MOHAN LAL Vs. RANJIT SINGH
LAWS(RAJ)-1960-9-6
HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN
Decided on September 21,1960

MOHAN LAL Appellant
VERSUS
RANJIT SINGH Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

MOTI RAM VS. SURAJ BHAN [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

Jagat Narayan, J. - (1.)THESE are connected revision applications arising out of a suit for fixation of standard rent filed by one Mohan Lal, a tenant of a shop situated in the Minerva building against his landlords Ranjeet Singh and Dhanpat Singh under sec. 6 of the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1950 on the ground that the agreed rent was excessive.
(2.)THE construction of the Minerva building was completed in 1951 and Mohan Lal took the shop on 13. 12. 51 on an agreed rent of Rs. 65/- per month. THE present suit for fixation of rent was instituted on 6. 5. 52 in the court of Munsif City Jodhpur who fixed the standard rent at Rs. 47/8/- per month under his order dated 23. 12. 53. Both the tenants and the landlords preferred appeals against this decision in the court of the District Judge who dismissed both these appeals on 6. 1. 55. Both parties filed revisions against the appellate order of the District Judge on the ground that he had acted in the exercise of his jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.
During the pendency of these applications the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act 1950 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) was amended by the Rajasthan Premises (Control of rent and Eviction) Amending and Extending Act, 1957 (hereinafter referred to as the Amending Act) which came into force on 27. 11. 57. Under the Amending Act a new proviso was added in sec. 2 to the effect that the Act shall not apply "to any premises the construction of which was completed on or after the 1st June 1951, for a period of 7 years from the date of such completion". An application was thereafter moved on behalf of the landlords that the shop in dispute having been completed after 1st June, 1951 the provisions of the Act did not apply to it for a period of seven years from 1. 6. 51 and the suit for fixation of standard rent should accordingly be dismissed On behalf of the tenant it was disputed that the shop was completed before 1st June 1951. The following issue was therefore framed and remitted to the trial court for decision - "whether the shop occupied By Mohan Lal, which is in dispute, was completed on or after 1st June 1951". The learned Munsif gave an opportunity to the parties to produce oral and documentary evidence and after hearing them came to the finding that the shop in dispute was completed after 1st June 1951.

This finding was disputed before me on behalf of the tenant. I was taken through the evidence on record by the learned counsel for the the parties and after hearing then I am satisfied that the finding is correct.

The case of the landlords was that the shop in dispute was completed in the first week of October 1951. The case put forward on behalf of the tenant was that it was completed on 1st March 1951. Five witnesses were examined on behalf of the landlords. Out of these Chandan Mal D. W. 1 is an employee of the landlords under whose supervision the Minerva building was constructed. He is also a relative of the landlords. Mohammad Yakub D. W. 5 is the contractor who constructed the Minerva building. Kishan Narain D. W. 4 stated that he was on the look out for a shop in the Minerva building which was under construction and entered into negotiation for taking the shop in dispute on rent before its completion. He said that after it was completed he took it on rent at Rs. 65/- per month with effect from 1. 11. 51 and executed rent-note Ex. D. 1. He further stated that when a better shop situated on the Station Road in the same building became available he took it on rent and left the shop in dispute. It may be mentioned here that the shop in dispute is situated on the Hospital Road side of the building. Gokul Narain D W. 2 and Ram Sharma D. W. 3 are formal witnesses who also proved rent note Ex. 1. The learned Munsif before whom these witnesses gave evidence believed them and I see no reason to differ from him. The main criticism advanced on behalf of the tenant was that the landlords failed to produce their account books to prove the date of completion of the building. Chandan Mal stated that there was no record from which it could be ascertained when a particular shop was completed. He had record in his possession which shows when a particular shop was let out on rent. He was not asked to produce the record. The building was constructed by a contractor. Obviously therefore the landlords are not expected to have any account with them giving the details of the work done each day. Their accounts would only show payments made by them from time to time to the contractor. These payments will not throw any light on the date of completion of a particular shop. Payments are made to the contractors during the progress of construction and after its completion. From the evidence on record it is proved that Minerva building was constructed in two separate blocks - one containing the cinema and the other containing the shops and residential flats. The block containing the cinema was completed in March 1951. The other block was completed after 8 or 9 months.

