S. Sanyal Vs. Gian Chand  INSC
210 (14 September 1967)
14/09/1967 SHAH, J.C.
CITATION: 1968 AIR 438 1968 SCR (1) 536
CITATOR INFO :
RF 1977 SC2077 (5) RF 1989 SC1420 (6)
Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act (38 of
1952), s. 13(1)(e)- House let out both for residential and non-residential
purposes--Landlord asking for eviction, of tenant on ground that he wants it
for his own residence-Jurisdiction of court to pass decree.
Under s. 13(1)(e) of the Delhi and Ajmer Rent
Control Act, 1952, the jurisdiction of the court to evict a tenant, may be
exercised in favour of a landlord who wants the premises bona fide for his own
residence, only when the premises are let out for residential purposes, and not,
when the premises being let out for composite purposes, are used for
residential and non-residential purposes.
The owner of a house let it out to the
appellant for her residence and for running a school. The respondent purchased
the house and filed a suit for eviction of the appellant. The suit was
dismissed, but the High Court, in revision, held that a decree in ejectment
limited to that portion of the house which was used for residential purposes by
the tenant could be granted, and remanded the case for demarcating that portion
and passing a decree.
In appeal to this Court,
HELD:The order of the High Court was without
jurisdiction and should be set aside. [540A] The contract of tenancy was a
single and indivisible contract, and, in the absence of any statutory provision
to that effect, it was not open to the Court to divide it into two
contracts-one of letting out for residential purposes and the other for
non-residential purposes-and to grant relief under the section in respect of
that portion of the property which was being used for residential purposes.
[538E] Dr. Gopal Das Verma v. S. K. Bhardwaj
& Anr.  2 S.C.R.
Kunwar Behari v. Smt. Vindhya Devi, A.I.R.
1966 Punj. 481.
Motilal and Anr. v. Nanak Chand & Anr..
(1964) Punj. L.R.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 853 of 1966 Appeal by special leave from the order dated November 16, 1964
of the Punjab High Court, Circuit Bench at Delhi in Civil Revision No. 531-D of
M. C. Misra and M. V. Goswami. for the
appellant. Harbans Singh, for the respondent The Judgment of the Court was
delivered by Shah, J. The appellant Miss Sanyal has since 1942 been a tenant of
a house in Western Extension Area, Karol Bagh, New Delhi, a part of which is used
for a Girls' School and the rest 537 for residential purposes. The respondent
Gian Chand purchased the house from the owner by a sale deed dated September
19, 1956, and commenced an action in the Court of the Subordinate Judge 1st
Class, Delhi, against the appellant for a decree in ejectment in respect of the
Numerous grounds were set up in the plaint in
support of the claim for a decree in ejectment, but the ground that the
respondent required the house bona fide for his own resi-- dence alone need be
considered in this appeal. The Trial Court dismissed the suit and the Senior
Subordinate Judge, Delhi dismissed an appeal from that order holding that the
house being let for purposes non-residential as well as residential, a decree
in ejectment could not be granted under s. 13(1)(e) of the Delhi and Ajmer Rent
Control Act, 1952. The High Court of Punjab (Delhi Bench) in a revision
petition filed by the respondent held that on the finding recorded by the First
Appellate Court a decree in ejectment limited to that portion of the house
which was used for residential' purposes by the tenant could be granted, and
remanded the case to the Rent Controller "for demarcating those portions
which were being used for residence" and to pass a decree in ejectment
from those specified portions of the house. Against that order the tenant has
appealed to this Court.
It is necessary in the first instance to read
the material pro-visions of the Delhi & Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952.
The expression "premises" is defined
in s. 2(g) of the Act as "any building or part of a building which is, or
is intended to be let separately for use as a residence or for commercial use
or for any other purpose, and includes. . . ." Section 13 of the Act which
grants protection to tenants against eviction provides insofar as it is
"(1). Notwithstanding anything- to the
contrary contained in any other law or any contract, no decree or order for the
recovery of possession of any premises shall be passed by any Court in favour of
the landlord against any tenant (including a tenant whose tenancy is
Provided that nothing in this sub-section
shall apply to, any suit or other proceeding for such recovery of possession if
the Court is satisfied- (e)that the premises let for residential purposes are,
required bona fide by the landlord who is the owner- of such premises for
occupation as a residence for himeslf or his family and that he has no other
Explanation For the purposes of this clause,
'residential premises' 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 p urposes." 538 it is clear that s. .13(1) imposes a
ban upon the exercise of the power of the Court to decree ejectment from
premises occupied by a tenant The ban is removed in certain specific cases,
and, one such case is where the premises having been let for residential
purposes the landlord requires the premises bona fide for occupation as a
residence for himself or the members of his family and he has no other suitable
accommodation. It is plain that if the premises are not let for residential
purposes, cl. (e) has no application, nor on the express terms of the statute
does the clause apply where the letting is for purposes residential and
In the present case the First Appellate Court
held that the house was "let out for running a school and for
The High Court held that where there is a
composite letting, it is open to the Court to disintegrate the contract of
tenancy, and if, the landlord proves his case of bona fide requirement for his
own occupation to pass a decree in enjectment limited to that part which
"is being used" by the tenant for residential purposes. In so
holding, in our judgment. the High Court erred. The jurisdiction 'of the Court
may be exercised under s. 13(1)(e) of the Act only when the, premises are let
for residential purposes and not when the premises being let for composite
purposes, are used in specific portions for purposes residential and non-
residential. The contract of tenancy is a single and indivisible contract, and
in the absence of any statutory provision to that effect it is not open to the
Court to divide it into two contracts-one of letting for residential purposes,
and the other for non-residential purposes, and to grant relief under s.
