Venkatachaliah, J. -
(1.)The appellant-landlords seek special leave to appeal to this Court from the judgment dated 29-11- 1989 of the High Court of Delhi in S.A.P. No. 384 of 1987 allowing respondent-tenants' appeal and setting aside the appellate order dated 17-10-1987 of the Rent Control Tribunal, Delhi which had confirmed the order of the Rent Controller dated 16-2-1987, granting possession of premises No. 19/20, New Rohtak Road, to the appellants upon the expiration of a limited-tenancy under S. 21 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, (Act).
(2.)The effect of the High Court's judgment was invalidation of the permission for the limited-tenancy and refusal of appellants' prayer for possession. The High Court held that the initial grant of permission by the Rent Controller under S. 21 for a limited-tenancy for five years from 6-4-1978 was itself marred by a fraudulent suppression of material facts; that the permission, in effect, was merely an ex-post facto sanction of a subsisting tenancy which had earlier come into existence on 5-31978 and that, therefore, the appellants were not entitled to the benefit of S. 21. The High Court relied upon a pronouncement of this Court in Subhash Kumar Lata v. R. C. Chhiba (1988) 4 SCC 709 to support its view that the nullity of the order under S. 21 obtained by fraud could be urged in defence against execution.
(3.)We have heard Sri Rajinder Sachar, learned senior counsel for the appellants and Sri Avadh Bihari Rohtagi, learned senior counsel for the respondent-tenants. Special leave is granted.
The necessary and material facts, briefly stated, are these:Appellants and the respondents by their joint application to the Rent Controller sought for and obtained permission for a limited-tenancy for five years under S. 21. Respondents not having surrendered possession upon the expiry of the said period of five years, the appellants commenced proceedings for redelivery. Respondents resisted the proceedings raising several contentions. They urged that the appellants were not the owners of the premises at all; that the permission under S. 21 was vitiated by fraud resulting from a suppression by the appellants of the material fact that at the relevant time the premises was not available for letting at all; that respondents had been inducted into possession as tenants from 5-3-1978 itself and, therefore, one of the basic jurisdictional requirements for the grant of permission under S. 21 was absent and that, at all events, a fresh contractual tenancy had been created with effect from 6-4-1983 immediately upon the expiry of the five year term of the limited-tenancy.