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S. Surjit Singh Kalra Vs. Union of India & Anr [1991] INSC 36 (13 February 1991)

Shetty, K.J. (J) Shetty, K.J. (J) Sharma, L.M. (J) Sawant, P.B.

CITATION: 1991 SCR (1) 364 1991 SCC (2) 87 JT 1991 (1) 417 1991 SCALE (1)179

ACT:

Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958- Sections 14B to 14D;

14(1)(e), 14(6) & 7 and 25C(2)-Classified Landlords- Landlord's right to evict tenant-Tenant's right to resist eviction-Scope of-Whether landlord has to prove his bona fide requirement.

Section 25B: Introduction of Sections 14B to 14D in sub-section (1) of Section 25B-Absence of corresponding amendments to subsections (4) and (5) as also to the form of summons specified in the Third Schedule-Whether allows a tenant to take up defence under Section 14 (1) (e) as against an application under Sections 14B to 14D.

Sections 25B(5) is self contained and Order 37 Rule 3, CPC has no role there-CPC, 1908, Order 37 Rule 3.

Interpretation of statutes-Reading words in a statute-When permissible-Harmonious construction--Purposive approach to be adopted by Courts.

HEAD NOTE:

The Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 was amended by Act 57 of 1988 which introduced Sections 14B to 14D to the Act carving out thereby classified landlords from the general class of landlords with specified rights to recover immediate possession of the premises let out by them if these are required for their own residence. The released or retired persons from armed forces or the dependents of the member of armed forces killed in action are covered by Section 14B, the retired employees of the Central Government and of the Delhi Administration are covered by Section 14C, and the landlords who are widows are covered by Section 14D. These classified landlords are also given the benefit of summary trial under Chapter IIIA by introducing Sections 14B to 14D in Sub-section (1) of Section 25B, but there are no corresponding amendments to sub-sections (2) to (5) of Section 25B.

The two petitioners, who are tenants, were in occupation of the premises belonging to two Army Officers (respondent-landlords). In the 365 action for eviction brought by the landlords on the ground that they needed the premises for their occupation, the tenants sought leave to contest the application which the Rent Controller being not satisfied with the facts disclosed by the tenants in their affidavits denied. The Rent Controller accepted the case of the landlords and ordered eviction of the tenants. The two tenants challenged the eviction orders by filing separate revision petitions in the High Court. They also challenged the validity of Section 14B of the Act before the High Court by means of two separate writ petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution. The High Court dismissed the writ petition and the revision petition filed by one of the tenants who being aggrieved moved this Court by way of special Leave Petition Nos. 7146

Court following its decision in the first case dismissed the writ petition filed by him, though the revision petition filed by him was still pending. The tenant challenged the decision of the High Court by preferring Special Leave Petition No. 7364 of 1990 to this Court.

It was contended on behalf of the petitioners that the tenant's right to contest the application for eviction on the grounds specified in Section 14(l)(e) cannot be denied even as against the classified landlords falling under Sections 14B to 14D. The tenant is entitled to leave to contest the application by disclosing such facts in the affidavit as would disentitle the landlord from obtaining an order of eviction under Section 14(l)(e). This is because of retention of sub-section (5) of Section 25B without any amendment and absence of amendment to Section 25C(2).

It was also contended that sub-sections (4) and (5) of Section 25B are a composite scheme and since that scheme has been left untouched the tenant's right thereunder cannot be denied. It was further contended that sub- section (6) of Section 14 is attracted to applications under Sections 14B to 14D.

Dismissing the Petitions, the Court,

HELD: 1. Section 14B is a special provision made by the legislature conferring certain rights to persons belonging to Armed Forces to recover from their tenants immediate possession of the premises for their occupation. [369E]

2.1 The Tenant cannot claim right to contest an application for eviction on the grounds specified in Section 14(l)(e) against the classified landlords falling under Sections 14B to 14D. Acceptance of such a claim would practically obliterate the purpose and object of classification of landlords under Sections 14B to 14D who are carved out from 366 the general landlords; indeed it would render the whole exercise of creating special classes of landlords with specified rights to recover immediate of the premises let out by them nugatory. [371H-372C]

2.2 The remedy under Section 14(l)(e) is available only to landlords in general or the landlords who are not classified landlords under Sections 14B to 14D. The classified landlords have been conferred with certain rights which are different from and independent of the rights under Section 14(l)(e). [372E-F]

