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C.L. Nagpal Vs. Dharam Pal Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 275 of 1972
Judge
Reported in27(1985)DLT12; 1985(8)DRJ229
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 15(1)
AppellantC.L. Nagpal
RespondentDharam Pal Singh and ors.
Advocates: B.N. Nayar,; Sudha Srivastava and; N.S. Jain, Advs
Cases ReferredB.P.N. Shrivastava v. Smt. Poori Bai
Excerpt:
delhi rent control act - section 15(1)--'months by monlhs' meant the tenancy month and not the english calendar month. controller has power to condone delay. - - (9) the only contention which has been raised before us by shri nayar is that the decision of the tribunal to the effect that delay in depositing the 'rent pursuant to an order having been passed under section 15(1) cannot be condoned is no longer good law in view of the decision of the supreme court in the case of ram murti v. with respect, the observations in hem chand's case [1978]1scr241 ,expressing the view that the rent controller has no power to extend the time prescribed in section 15(1) cannot be construed to mean that he is under a statutory obligation to pass an order for eviction of the tenant under section..........area, karol bagh, new delhi, against the order of eviction which was passed against him by the rent controller and upheld by the tribunal.(2) the short question of law which arises in this case is whether the rent controller has the power to condone the delay in depositing the rent pursuant to an order having been passed under section 15(1) of the delhi rent control act, 1958 (hereinafter referred to as 'the act').(3) shri nagpal (hereinafter referred to as 'the tenant') was occupying the aforesaid premises in question on a monthly rent of rs. 60.00 . on 18th july, 1969 the respondents filed an application for eviction of the tenant, inter alia, on the ground that the tenant, had defaulted in payment of rent. it was also pleaded that he had caused substantial damage to the premises.....
Judgment:

B.N. Kirpal, J.

(1) This is an appeal which was filed by Shri C.L. Nagpal, who was a tenant of a part of the premises bearing No. 8, Park Area, Karol Bagh, New Delhi, against the order of eviction which was passed against him by the Rent Controller and upheld by the Tribunal.

(2) The short question of law which arises in this case is whether the Rent Controller has the power to condone the delay in depositing the rent pursuant to an order having been passed under Section 15(1) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act').

(3) Shri Nagpal (hereinafter referred to as 'the tenant') was occupying the aforesaid premises in question on a monthly rent of Rs. 60.00 . On 18th July, 1969 the respondents filed an application for eviction of the tenant, inter alia, on the ground that the tenant, had defaulted in payment of rent. It was also pleaded that he had caused substantial damage to the premises by making unauthorised construction. The allegations were denied by the tenant. However, on 16th October, 1969 the Rent Controller, Delhi passed an order under Section 15(1) of the Act directing the tenant to deposit the arrears of rent at the rate of Rs. 60.00 per month with effect from September 20, 1968 up to date within one month of the order and also to deposit future rent month by month by the 15th day of each following month.

(4) Thereafter the respondents filed an application under Section 15(7) of the Act, inter alia, contending that the aforesaid order dated 16th October, 1969 had not been complied with and the defense of the tenant should be struck off. The tenant, however, contended th

(5) By order dated 3rd February, 1970 the Rent Controller, Delhi dismissed the aforesaid application under Section 15(7) of the Act. He held that there had been compliance with the order under Section 15(1) of the Act which had been passed by him earlier. The respondents-landlords filed an appeal against the said order. The said appeal was dismissed by order dated 20th August, 1970. The Rent Control Tribunal held that the default was not contumacious or willful and, thereforee, the defense was not liable to be struck out.

(6) The eviction petition was ultimately decided by Mrs. Santosh Duggal, the then Rent Controller, Delhi. She held that the tenancy of the premises in question was from 20th to the 19th of the next English calendar month and the tenant had not complied with the orders pasted under Section 15(1) and, thereforee, the landlords were entitled to the recovery of possession of the premises under Section 14(l)(a) of the Act. An appeal was filed against the said decision. It was contended before the Tribunal that the decision of the Rent Controller was not correct and there had in fact not been any default committed by the tenant. Reliance was also placed on the earlier decisions of the Rent Controller and the Rent Control Tribunal and it was also contended that the earlier decision was final and the said question could not be re-agitated.

(7) The Rent Control Tribunal, by his order dated 1st September, 1972 came to the conclusion that it was open to the landlords to contend that even though defense under Section 15(7) need not had- been struck off but still there had been a non-compliance with the order under Section 15(1) and, thereforee, the order of eviction had to follow. The Tribunal further held that the Controller or the Tribunal itself had no jurisdiction to condone the delay or extend the time for the purposes of the provisions contained in Section 14(2) of the Act in view of a Full Bench decision of this Court in the case of Delhi Cloth & General Mills Co. Ltd. v. Hem Chand and Ors. : AIR1972Delhi275 .

(8) Being aggrieved, the present appeal was filed by the tenant. Vide order dated 22nd January, 1975 B.C. Misra, J. observed that the question raised in this appeal affected a large number of cases and it was a fit case where the case should be referred to a larger Bench. On the reference being made, the case has now been placed before this Bench for decision. Before dealing with the merits of the case, it may here be noted that during the pendency of this appeal Shri C.L. Nagpal died and vide an order dated 22nd April, 1981 his widow was substituted as an appellant as his legal representative.

