Decided on August 14,1952

DHANDU MAL Appellant
SURAJ MAL Respondents


Dave, J. - (1.)THE facts leading to this second appeal are that as a trustee of the Agrawal Dharamsala situated in Jaipur City, the plaintiff Suraj Mal, filed against the defendant-appellant Dr. Dhandu Mal, a suit for ejectment and arrears of rent on the basis of a rent-note dated the 22nd June, 1948, in the court of the Civil Judge, Jaipur. It was agreed' that the defendant had taken a portion of the said Dharamsala on rent of Rs. 100/- P. M. , that he had failed to pay rent for the last 13 months ending 30th June, 1950, that he was liable to pay Rs. 1300/-; but since he had deposited an advance of Rs. 300/- at the beginning of the tenancy, this amount was deducted and a claim for Rs. 1000/- was made for arrears of rent. THE defendant admitted the execution of the rent-deed Ex. P-2 but he resisted the claim for ejectment on the ground that the plaintiff had not obtained a certificate from the Rent Controller and that he had filed the suit only because the defendant had taken steps to get the standard rent fixed. It was stated that the premises were handed over to the defendant's possession from the 15th July, 1948, instead of the 1st July, 1948 and. therefore, the defendant was not liable to pay Rs. 50/- for the rent of the first fifteen days. It was further stated that the plaintiff had undertaken to build a cow-shed and a tonga-shed for the defendant and that, since he had failed to do so, the defendant was entitled to a reduction of Rs. 20/- P. M. from ' the rent. It was also stated that the plaintiff had agreed to get for the defendant a separate meter fixed for the electric light, that on account of the plaintiff's failure to do so, the defendant had spent Rs. 93/- for erecting a partition wall and thus the defendant claimed a total reduction of Rs. 469/6/- from the amount claimed by the plaintiff as arrears of rent. THE trial court dismissed all the objections raised by the defendant and decreed the suit as prayed. On appeal to the District Judge, Jaipur, the defendant was again unsuccessful, and, therefore, he has filed the present second appeal in this court.
(2.)THE appellant's learned counsel has raised before us, all the above objections which he had taken in the trial court. THE questions whether the appellant occupied the premises from the 1st or the 15th of July, 1948, whether the respondent had made an oral contract to construct a cow-shed or a tonga-shed or a partition wall for the appellant, are those of facts. THE rent-note is quite silent about these terms of agreement and since there is a concurrent finding of both the courts below on these matters, a second appeal thereon, does not lie, and to this extent the appeal is fit to be dismissed summarily.
As regards the question of installing a meter for the electric light, both the courts below have held that there was no such agreement between the parties but from a perusal of the rent-deed Ex. P-2, it is clear that there was a definite contract to this effect. The actual words used in para 5 of the rent-note are "kamron men jo bijli fitting hai un ka meter alag ap ko lagwana hoga, aur mafic bill ke bijh ka charge alawa kiraya ke mahavari mah-ba-mah diya jaye ga. " This clearly means that the electric fittings in the rooms which were let out were already there and that the tenant would continue to pay the charges for the consumption of the electric energy but that a separate meter would be installed by the landlord. The plaintiff has produced receipts of the Swastik Electric Stores Ex. D. 1 and D. 2, and has also given a statement on oath that he spent Rs. 76/4/- on the installation of the meter. It appears that the attention of the courts below was not drawn to this specific condition of the agreement mentioned in paragraph 5 of the rent-note mentioned above and, therefore, they did not take into consideration Exs. D. 1 and D. 2. We find that when there was a clear agreement about the installation of the meter and the defendant had spent Rs. 76/4/- on that item, he is certainly entitled to a reduction of this amount from the arrears of rent.