2.3 Sections 14B to 14D are markedly different from Section 14(1)(e).[375E-F]

3.1 The argument that the absence of amendments to sub- sections (4) and (5) of Section 25B preserves the tenant's right to contest the application of even a classified landlord on the grounds specified under Section 14(l)(e) is not sustainable. Sub-section (4) of Section 25B provides that the tenant has to obtain leave from the Controller "as hereinafter provided", which in the contest means as provided under sub-section-(5). This is the only sub-section under which the Controller could give leave to the tenant to contest the application if the affidavit filed by the tenant discloses such facts as would disentitle the landlord from obtaining an order for the recovery of possession of the premises. [376G, F]

3.2 The form specified in the Third Schedule refers only to application filed under Section 14(l)(e) or Section 14A. Therefore, when an application is filed under Section 14B, a copy of the application should be sent to the tenant by making necessary amendment to the prescribed form and omitting the other references which are not relevant and the summons should state that the application is filed under Section 14B and not under Section 14(l)(e) or 14A. Likewise if the applications are under Sections 14C to 14D, the summons should state accordingly. That would indicate the scope of defence of the tenant for obtaining leave referred to in sub-section (5) of Section 25B. [377G-378A]

3.3 Under sub-section (5), the tenant could contest the application by obtaining leave with reference to the particular claim in the application of the landlord depending upon whether it is under Sections 14A, 14B, 14C or 14D or under Section 14(l)(e). [378B] The tenant cannot be allowed to take up defence under Section 14(l)(e) as against an application under Section 14B. There cannot be 367 any defence unconnected with or unrelated to the claim or right of the plaintiff or applicant. That would be against our jurisprudence and would be a mechanical interpretation of the enactment defeating its purpose. The courts have always adopted a purposive approach to the interpretation of statutes. [378C-D]

3.4 Section 14B and other allied provisions ought to receive a purposeful construction and sub-section (5) of Section 25B should be so construed as to implement the object and purpose of Sections 14B to 14D. It is the duty of the Court to give effect to the intention of the legislature as expressed in Sections 148 to 14D. [378E]

4. The tenant is entitled to raise all relevant contentions as against the claim of the classified landlords. The fact that there is no reference to the word bona fide requirement in Sections 14B to 14D do not absolve the landlord from proving that the requirement is bona fide or the tenant from showing that it is not bona fide. In fact every claim for eviction against a tenant must be a bona fide one. There is also enough indication in support of this construction from the title of section 25B which states "special procedure for the disposal of applications for eviction on the ground of bonafide requirement". [378H-379B]

5. Section 14B and other allied provisions refer to the premises let out and not acquired by transfer. One may become an owner of the premises by transfer but the tenant in occupation of the transferred property cannot be evicted by resorting to Sections 14B to 14D. If the transferee wants to evict the tenant he must take action only under Section 14(l)(e). Equally Sub-section (7) of Section 14 has no application to eviction under Sections 14B to 14D, nor the amended provisions under Section 25C(2). But that does not mean that the tenants covered under Sections 14B to 14D are not entitled to any time for surrendering possession of the premises. It is always left to the Controller who is a quasi-judicial authority to exercise his discretion having regard to the facts and circumstances of each case and grant a reasonable time to the tenant. [379E-G]

6. The Controller's power to give leave to contest the application filed under Section 14(l)(e) or Section 14A is cribbed by the condition that the 'affidavit filed by the tenant discloses such facts as would disentitle the landlord from obtaining an order for the recovery of possession of the premises on the ground specified' in the respective sections. Therefore, if an application is filed under Section 14B or 14C or 14D, the tenant's right to contest the application is narrowed down 368 and is restricted to the parameters of the respective Sections. He cannot widen the scope of his defence by relying upon Section 14(l)(e). Subsection (5) of Section 25B is self-contained and Order 37 Rule 3 CPC has no part to play there. [38OB-C] Busching Schmitz Private Ltd. v. P.T. Menghani & Anr.,[1977] 2 SCC 835, affirmed and reiterated.

Precision Steel & Engineering Works and Anr. v. Prem Deva Niranjan Deva Tayal, [1982] 3 SCC 270, harmonised.

