Kumar Swarup Vs. Flow More Private Limited  INSC 41 (18 January 1994)
M.K. (J) Mukherjee M.K. (J) Mohan, S. (J)
1994 SCR (1) 148 1994 SCC (2) 10 JT 1994 (1) 137 1994 SCALE (1)118
Judgment of the Court was delivered by MUKHERJEE, J.- The appellant-landlord
filed an application Linder Section 14(1)(e) of the Delhi Rent Control Act,
1958 before the Rent Controller seeking eviction of the respondent-tenant
(Company) from the premises in question on the ground of bona fide requirement.
After obtaining leave to contest the application, the tenant contended, relying
upon clause 5 of the deed of lease which reads as under:
the lessee shall use the premises for the residence and personal use of
Directors and/or their relatives and for the purpose of the Company." that
the premises were let out both for residential as also commercial purposes and
the composite purpose of the tenancy took the premises out of the purview of
the residential accommodation. The other ground on which the application was
resisted was that the claim of the landlord that the premises were required for
his own occupation was not a bona fide one. The Controller rejected both the
contentions of the tenant and passed an order for eviction. Aggrieved thereby,
the tenant filed a revisional application in the Delhi High Court and
reiterated both its contentions. The High Court, while affirming the finding
recorded by the Controller about the bona fide requirement of the landlord
upset the finding of the Controller that clause 5 of the deed mistakably proved
that the premises were let out for residential purpose only. In interpreting
clause 5, the High Court first observed:
5 is not ambiguous. There is no confusion in the word used in this clause. The
words 'personal use of Directors and/or their relatives and for the purpose of
the Company' were used after mentioning that the premises can be used for
residence meaning thereby that the other users were also permissible besides
residence and that the user was for the purpose of the Company, i.e., for the
business of the Company and the Directors and their relatives also could use
does not mean that Directors and their relatives are to use the premises for
residence only. The personal use could be of many nature. It could be that
Director or their relatives can have their office in particular rooms for their
personal work beyond the work of the Company." And ultimately concluded by
words 'for the purpose of the Company' are very significant and cannot be given
a go by. They do clearly show that the premises can be used for the purpose of
Company which is obviously business of the Company. Hence it has to be held
that the premises have been let out not only for residential purpose but also
for commercial purpose. The interpretation of the Rent Controller with regard
to the particular clause 12 does not appear to be sound. So, I set aside the
finding of the Rent Controller in this regard." On such conclusion, the
High Court reversed the order of the Controller and rejected the application of
this appeal by special leave.
view of the concurrent finding recorded by the Controller and the High Court
regarding bona fide requirement of the premises by the landlord, the only point
that survives for consideration in this appeal is as to the true meaning of
clause 5 of the lease deed. In other words, we have to find an answer to the
question whether the premises were let out for residential purpose only or for
a composite purpose.
interpreting a document the intention of the parties has to be ascertained, if
possible from the expressions used therein. More often than not, this causes no
difficulty, but if difficulty is felt owing to inarticulate drafting or
inadvertence or other causes, the intention may be gathered reading the entire
document and, if so necessary, from other attending circumstances also. If
through such a process the intention of the parties can be culled out
consistently with the rule of law, the courts are required to take that course.
Keeping these principles in mind, we may proceed to consider the facts of the
a plain reading of clause 5 it is patently clear to us that the landlord authorised
the tenant to use the premises in dispute only for residential purpose and for
no other purpose. The words 'for the purpose of the Company' ought to be read
in conjunction with 'residence' and when so read there is no escape from the
conclusion that what the parties intended was that the premises were to be used
for residence of the Directors, their relatives and also others who may have to
be accommodated 'for the purpose of the Company'. The interpretation given by
the High Court to the above quoted words cannot be accepted for if the landlord
was to permit the tenant to use the premises for any other purpose the whole
exercise of prescribing the purpose and circumscribing the category of persons
who can use it for that purpose would have been futile.
Even if it is assumed, for arguments' sake, that the words 'for the purpose of
the Company' in clause 5 created some confusion about the intention of the
parties, it stood completely dispelled by the other clauses of the agreement as
also by the other materials appearing on record.
in this connection may first be made to clauses II and 13 of the agreement
which read as under:
That the lessee shall not carry out any structural additions or alterations to
the said premises, Jay-out, fittings or fixtures but can install air
conditioners, cooking range etc.
That the lessee shall abide by all rules and regulations of the Municipal
Corporation, DDA and other authorities and shall be responsible for any loss or
damages suffered by the lessor on account of lessee's failure to do so."
13 Besides, the above clauses reference may be made to the certificate dated
February 10, 1975 issued by the Managing Director of the tenant (Ext. AX)
whereby he confirmed that the premises had been let out to him for his residence
at a monthly rent of Rs 2000 and the report dated April 17, 1975 prepared by
the officers of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (Ext. AW3/1), after
inspection of the premises for assessment of property tax wherein it has been
specifically mentioned that the user of the premises was residential.
on record further show that under the master plan and the zonal plan of the
Municipal Corporation of Delhi the colony in which the premises in question are
situated is exclusively residential and that it cannot be used for any purpose
other than residential.
From clause II quoted above, we find that under the agreement only installation
of air conditioners and cooking ranges were permitted and there is no mention
of any kind of office equipment. Further, clause 13, when read in the context
of the master and zonal plans referred to earlier, clearly indicates that the
residential user of the premises was only contemplated.
the foregoing discussion, we are of the opinion that the High Court erred in law
in reversing the decision of the Rent Controller allowing the eviction. We,
therefore, allow this appeal, set aside the order of the High Court and restore
that of the Controller. However, there will be no order as to costs.
Before we part with this judgment we may record that after the hearing of this
appeal was concluded we requested the learned counsel for the parties to effect
a settlement, if possible. Pursuant thereto the parties negotiated but could
not arrive at a settlement. The learned counsel for the respondent, however,
submitted before us, on the basis of the negotiations that took place that the
claim of the landlord regarding requirement of the premises was not a bona fide
one and therefore the appeal should be dismissed on that score alone. Needless
to say, the landlord agreed to negotiate for the settlement only in deference
to our suggestion and without prejudice to his rights and contentions in the
appeal. Therefore, no cognizance could be, and should be, taken of the terms
offered or exchanged during negotiations, far less, relied upon to dispose of
the appeal. CMP No. 16601 of 1989:
Since the appeal is disposed of, no orders are necessary on the CMP.
After the delivery of the judgment, a prayer on behalf of the respondent-tenant
has been made to seek some time to vacate the premises. Accordingly, we direct
that the appellant shall not levy execution for a period of six months. The
respondent-tenant will file an undertaking within two weeks from today agreeing
to the delivery of vacant possession on the expiry of said six months, i.e.
July 31, 1994.