The main point, however, on which great stress is laid down by the applicant's learned counsel is that the plaintiff could not bring a suit for ejectment without obtaining a certificate from the Rent Controller, that the premises let out to the appellant is a separate tenement detached from the Agarwal Dharamsala, and that the courts below have committed an error in holding the premises to be a part of the Dharamsala and doing away with the necessity of obtaining the said certificate under sec. 2 (c) (ii) of Jaipur Rent Control Order, 1947. The determination of this point rests on the correct interpretation of the said provisions and therefore, it would be proper to reproduce them here. The relevant portion of sec. 2 (c) (ii) runs as follows: - Sec. 2 - "in this order, unless there is anything repugnant in the context or subject. . . . . . . . . . . |. . . . (c) - 'premises' means any building or part of a building which is, or is intended to be, let separately for use as a residence or for commercial use or for any other purpose, and includes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (ii) - any furniture supplied by the landlord for use in such building or part of a building; but does not include a room in a Dharamsala, hotel or lodging house. "

It has been strenuously argued by the appellant's learned counsel that what is excluded from the definition given above, is only a room in the Dharamsala whereas the property leased out in this case is not a single room but a number of rooms on the first and second floor. It has been further argued that although, the portion occupied by the appellant is a part of the same building which is used as Dharamsala, but it is a separate tenement with a separate passage. It has also been pointed out that a room in a Dharamsala is given temporarily to travellers with a charitable purpose while the respondent in this case has let out the tenement in order to make money and, therefore, it is not covered by this exception. In our opinion, the above argument of the appellant's learned counsel is not tenable. According to sec. 13 of the General Clauses Act (X of 1897), words in the singular include the plural, and vice versa unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context. In the Jaipur General Clauses Act, 1944 also which was in force when the Jaipur Rent Control Order, 1947 was enacted, sec. 13 laid down a similar provision. There is nothing in the subject or context to show that the legislature had used the singular number in the said provision only to indicate one room. On the other hand, a clear repugnancy is likely to arise, in our opinion if such an interpretation is made. It is common knowledge that a party consisting of several persons and staying at a Dharamsala occupies more than one room. If such people refuse to vacate the rooms, would it be proper to hold that the Dharamsala authorities should approach the Rent Controller before getting these rooms vacated Further the terms 'dharamsala,' Hotel' or 'lodging House' has been used together in the said provision. Whatever interpretation is made in the case of Dharamsala would equally apply to 'hotel' or 'lodging House'. Now it is again common knowledge that in several hotels and lodging houses there are flats and tenements consisting of more than one room which are let out to people for a farely long time. It would be an improper interpretation if it is held that the word 'room' should be taken to be understood in its singular sense only in the case of Dharamsala and not in the case of hotel or lodging house. We are to interpret the law as it stands and we are not prepared to hold that the exception provided in sec. 2 (c) (ii) was in respect only of a single room and not more than one room in a Dharamsala. It is admitted by the appellant's learned counsel that the portion occupied by the appellant is a part of the same building which is used as Dharamsala. It is no doubt true that there is a separate passage also for the appellant to go to the portion occupied by him but it also appears from the rent-deed that the passage to another room is through the main gate of the Dharamsala. The mere fact that this portion has got an additional access does not in our opinion make any difference and it cannot be said that the rooms occupied by the appellant are not in Dharamsala.

It has been next argued by the appellant's learned counsel that in the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1950, the definition of the word premises under sec. 3 (v) (c) has been changed and the word 'room' has been replaced by the word 'accommodation' and that this should be interpreted in a more restricted sense. We are unable to accept this reasoning because, the word 'accommodation' is used in a more general sense than the word 'room'. Accommodation may consist of more than one room or less than a room as the case may be. It appears that inns and sarais have also been placed in the same category as hotels, Dharamsalas, or lodging houses under the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1950. This further lends support to the view that in interpreting the law as it stands, the court is not to take into consideration the number or size of the rooms, or the space of accommodation or the purpose for which a room or accommodation in a hotel, Dharamsala, inn, sarai or lodging house is let out to a certain party. In our opinion the courts below have rightly held that the certificate from the Rent Controller was not necessary in the present case and the appeal must fall on this ground.

The appeal is, therefore, partly allowed and the decree for the arrears of rent is reduced by the amount of Rs. 76/4/ -. The rest of the appeal is dismissed. The parties will receive their costs in all the courts in proportion to their success. .

Click here to view full judgement.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.