7. The landlord in SLP No. 11425/90 is living in a rented house and is paying a rent of Rs.2,000 p.m. and requires the premises for himself and the members of his family. The landlord cannot be denied possession of his own premises under section 14B when he is residing in a rented premises. [38OD-E]

8. The contention that the concerned landlord has taken voluntary retirement long earlier and has become a part of the Society just like any other landlord and Section 14B was not intended to confer such landlord the special right to recover immediate possession of the premises is not maintainable because Section 14B(l) states that the persons who have already retired may within one year from the date of their release or retirement from such Armed Forces or, within a period of one year from the date of introduction of Section 14B, whichever is later, apply to the controller for recovering the immediate possession of their premises. That is the legislative wisdom. [38OF-G]

9. True it is not permissible to read words in a statute which are not there, but "where the alternative lies between either supplying by implication words which appear to have been accidentally omitted, or adopting a construction which deprives certain existing words of all meanings, it is permissible to supply the words". Having regard to the context in which a provision appears and, the object of the statute in which the said provision is enacted, the court should construe it in a harmonious way to make it meaningful. An attempt must always be made so to reconcile the relevant provisions as to advance the remedy intended by the statute. [378E-G] Craies Statute Law, 7th Edition, P. 109; Hameedia Hardware Stores V. B. Mohan Lal Sowcar, [1988] 2 SCC 513 at 524-25, and Sirajul Haq Khan & Ors. v. The Sunni Central Board of Waqf, [1959].1 SCR 1287 at 1299, relied upon. 369 & CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 837. 838 and 839 of 1991.

From the Judgment and Order dated 10.5-1990 of the Delhi High Court in Civil Writ Petition Nos. 1381, 2994 of 1989 and C.R. No. 954 of 1989.

Soli J. Sorabjee, Attorney General, Kapil Sibal, Additional Solicitor General, G.L. Sanghi, Dr. Y.S. Chitale, Harish N. Salve, H.K. Puri, Rajeev Sharma, Ravinder Nath, V.B. Saharya, P.K- Jain, Krishna Moorthy Iyer, Prem Malhotra, A.C. Sehgal, Mrs. Urmila Sirur, R.L. Jain, S.K. Tredal, Ms. kitty Kumarmanglam, R.P. Dave, Mrs. Sushma Suri, Ms. M. Biswas and Ashok Mathur for the appearing parties.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by K. JAGANNATHA SHETTY, J. Leave granted.

These appeals from the decision of the Delhi High Court raise the question with regard to landlord's right to evict the tenant under Section 14-B of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 ('The Act') and the corresponding right of the tenant to resist the eviction proceedings. Section 14-B is a special provision made by the Legislature conferring certain rights to persons belonging to Armed Forces to recover from their tenants immediate possession of the premises for their occupation.

Mahendra Raj, the common petitioner in S.L.P. Nos. 7146 and 11425/90, is a tenant occupying the premises of the respondent Col. Ashok Puri. The petitioner in SLP No. 7364 is also a tenant, but occupying the premises belonging to the respondent Brig. V.N. Channa. In the action for eviction brought by the respondents on the ground that they need the premises for their occupation, the tenants sought leave to contest the application. But the Rent Controller was not satisfied with the facts disclosed by the tenants in their affidavits and therefore, denied leave to contest the application for eviction. He considered the affidavits of the parties and accepted the case of the landlord and directed that the tenants shall be evicted. In the case of Mahendra Raj, the Rent Controller made an order dated 2 September, 1989 inter alia, observing that the landlord is living in a rented house, that he is paying rent of Rs.2,000 p.m., and that he requires the premises for himself and the members of his family. The eviction order was challenged by the tenant by means of revision petition before the Delhi High Court. Almost simultaneously, the tenant also filed a writ 370 petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, challenging the validity of Section 14-B. On 10 May 1990, the High Court dismissed the revision as well as the writ petition. Against the judgment of the High Court dismissing the writ petition, the tenant has preferred SLP No. 7146 of 1990. Against the order dismissing the revision petition, the tenant has preferred SLP No. 11425 of 1990.

The tenant in SLP No. 7364 of 1990 has also challenged the order of eviction in a revision petition before the High Court and we are told that the revision is still pending.

