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J.P. Goyal Vs. Ajeet Kaur - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy;Contempt of Court
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberContempt Civil Petition Nos. 13 and 41 of 1984
Judge
Reported in27(1985)DLT197
ActsContempt of Court Act, 1971 - Sections 11; Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 - Sections 21
AppellantJ.P. Goyal
RespondentAjeet Kaur
Advocates: J.P. Goyal,; K.S. Bindra and; Ajit Singh, Advs
Cases ReferredSardari Lal v. Ram Rakha
Excerpt:
.....give any cause of action to the petitioner to file a petition under the contempt of courts act. during the course of arguments, strong reliance was placed by the learned counsel for the respondent on babu ram gupta v. ' (6) as regards the calcutta case referred to above, the same is clearly distinguishable as that was a case where there was an undertaking given by the tenant to vacate the premises by a particular date and there was further clause that in case the tenant failed to vacate the premises in question within the prescribed period, the landlord would be entitled to execute the decree for possession. ' but for reasons best known to the tenant it was not sent by regd. the tenant neither sent any notice nor deducted any amount which clearly shows that the repairs were duly..........were not vacated, the landlord filed a petition for warrants of possession in july 1979. the tenant filed certain objections. during the trial of those objections, the addl. rent controller came to the conclusion that the landlord had not given any reasons for creating tenancy for a limited period either in his application or in his statement and as such the petition had to be decided after recording evidence of the parties as regards the requirement of the landlord. he accordingly fixed the case for recording of the petitioner's evidence for 30-5-1980 and for recording evidence of the respondent for 4-7-1980. during the course of the trial, the parties entered into a settlement and an application fur compromise duly signed by the parties and their counsel was filed before the.....
Judgment:

N.N. Goswamy, J.

(1) This order will also dispose of C.C.P.No. 41 of 1984. C.C.P. No. 13 of 1984 has been filed by the landlord while C.C.P. No. 41 of 1984 has been filed by the tenant and these petitions arise out of the same compromise and the statements made by the parties before the Addl. Rent Controller.

(2) The premises in dispute were leased to the respondent under section 21 of the Delhi Rent Control Act for a period of three years commencing from 1-7-1976. The period of tenancy was to expire on 30-6-1979. As the premises were not vacated, the landlord filed a petition for warrants of possession in July 1979. The tenant filed certain objections. During the trial of those objections, the Addl. Rent Controller came to the conclusion that the landlord had not given any reasons for creating tenancy for a limited period either in his application or in his statement and as such the petition had to be decided after recording evidence of the parties as regards the requirement of the landlord. He accordingly fixed the case for recording of the petitioner's evidence for 30-5-1980 and for recording evidence of the respondent for 4-7-1980. During the course of the trial, the parties entered into a settlement and an application fur compromise duly signed by the parties and their counsel was filed before the Addl. Rent Controller. The terms of settlement, according to the application were:-

1.That the parties have settled all their disputes and in terms of the settlement, the respondent/Judgment debtor withdraws her objections and prays that the same be dismissed as withdrawn. She does not object to the submissions made by the decree- holder/petitioner. 2. That she has requested the decree-holder to grant her time to vacate the property and it has been agreed in between the parties that she can continue in the property till 31-12-1983 and will not be forced to vacate the property till then. 3. That the decree-holder/petitioner also agrees not to take possession of the property in suit in the instant proceedings till 31-12-1983 and she will be entitled to continue with her possession till then. 4. That the respondent shall pay to the petitioner compensation/ damages for use and occupation of the premises in question at possession Rs. l,800.00 per month till the date of handing over the the rate of to the petitioner. 5. That the respondent undertakes to comply with the terms of compromise. 6. That the petitioner also undertakes to comply with the terms of the said compromise. 7. That the parties have agreed, as aforesaid, and in terms of the said compromise, respondent/Judgment debtors has no objection for issue of warrant of possession. 8. That the compromise may kindly be recorded accordingly. 9. In the circumstances referred to above, the respondent/Judgment debtor prays that her objection petition be dismissed without any order as to costs.'

