DR. S. KOPELIWITCH Vs. NARAIN DASS
LAWS(P&H)-1950-12-17
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
Decided on December 14,1950

Dr. S. Kopeliwitch Appellant
VERSUS
NARAIN DASS Respondents

JUDGEMENT

Kapur, J. - (1.) THIS rule is directed against an order of the learned Subordinate Judge, First Class, Delhi, which on appeal was affd. by the learned District J., Delhi, and the Bole point for determination in this case is whether the increase of rent is allowed under the Delhi and Ajmer -Merwara Rent Control Act, 1947, hereafter called the Act.
(2.) THE Appellant is a tenant in the house belonging to Seth Narain Das. The rent on 1 -11 -1939, was Rs. 125 a month. In August 1947 Seth Narain Das made an Appellant under Section 7 of the Act for the fixation of the standard rent and claimed that he was entitled to an increase of 37 1/8 % under the second schedule of the Act and a further increase of 6 1/4 % on the total expenditure of Rs. 19,049 -12 -3 which he claimed to have spent on improvements in 1945. There was also a claim for increase on account of house tax and water rate. The dispute between the parties was confined only to the increase on account of the alleged improvements. The Appellant claimed that these were normal repairs and were not improvements. The learned District J. held that the replacement of the roofs could not come within the term' normal repairs" and the landlord was entitled to an increase in rent. Before me it is contended that under Section 12 of the Act it was the duty of the landlord to keep premises in good and tenantable repair and because in the present case the roofs were leaking and the house could not be said to be tenantable unless they were replaced the expenditure on re -roofing the house would come within the term "normal repairs" and reliance was placed on a judgment of the Court of Appeal in Lurcott v. Wakely, (1911) 1 K.B. 905, where at page 919 Fletcher Moulton L J. said: ...when the word 'repair' is applied to a complex matter like a house, I have no doubt that the repair includes the replacement of parts...so long as the house exists as a structure, the question whether repair means replacement, or to use the phrase so common in marine cases, substituting new for old, does not seem to me to be at all material. Many, and in fact most, repairs imply that some portion of the total fabric is renewed, that new is put in place of old. Therefore you have from time to time as things need repair to put new for old. In Proudfoot v. Hart, (1890) 25 Q.B.D. 42, Lord Esher M.R. adopted a definition of what tenantable repair is. Lord Esher said: Lopes L.J. has drawn up a definition of the term 'tenantable repair' with which I entirely agree. It is this: Good tenantable repair" is such repair as, having regard to the age, character, and locality of the house, would make it reasonably fit for the occupation of a reasonably -minded tenant of the class who would be likely to take it. From these two cases it is difficult for me to hold that the expenditure of Rs. 16,000 which has been found to be the amount expended by the landlord would come within the term "normal repairs". If the word was merely "repairs", there may have been something to be said for the argument of the Appellant. The word "normal" means according to the Oxford English Dictionary "usual". Can it be said that expending Rs. 16,000 on repairs is usual even for houses which are on Gurzon Road in New Delhi? In my opinion the learned Dist. J. is right in holding that it is not, and I cannot say that in the circumstances of this case the learned Judge was in error. I would affirm the order of the learned Judge, dismiss this Petitioner and discharge the rule with costs throughout.;


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