Like the other tenant, he has also questioned the validity of Section 14-B before the High Court under Article 226. The High Court dismissed that petition following the decision in Mahendra Raj's case.

It would be convenient to refer to the relevant provisions of the Act 'before dealing with the points raised in these cases. The Act applies to premises which are defined by Section 2(i) as meaning, inter alia, 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 or other purpose. Section 14 provides that notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law or contract, no decree or order for the recovery of possession of any premises shall be passed by any Court or Controller in favour of the landlord against a tenant.

This provision is, however, subject to the exceptions provided under several clauses of the proviso. Section 14(l)(e) allows a decree for ejectment to be passed if the Court or Controller is satisfied that the premises let for residential purposes are required bona fide by the landlord for occupation as a residence for himself or for any member of his family dependent on him, provided that the landlord is the owner of the premises and he has no other reasonably suitable residential accommodation. The explanation thereunder states that for the purpose of the clause 14(1)(e) "premises let for residential purposes" 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 purposes. Section 14(l)(e) is further restricted by sub-sections (6) and (7) of Section 14. Sub- section (6) imposes a restriction on the landlord, who has acquired any premises by transfer, not to evict the tenant under Section 14(l)(e) within the period of five years from the date of acquisition. Sub-section (7) imposes an obligation on the Court where an order for eviction is made on the ground specified in Section 14(l)(e) to give the tenant the minimum period of six months for delivery of possession to the landlord.

371 By Act 18 of 1976 the Legislature has introduced certain changes in the Act with effect from 1 December, 1975.

Section 14-A was introduced in Chapter Ill providing certain rights to a person occupying residential premises allotted to him by the Central Government or any other local authority. If he is required to vacate such residential accommodation on the ground that he owns in the Union Territory of Delhi, a house in his name or in the name of his spouse or dependent children, he could recover immediate possession of his premises let out by him notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in the Act or any other law for the time being in force. Simultaneously, Chapter III-A was introduced containing Section 25-A to 25-C providing summary trial of the applications filed landlords classified under Section 14-A and also applications filed by any other landlord for bona fide requirement of their premises under Section 14(l)(e).

By the Amending Act 57 of 1988 some more classes of landlords were carved out from the class of general landlords. Section 14-B to Section 14-D are the provisions.

The released or retired persons from armed forces or the dependents of the member of armed forces who had been killed in action are covered by Section 14-B. They could recover immediate possession of the premises let out by them if they are required for their own residence. The retired employees of the Central Government and of the Delhi Administration are covered by Section 14-C. They could recover immediate possession of the premises let out by them if they are needed for their own residence. The landlords who are widows are covered by Section 14-D with similar right to recover immediate possession of the premises let out by them or by their husband. These classified landlords are also given the benefit of the summary trial under Chapter III-A, by introducing Sections 14-B to 14-D in sub- section (1) of Section 25-B. The sub-section (1) of Section 25-B as it stands provides that every application by a landlord for recovery of possession of any premises on the ground specified in clause (e) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 14, or under Section 14-A or under Section 14-B or under Section 14-C or under Section 14-D shall be dealt with in accordance with the procedure specified in this Section. There are however, no corresponding amendments to sub-sections 2 to 5 of Section 25-B.

Omission to make corresponding amendments particularly, to sub-sections 4 & 5 of Section 25 B has given rise to the arguments for the petitioners that the tenant's right to contest the application for eviction on the grounds specified in Section 14(1)(e) cannot be denied even as against the classified landlords falling under Sections 14-B to 14-D. It 372 was also argued that the classified landlords may prove the facts stated in their respective provisions, but the tenant is entitled to contest the application by disclosing such facts as would disentitle the landlords from obtaining an order of eviction on the grounds specified under Section 14(l)(e).

The acceptance of the submissions urged for petitioners would practically obliterate the purpose and object of classification of landlords under Sections 14-B to 14-D who are carved out from the general landlords. Indeed, it would render the whole exercise of creating special classes of landlords with specified rights to recover immediate possession of the premises let out by them nugatory.