In addition to the application referred to above, the parties made their statements before the Addl. Rent Controller. The statement of the tenant Smt. Ajit Kaur was, as under : -

'I have entered into a compromise with D.H. in terms of compromise Ex. Cl which is signed by both the parties. In terms of compromise I undertake to this Hon'ble Court that I shall vacate the premises on or before 31-12-1983. The petitioner has also undertaken not to dispossess me by 31-12-1983. He has further undertaken to carry out annual necessary repairs to the disputed premises every year or in the alternative to pay me or I would be entitled to adjust the sum of Rs. 1800.00 per year on account of annual repairs.'

The landlord also made a statement to the following effect : -

'I have heard the statement of Smt. Ajit Kaur and the same is correct. I am bound by the same. Ex Cl contains the terms of compromise which duly bears my signatures and my counsel.'

(3) In view of the settlement, the Addl. Rent Controller passed the order on 20-3-1981 whereby be dismissed the application filed by the landlord in view of the compromise and directed that the warrants of possession shall not be executed before 31-12-1983. It was further directed that both the parties shall be bound by their statements.

(4) The case of the petitioner-landlord is that in spite of the undertaking having been given to the Court, the respondent-tenant has not vacated the premises on 31-12-1983 and has thus committed the contempt of court and is punishable under the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act.

(5) Notice of the petitioner was issued to the tenant-contemner. The petition has been resisted on the ground that the compromise arrived at between the parties was out of Court and as such at best the same is executable and does not give any cause of action to the petitioner to file a petition under the Contempt of Courts Act. The alleged undertaking given in the statement is undertaking to the landlord and cannot be interpreted to be an undertaking to the Court. It has further been pleaded in the reply that the petitioner- landlord is not entitled to file the petition since he did not carry out the repairs as undertaken by him. During the course of arguments, strong reliance was placed by the learned counsel for the respondent on Babu Ram Gupta v. Sudhir Bhasin and another, : 1979CriLJ952 and on Sukumar Mitra v. Tara ShankerKhernka, : AIR1952Cal591 for the proposition that if the action is based on compromise the order is only excitable and the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act do not apply. As regards Bubu Ram Gupta's case decided by their lordships of the Supreme Court after giving my careful consideration to the same. I am of the opinion that the said case is of no help to the respondent. Their lordships on facts of the case, came to the conclusion that there was neither any written undertaking filed by the appellant nor was any such undertaking impliedly or expressly incorporated in the order impugned and as such the question of breach of any such undertaking did not arise. However, while dealing with the undertakings given to the Court, their lordships observed :

'Infect the reason why the breach of clear undertaking given to the Court amounts to contempt of court is that the contemner by making a false representation to the Court obtains a benefit for himself and if he fails to honour the undertaking he plays serious fraud on the Court itself and thereby obstructs the course of justice and brings into disrepute the judicial institution, the same cannot, however, be said to a consent order or compromised decree where the fraud, if any, is practiced by the person concerned not on the Court but on one of the parties.'

(6) As regards the Calcutta case referred to above, the same is clearly distinguishable as that was a case where there was an undertaking given by the tenant to vacate the premises by a particular date and there was further clause that in case the tenant failed to vacate the premises in question within the prescribed period, the landlord would be entitled to execute the decree for possession. Having regard to the fact that the consequences of default were provided in the undertaking it was held that the undertaking given in that case was not unconditional or unqualified undertaking but was a qualified undertaking the breach of which could not bring the case within the mischief of contempt proceedings. In fact a later Bench of the same Court in Suristasin Bibi v. Chinta Haran Dass, Air Calcutta 182 has explained the case and has come to a definite conclusion that breach of an unqualified undertaking given to the Court, amounts to contempt of court. A Full Bench of this Court in Sardari Lal v. Ram Rakha 1984 RLR 333 was concerned with a case where the tenant had promised to vacate the premises on a particular date and did not do so. The Full Bench after discussing the entire case law, on the subject of contempt, came to the conclusion that when a party secures an order from the Court on giving an undertaking to the Court that he will take an appropriate course of action or inaction such undertaking itself operates as an injunction made by the Court because the court has made its order on the faith of the undertaking eg. stay of execution of the decree by order. In the case before the Full Bench although there was no express undertaking to the Court but the Full Bench opined in paragraph 20 of the Report:

'THUS the expression a party 'undertakes' or gives a solemn promise used in the statements of the parties or their counsel or in the orders and decrees of the court unless the context or otherwise suggests means an implied undertaking to the Court. The under-taking is always understood to be an undertaking to the Court, which undertaking could be enforced by committal proceedings.'

