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B.N. Pandey Vs. Smt. Indira Chohan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtHimachal Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 179 of 1981
Judge
ActsHimachal Pradesh Urban Rent Control Act, 1971 - Sections 14, 21 and 23; ;Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 9 and 151
AppellantB.N. Pandey
RespondentSmt. Indira Chohan
Appellant Advocate A.K. Goel, Adv.
Respondent Advocate Devinder Gupta, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredSyed Asadullah Kazmi v. Addl. District Judge
Excerpt:
- .....arises for determination in this case is whether a civil court has jurisdiction to entertain the suit of a tenant on the basis of the subsequent events, after the tenant had agreed, to vacate the premises in terms of the agreement. no specific authority has been cited before me to show that the suit is barred. this being an important question of law, it is desirable that the same be decided by a larger bench. as such, the papers be placed before my lord the chief justice for constituting a larger bench.'5. tersely put, the contention of shri goel, the learned counsel for the petitioner, is like this. the act was enacted with the main object of protecting the tenants from ejectment at the whim and fancy of unscrupulous landlords. the act has specified the grounds on the existence of.....
Judgment:

T.R. Handa, J.

1. The petitioner Shri B. N. Pandey was a tenant under the respondent landlady Smt. Indira Chohan in respect of a residential set located within the municipal limits of Simla. The respondent landlady brought an action for ejectment of the petitioner from the said premises in the Court of Rent Controller Simla under Section 14, H. P. Urban Rent Control Act, hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'. The main ground on which the ejectment of the petitioner was 'claimed was that the respondent landlady required the premises in question bona fide for her own residential use. The petitioner who initially contested the claim of the landlady, later conceded before the Controller that the respondent landlady required the premises in question for her bona fide use. A compromise order for ejectment of the petitioner was, therefore, passed by the Controller. This order was passed on 25-9-1979. As mutually agreed between the parties, the Controller, however, allowed the petitioner lime up to 30-9-1980 to vacate the premises. In other words the ejectment order was made executable only after 30-9-1980.

2. In spite of the compromise ejectment order suffered against him, the petitioner refused to vacate the premises. He, in turn, a few days before the expiry of the period allowed to him to vacate the premises, instituted a civil suit in the Court of the Subordinate Judge Simla praying for issue of (i) a declaration that the compromise ejectment order dated 25-9-1979 passed, by the Controller against him had become unexecutable on account of certain developments which had. come into existence after the passing of that order and (ii) a perpetual injunction restraining the respondent from seeking execution of the aforesaid ejectment order. It was pleaded in the suit that the bona fide requirement of the respondent landlady which existed at the time when the impugned ejectment order was passed and which was the only ground on which that order was passed existed no more. It was alleged that after the date of the said ejectment order, the respondent landlady as also her husband had acquired vacant possession of sufficient residential accommodation at Simla to meet their requirements and hence the order of ejectment had become unexecutable as the purpose which it was required to serve had already been served.

3. Along with the suit the petitioner moved an application under Order XXXIX, Rules 1 and 2, C. P. C. in the trial Court praying for issue of an ad interim injunction restraining the respondent from seeking execution of the ejectment order during the pendency of the suit. The trial Court allowed that application and issued a temporary injunction of the nature prayed for. On appeal, the District Judge reversed the order of the trial Court and vacated the ad interim injunction granted by the trial Court vide his order dated 21-8-1981. The petitioner thereupon approached this Court under Section 115, Civil P. C., seeking revision of the order of the District Judge.

4. This revision petition was in the first instance listed for hearing before a learned single Judge of this Court. A question appears to have been raised before the learned single Judge 'whether a civil suit of the kind filed by the present petitioner was at all maintainable in law'. The learned single Judge being of the view that this question was of considerable importance and needed authoritative pronouncement by a larger Bench made a reference for constituting a larger Bench. The reference is in the following terms :

'The main question which arises for determination in this case is whether a civil court has jurisdiction to entertain the suit of a tenant on the basis of the subsequent events, after the tenant had agreed, to vacate the premises in terms of the agreement. No specific authority has been cited before me to show that the suit is barred. This being an important question of law, it is desirable that the same be decided by a larger Bench. As such, the papers be placed before my Lord the Chief Justice for constituting a larger Bench.'

5. Tersely put, the contention of Shri Goel, the learned counsel for the petitioner, is like this. The Act was enacted with the main object of protecting the tenants from ejectment at the whim and fancy of unscrupulous landlords. The Act has specified the grounds on the existence of which alone, a landlord can now bring an action for ejectment of the tenant and the Controllercan pass an order for ejectment against the tenant if and only if one or more of these statutory grounds are proved to exist to his satisfaction. The existence of one or more of such statutory grounds of ejectment, proceeds the argument, is normally to be judged with reference to the date when the action for ejectment is brought by the landlord but this principle is not an inflexible one nor is of uniform application. Continuing his argument, the learned counsel contended that in certain cases in order to ensure that the right and remedy claimed is just and meaningful and in accord with the realities, the Court should, rather must, take into account the relevant events and developments which take place after the lis is filed and, before it culminates with the satisfaction of the order or decree passed. In the instant case where the respondent had obtained the ejectment order to meet her personal requirement, it would be violating the provisions of the Act if she is still allowed to execute that order and evict the petitioner-tenant when she has already acquired enough accommodation to meet her requirements and, the statutory ground relied upon by her is no more in existence.