Before the introduction of Sections 14-B to 14- D, Section 14(l)(e) was the only remedy available to all landlords except those covered under Section 14-A to recover possession of their premises. The Controller shall give the tenant leave to contest the applications, if the tenant in his affidavit discloses such facts as would disentitle the landlords from obtaining an order for recovery of possession of the premises on the grounds specified under Section 14(l)(e). It is but natural when the landlord brings an action for recovery of possession of the premises covered under Section 14(l)(e), the tenant has the legitimate right to show that the landlord does not qualify under or satisfy the requirements of Section 14(l)(e). But today the remedy under Section 14(l)(e) is available only to landlords in general or the landlords who are not classified landlords under Sections 14-B to 14- D. The classified landlords have been conferred with certain rights which are different from and independent of the rights under Section 14( 1)(e). For a proper understanding, we may set out Section 14(l)(e), side by side with Section 14-B.

Section 14 (1) (e) Section 14-B

14. Protection of tenant 14. B Right to recover against eviction. immediate possession of premises to accrue to members of the armed forces etc.

(1) Notwithstanding anything (1) Where the landlord:- to the contrary contained in any other law or contract, (a) is a released or retired no order or decree for person from any armed the recovery of possession forces and the premises let of any premises shall be out by him are required for made by any Court on his own residence; or 373 Controller in favour of the (b) is a dependent of a landlord against a tenant: member of any armed forces who had been killed in action and the premises let Provided that the Controller out by such member are may, on an application made required for the residence to him in the prescribed of the family of such manner make an order for the member, recovery of possession of the premises on one or more of the following grounds Such person or, as the case only, namely- may be, the dependent may, within one year from the xxx xxx xxx date of his release or retirement from such armed (e) that the premises let forces or, as the case may for residential purposes are be, the date of death of required bona fide by the such member, or within a landlord for occupation as a period of one year from the residence for himself or for date of commencement of the any member of his family Delhi Rent Control dependent on him, if he is (Amendment) Act, 1988, the owner thereof, or for whichever is later, apply to any person for whose benefit the Controller for the premises are held and recovering the immediate that the landlord or such possession of such premises.

person has no other (2) Where the landlord is a reasonably suitable residen- member of any of the armed tial accommodation : forces and has a period of less than one year preceding the date of his retirement and the premises let out by him are required for his own residence after his retirement, he may, at any Explanation: For the time, within a period of one purposes of this clause, year before the date of his 'premises let for retirement, apply to the residential purposes' Controller for recovering include any premises which the immediate possession of having been let for use as a such premises.

residence are, without the consent of the landlord, (2) Where the landlord is a used incidentally for member of any of the armed commercial or other forces and has a period of purposes." less than one year preceding the date of his retirement and the premises let out by him are required for his own residence after his retirement, he may, at any time, within a period of one year before the date of his retirement, apply to the Controller for recovering the immediate possession of such premises.

(3) Where the landlord referred to in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) has let out more than one premises, it shall be open to him to make an application under that sub-section in respect of only one of the premises chosen by him.

Explanation: For the purposes of this Section `armed forces' means an armed force of the Union constituted under an Act of Parliament and includes a member of the police force constituted under Section 3 of the Delhi Police Act, 1978 (34 of 1978)." 374 To make the picture complete we may also read sub- sections 6 & 7 of Section 14.

"14(6) Where a landlord has acquired any premises transfer, no application for the recovery of possession of such premises shall lie under sub- section (1) on the ground specified in clause (e) of the proviso thereto, unless a period of five years has elapsed from the date of the acquisition.

14(7) Where an order for recovery of possession of any premises is made on the ground specified in clause (e) of the proviso to sub-section (1) the landlord shall not be entitled to obtain possession thereof before the expiration of a period of six months from the date of the order." Under Section 14(l)(e), the premises let out for residence could be recovered from the tenant, if the landlord requires the premises bona fide for his own occupation or for any member of his family dependent on him.

The eviction could also be sought for any person for whose benefit the premises are held. The condition being apart from the requirement must be bona fide, there shall be no other reasonably suitable residential accommodation for the landlord or for whose benefit the premises are held. The explanation to Section 14(1)(e) provides "premises let for residential purposes" 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 purposes. That means if with the consent of the landlord the premises let for residential purposes are used for commercial or other purposes, the landlord will have difficult task to evict such tenant. Sub-section (6) of Section 14 provides protection to the tenant from being evicted from the premises which are transferred to third parties.The transferee landlord must wait for five years from the date of the transfer or acquisition before he moves the Court for eviction of the tenant already in occupation of the premises. Sub-section (7) is again a protection to the tenant requiring the Court or the Controller to give a minimum period of six months to vacate from the date of order of eviction. This is a complete code governing the disposal of application filed under Section 14(1)(e).

