Singh Vs. Raghbir Singh & ANR  INSC 294 (23 August 1999)
This is an appeal against the judgment and order passed by learned Single Judge
of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in Civil Revision No. 2006 of 1983. By
the impugned judgment the petition filed under sub-Section (5) of Section 15 of
East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act (for short the Act) was allowed by
setting aside both the judgments of the Rent Controller as well as Appellate
Authority. The appellant Resham Singh filed a petition for eviction of two
respondents namely Raghbir Singh and Kuldeep Singh in respect of disputed suit
premises. According to the appellant the suit premises was let out to
respondent Raghbir Singh but he sublet it to Kuldeep Singh. It was also pleaded
before the Rent Controller that the respondent was in arrears of rent from
1.8.80. The Rent Controller decided the issue regarding defaulter against the
appellant-landlord but ordered eviction of respondent on the ground of sub-letting.
The appeal filed by the respondent was dismissed by the Appellate Authority.
The High Court by the impugned judgment set aside both the judgments and
allowed the revision petition holding that there was no sub-letting and the
respondents were not defaulters. We have heard Mr. Munni Lal Verma, learned
senior counsel for the appellant and Ms. Rupinder Kaur Wasu, learned counsel
for the respondent. It has been urged that sub-Section (5) of Section 15 of the
Act does not empower the High Court to set aside the findings of fact. The said
sub-Section is quoted below:
The High Court may, at any time, on the application of any aggrieved party or
in its own motion, call for an examine the records relating to any order passed
or proceedings taken under this Act for the purpose of satisfying itself as to
the legality or propriety of such order or proceeding and may pass such order
in relation thereto as it may deem fit.
question of sub-letting is a conclusion on question of law derived from the
findings on materials on record as to the transfer of exclusive possession and
as to the said transfer of possession being for consideration.
considering the said sub-Section (5) the above view was also expressed by this
Court in Dev Kumar(Died) Through The sub-Section (5) empowers the High Court
either on application or in its own motion to call for an examination of the
record for the purposes of satisfying itself as to the legality and propriety
of such orders or proceedings.
view of the above language of sub-Section (5) we find that the High Court while
exercising powers under sub-Section (5) of Section 15 of the Act has got the
powers to satisfy itself as to whether the question of sub-letting which is a
question of law was properly decided by the courts below. From the impugned
judgment of the High Court we find that the High Court did not rightly find
ingredients of sub-letting. We, therefore, hold that the High Court was
justified in setting aside the judgments of courts below.
settled position of law that to establish sub-letting the onus is on the
landlord to prove through evidence that sub-tenant was in exclusive possession
of the property in question; that between the sub- tenant and the tenant there
was relationship of lessee and lessor and that possession of the premises in
question was parted with exclusively by the tenant in favour of the sub-tenant.
( See - Kala and Anr. 688).
present appeal it is not disputed that both the respondents are brothers and
respondent No. 1 Raghbir Singh who was the tenant was involved in some criminal
proceedings and he was absconding for a considerable period. Being an absconder
it does not possible for the tenant - respondent No.1 Raghbir Singh be
physically present in the premises in question. It is natural to allow his
brother - Kuldip Singh to look after the shop and this fact would not amount to
sub-letting. As stated above, it is settled position of law that burden of
making a case of sub-letting is on the landlord/landlady. In the present case
there is no evidence regarding parting of possession of the suit premises by
respondent No. 1 - Raghbir Singh in favour of his brother respondent No.2 - Kuldip
Singh and that said Kuldip Singh was in an exclusive possession of the suit
premises. There is also no evidence of relationship of lessee and lessor
between the two brothers. For the reasons stated above we do not find any merit
in the present appeal and accordingly dismissed. No order as to costs.