PRECISION STEEL AND ENGINEERING WORKS Vs. PREM DEVA NIRANJAN DEVA TAYAL
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: DELHI)
PRECISION STEEL AND ENGINEERING WORKS
PREM DEVA NIRANJAN DEVA TAYAL
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(1.) A provision conferring power enacted to mollify slogans chanting public opinion of speedy justice, if not wisely interpreted may not only prove counterproductive but disastrous. And that is the only raison d'etre for this judgment because in the course of hearing at the stage of granting special leave Mr. D. V. Patel, learned counsel for the respondent straightway conceded that this is such a case in which leave to defend could never have been refused, Unfortunately, however, not a day passses without the routine refusal of leave, tackled as a run-of-the mill case by the High Court in revision with one word judgment 'rejected', has much to our discomfiture impelled us to write this short judgment.
(2.) First the brief narration of facts. Respondent M/s. Prem Deva Niranjan Deva Tayal (Hindu Undivided Family) through, Prem Deva Tayal. constituted attorney of Niranjan Deva Tayal (landlord) moved the Controller having jurisdiction by a petition under S. 14 (1) Proviso (e) (for short 'S. 14 (1) (e)') read with S. 25B of the Delhi Rent Control Act. 1958, ('Act' for short), for an order for recovery of possession of the premises being, front portion of premises bearing No. B-44. Greater Kailash Part I, New Delhi, on the ground that the premises were let out for residential purpose and are now required bona fide by the landlord for occupation as residence for himself and the members of his family dependent on him and that the landlord has no other reasonably suitable accommodation. To this petition he impleaded M/s. Precision Steel and Engineering Works (tenant), a firm and Shri B. K. Beriwala constituted attorney of the firm. Landlord alleged in his petition that the premises in question were first given on leave and license and subsequently relationship of lessor and lessee was established and that the tenant is in possession since Oct. 1, 1971. Landlord further alleged that he now requires the premises for himself and the members of his family consisting of himself, his wife and two school going children. He admitted that he has been employed in India since 1965 but was posted at Bombay in 1970 and returned to Delhi in 1972. He went to Saudi Arabia and has now returned to India. It was alleged that on May 1, 1974, he called upon the tenant to vacate the premises but the request has fallen on deaf ears. It was specifically alleged that as the landlord has now taken up a job and has settled down in Delhi and that he has no other suitable accommodation, accordingly he bona fide requires possession of the demised premises for his personal occupation. It was alleged that M/s. Prem Deva Niranjan Deva Tayal (HUF) is the owner of the suit premises and Shri Niranjan Deva Tayal is the Karta of the HUF and second notice dated June 22, 1979 was given under instructions by the constituted attorney Prem Deva Tayal. Even though the landlord who sought possession of the premises for his personal requirement was in Delhi at the relevant time i.e. in 1979, the petition was also filed through the constituted attorney and Niranjan Deva Tayal who seeks possession for his use being in Delhi and available is conspicuous by his absence throughout the proceedings.
(3.) On the petition being lodged the Controller directed summons to be served in the prescribed form. On service of the summons the tenant being a firm M/s. Precision Steel and Engineering Works, and its constituted attorney Shri B. K. Beriwala appeared and filed an affidavit seeking leave to contest eviction petition. In the affidavit tenant contended that respondent 1, i.e. M/s. Precision Steel and Engineering Works is the tenant and respondent 2 does not claim any interest in the premises in question in his personal capacity and ought not to have been impleaded as a respondent. While denying that there is any undivided family styled as Prem Deva Niranjan Deva Tayal it was contended that the petitioner is not entitled to file a petition under S. 14 (1) (e) because the purpose of letting was not residential alone but combined purpose of residence-cum-business. It was denied that the tenant entered the premises as a licensee and subsequently the contract of lease was entered into and it was submitted that the tenant entered the premises as tenant effective from Sept. 13, 1971, and the lease was for residential-cum-commercial purpose. A specific agreement was pleaded that the tenant which is a partnership was entitled to use the premises for the residence of the director and/or partner as also for the office purpose. Reliance was placed on Cl. 6 of the Licence agreement, which was really and substantially according to the tenant a contract of lease. It was also alleged that since the inception of the tenancy the premises have been used both for residence and business purposes to the knowledge of landlord and local authorities and no objection has been raised in this behalf. It was emphatically denied that the premises were required by the landlord for his personal use as well as for the use of the members of his family and it was also denied that the landlord has not in his possession reasonably suitable accommodation in Delhi. It was positively averred that Niranjan Deva Tayal who claims to be the owner of the premises and for whose personal requirement the eviction petition has been filed has been residing at 32, Anand Lok, New Delhi and that is the address of the landlord set out in cause title of the petition filed by the attorney. Dimension of the premises in possession of the landlord was given out as 21 storey building built on a plot of 1000 sq. yards. It was averred that the building now in possession of the landlord is divided into four blocks or units, each block consisting of four bed rooms, three bath rooms, one kitchen, one living room and one drawing-cum-dining room. It was in terms stated that the whole of the house is in occupation and possession of petitioner landlord and he has been residing all along in the house much prior to the beginning of tenancy and he is in possession of the same. It was further averred that the petitioner has concealed the fact that petitioner is the owner of another building at 52, Anand Lok, New Delhi. which building is equally big. One other averment of which notice may be taken is that the petitioner has been managing both the buildings and whenever blocks fall vacant he lets them out at higher rent It was specifically stated that the front portion of the building. at B-44, Greater Kailash, Part I has the same accommodation as the building which the landlord has in his possession at present. In order to point out that the petitioner landlord when he comes into possession of premises vacated by tenants lets out the same at higher rent thereby contravening law and obtains unlawful enrichment, it was averred that the premises of identical size and nature situated at the back of the demised premises were taken on rent by M/s. Kirloskar Company during the period 1970-73 and when vacated by the tenant the same was let out to Food Corporation of India from 1974-75 and after getting the same vacated the same was let out in 1976 to Yash Mahajan and on each such opportunity rent was enhanced. It was accordingly alleged that the petition is mala fide and the claim of bona fide requirement is utterly untenable.;
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