Under Section 14-B the right to evict the tenant is available to two categories of persons, (i) The person who has let out the premises and, (ii) the dependent of a member of any armed forces who had let 375 out the premises but killed in action. In the former case, the premises must be required for his own residence and in the latter, for the residence of the family of such member.

It may be noted that Section 14(l)(e) requires that the premises should have been let for residential purposes but the landlord who seeks eviction need not be the person who has let out. But Section 14-B narrows down such right. It is he who has let out alone could evict or the dependent of the person who has let out but since killed in action. Secondly, Section 14-B uses the expression "the premises let out by him" unlike the expression used in Section 14(l)(e) "the premises let out for residential purposes". The definition of "premises" under sub-section (2)(i) means "any building or part of a building which is or intended to be let, separately for use as a residence or for commercial use or for any other purpose . . .". It is clear that Section 14-B does not require that the premises should have been let out for residential purposes and the purpose of letting out seems to be irrelevant. But he who has let out alone could seek eviction of his tenant or the dependent of , member of any armed forces who had let out but since killed in action.

Section 14-B also provides the period of limitation for claiming possession of such premises, but no such limitation is provided under Section 14(l)(e). Sub-section (3) of Section 14-B imposes further restriction on the landlord who is having more than one premises. Such a landlord cannot ask for possession of more than one of the premises but he can choose any one of the premises which he has let out. Here again we find that there is no such restriction to a landlord covered under Section 14(l)(e) provided the requirement of the landlord is bona fide and he has no other reasonably suitable residential accommodation. Section 14(l)(e) does not preclude the landlord from seeking eviction of more than one premises provided he establishes the need.

Similar are the provisions in allied Sections 14-C and 14-D.

It will be thus seen that Sections 14-B to 14-D are markedly different from Section 14(1)(e).

Notwithstanding these two independent provisions with specified rights to landlords in general and the classified landlords, Counsel for the tenants argued that Section 14(l)(e) is the weapon of defence for the tenant even against the applications under Sections 14-B or 14-C or 14- D. The tenant is entitled to leave to contest the application by disclosing such facts in his affidavit which would disentitle the landlord from obtaining an order of eviction under Section 14(l)(e). This contention is sought to be supported first, by the retention of sub-section 376 (5) of Section 25-B without any amendment, second, absence of amendment to SeCtion 25(C)(2). It was also contended that sub-sections 4 & 5 of Section 25-B are a composite scheme and since that scheme has been left untouched the tenant's right thereunder cannot be denied.

The submission if taken to logical conclusion leads to obvious anomaly which will be indicated presently. But before we do that it will be necessary to deal with one other contention. Sub-section (1) of Section 25-B provides that every application for the recovery of possession of any premises belonging to persons referred to in sub-section (1) of Section 25-B shall be dealt with in accordance with the procedure prescribed "in this Section" meaning thereby entire Section 25-B. It was also the submission of Dr. Chitale counsel for one of the tenants in these cases. Mr. Krishna Moorthy Iyer counsel for the Union of India, however, argued that the procedure contemplated under sub-section (5) of Section 25-B need not be followed by the Controller with regard to applications filed under Sections 14-B to 14-D. According to counsel when the tenant is duly served of the application filed under Sections 14-B, 14-C or 14-D he has no right to contest the application unless he files an affidavit stating the grounds on which he seeks to contest the application for eviction and obtains leave from the Controller. It is said that sub-section (4) itself authorises the Controller to refuse leave if he is satisfied that the grounds set out in the affidavit of the tenant would not disentitle the landlord to seek eviction. We do not think that this contention could be accepted. Indeed, sub-section (4) itself provides that the tenant has to obtain leave from the Controller, "as hereinafter provided", which in the context means as provided under sub-section (5) the meaning and scope of which will be presently considered. This is the only sub- section under which the Controller could give leave to the tenant to contest the application if the affidavit filed by the tenant discloses such facts as would disentitle the landlord from obtaining an order for the recovery of possession of the premises.

