Jai Narain Vs. Kishen Chand  INSC
59 (27 February 1969)
27/02/1969 HIDAYATULLAH, M. (CJ)
HIDAYATULLAH, M. (CJ) RAMASWAMI, V.
CITATION: 1969 AIR 1165 1969 SCR (3) 855 1969
SCC (1) 724
Delhi Rent Control Act 1958, s. 57(1), first proviso-scope
The respondent landlord filed a suit for
eviction against the appellant under section 13 (1) (k) of the Delhi and Ajmer
Rent Control Act, 1952, on the ground that the appellant had caused damage to
the premises. The trial court ordered ejectment in February, 1959, and the
appellate authority dismissed an appeal in November, 1959. The Delhi Rent
Control Act 1958 came into force in February, 1959. In a revision application
before the High Court, the appellant invoked the provisions of the 1958 Act and
relied upon section 14(1) (j) read with s. 57 of the new Act. The High Court,
acting under section 14(1)(j) and sub-section (10) of the same section gave the
appellant the alternative to pay compensation for the damages caused. The landlord
then filed an application for review of the High Court order pointing out that
the new Act was not applicable to the case in view of the first proviso of
section 57(2). The High Court granted the review and reversed its earlier
In appeal to this Court it was contended on
behalf of the appellant that by virtue of the first proviso of section 57(2)
the High Court was bound to have regard to the provisions of the 1958 Act even
in proceedings pending and governed by the 1952 Act.
HELD:Dismissing the appeal, The language of
the first proviso to section 57(2) clearly shows that the proviso applies to
those cases only in which 'Section 54 cannot be made applicable. The area in
the present case is admittedly subjected to the Slum Areas (Improvement and
Clearance) Act 1956, which is one of the enactments mentioned in s. 54.
Accordingly the terms of the proviso would have no application in this case.
[857 G; 859 B] The High Court had rightly held that the phrase "to which
section 54 does not apply", governs the word "premises" and is
not connected with the words "in any such suit or proceedings".
CIVIL APPELLATE, JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 389 of 1966.
Appeal by special leave from the judgment and
order dated March 25, 1964 of the Punjab High Court, Circuit Bench at Delhi in
Review Application No. 23-D of 1963.
C.B. Agarwala, Uma Mehta, M. L. Kapur and K.
K. Sinha, for the appellant.
B.C. Misra, Bishambee Lal and R. K. Puri, for
the respon856 The Judgment of the Court was delivered by Hidayatullah. C.J.,
This is an appeal by a tenant who had rented a shop No. 2687 in Kinari Bazar,
Delhi from the respondent on Rs. 13.50 P per month. In those premises he was
selling Usha sewing machines and fans. It appears that the level of the shop
was too high from the road and his clients were troubled in going to his shop
and so he lowered the level and thereby altered the premises to suit his
convenience. The landlord thereupon filed a suit against him for his eviction
under S. 13(1)(k) of the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952. The suit was
filed on November 13, 1957. The trial court ordered on February 19, 1959
ejectment and payment of Rs. 145/as arrears of rent.
An appeal against the order of the trial
court was dismissed by the appellate authority on November 16, 1959. A revision
application was then filed by the tenant on March 25, 1960.
During the course of that revision he invoked
the provisions of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1956 which had come into force on
February 9, 1959 and relied upon S. 14 (1) (j) of the new Act read with S. 57.
Previously he had not relied upon the new Act although the Act had been in
force during the pendency of the previous proceedings. The High Court acting
under s. 14(1)(j) and sub-s. (10) of the same section, gave him the alternative
of paying, compensation in the sum of Rs. 500 which it appears that the
landlord himself had assessed as the damages caused by the act of the tenant.
The landlord later filed an application for review of the order and pointed out
that the new Act was not applicable to the case in view of the first proviso of
S. 57 sub. s. (2). The High Court thereupon granted the review and reversed its
earlier order and ordered the eviction of the tenant.
In this appeal it is contended that the High
Court was in error in passing the order on review and that the previous or was
the correct order in the light of the provisions of the Act of 1958. We have
therefore to consider which of the two orders of the High Court is the correct
order and whether the review was properly granted or not.
As is very frequent in our country, Rent
Control Acts are changed from time to time causing numerous difficulties in
their interpretation and application. Here too, we have a succession of Acts
which were passed, to say nothing of the a amendments which were made in the
body of each of the Acts as they came. We are concerned first with the Act of
1952, namely. The Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952.