6. We regret, we are unable to appreciate the argument of the learned counsel. We do not have nor can we have any dispute with the proposition of law that the Courts are entitled to and in certain cases obliged to take into account events and developments whether of facts or of law which come into existence after the commencement of the lis and which are relevant for the purpose of promoting substantial justice between the parties. This, however, can be done only so long as the lis is pending, whether before the Court of trial, Court of appeal or Court of revision. Once, however, an order or decree passed, in a lis by a Court of competent jurisdiction has become final either because no appeal or revision has been preferred against it within the statutory period of limitation or because it has received the seal of the highest Court competent to interfere with it the order or decree which has so become final cannot be challenged or reopened on the ground of any subsequent development taking place after the lis or its decision. It is immaterial that such subsequent development could otherwise have stood in the way of passingof that order or decree. Once a litigant is allowed to reopen an order or decree which has become final, on the ground of new developments taking place after the passing of such final order or decree, there would be no end to litigation and no security for the litigants. The rights of the persons would be involved in endless and perpetual confusion. This would, certainly frustrate the very purpose for which the law, Courts exist.

7. The authority reported in (1963-65 Pun LR 452) (SC) (Maharaja Jagat Bahadur Singh v. Badri Parshad Seth) cited by the learned counsel for the petitioner in support of the proposition propounded by him cannot be attracted to the facts of the present case. In the case of Maharaj Jagat Bahadur Singh, the developments taking place subsequent to the filing of the lis were taken into consideration only when the lis was still pending adjudication before the appellate authority and not after its final adjudication,

8. The view that we have taken finds support from a recent decision of the Supreme Court given in the case of Syed Asadullah Kazmi v. Addl. District Judge, Allahabad reported in (1981) 2 Rent CR 425 : (AIR 1981 SC 1724). In that case the appellate authority acting under the provisions of the U. P. Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act modified the order of the prescribed authority and vide its order dated 25-3-1977 directed that a portion in the tenancy of Syed Asadullah Kazmi appellant be released in favour of Shri Kailash Shanker Sinha, the son of the owner Shri Raj Kumar Sinha and the appellant therein be allowed to continue in the remaining portion of the demised building. This order of the appellate authority was upheld by the High Court as also by the Supreme Court and thus attained finality. The prescribed authority then proceeded to prepare a partition scheme for partition of the demised premises to give effect to the order of the appellate authority. Before such scheme could be prepared, the owner Shri Raj Kumar Sinha expired. Syed Asadullah Kazmi, the appellant then moved an application before the prescribed authority bringing the factum of the death of the owner to its notice and praying that the partition scheme should not be prepared. The prescribed authority rejected that application and the decision of the prescribed authoritywas upheld by the appellate authority Syed Asadullah Kazmi, the tenant then filed a writ petition in the High Court against the order of the prescribed authority and the appellate authority rejecting his prayer not to proceed with the partition proceedings and the High Court also maintained the view taken by the appellate authority and dismissed the writ petition vide its judgment dated 25111978. Syed Asadullah Kazmi, the tenant then approached the Supreme Court in appeal. The Supreme Court while dismissing the appeal observed (para 4);

'The application moved by the appellant before the prescribed authority requesting it to take into account the death of Raj Kumar Sinha was misconceived, because it did not lie with the prescribed authority to reopen proceedings which had been taken to the highest court and had become final. It is true that subsequent events must be taken into account by a statutory authority or court when considering proceedings arising out of a landlord's petition for ejectment of a tenant on the ground of the landlord's personal need. But in the present case, the order of release of 3 portion of the accommodation acquired, finality before the death of Raj Kumar Sinha and the controversy concluded by it could not be reopened.'

9. The matter may now be looked from another angle, Section 14 of the Act confers jurisdiction on the Controller to pass order for ejectment of a tenant on being satisfied about the existence of certain grounds mentioned in the Act, the ground of personal requirement of the landlord, being one of such grounds. Section 23 of the Act then provides that any order made by the Controller or an order passed on appeal under the Act shall be executable by the Controller as a decree of civil court and for this purpose the Controller shall have all the powers of a civil court. There is then Section 21 of the Act which provides for appeals and revisions against the order of the Controller. The relevant provisions of this section may be extracted:

'21 (1) (b). Any person aggrieved by an order passed by the Controller may, within fifteen days from the date of such order or such longer period as the appellate authority may allow for reasons to be recorded in writing, prefer an appeal in writing to the appellate authority having jurisdiction. In computingthe period of fifteen days the time taken to obtain a certified copy of the order appealed against shall be excluded.

XX XX XX XX XX XX 21 (4). The decision of the appellate authority and subject only to such decision, an order of the Controller shall be final and shall not be liable to be called in question in any Court of law except as provided in subsection (5) of this section.

21 (5). The High Court may at any time, on the application of any aggrieved party or on its own motion call for and examine the records relating to any order passed or proceedings taken under this Act for the purpose of satisfying itself as to the legality or propriety of such order or proceedings and may pass such order in relation thereto as it may deem fit.'

A conspectus of the above referred to provisions of the Act clearly suggests that an order passed by the Controller in exercise of the jurisdiction vested in him under the Act shall subject to the decision of the appellate authority given in appeal or the High Court given in revision, be final and shall not be liable (o be called in question in any Court of law. This provision thus expressly ousts the jurisdiction of the civil court from entertaining any suit calling in question the order of (he Controller. The cognizance of the suit as framed being thus expressly barred by the provisions of Section 21 of the Act, the suit of the petitioner was not maintainable in the civil court and the learned trial court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

10. Thus from whatever angle we look into this case the conclusion is irresistible that the civil suit filed by the petitioner and, out of which this revision petition has arisen was not maintainable in law. In other words the petitioner had no prima facie case which could entitle him to apply for the grant of a temporary injunction under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2. C. P. C. The order of the District Judge refusing to allow the prayer of the petitioner for the grant of an ad interim injunction, therefore, calls for no interference. In the result we dismiss this revision petition with costs. Counsel fee assessed at Rs. 100/.


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