Coming to the evidence produced on behalf of the tenant Mohan Lal P. W. 1, tenant, admitted that he was the first person who actually had a slop in the disputed premises. This shop was taken on rent on 13. 12. 51. It is wholly improbable that the landlords would not let out the shop for several months after its completion. From the evidence on record it is clear that the tenants of Minerva building are made to execute rent notes and printed stamped receipts are issued to them for rent. If any shop in Minerva building had been completed on 1st March 1951 as alleged on behalf of the tenant he would have easily been able to produce a receipt or rent note bearing a date earlier than 1st June 1951. Further accounts of rent realised by landlords are maintained as stated by Chandan Mal and he could have produced them if required to do so. Mohan Lal alleged in cross-examination that rent-notes were got executed afterwards, but the rent for the whole period of the tenancy must have been realised. Mohan Lal did not produce any tenant of any other shop in Minerva building to prove that he was admitted to tenancy before October 1951. Ratan Chand P. W. 2 is a petty shop-keeper who sells wood and coal at a shop near the Minerva building. He stated that the shops were completed near Holi. He admitted however that he had no occasion to go inside the Minerva building. Now the superstructure of masonry is first erected. The erection of the superstructure might have been completed by Holi, but the completion of the building takes further time after erection of the superstructure. The walls are plastered and white washed. Doors and windows are fitted. Floors are constructed. Electric wiring is done, finally wood work and steel work is painted. It is only then that the building is complete. Ratan Chand was really not in a position to say when the shop in dispute was completed. The last witness Chatra did not know when the shop was completed.

I accordingly hold that the shop in dispute was completed after 1st June 1951.