The argument that the absence of amendments to sub- sections 4 and 5 of Section 25-B preserves the tenant's right to contest the application of even a classified landlord on the grounds specified under section 14(l)(e) would be basically faulty. If such argument is available in respect of sub-sections (4) and (5) of Section 25-B, it must be equally available to sub-section (2) of Section 25-B.

There is also no corresponding amendment to the summons to be issued under subsection (2) and the form specified in the Third Schedule after the introduction of Section 14-B to 14- D. Third Schedule is in these terms:

377 "The Third Schedule Form of Summons in a case where recovery of possession of Premises is Prayed for on the ground of bona fide requirement or under Section 14-A.

To (Name, description and place of residence of the tenant) Whereas Shri _________________________________has filed an application (a copy of which is annexed) for your eviction from (here insert the particulars of the premises) on the ground specified in clause (e) of the proviso to sub- section (1) of Section 14, or under Section 14-A;

You are hereby summoned to appear before the Controller within fifteen days of the service hereof and to obtain the leave of the Controller to contest the application for eviction on the ground aforesaid; in default whereof, the applicant will be entitled at any time after the expiry of the said period of fifteen days to obtain an order for your eviction from the said premises.

Leave to appear and contest the application may be obtained or an application to the Controller supported by an affidavit as if referred to in sub-section (5) of Section 25-B.

Given under my hand and seal.

This_________________ day of_____________________ 19_______ Controller" This form specified in the Third Schedule refers only to applications filed under Section 14(l)(e) or under Section.14A. Does it mean that the unamended form should be used to issue notice to the tenant even in case where application for eviction is not made under Section 14(l)(e) or 14-A? Is the tenant entitled to claim that he must receive the notice in the unamended form only, since there is no corresponding amendment to the form after introduction of Sections 14-B to 14-D? A wooden reading may furnish him positive answers, but it would be ridiculous. When an application is filed under Section 14-B, a copy of the application should be sent to the tenant by making necessary amendment to the prescribed form and omitting the other 378 references which are not relevant. If the application is filed under Section 14-B, the summons should state that the application is filed under Section 14-B and not under Section 14(l)(e) or 14-A. Likewise if the applications are under Sections 14-C to 14-D, the summons should state accordingly. That would indicate the scope of the defence of the tenant for obtaining leave referred to in sub-section (5) of Section 25-B. Under sub-section (5), the tenant could contest the application by obtaining leave with reference to the particular claim in the application of the landlord depending upon whether it is under Section 14-A, 14-B, 14-C or 14-D or under Section 14(l)(e). The tenant can not be allowed to take up defence under Section 14(l)(e) as against an application under Section 14-B. There cannot be any defence unconnected with or unrelated to the claim or right of the plaintiff or applicant. That would be against our jurisprudence. It is unlikely that the Legislature intended the result for which the counsel for the tenant contended.

It will be a mechanical interpretation of the enactment defeating its purpose. Such an interpretation has never found favour with the Courts which have always adopted a purposive approach to the interpretation of statutes.

Section 14-B and other allied provisions ought to receive a purposeful construction and subsection (5) of Section 25-B should be so construed as to implement the object and purpose of Section 14-B to 14-D. It is the duty of the Court to give effect to the intention of the Legislature as expressed in Section 14-B to 14-D.

True it is not permissible to read words in a statute which are not there, but "where the alternative lies between either supplying by implication words which appear to have been accidentally omitted, or adopting a construction which deprives certain existing words of all meanings, it is permissible to supply the words" (Craies Statute Law, 7th Edition, p. 109). Similar are the observations in Hameedia Hardware Stores v. B. Mohan Lal Sowcar, [ 1988] 2 SCC 513 at 524-25 where it was observed that the court construing a provision should not easily read into it words which have not been expressly enacted but having regard to the context in which a provision appears and the object of the statute in which the said provision is enacted the court should construe it in a harmonious way to make it meaningful. An attempt must always be made so to reconcile the relevant provisions as to advance the remedy intended by the statute.

(See: Sirajul Haq Khan & Ors. v. The Sunni Central Board of Waqf, [ 1959] SCR 1287 at 1299).

