Ajit Singh & ANR.
Vs. Jit Ram & ANR.  INSC 1563 (16 September 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO.5680 OF 2008 (Arising out
of SLP)No.248 of 2007) Ajit Singh & Anr. ..Appellants Versus Jit Ram &
TARUN CHATTERJEE, J.
is an appeal by special leave against the judgment and final order dated 8th of
February, 2006 of the High Court of Punjab & Haryana at Chandigarh in Civil
Revision No. 4231 of 2004, whereby the High Court in the exercise of its
revisional power had interfered with the findings of fact arrived at by the
Appellate Authority which was the final authority on fact and set aside the
order of the Appellate Authority, Chandigarh dated 5th of August, 2004
directing the eviction of the respondent only on the ground of subletting,
which affirmed the 2 order of eviction passed by the Rent Controller on a
different ground namely, on the ground of sub-letting.
appellants are father and son and the appellant No.1 (son) is the owner of a
shop being Shop No. 142, Village Badheri, U.T. Chandigarh (hereinafter referred
to as "the said shop") on the basis of a family partition dated 26th
of August, 1998 and the appellant No.2 is the landlord of the said shop. Prior
to the family partition dated 26th of August, 1998 the father, namely,
appellant No.2 was the owner and landlord of the said shop.
Respondent Nos.1 and
2 are also father and son. The father, namely, respondent No.1 was inducted as
a tenant in respect of the said shop at a monthly rental of Rs.500/- per month
excluding the electricity charges.
The appellants filed
an eviction petition against the respondents for evicting them from the said
shop inter alia on the ground of sub- letting, for non payment of rent and also
for bonafide requirement for the personal use and occupation of the appellant
No.1. According to the appellants, the respondent No.1 had sub-let the said 3
shop to respondent No.2, his own son, who is in possession of the same and has
been running the said shop under the name of M/s. New Paris Furniture without
the consent of the appellants. It was further alleged that the respondent No.1
neither paid the rent of the said shop nor tendered the same as such was in
arrears of payment of rent since 1st of October, 1995 till the filing of the
application for eviction. The appellants further alleged in the eviction
petition that the said shop was required for the personal use and occupation of
the appellant No.1. Accordingly, the appellants were constrained to file the
eviction petition against the respondents in respect of the said shop when it
was found that in respect of the notice, the respondents had failed to vacate
and deliver peaceful possession of the said shop to the appellants.
respondents entered appearance and filed a written statement inter alia
contending that the eviction petition against them was not maintainable and the
personal necessity of the said shop for the use and 4 occupation of the
appellant No.1 was also not available and that the Rent Controller had no
jurisdiction to try and entertain the eviction petition. Accordingly, the
respondents prayed for rejection of the eviction petition.
the basis of the pleadings of the parties, as noted herein above, the Rent
Controller framed the following issues :- " (I) Whether the respondents
were in arrears of rent w.e.f. 01-10-95 and as such were liable to be evicted
from demised premises on the ground of non-payment of rent? (II) Whether the
rent tendered by the respondent was short and insufficient? (III) Whether the
said shop was sublet by the respondent no. 1 to respondent no.2 without the
consent of the appellants? (IV) Whether the appellant No1 for his personal use
and occupation required the said shop? (V) Whether this court has no
jurisdiction to try and entertain the eviction petition? 5 (VI) Whether the
ground of personal necessity was not available to the appellants as the shop in
dispute was not a commercial property? (VII) Whether the respondents are entitled
for counter claim as prayed for? (VIII) Relief."
The Rent Controller
decided issue Nos. 1, 2 and 7 together and held that the respondents were not
defaulters in payment of rent nor they were entitled to get refund of any
amount from the appellant as the case made out by them that they have paid the
appellant in excess. This finding arrived at by the Rent Controller by holding
that the appellant had failed to produce any credible and reliable evidence,
accordingly, Issue Nos. 1, 2 and 7 were held against the appellant and,
therefore, no order for ejectment could be passed on the ground of non-payment
of rent. Issue No.4 and 6 were also taken up together. Issue No.4 was decided
against the appellants and Issue No.6 was decided in favour of the respondents.