Section 13(1)(k) of that Act gave a right to
the landlord to evict a tenant who, whether before or after the commencement of
the Act had caused or permitted to be caused substantial damage to the
premises, or notwithstanding previous notice, had used or dealt with the
premises 8 57 in a manner contrary to any condition imposed on the landlord by
the Government or the Delhi Improvement Trust while giving him a lease of the land
on which the promises were situated. We are not concerned with the latter part
but with the first part where the tenant before or after the commencement of
the Act had caused or permitted to be caused substantial damage to the
premises. Whether the lowering of the floor was causing substantial damage to
the premises is a question into which we need not go, because the concurrent
finding of the courts of fact is that it did so. This question was not raised
before us. Therefore, if s. 13 (1)(k) of the Delhi land Ajmer Rent Control Act,
1952 applied, the eviction of the tenant was the proper order to make in view
of the finding that he had caused substantial damage to the premises. However,
the matter comes to the Court because of the passing of the Delhi Rent Control
Act, 1958 which came into force on February 9, 1959. Section 57(1) of that Act
provided that the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952 in so far as it was
applicable to the Union Territory of Delhi, was being repealed. While repealing
it, a special saving was however made, by sub-s.
(2) of the same section in favour of all
suits and other proceedings which were then pending under the repealed Act and
it was provided that those suits and proceedings should be continued and
disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Act as if that Act had
continued to be in force and the new Act had not been passed. This would have
really been a very proper provision to make to separate the operation-of the
two Acts but the Legislature went still further and added two provisos. We are
concerned only with the first of the two provisos on which much dispute has
arisen in this case. That proviso reads as follows':
"Provided that in any such suit or
proceeding for the fixation of standard rent or for the eviction of a tenant
from any premises to which section 54 does not apply, the court or other
authority shall have regard to the provisions of this Act :" This proviso
contains a proviso within itself which excepts the case of premises to which s.
54 of the Act does not apply. That section provides as follows "Nothing in
this Act shall affect the provions of the Administration of Evacuee Property
Act, 1950, or the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956 or the Delhi
Tenants (Temporary Protection) Act, 1956." The effect of the proviso which
we have quoted above is variously described by counsel onopposite sides,
According to Mr. C.B 858 Agarwala who argued for the tenant, the words "to
which section 54 does not apply" govern the words "any such suit or
proceeding" and not the words "any premises". The High Court in
the order passed on review was of the opinion that these words governed the
words "any premises". In our opinion, this is the correct view to
take of the matter.
To begin with, it must be noticed that the
proviso speaks of two things, namely, the fixation of standard rent and the
eviction of a tenant from any premises. The words "from any premises"
cannot be connected with the phrase "for the fixation of standard
rent", because then the preposition would have been "of any
,Premises" or "for any premises" and not "from any
premises." This means that the first phrase has to be read as complete in
itself beginning from the words "for the fixation" and ending with
the words, "standard rent". The second phrase then reads "or for
the eviction of a tenant from any premises". The words "from any
premises" go very clearly with the words "eviction of a tenant"
and not with the words "any suit or proceeding".
The question then arises, where does the
phrase "to which s. 54 does not apply" connect itself ? According to
Mr. Agarwala that phrase must be connected with the words "in any such
suit or proceeding". Since the suits contain two kinds of matters, namely,
fixation of standard rent and eviction of a tenant from any premises, we have
to turn to the provisions of the statutes to which S. 54 refers, namely, the Administration
of Evacuee Property Act, 1950, the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act,
1956 and the Delhi Tenants (Temporary Protection) Act, 1956. The first two do
not deal at all with the fixation of fair rent and the third speaks of fair
rent, but it does not provide for its fixation. It would be pointless to use
the language 'any suit or proceeding to which s. 54 does not apply' in relation
to fixation of standard rent. It follows therefore that the phrase "to which
s. 54 does not apply" really governs 'premises'. Read in that way, all the
three Acts fall in line. because they provide for premises and not for fixation
of standard rent. The Administration of Evacuee Property Act. 1950. the Slum
Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act. 1956 and the Delhi Tenants (Temporary
Protection) Act, 1956 all deal with premises and property and therefore the
phrase "to which section 54 does not apply" is connected with the
words "premises;". That is the view which the High Court has taken
and we think rightly.
The pro so did not apply and the matter had
to be governed by the old Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952 which had bee#
It was contended before us that this
legislation was intended to soft action against tenants still further and that
the policy 8 59 of the law had been to give more ;and, more protection to the
tenants and we must therefore read the statute in consonance with that policy.
This would be an argument to consider if the language of the statute was not
But the language is clear enough to show that
the proviso applies only to those cases in which s. 54 cannot be made
applicable. It is admitted before us that this area is subjected to the Slum
Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956. If that is so, then, on the terms
of the proviso on which much reliance is placed by Mr. Agarwala, the provisions
of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 cannot be taken into consideration. They
are to be taken into consideration only in those cases to which the Acts
mentioned in s. 54 do not apply, that is to say, in respect of premises not
governed by those statutes. Since this shop is governed by one of the statutes,
the proviso has no application. The High Court's' view was therefore right.
In the circumstances, the appeal fails and
win be dismissed with costs.
R.K.P.S. Appeal dismissed.