Vyas Dev Misra, C.J.
1. This is a tenant's revision under Section 21 (5) of the Himachal Prades Urban Rent Control Act, 1971 (referred to as the Act) against the order of the Appellate Authority, Simla, upholding the order of the Rent Controller (I), Simla, directing eviction of the tenant.
2. In Ladakhi Mohalla, Simla, is situated a building known as 'Imambara' and bearing No. 116/3. A set of two rooms, a latrine, and a verandah of the Imambara had been rented to Kulwant Singh and Mohinder Singh for their residence on a monthly rent of Rs. 11-90. A petition for eviction under Section 14 of the Act was made against the tenants on the grounds that they have ceased to occupy the premises for a continuous period of 12 months without reasonable cause; that the tenants were in arrears of rent to the tune of Rs. 315-32 paise; and that the premises were required by the petitioner for the personal use and occupation of a muezzin. This petition was resisted only by Mohinder Singh (referred to as the tenant). It was inter alia averred that the petitioner was neither the landlord nor was entitled to receive the rent, andsince the building belongs to the Punjab Wakf Board, Ambala, Mohamed Ibrahim, who had filed the eviction petition, 'had no right to' file it. It was denied that the tenant was in arrears of rent or that he had ceased to occupy the building as alleged.
3. On the pleadings of the parties as many as 8 issues were framed by the Rent Controller. He came to the conclusion that (a) that the tenants were in arrears of rent to the tune of Rs. 297-50 paise; and (b) that the tenants had ceased to occupy the premises as alleged. It was also held that the building was not needed for the muezzin. An order of eviction was passed against the tenants.
4. Mohinder Singh, tenant, filed an appeal before the Appellate Authority, Simla. It was contended that Mohamed Ibrahim had no locus standi to file any eviction petition against the tenant nor had the tenant ceased to occupy the building. The contentions of the tenant were negatived and the appeal was dismissed.
5. Mr. B.R. Tuli, learned counsel for the tenant-petitioner, contends that Mohamed Ibrahim had no locus standi to file the eviction petition. It is submitted that the property belongs to Punjab Waqf Board, Ambala, which had to sue in its own name.
6. It is not in controversy that the Imambara is a Wakf property and its superintendence vests in the Punjab Wakf Board (the Board). It is true that under Section 9 (2) of the Wakf Act the Board is required to sue in its name. One of the functions of the Board is 'to institute and defend suits and proceedings in a court of law relating to wakfs' (Clause (i) of Sub-section (2) of Section 15 of the Act). But the locus standi of a petitioner is to be tested with reference to the Himachal Pradesh Urban Rent Control Act. Section 14 of the Act provides the procedure for eviction of a tenant. Sub-section (2) of Section 14 requires a landlord to apply to the Controller for the eviction of a tenant. The word 'landlord' has been defined in Clause (c) of Section 2 in the following terms:
'(c) 'landlord' means any person for the time being entitled to receive rent in respect of any building or rented land whether on his own account or on behalf or for the benefit of any other person, or as a trustee, guardian, receiver, executor or administrator for any other person, and includes a tenant who, sublets anybuilding or rented land in the manner hereinafter authorised, and every person from time to time deriving title under a landlord;'
In other words, if Mohamed Ibrahim could be said to be a landlord in the aforementioned definition, he will be entitled to maintain the present petition.
7. Now under Section 15 of the Wakf Act it is the general superintendence of a wakf which vests in a Board. It is that duty of the Board to ensure, inter alia, that the wakf under its superintendence is properly maintained, controlled and administered. Section 16 empowers the Board to 'establish either generally or for a particular purpose or for any specified area or areas committees for the supervision of wakfs', and it is not necessary that their members should be members of the Board, Clause (g) ofSub-section (2) of Section 15 empowers the Board to appoint Mulawallis. 'Mutawallis' have been defined by Clause (f) of Section 3 to include 'any person or committee for the time being managing or administering any wakf property as such.' Evidence has been produced to shoe that the Board had established a committee to manage and administer the Imambara and the present respondent was entrusted with this job.
8. R. K. Munshi (P. W. 2) is Assistant Superintendent of Punjab Wakf Board. He has deposed that the Board vide its resolution dated 12th Feb., 1973 (Ex. P W 2/A), entrusted the administration and the management of 'Imambara' to five persons. The resolution shows that these five persons were Haji Abas, Moulvi Isa, Mohamed Jshaq, Mohamed Ibrahim and Murad Ali. This resolution was passed by the 'Mazhabi Amur Committee' (Religious matters committee). The recommendations of this committee were accepted by the Board in its meeting held on 12th Feb., 1973. The committee wag required to start functioning from 1st March, 1973.
9. Mohamed Ibrahim has appeared as P. W. 1. He is one of the members to whom the management was entrusted by the Board. He has deposed that the management of this property was entrusted to him.
10. On the basis of the evidence on record both the Tribunals below have come to the conclusion that Mohamed Ibrahim had a right to collect the rent from the tenants and, therefore, he is a landlord in terms of the definition ascontained in the Act. This is the concurrent finding of facts and I find no reason to interfere in this revision. It may be noticed that the tenant admits paying rent to one Col. Syed who was previously managing the property.
11. As regards the question of the tenants having ceased to occupy the premises in question, Mohamed Ibrahim and others have categorically stated that the tenants had not been living in the premises in question for years and that these have been left locked. Mohinder Singh appeared as R. W. 1. He deposed that Col. Syed had been receiving the rent on behalf of the Board. He admits that Col. Syed had since given up the management. Mohamed Ibrahim has categorically stated that the management of this building was handed over, under the directions of the Board, to five persons named in the resolution by Col. Syed, who had, at one time, as President of a committee called Muslim Trust Committee, been receiving the rent.
12. Mohinder Singh admitted that he was transferred from Simla and was now posted at Chandigarh for the last three or four years. He, however, goes on to depose that since he does not keep good health at Chandigarh, so he comes to Simla during summer. Though he claims to have paid the rent for the whole year of 1975 to Colonel Syed, he could not produce any rent receipt. He would have us believe that in the last five years he had been coming once or twice every month to this house. He could not produce any medical certificate to show that he was not keeping good health. No record of his proceeding on leave was produced. He examined Gian Singh (R. W. 2), who is his relation. He says nothing new. On the basis of this evidence both the Tribunals below were justified in holding that the tenants have ceased to occupy the building in question for a continuous period of twelve months without reasonable cause.
13. In Gurbax Singh v. Kali Dass, (1980) 2 Ren CR 47 (Him Pra), it was held that an occasional visit by a tenant amounts to non-occupation of the building. Similar was the decision in Jai Chand Jain v. Sohan Lal, (1977) 2 Rent LR 404 (Punj & Har).
14. I find no force in this revision which is dismissed with costs.