13(1)(e) of the Act limited to the portion of the demised property which
"is being used" for residential purposes.
The learned Judge purported to follow the
decision of his (Court in Motilal and another v. Nanak Chand and others(1).
It was held in that case that in cases
governed by the Delhi & Ajmer Rent Control Act. 1952 "if the premises
are in well- defined parts and have been let out for residential and commercial
purposes together, the rule as to eviction regarding the portion that has been
used for residence will govern the residential portion of the same and
similarly the rules of eviction regarding the commercial premises will govern the
commercial portion of the same as laid down in the Act". In the view of
the Court even if there be a single letting for purposes residential and
non-residential, if defined portions of the premises let are used for
residential and commercial purposes "it must be held that the letting out
was of the commercial part of the building separately for commercial purposes
and of the residential part of the building for residential purposes". We
find no warrant for that view either in the Delhi & Ajmer Rent Control Act
or in the general law of landlord and (1) (1964) Punj. L.R. 179.
539 tenant Attention of, the learned Judge in
that case was invited to a judgment of this Court in Dr. Gopal Das Verma v. S.
K. Bhardwaj and another(1), but the Court distinguished that judgment on the
ground that "the facts of that case disclosed that they had no
applicability to the facts of the case" in hand. Now in Dr. Gopal Das
Verma's(1) case the premises in dispute were originally let for residential
purposes, but later with the consent of the landlord a portion of the premises
was used for non- residential purposes. It was held by this Court that
"where premises are let for residential purposes and it is shown that they
are used by the tenant incidentally for commercial, professional or other
purposes with the consent of the landlord, the landlord is not entitled to
eject the tenant even if he proves that he needs the premises bona fide for his
personal use, because the premises have by their user ceased, to be premises
let for residential pur- poses alone". It was, therefore, clearly ruled
that if the premises originally let for residential purposes ceased, because of
the con,sent of the landlord, to be premises let for residential purposes
alone, the Court had no jurisdiction to decree ejectment on the grounds
specified in s. 13(1)(e) of the Act. The rule evolved by the Punjab High Court
in Motilal's case(1) is inconsistent with the judgment of this Court in Dr.
Gopal Das Verma's(1) case.
If in respect of premises originally let for
residential purposes a decree in ejectment cannot be passed on the grounds
mentioned in s. 13(1)(e), if subsequent to the letting, with the consent of the
landlord the premises are used both for residential and nonresidential
purposes, the bar against the jurisdiction of the Court would be more effective
when the original letting was for purposes-non- residential as well as
residential. It may be recalled that the condition of the applicability of s.
13(1)(e) of the Act is letting of the premises for residential purposes.
In this case the letting not being solely for
residential purposes, in our judgment, the Court had no jurisdiction to pass
the order appealed from. We may note that a Division Bench of the Punjab High
Court in Kunwar Behari v. Smt. Vindhya Devi(1) has held in construing s.
14(i)(3) of the Delhi Rent Control Act 59 of 1958, material part whereof is
substantially in the same terms as s. 13(1)(e) of the Delhi & Ajmer Rent
Control Act, that "where the building let for residence is the entire
premises it is not open to the Court to further sub-divide the premises and
order eviction with respect to a part thereof". In our view that judgment
of the Punjab High Court was right on the fundamental ground that in the
absence of a specific provision incorporated in the statute the Court has no
power to break up the unity 'of the contract of letting and attribute incidents
and obligations to a part of the subject-matter of the contract which are not
applicable to the rest.
(1)  2 S.C.R. 678.
(3) A.I.R. 1966 Punjab 481, (2) (1964) Punj.
540 In our view the order passed by the High
Court of Punjab remanding the case for determination; of the residential
portion of the house occupied by the appellant and for passing a decree in
ejectment in respect of that part is without jurisdiction and must be set
The appeal is allowed and the decree passed
by the Senior Subordinate Judge is restored. The appellant in this appeal did
not appear before the High Court to assist the Court.
In the circumstances there will be no order
as to costs of this appeal.