The tenant of course is entitled to raise all relevant contentions as against the claim of the classified landlords. The fact that there is no 379 reference to the word bona fide requirement in sections 14- B to 14-D does not absolve the landlord from proving that his requirement is bona fide or the tenant from showing that it is not bona fide. In fact every claim for eviction of a tenant must be a bona fide one. There is also enough indication in support of this construction from the title of Section 25(B) which states "special procedure for the disposal of applications for eviction on the ground of bona fide requirement.

It was next urged that sub-section (6) of Section 14 is also attracted to applications under Section 14-B to 14-D.

This contention overlooks the express wordings of sub- section (6). It refers to premises acquired by transfer and thereby the transferee becoming the landlord. Such a landlord cannot bring an action for eviction of tenant in possession of the acquired premises within a period of five years from the date of acquisition. After five years such a landlord can ask for eviction of the tenant under section 14(i)(e). This is indeed, as we said earlier, a protection to the tenant. The original landlord who cannot evict the tenant since he has got many houses under his occupation cannot use the device by transferring one of the houses to a third party who could easily evict such a tenant. The tenant in occupation of the transferred premises gets a protection from eviction for a minimum period of five years. Section 14-B and other allied provisions refer to the premises let out and not acquired by transfer. One may become an owner of the premises by transfer but the tenant in occupation of the transferred property cannot be evicted by resorting to sections 14-B to 14-D. If the transferee wants to evict the tenant of such premises he must take action only under Section 14(l)(e). Equally, sub-section (7) of Section 14 has no application to eviction under Sections 14-B to 14-D. Nor the amended provisions under Section 25(c)(2) would be attracted since it applies exclusively to tenants of the landlords covered under Section 14-A. But that does not mean that the tenants covered under Sections 14-B to 14-D are not entitled to any time for surrendering possession of the premises. it is always left to the Controller who is a quasi-judicial authority to exercise his discretion having regard to the facts and circumstances of each case. The Controller must exercise his judicial discretion in every case of eviction and grant a reasonable time to the tenant.

There is one other aspect which requires elucidation.

In Busching Schmitz Private Limited v. P. T. Meighani and Anr., [1977] 2 SCC 835 this Court while dealing with the scope of Section 14-A and the corresponding right of the tenant to resist the application thereunder, has inter-alia, observed that sub-section (5) of Section 25-B cannot be equated with Order 37 Rule 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The 380 social setting demanding summary proceeding, the nature of the subject-matter and, above all, the legislative diction which has been deliberately designed, differ in the two provisions. The Controller's power to give leave to contest the application filed under Section 14(l)(e) or Section 14-A is cribbed by the condition that the affidavit filed by the tenant discloses such facts as would disentitle the landlord from obtaining an order for the recovery of possession of the premises on the ground specified in the respective sections. Needless to state, therefore if an application is filed under Section 14-B or 14-C or 14-D, the tenant's right to contest the application is narrowed down and is restricted to the parameters of the respective sections. He cannot widen the scope of his defence by relying upon Section 14(l)(e). We find nothing contrary to our view in Precision Steel & Engineering Works and Anr. v. Prem Deva Niranjan Deva Tayal, [ 1982] 3 SCC 270. Subsection (5) of Section 25 is self contained and Order 37 Rule 3 CPC has no part to play there. We, therefore, reiterate the views expressed in Basching Schmitz Private Limited case.

The tenant, who is petitioner in SLP No. 11425/90 has suffered an order of eviction which has been confirmed by the High Court in revision. It is found that his landlord is living in a rented house and is paying a rent of Rs.2,000 p.m. and he requires the premises for himself and the members of his family. We concur with the view taken by the Controller as affirmed by the High Court. The landlord cannot be denied possession of his own premises under Section 14-B when he is residing in a rented premises.

Before parting with the case, we have to deal with one other contention which has been specifically raised by Mr. Sanghi. The counsel argued that the concerned landlord has taken voluntary retirement long earlier and he has become a part of the society just like any other landlord and Section 14-B was not intended to confer such landlord, the special right to recover immediate possession of the premises.

Obvious answer to this contention is found in Section 14- B(1) which states that the persons who have already retired may within one year from the date of their release or retirement from such Armed Forces or, within a period of one year from the date of introduction of Section 14-B, whichever is later apply to the Controller for recovering the immediate possession of their premises. That is the legislative wisdom.

In this view of the matter, the appeals stand disposed without an order as to costs.

D.R.L. Appeals disposed of.

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