Accordingly, the Rent Controller held that 6 the ground for personal necessity
was not made out and therefore, on that issue, the appellants were not entitled
to evict the respondents from the said shop. So far as Issue No.5 was
concerned, before the Rent Controller the said issue was not pressed. It may be
mentioned here that the Rent Controller, however, held that there was
relationship of landlord tenant between the parties as the respondents in their
examination-in-chief admitted that the appellant No.2 was the owner of the said
shop who had given the same to the appellant No.1 by way of family settlement
dated 26th of August, 1998.
Accordingly, the Rent
Controller held that the appellants were entitled to evict the respondents only
on the ground of sub-letting as the said shop was sub-let by respondent No.1 to
respondent No.2 without the consent of the appellants. Upon the issues being
decided in the manner indicated above, the Rent Controller finally passed the
order of eviction against the respondents in respect of the said shop only on
the ground of sub-letting.
aggrieved by the order of eviction passed by the Rent Controller, the
respondents filed an appeal before the Appellate Authority under the East
Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949 (in short the `Rent Act').
Authority by its judgment and final order dated 5th of August, 2004 allowed the
appeal and also the cross objections of the appellants and directed the
eviction of the respondents from the said shop on the ground of personal
necessity by the appellants.
aggrieved and dissatisfied with the order of the Appellate Authority directing
eviction on a finding that the appellants required the said shop for their own
use and occupation, the respondents filed a civil revision petition in the High
Court which, by the impugned order, was allowed and the High Court, as noted
herein earlier, in the exercise of its revisional power had set aside the order
of eviction passed by the Appellate Authority on the ground that appellant No.2
was the landlord of the said shop but they had failed to prove the ingredients
as required under Section 13(3)(a)(ii) of the Rent Act. It was 8 held by the
High Court that the averments made in the eviction petition would evidently
show that such averments were made only to the extent of the personal
requirement of the appellant No.1, Ajit Singh, but such pleadings did not
relate to the personal requirement of the appellant No.2, who was also the
landlord of the said shop and, accordingly, in the absence of any pleading or
averment made in the eviction petition to the extent of the personal
requirement of the said shop of the appellant No.2, the High Court held that
the order of eviction passed by the Appellate Authority could not be sustained
in law. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the order of the High Court
allowing the revision petition, the appellants filed a special leave petition
which on grant of leave was heard in presence of the learned counsel for the
heard the learned counsel for the parties and after examining the impugned
order of the High Court as well as the order of the appellate authority and the
Rent Controller and the materials on record including 9 the averments made by
the appellants in their petition for eviction, we are of the view that the High
Court in the exercise of its revisional power under the Rent Act was not
entitled to interfere with the findings of fact arrived at by the Appellate
Authority on the question of bonafide requirement of the said shop at the
instance of the appellants. Since the findings arrived at by the Appellate
Authority on the question of bonafide requirement was set aside by the High
Court in the exercise of its revisional power under the Rent Act and the
eviction of the respondents from the said shop therefore rests only on the
ground whether the pleadings made by the appellants in their eviction petition
would satisfy the requirement of Section 13(3)(a)(ii) of the Rent Act. The
pleadings made by the appellants in the eviction petition must therefore be
looked into in depth and in detail.
is an admitted position that the said shop is at Village Badheri, Chandigarh.
Since the eviction granted by the appellate authority and reversed by the High
Court in revision was on bonafide requirement of the 10 appellants, it will be
fit and proper that Section 13(3)(a) (ii) of the Rent Act should now be
referred to, which runs as under :
"13. Eviction of
tenant - (3)(a) A landlord may apply to the controller for an order directing
the tenant to put the landlord in possession;
(ii) in the case of
non-residential building or rented land, if (a) he requires it for his own use;
(b) he is not
occupying in the urban area concerned for the purpose of his business any other
such building or rented land as the case may be; and (c) he has not vacated
such a building or rented land without sufficient cause after the commencement
of this Act, in the urban area concerned;"
11 A plain reading
of the aforesaid provision, namely, Section 13(3)(a)(ii) of the Rent Act would
show that in order to get an order of eviction on the aforesaid ground, the
landlord had to aver and prove that the landlord required the said shop for his
own use as the said shop was a non-residential building. In Joginder Pal vs.
