Vs. Ishwar Chander & Ors  INSC 159 (9 May 1988)
M.N. (J) Venkatachalliah, M.N. (J) Pathak, R.S. (Cj) Natrajan, S. (J)
1988 AIR 1422 1988 SCR Supl. (1) 239 1988 SCC (3) 131 JT 1988 (2) 426 1988
INFO : R 1991 SC 744 (10)
of India, 1950-Article 136-Bonafide need of
landlord of accommodation-Eviction of tenant-All conclusions drawn from primary
facts-Not necessarily questions of law-Often are pure questions of fact-Bonafide
requirement is one such.
Punjab Rent Restrictions Act, 1949: Section 15- Tenant-Eviction of-On ground of
bonafide need of landlord- High Court-Jurisdiction of-To interfere in
revision-Court can take cautious cognizance of subsequent events to mould relief.
appellant and the respondents were tenants of separate portions of the premises
which was later sold by the landlord to the respondents, who were four
brothers. The respondents filed a petition for eviction of the appellant on the
ground of bonafide requirement. They contended that they were in all 10
brothers, who, alongwith their families, were living together with their
father, and the accommodation in their occupation was insufficient for their
Rent Controller upheld the claim of the respondents. The Appellate Authority
(District Judge), however, allowed the appellant's appeal. The High Court, in
revision under section 15(5), reversed the appellate judgment and restored that
of the Court of first instance.
this Court the appellant contended:
That the High Court in exercise of its revisional jurisdiction was precluded
from re-opening the findings of fact recorded by the appellate authority; and
(2) that the findings of the High Court on reappraisal of evidence were wholly
the appeal, it was, ^
was, no doubt, true that the question whether the requirement of the landlord
was bonafide or not was essentially one of 240 fact, notwithstanding the
circumstance that a finding of fact in that behalf was a secondary and
inferential fact drawn from other primary or perceptive ones. All conclusions
drawn from primary facts were not necessarily, questions of law. They could be,
and quite often were, pure questions of fact. The question as to bonafide
requirement was one such. [242G-H]
The landlord's desire for possession, however honest it might otherwise be, had
inevitably a subjective element in it, and that "desire" to become a
"requirement" in law must have the objective element of a
Statute had been enacted to afford protection to tenants from eviction. In
considering the reasonable requirement of the landlord the court must take all
relevant circumstances into consideration so that the protection afforded by
law to the tenant was not rendered merely illusory or whittled down. [243A,
Subject to the well-known limitations of all revisional jurisdictions, the
scope of revisional power essentially turned on the language of the statute
investing the revisional jurisdiction. [243E]
Section 15(5) of the Act enabled the High Court to satisfy itself as to the
"legality and propriety" of the order under revision, which was quite
obviously, a much wider jurisdiction in the exercise of which, an appropriate
case, the High Court could reappraise the evidence if the finding of the
appellate court was found to be infirm in law. [243G; 244F]
Courts could take a 'cautious-cognizance' of the subsequent-events in order to
mould the relief. [245F-G] Mattulal v. Radhe Lal,  1 SCR 127; Phiroze Bamanji
Desai v. Chandrakant M. Patel,  3 SCR 267; Bell & Co. Ltd. v. Waman Hemraj,
AIR 1938 Bom. 223; Hari Shankar v. Girdhari Lal Chowdhury, (AIR 1963 SC 698); Dattonpant
Gopalvarao Devakata v. Vithalrao Marutirao, AIR 1975 SC 1111 and M/s Ranalakshmi
Dyeing & Others v. Rangaswamy, referred to.
APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 2969 of 1984.
the Judgment and Order dated 29.5.1984 of the Punjab 241 and Haryana High Court in Civil Revision No. 1934 of
Lal and Balmokand Goyal for the Appellant.
and K.R. Nagaraja for the Respondents.
Judgment of the Court was delivered by:
J. This appeal, by special Leave, by the tenant arises out of the proceedings
for eviction instituted against him under the East Punjab Rent Restriction Act
1949 and is preferred against the judgment, dated, 29.5.1984 in Civil Revision
No. 1934 of 1982 of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, reversing the judgment,
dated, 30.4.1982 made by the Appellate Authority, Kapurthala, in Rent Appeal
No. 130 and restoring that of the Rent Controller, dated, 17.12.1978 in rent
case no. 47 of 1977, granting possession to the Respondent-landlords.