(9) The only contention which has been raised before us by Shri Nayar is that the decision of the Tribunal to the effect that delay in depositing the 'rent pursuant to an order having been passed under Section 15(1) cannot be condoned is no longer good law in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Ram Murti v.Bhola Nath and Anrs. : AIR1984SC1392 . The learned counsel for the respondents, on the' other hand, has contended that the decision of the Supreme Court in Hem Chand v. Delhi Cloth & General Mills Co. Ltd. and Anrs. : [1978]1SCR241 correctly lays down the proposition of law and that if a default has been committed pursuant to an order having been passed under Section 15(1), the landlord gets a right to evict the tenant and there can be no further extension to time. It is further contended by the leaned counsel that in Ram Murti's case the Supreme Court has referred to and relied upon an earlier decision in the case of Shyamcharan Sharma v. Dharmadas : [1980]2SCR334 . It was submitted that the Supreme Court has regarded the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Act as being analogous to the provisions of the Delhi Rent Control Act whereas in fact there is a material difference in the two provisions. As such, it was submitted, Shyamcharan's case of no relevance while deciding the question under the Delhi Rent Control Act.

(10) It is no doubt true that the Supreme Court in Hem Chand's case (supra) had, inter alia, observed that if there was a default on the part of the tenant in complying with the requirements of Section 15(1) of the Act then there vested in the landlord an indefeasible right in getting an order in his favor and the Rent Controller was bound to pass an order of eviction under Section 14(1) of the Act and it had no power to condone the delay by the tenant in making payment or deposit of arrears of rent. These observations have, however, been explained by the Supreme Court in Rain Murti's case in the following words:

'WITH respect, the observations in Hem Chand's case : [1978]1SCR241 , expressing the view that the Rent Controller has no power to extend the time prescribed in Section 15(1) cannot be construed to mean that he is under a statutory obligation to pass an order for eviction of the tenant under Section 14(1)(a) without anything more due to the failure of his part to comply with the requirements of Section 15(1). The question would still remain as to' the course to be adopted by the Rent Controller in such a situation in the context of Section 15(7) which confers on the Rent Controller a discretion not to strike out the defense of the tenant in the event of the contingency occurring, namely, failure on the part of the tenant to meet with the requirements of Section 15(1).'

The Supreme Court further observed, while referring to an earlier decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Santosh Mehta v. 0m Prakash : [1980]3SCR325 which was a case concerned with Section 15(7) of the Act, as follows :

'IF the Rent Controller has the discretion under Section 15(7) not to strike out the defense of the tenant, he necessarily has the power to extend the time for payment of future rent under Section 15(1) where the failure of the tenant to make such payment or deposit was due to circumstances beyond his control. The previous decision in Hem Chand's case interpreting Section 15(7) and Section 14(2) in context of Section 15(1) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 although not expressly overruled, cannot stand with the subsequent decision in Shyamcharan's case interpreting the analogous provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Accommodation Control Act, 1961 as it is of a larger Bench.'

(11) There is considerable force in the contention of the learned counsel that the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Act and the Delhi Rent Control Act are materially different. In Shyamcharan's case the Supreme Court was concerned with the construction of Section 13(1) of the Madhya Pradesh Act, 1961. The relevant portion of the said provision reads as follows: '13.(1) On a suit of proceeding being instituted by the landlord on any of the grounds referred to in Section 12, the tenant shall, within one month of the service of the writ of summons on him or within such further time as the Court may, on an application made to it, allow in this behalf, deposit in the Court or pay to the landlord an amount calculated at the rate of rent at which it was paid, for the period for which the tenant may have made default including the period subsequent thereto up to the end of the month previous to that in which the deposit or payment is made and shall thereafter continue to deposit or pay, month by month; by the 15th of each succeeding month a sum equivalent to the rent at that rate.' The learned counsel contends that whereas under the Madhya Pradesh Act Section 13(1) gives the Court an express power to allow further time to the tenant to make a deposit, under the provisions of Section 15(1) and Section 14(2) of the Delhi Rent Control Act the Court has been given no such power. It is not proper for us to go into this question, however attractive the argument may appear because we are bound by the decision of the Supreme Court in Ram Murti's case (supra) wherein the Supreme Court has observed that when an order under Section 15(1) has been passed the Rent Controller still has the power to condone the delay in making the deposit. We are also bound by the observations of the Supreme Court to the effect that the provisions of the Delhi Rent Control Act and of the Madhya Pradesh Act were analogous. This being so, the only conclusion which is possible is that, following the Supreme Court decision in Ram Murti's case, the Tribunal erred in coming to the conclusion that it had no jurisdiction to condone the delay.

(12) The other question which was referred to the larger Bench is as to what is the meaning of the expression 'month by month' occurring in Section 15(1) of the Act. This question is no longer rest Integra in view of the decision of a Bench of this Court in the case of B.P.N. Shrivastava v. Smt. Poori Bai : AIR1981Delhi344 . In that case it has been held that the expression 'month by month' meant the tenancy month and not the , English calendar month.

(13) For the aforesaid reasons the appeal is allowed. The case is remanded to the Rent Control Tribunal, who will decide the case afresh on merits. The parties are directed to appear before the Rent Control Tribunal for further orders on 20th February, 1985. Parties to bear their own costs.


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