Naval Kishore Behal [(2002) 5 SCC 397], this Court considered the aforesaid
provision in detail and interpreted the words "his own use" in regard
to a non- residential building. In that view of the matter, it would be
appropriate for us to refer to the aforesaid consideration by this Court in the
aforesaid decision which crystallised the question as under :
" (1) The words
"for his own use" as occurring in Section 13(3)(a)(ii) of the Act
must receive a wide, liberal and useful meaning rather than a strict or narrow
(2)The expression -
landlord requires for "his own use" is not confined in its meaning to
actual physical user by the landlord personally. The 12 requirement not only
of the landlord himself but also of the normal "emanations" of the
landlord is included therein. All the cases and circumstances in which actual
physical occupation or user by someone else, would amount to occupation or user
by the landlord himself, cannot be exhaustively enumerated. It will depend on a
variety of factors such as interrelationship and interdependence - economic or
otherwise, between the landlord and such person in the background of social,
socio- religious and local customs and obligations of the society or region to
which they belong.
(3)The tests to be
applied are : (i) whether the requirement pleaded and proved may properly be
regarded as the landlord's own requirement; and, (ii) whether on the facts and
in the circumstances of a given case, actual occupation and user by a person
other than the landlord would be deemed by the landlord as "his own"
occupation or user.
13 The answer would,
in its turn, depend on (i) the nature and degree of relationship and/or dependence
between the landlord pleading the requirement as "his own" and the
person who would actually use the premises; (ii) the circumstances in which the
claim arises and is put forward; and (iii) the intrinsic tenability of the
claim. The court on being satisfied of the reasonability and genuineness of
claim, as distinguished from a mere ruse to get rid of the tenant, will uphold
the landlord's claim.
(4) While casting its
judicial verdict, the court shall adopt a practical and meaningful approach
guided by the realities of life.
(5)In the present
case, the requirement of the landlord of the suit premises for user as office
of his chartered accountant son is the requirement of landlord "for his
own use" within the meaning of Section 13(3)(a)(ii)."
judgment is the answer to the question posed before us. Here also, the
requirement is made for the son who is admittedly the owner of the shop room
and also the landlord, after the said shop was, by a family partition dated
26th of August, 1998, given to the son who also became the landlord after
family partition and also he became the owner of the said shop by such family
the aforesaid decision of this Court, it is therefore, clear that this Court
has laid down authoritatively that a non-residential premises, if required by a
son for user by him would cover the requirement of words used in the Section,
i.e. "for his own use" in reference to a landlord. Therefore, if
"his own use" has been interpreted by this Court in the above-said
manner, then the requirements as laid down in Section 13(3)(a)(ii)(b) and (c)
of the Act has to be interpreted in the same manner to hold that (a) the son of
the landlord has to plead in the eviction petition that, (b) he is not
occupying in the urban area concerned for the purpose 15 of his business any
other such building or rented land as the case may be; and (c) he has not
vacated such a building or rented land without sufficient cause after the
commencement of the Rent Act, in the urban area concerned.
the present case, it was pleaded and proved that the said shop was required for
the use of the son and, therefore, the pleadings of the son in regard to the
aforesaid requirement, being mandatory, were satisfied, otherwise it would make
the requirement laid down under the said provisions nugatory in view of the
interpretation given by this Court in the aforesaid decision, with which we are
in full agreement.
the principles as laid down by the aforesaid decision namely, Joginder Pal
(Supra) which also deals with commercial premises, as in the present case, we
are of the view that a plain reading of Section 13 (3)(a)(ii) (a) to (c) in
conjunction with Section 13(3)(a)(iv)(a) & (b) of the Rent Act, would make
it ample clear when the said shop is being got vacated on the ground of user
16 for the son of the landlord, then in the eviction petition, the son
(appellant No. 1) must plead that he was not occupying any other building and
that he had not vacated such a building without sufficient cause. It is well
settled that while interpreting a provision of a statute, the same has to be
interpreted taking into consideration the other provisions of the same statute.