Next it was argued on behalf of the tenant that the provisions of the amending Act were not retrospective and were not applicable to suits which were instituted before it came into force. The decision of the Supreme Court in Moti Ram vs. Suraj Bhan (1) was referred to. In order to appreciate the argument of the learned counsel for the tenant it is necessary to quote in extenso secs. 2, 4 and 8 of the amending Act: - sec. 2 - "extension of Rajasthan Act XVII of 7951 - On and from the date this Act comes into force, the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1950 (Rajasthan Act XVII of 1950) hereinafter referred to as the principal Act, shall be amended in the manner indicated in secs. 3 to 10 of this Act and shall, as so amended, extend to the whole of the State of Rajasthan, including the Abu, Ajmer and Sunel areas. " Sec. 4. "substitution of new section for sec. 2 Rajasthan Act XVII of 1950 - For sec. 2 of the principal Act, the following section shall be substituted, namely : - "2. Extent, commencement and application.- (1) This Act extends to whole of the State of Rajasthan. (2) Secs. 1 to 4 and 27 to 31 of this Act shall come into force at once, and the remaining provisions thereof shall extend to such areas in the State of Rajasthan and shall come into force therein with effect from such date as may from time to time be notified by the State Government in the official Gazette : Provided that nothing in the Act shall apply - (a) to any premises occupied by or belonging to the Central Government, or (b) to any tenancy or other like relationship created by a grant from the State Government or the Central Government in respect of premises taken on lease or requisitioned by that Government, or (c) to any premises which are meant to be places of public amusement or sport such as cinema buildings, theatres and the like and are let out for being used as such, or (d) to any premises belonging to the State Government or a local authority other than premises let out for commercial purposes not being purposes mentioned in clause (c), or (e) to any premises the construction of which was completed on or after the 1st June 1951, for a period of seven years from the date of such completion,' Sec. 8. "amendment of sec. 30, Rajasthan Act XVII of 29. 50 - Sec. 30 of the principal Act shall be renumbered as sub-sec. (1) of that section and after the sub-section as so renumbered, the following sub-section shall be inserted, namely :-- ' (2) The enactments specified in column 1 of the Schedules are hereby repealed to the extent specified in column 2 thereof : Provided that anything done or action taken before the commencement of the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Amending and Extending Act, 1957, under the enactments hereby repealed shall, until varied or superseded under this Act, continue and be deemed to have been done or taken, as the case may be, under or in pursuance of this Act, as if it were then in force : - Provided further that all cases, suits or proceedings under the enactments so repealed pending at the commencement of the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Amendment and Extending Act, 1957 shall be determined and disposed of in accordance with the the provisions of those enactments, by the court, authority or officer competent thereunder to dispose of the same as if the said enactments were not repealed and the State Government shall have power, by notification in the Official Gazette, to appoint or authorise any officer by name or by virtue of office to perform the duties and exercise the powers of such court; authority or officer under the enactments so repealed. ' " It was argued that sec. 2 of the amending act shows that the amendments were only applicable "on and from the date the Act comes into force" namely 27. 11. 57 and that this is further reinforced by the specific provision contained in sec. 8 of the amending Act laying down that pending cases in the Ajmer, Abu and Sunel areas would be decided in accordance with the provisions of the enactment which were in force in those areas before the Act was extended to them. Reliance was placed on the following observations made by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the case referred to above : - "it may be conceded that the Act (East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act) is intended to provide relief to the tenants and in that sense is a beneficial measure and as such its provision should be liberally construed; but this principle would not be material or even relevant in deciding the question as to whether the new provision is retrospective or not. It is well-settled that where an amendment affects vested rights the amendment would operate prospectively unless it is expressly made retrospective or its retrospective operation follows as a matter of necessary implication. " In the present case there are express words contained in clause (c) of the proviso to sec. 2 inserted by the amending Act which make the operation of this clause retrospective. These words are to the effect that nothing in the Act shall apply to any premises the construction of which was completed on or after 1st June 1951, for a period of seven years from the date of such completion. It is to be noted that the amending Act was passed in 1957. Premises completed on or after 1st June 1951 were thus exempted retrospectively from the operation of the Act for a period of seven years from the date of completion in the plainest language by the amending Act which was passed in 1957. In the face of such language it is not necessary to have recourse to any presumption.

Several provisions were amended or inserted by the amending Act. The provision contained in clause (e) of the proviso to sec. 2 inserted by sec. 4 of the amending Act is expressly retrospective and the repeal of the enactments specified in column 1 of the Schedule contained in sec. 8 of the amending Act is expressly prospective. Sec. 2 of the amending Act is a general section applicable to all the sections which follow. It is headed "extension of Rajasthan Act XVII of 1950" although it contains provisions extending the Act as well as amending it. In this general section it is no doubt mentioned that on and from the date this Act comes into force, the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act 1950. . . . . . . . . . . . shall be amended in the manner indicated in secs. 3 to 10 of this Act. . . . . . . . . . . . ". The language of this general section cannot override the express language of clause (e) of the proviso to sec. 2 inserted by sec. 4 of the amending Act. This clause of the proviso is thus retrospective in operation and will also govern the decision of suits pending on the date on which the amending Act came into force.

(3.)THE result is that the provisions of the Act are not applicable to the shop in suit for a period of 7 years from the date of its completion. THE shop was completed in the first week of October 1951. THE provisions of the Act will not apply to it till the first week of October 1958.
Next it was argued on behalf of the tenant that this Court should determine the standard rent which would apply to the shop in suit after the expiry of the period of exemption. That rent cannot be determined in the present suit which was instituted in May 1952. The standard rent of the shop will have to be determined having regard to the prevailing rent of similar premises in the same locality in October 1958.

In view of the fact that the provisions of the Act were not applicable to the shop in suit at the time when the present suit was instituted it is unnecessary to decide the other points raised in these revision applications.

I accordingly dismiss Civil Revision No. 95/55 with costs and allow Civil Revision No. 103/55 with costs as indicated above and dismiss the suit. .

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