Appellant was a tenant of the premises concerned in the proceedings on a
monthly rent of Rs.3 having been inducted into possession on 9.12.1965 by the
then owner Smt. Manohar Kaur. The premises in the occupation of the appellant
consist of a portion of the ground-floor of the building. On 15.12.1976, the
said Manohar Kaur sold the entire property in favour of respondents. The
respondents are four brothers. Prior to the purchase, they were occupying, as
tenants, other portions of the same building both in the first floor and the
second floor. They were in occupation of three rooms in the first floor and one
in the second.
27.9.1977, respondents filed a petition for eviction of the appellant on the
ground of their own bonafide requirement of the premises. They alleged that the
portion in their occupation was insufficient for their needs and that they
required additional accommodation. They said that they were in all 10 brothers
who, alongwith their families, were living together with their father.
Appellant contested the claim, urging that the first-respondent one of the
brothers, was in occupation of other rented-premises in the same town at a
place called Mohalla Malka-na; that the respondents' father was himself in
occupation of a separate rented premises; that the accommodation already available
to the respondents was 242 more than sufficient for their requirements and
that, accordingly, their projected need was fictitious and malafide. Appellant
also said that the proceedings were brought in collusion with the previous
an appreciation of the evidence, the Rent Controller upheld the claim of the
landlords and made an order granting possession. The Appellate Authority
(District Judge) however, allowed appellants' appeal and set-aside the order of
eviction. The High Court in revision under Section 15(5) of the Act reversed
the appellate judgment and restored that of the court of first instance. The
aggrieved tenant has come-up by special leave.
support of the appeal, Shri Harbans Lal, learned senior advocate, urged that
the order of the High Court suffers from, and stands vitiated, by, two serious
first, according to the learned counsel, is that the High Court, in exercise of
its revisional jurisdiction, was precluded from reopening findings of facts
recorded by the Appellate-Authority and substituting fresh findings of its own
on a reappraisal of the evidence even if the fresh findings so recorded could
be said to be amongst those possible on the evidence. Learned Counsel placed
reliance on Mattulal v. Radhe Lal,  1 SCR 127 and Phiroze Bamanji Desai
v. Chandrakant M. Patel & Ors.,  3 SCR 267.
second is that the findings as to the bonafides, or the lack of it, of the
alleged need for the additional- accommodation recorded by the Appellate
Authority were sound, proper and supportable on the evidence on record and the
High Court in exercise of its revisional jurisdiction could not have
reappraised the evidence afresh and that the findings so substituted by the
High Court are wholly erroneous.
V.C. Mahajan, learned senior advocate for the respondent-landlords, however,
sought to support the order of the High Court.
Upon a consideration of the matter, we are of the view that both the
contentions urged in support of the appeal are in-substantial.
no doubt, true that the question whether the requirement of the landlords is bonafide
or not is essentially one of fact, notwithstanding the circumstance that a
finding of fact is a secondary and inferential fact drawn from other primary or
perceptive ones. All conclusions drawn from primary-facts are not necessarily,
questions of law. They can be, and quite often are, pure questions of fact. The
question as to bonafide requirement is one such.
Statutes enacted to afford protection to tenants from eviction on the basis of
contractual rights of the parties make the resumption of possession by the
land-lord subject to the satisfaction of certain statutory conditions. One of
them is the bonafide requirement of the land-lord, variously described in the
statutes as "bona-fide requirement", "reasonable
requirement", "bona-fide and reasonable requirement" or, as in
the case of the present statute, merely referred to as "landlord requires
for his own use".
the essential idea basic to all such cases is that the need of the landlord
should be genuine and honest, conceived in good faith; and that, further, the
court must also consider it reasonable to gratify that need. Landlord's desire
for possession however honest it might otherwise be, has inevitably a
subjective element in it and that, that desire, to become a
"requirement" in law must have the objective element of a
"need". It must also be such that the court considers it reasonable
and, therefore, eligible to be gratified. In doing so, that court must take all
relevant circumstances into consideration so that the protection afforded by
law to the tenant is not rendered merely illusory or whittled down.
the first contention that the revisional powers do not extend to interference
with and upsetting of findings of fact, it needs to be observed that, subject
to the well- known limitations inherent in all revisional jurisdictions, the
matter essentially turns on the language of the statute investing the
jurisdiction. The decisions relied upon by Shri Harbans Lal, deal, in the first
case, with the limitations on the scope of interference with findings of fact
in second-appeals and in the second, with the limitation on the revisional
powers where the words in the statute limit it to the examination whether or
not the order under revision is "according to law." The scope of the revisional
powers of the High Court, where the High Court is required to be satisfied that
the decision is "according to law" is considered by Beaument C.J. in
Bell & Co. Ltd. v. Waman Hemraj, AIR 1938 Bombay 223 a case referred to
with approval by this Court in Hari Shankar v. Girdhari Lal Chowdhury, AIR 1963
here, Section 15(5) of the Act enables the High Court to satisfy itself as to
the "legality and propriety" of the order under revision, which is,
quite obviously, a much wider jurisdiction. That jurisdiction enables the court
of revision, in appropriate cases, to examine the correctness of the findings
of facts also, though the revisional court is not "a second court of first
appeal" (See Dattonpant Gopalvarao Devakate v. Vithalrao Marutirao).