In the aforesaid
decision, namely, Joginder Pal (Supra), this Court has clearly laid down that a
balanced interpretation has to be given in regard to the rent legislation and
the provisions itself contemplate a case in regard to user of non-residential
building by a professional and the statute itself lays down requirement in that
regard within the same requirements will have to be read in regard to shop
required to be used by the son of the landlord for business purpose.
Accordingly, we are of the view that the impugned decision of the High Court is
in direct conflict with the Judgment of this Court in Joginder Singh's case
(supra) and therefore, the said Judgment cannot be sustained.
is another aspect of this matter. While making an interpretation of Section 13
of the Act, the High Court did not deal with Section 13 of the Rent Act
completely but it dealt with only that part of Section 13 which deals with
residential building only and has not dealt with portion of Section 13, which
deals with non- residential building. It is true that while reversing the order
of eviction passed by the Appellate Authority, the High Court in the impugned
order had also taken note of the decision in Joginder Pal's case (supra), but
in view of our discussions made herein above, the ratio of the aforesaid
decision was not applied in the present case.
There is yet another
angle in which the High Court was not justified in interfering with the order
of eviction passed by the Appellate Authority which was the final court of
fact. The Appellate Authority while directing eviction to the respondents
considered the oral and documentary evidence on record and also the pleadings
of the parties and then came to a finding that the appellants had successfully
averred and proved their 18 case of personal requirement as made out by them
under Section 13(3)(a)(ii) of the Rent Act. It is true that the High Court in
its revisional jurisdiction could have interfered with such findings of fact
arrived at by the Appellate Authority, if the High Court had found that the
findings of the Appellate Authority on the question of bonafide requirement
were either perverse or arbitrary. On a close examination of the impugned order
of the High Court, we do not find any ground to hold that the findings of fact,
regarding the bonafide requirement of the appellants, were perverse or
arbitrary or the pleadings made by the appellants in their eviction petition
could be said to be not in conformity with the requirement of Section 13(3)(a)
(ii) of the Rent Act. Therefore, we are also of the view that the High Court
was in error in interfering with the order of eviction passed by the Appellate
Authority on the ground of bonafide requirement.
this stage, an argument advanced by the learned counsel for the respondents may
be considered. The learned counsel for the respondents relied on a decision 19
Prasad [(1981) 3 SCC 103] and contended that a portion of the demised premises
may also be used as a residential premises, which cannot be considered to be a
commercial premises for the purpose of evicting the tenant under Section
13(3)(a)(ii) of the Rent Act. We are unable to accept this submission of the
learned counsel for the respondents, for the simple reasons, first, the
decision in Hasmat Rai's case (supra) was based on M.P. Accommodation Control
Act, 1961 which confers on the authority to pass order of eviction on the
ground of bonafide requirement on a different wording from the words used in
East Punjab Urban Rent Registration Act, 1949. Furthermore, it may be
reiterated that in order to obtain an order of eviction under Section
13(3)(a)(ii) of the Rent Act, the landlord has to prove, as noted herein
earlier, that he required the said shop for his own use and the said shop was a
non-residential building. In this case, admittedly the said shop is used for
commercial purposes and therefore there was no question of the said 20 shop
being used as residential purposes or being used for a portion of residential
purposes for residential use.
That being the
position, the aforesaid decision, in our view, is clearly distinguishable.
Accordingly, the above decision of this court is of no help to the respondents.
the reasons aforesaid, the impugned order of the High Court is hereby set aside
and the order of the Appellate Authority is restored and the eviction petition
filed by the appellants stands allowed.
the facts and circumstances of the case and considering the facts that the
respondents are using the said shop for commercial purposes and have been
carrying on business in the same, we grant the respondents 9 months' time to
vacate the same, subject to filing the usual undertaking in this Court within
two weeks from this date. Accordingly, the appeal is allowed. There will be no
order as to costs.
21 [Tarun Chatterjee]