(7) In view of the case referred to above, it has to be seen whether in the present case there was any such undertaking to the Court. After giving my careful consideration to the facts of the case, and in particular to the statement of the respondent-tenant, I am of the opinion that it leaves no manner of doubt that an express undertaking was given to the Court that the respondent will hand over vacant possession of the premises to the petitioner-landlord on or. before 31-12-1983. The respondent having taken advantage of her statement inasmuch as the statement was made in March 1981 and time was obtained till 31-12-1983 i.e. for a period of almost three years cannot now turn round and say that this was only a compromise out side the court and could not amount to an undertaking to the Court. In the statement it is specifically stated:

'I undertake to this Hon'ble Court that I shall vacate the premises on or before 31-12-1983.'

Not only that this undertaking was given to the Court but it stands incorporated in the order inasmuch as the order specifically mentions that the parties will be bound by their statements. The omission of the word 'undertaking' in the order cannot amount to relieving the parties from their undertakings, particularly, when it is specifically mentioned 'both the parties shall be bound by their statements'. The statements are only by way of undertakings to the Court and as such have become part. of the order of the Court. The counsel for the respondent sought adjournment from the court on two occasions to seek instructions from the respondent-tenant if she was even now willing to hand over vacant possession of the premises and tender an apology to the court. What to say of tendering apology, the respondent insisted on not vacating the premises even at this point of time. After the arguments in the case were concluded, considering the fact that the respondent was a respectable lady, I put it to the counsel, for the respondent if she wanted another six months' time to vacate the premises. The counsel took time and came back with the reply that she could not vacate the premises even in six months and in the circumstances, I hold that the respondent-tenant is guilty of contempt of court by willful breach of the undertaking to surrender vacant possession of the premises in dispute on or before 31-12-1983. Accordingly I direct the contemner to pay a fine of Rs. 2000.00 . Fine alone does not meet the ends of justice and I further direct that in the event of the contemner not vacating and handing over the vacant possession of the premises in dispute and putting the petitioner in possession thereof within one month from to-day, the contemner will be detained in civil prison for two months for contempt of court. In the event of the contemner handing over the vaca.nt possession within one month from today there will be no further punishment except the payment of fine as directed.

(8) As regards C.C.P. No. 41 of 1984 which has been filed by the respondent I am of the opinion that the same has been filed as a counter-blast to the petition of the landlord. This petition was filed after the tenant was served with the notice in the petition by the landlord and after she had filed a reply thereto. It is alleged that the landlord has not complied with the under-taking regarding the repairs to be carried out by him. The landlord, in reply, on affidavit, has stated that be had carried out the necessary repairs. The contention of the learned counsel, for the tenants is that in spite of the notice dated 7-6-1983 annexure 'FF' to the petition, the landlord neither carried out the repairs nor paid her Rs. 1800.00 as undertaken by him in his statement. The receipt of this notice has been denied by the landlord. The notice mentions on the top 'Regd. A.D.' but for reasons best known to the tenant it was not sent by Regd. A.D. and was allegedly sent Under certificate of posting. I have no reason to bold that such a notice was served on the landlord. If the landlord had not carried out the repairs as alleged, the tenant would have moved much earlier and in any case would have deducted Rs. 1800.00 as agreed to in the statements. The tenant neither sent any notice nor deducted any amount which clearly shows that the repairs were duly carried out by the landlord. In any case, the undertaking to. that effect is qualified because it is stated that in case the repairs are not carried out the tenant will be entitled to adjust a sum of Rs. 1800.00 per year on account of annual repairs. Thus there is no merit in this petition which is hereby dismissed.


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