 per month. He filed an eviction application, out of which this second appeal has arisen on 20th May, 1974. The ground of eviction is worded as follows:-

'THATthe premises in suit were let to the respondent-tenant for residential purposes and the same are required bona fide by the petitioner-landlord for occupation as residence for himself and for other members of his family dependent on him. The petitioner-landlord is the owner of the premises. The petitioner has four members of his family. He has been living in the house which belongs to his daughter-in-law. On account of some family dispute the daughter-in-law, who is the owner of the premises in which he is residg is pressing hard the petitioner to vacate the said premises, and it is inconsistent with the self-respect and circumstance of the petitioner to continue to reside in the premises in which he is residing which belongs to his daughter-in-law. As. such, the petitioner has no other reasonably suitable residential accommodation. The petitioner or any of his family member does not own nor are they in occupation of any other residential accommodation.'

(2) The respondent contested the eviction application on various grounds but the Additional Rent Controller, as already stated, passed an order of eviction under Section 14(l)(e) of the Act holding that the appellant is the owner of the suit premises, that the premises were let for residential purposes, that he bona fide requires the suit premises for his own residence and that he has no other reasonably suitable residential accommodation. On appeal, the Rent Control Tribunal held that the appellant was the owner of the suit premises and that the premises were let for residential purposes. The Tribunal however, held that the appellant was in possession of the ground floor of the property at Plot No. S-191, Greater Kailash, New Delhi, which house is admittedly owned by the daughter-in-law of the appellant. The Tribunal was of the view that there were no circumstances which prompted the appellant to seek eviction of the respondent and that there was no plea that the accommodation with the appellant on Plot No. S. 191 was not otherwise suitable for his requirement and for his family.

(3) The short question in this case is whether the accommodation with the appellant and his family on the ground floor of the property at Plot No. S-191, Greater Kailash, New Delhi, is not a reaconably suitable residential accommodation with the appellant. It is proved on record that this property belongs to the daughter-in-law of the appellant. The appellant has, no doubt, been residing in this property but it seems to me that he has no right to continue to reside there. He is at the mercy of his daughter-in-law. The daughter-in-law and the son of the appellant are settled in Bangkok but they do not want the appellant to continue to reside in their property. The Tribunal further observed that the daughter-in-law has not been produced as a witness and. thereforee it could not be held that the appellant was not in possession of a reasonably suitable residential accommodation.

(4) Section 14(l)(e) of the Act reads as follows :

'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 ;- (e) that the premises let 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. Explanationn : For the purposes of this clause, 'premises let for residential purposes' include any premises which having been let for use as a residence are, without the consent of the landlord, used incidentally for commercial or other purpose;'

(5) To obtain an order of eviction the landlord has to prove that he is the owner, that the premises were let for residential purposes, that he bona fide requires the premises and that he has no other reasonably suitable residential accommodation. The last two ingredients are inter-dependent. If a landlord has a reasonably suitable residential accommodation, it may be held that his requirement is not bona fide but if the landlord is not in possession of the reasonably suitable residential accommodation, his requirement would be held to be bona fide. The question is what is meant by the words 'landlord does not have other reasonably suitable residential accommodation'. It seems to me that if a landlord has no right to remain in occupation of the existing premises, it cannot be said that he has a reasonably suitable residential accommodation.- The said clause implies three essential things; (1) the landlord must have a legal right to reside in the said accommodation, (2) the residential accommodation must be, in fact, available for occupation and (3) the same must be reasonably suitable for the landlord, (see Smt. Basi Devi v. Faqir Chand: (1971 The Punjab Law -Reporter, Delhi Section, page 19). The first proposition, as mentioned above, shows that the landlord must have a legal right and if he has no legal right, the availability of the accommodation at the mercy of somebody else cannot be held to be a suitable accommodation. If the landlord resides in the premises of others on leave and license basis, it cannot be said that he has a reasonably suitable accommodation. In Pitamber Jethwani and others v.Chaman Lal Narula and another (S.A.O.No. 271 of 1972, decided on 29th March, 1974). T.V.R. Tatachari J, ; as he then was, held that the landlord residing in the house of his mother-in-law has no right to continue in occupation which he can legally enforce. It was further observed that the fact that the landlord had been in occupation for a long lime is immaterial as the said occupation was only permissive. Again, in Shri Parkash Chandra v. Shri Nirpendra Kumar Aggarwal AIR 1971 CJ 474 the son was residing in the house of his father and he had no right to stay in that house. It was held that the son was entitled to the order of eviction with respect to his own property. The Supreme Court in Phiroze Bamanji Desai v. Chandrakant M. Patel and others : [1974]3SCR267 observed, 'If the Truth Bungalow was in occupation of Dr. Bharucha on leave and license, it was obviously not available to the appellant for occupation and it could not be taken into account for negativing the need of the appellant for the ground floor premises.' In the present case the appellant-landlord is at best in occupation of the premises owned by his daughter-in-law on leave and license basis. The respondent-tenant, it seems to me, cannot as such resist the appellant's claim for eviction. The appellant has no claim and cannot enforce any legal right to remain in occupation of the existing premises belonging to his daughter-in-law. Under these circumstances, it appears that the Tribunal was in error in holding that the appellant was in possession of a suitable residential accommodation. It is not necessary for a landlord to prove that the existing accommodation is not suitable for his need and for the need of his family if he has no legal right to continue occupation of the existing premises. It is not suggested that the appellant has any other premises in which he may legally claim occupation.

(6) The learned counsel for the respondent contends that the three letters alleged to have been written by the daughter-in-law from Bangkon to the appellant have not been proved in accordance with law. By these letters the appellant was required to make his own arrangement and to vacate the premises in possession. It appears to me that the appellant has been asked by his daughter-in law to vacate and the appellant does not consider it proper and befitting to his status and self-respect to continue to reside in the premises belonging to his daughter-in-law. There may be various reasons for this. It is the will of the landlord that he may reside in the premises of others on leave and license basis but when he desires to occupy his own house and he has no other house in which he can legally remain in occupation, it seems that it is not necessary for the landlord to produce the owner of the other premises to to depose that such person does not want him to continue to occupy the premises. There is no suggestion that the requirement of the appellant is mala fide. The only allegation is that the appellant is suitably and comfortably accommodated in the house of his daughter-in-law. As already observed, the house of the daughter-in-law is not a reasonably suitable residential accommodation as he has no right to remain in occupation. I, thereforee, hold that the judgment and order of the Rent Control Tribunal is not in accordance with law. The appeal is, thereforee, accepted and the impugned order of the Rent Control Tribunal is set aside. The judgment and order of the Additional Rent Controller dated 3rd April, 1976, passing an order of eviction in favor of the appellant and against the respondent under Sec. 14(l)(e) of the Act is restored.

(7) The learned counsel for the respondent lastly prays that some time be granted to the respondent-tenant to vacate the premises. I grant the respondent two months' time to vacate the premises provided he files an affidavit in this Court within one week undertaking to vacate the entire suit premises and deliver vacate possession thereof to the appellant within a period of two months from today. He should also state in the affidavit that he and his family members alone are in occupation of the suit premises and that nobody else is in occupation. If the affidavit containing the undertaking as above is filed, the order of eviction would not be executable for a period of two months from today. No order as to costs.


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