Referring to the nature and scope of the revisional jurisdiction and the
limitations inherent in the concept of a `Revision' this Court in M/s. Ranalakshmi
Dyeing Works & Ors. v. Rangaswamy Chettier,  2 RCJ 165 (at 167)
2. "Appeal" and "revision" are expressions of common usage
in Indian statutes and the distinction between "appellate
jurisdiction" and "revisional jurisdiction" is well known though
not well defined. Ordinarily, appellate jurisdiction involves a rehearing, as
it were, on law as well as fact and is invoked by an aggrieved person.
jurisdiction may, however, be limited in some way as, for instance has been
done in the case of second appeals under the Code of Civil Procedure and under
some Rent Acts in some States.
again, revisional jurisdiction is analogous to a power of superintendence and
may sometimes be exercised even without its being invoked by a party. The extent
of revisional jurisdiction is defined by the statute conferring such jurisdiction
..................... Revisional jurisdiction as ordinarily understood with
reference to our statutes is always included in appellate jurisdiction but not
vice-versa. These are general observations. The question of the extent of
appellate or revisional jurisdiction has to be considered in each case with
reference to the language employed by the statute ......" The criticism of
Sri Harbans Lal that it was impermissible for the High Court in its revisional
jurisdiction to interfere with the findings of fact recorded by the appellate
authority, however erroneous they be, is not, having regard to the language in
which the revisional power is couched, tenable. In an appropriate case, the
High Court can reappraise the evidence if the findings of the appellate court
are found to be infirm in law.
to the second contention. The High Court was of the view that certain findings
recorded by the Appellate Authority on the question of the bonafides of the
requirement of the landlords were based on material which was not quite
relevant. Secondly, the High Court took into account certain subsequent events
brought on record. In regard to the first aspect, the High Court observed:
According to the learned Appellate Authority there was no evidence on record to
prove that the landlords were 245 ten brothers since their father had not come
in the witnessbox to depose in this regard. This approach of the learned
Appellate Authority is without wrong and illegal. There was nothing to
disbelieve Ishwar Chander when he says that they are ten brothers. No question
was put to him in the cross-examination to challenge the said statement of his
......" The High Court noticed that so far as the premises which were said
to be in the occupation of the Ishwar Chander (Respondent No. 1) were
concerned, the owner of those premises was seeking resumption of possession.
Further, in respect of the accommodation in the hands of the farther, there
were already proceedings for eviction against him binding decision in the High
regard to the subsequent events which the High Court took notice of it said:
Thus, what has to be seen is whether the accommodation in their occupation is
sufficient for their requirements or not. Of course, out of the four landlords,
one is married and the others were unmarried when the ejectment application was
filed in the year 1977. However, about seven years have passed since then.
Mean-while, Surinder Kumar landlord has also been married and he has got one
son aged 2 years, whereas Subhash Chand has also been recently married in
March, 1984, as per the affidavit of Hukam Chand, father of the landlords,
dated 27th May, 1984. Thus, there was nothing on the
record to show that the present accommodation in occupation of the landlords
was sufficient to meet their requirements ....." Courts can take a
`cautious-cognizance of the subsequent- events in order to mould the relief.
The High Court did that.' No fault could be found with that.
No. 33347 is filed by the appellant, seeking to bring certain subsequent events
on record. The alleged subsequent event is that pursuant to an agreement for
purchase of another residential building entered into by the first respondent
and his wife, a sale deed had subsequently come to be executed in favour of
first respondent's wife.
contention is that having regard to this subsequent- acquisition, the present
claim for additional accommodation does not survive.
are afraid this circumstance, even if true, will not tilt the balance in favour
of the appellant. Even if the need of the other three brothers who are
co-owners is taken into account, the order of eviction is supportable on the
basis of ther need. CMP is, therefore, of no practical assistance to the
the result, we find no merit in this appeal which is accordingly dismissed, but
without an order as to costs.