Decided on July 06,1983

RAVEL SINGH Respondents


N.N.Goswamy, J. - (1.)This second appeal by the tenant M directed against the judgment dated 5-2-1981 passed by the Rent Control Tribunal, Delhi whereby his appeal was dismissed on two grounds. Firstly, on the ground that he had failed to comply with the order passed under S. 15(1) of the Delhi Rent Control Act inasmuch as he has deposited the rent for the month of April, 1977 on 16th of May, 1977 while he was expected to deposit the game on or before 15th of May, 1977. The second ground being that the appeal filed by him against the order of Additional Rent Controller was incompetent inasmuch as he had failed to implead co-tenants within the period of limitation.
(2.)The respondent-landlord instituted a petition for eviction of the tenant under S. 14(1) provisos (a), (c) and (j) of the Delhi Rent Control Act. It is not necessary to deal with Clauses (c) and (j) because the same were decided against the landlord and were not pressed before the Rent Control Tribunal. During the course of proceedings the Additional Rent Controller passed an order on 2 7-10-76 under S.I 5(1) ofK the Act directing the tenant to pay or deposit the arrears of rent from 1-3-74 upto the date of order at the rate of Rs. 9.00 per month within one month and further to continue to pay or deposit the future rent month by month by the 15th of each succeeding month at the same rate. In compliance with the said order the tenant posited the arrears of rent on 26-11-76 which included the rent for the month of October, 1976. The rent upto March, 1977 was also paid within the time stipulated. The dispute before the Rent Control Tribunal was regarding the rent paid for the month of April, 1977. The laid rent was paid on 16-5-1977 and from this date, it was concluded by the Tribunal that the rent having been deposited beyond the 15th day of month was obviously not in accordance with the order and as such there was a default. This default was not considered by the Additional Rent Controller. Before the Additional Rent Controller the alleged default was for the month of October, 1976. It was contended before the Additional Rent Controller that according to the order passed under S. 15(1) of the Act the rent for ' the month of October, 1976 was payable on or before 15th of November, 1976 while in fact it was paid on 26th November, 1976. The learned Additional Rent Controller accepted this objection of the landlord and held that the tenant was not entitled to the benefit of Section 14(2) of the Delhi Rent Control Act. The learned Tribunal did not consider the default for the month of October, 1976 but considered the only default which was allegedly for the month of April, 1977.
(3.)As regards the default for the month of April, 1977 it is an admited fact that 14-5-77 was second Saturday and thus a holiday and 15-5-77. The question to be was admittedly deposited on 16-5-77. The Question to be considered is whether the rent deposited on 16-5-77 could be said to be within time. I am clearly of the opinion that applying Section 10 of the General Clauses Act if the last date happens to be a holiday the act done on the next day would be considered to have been done or taken in due time and as such the question of extension does not arise. However, I have been faced with a decision of Yogeshwar Dayal, J. in M/s. Sehgal Paper Ltd. v. Mrs. Aruna Kirpal, SAO 12 of 1983, decided on 14-1-83. In that case the learned Judge after considering my earlier judgment which was ex parte in this very case came to the conclusion that my view could not be sustained because of a full bench decision of this Court in D. C. M. v. HemChand and others, 1974 0 RCR 131, which was approved by their lordships of the Supreme Court and is reported as Hem Chand v. The Delhi Cloth & General Mills Co. Ltd. and another, A.I.R 1977 SC 1986. It is true that the full bench of this court has held that the time for depositing rent by virtue of order under Order 15(1) of the Act cannot be extended. While giving certain illustrations the full bench observed.
"It was urged that this would be a narrow interpretation of Sub-see. (7) of Section 15 in relation to Sub-section (2) of Section 14 and would work a great hardship in some genuine cases and honest tenant might suffer. It is certainly not inconceivable that in some cases hardship may result to the tenant if for reasons beyond his control he is not able to make the deposit on the last date provided for it as, for example, if the last day is suddenly declared a holiday or while going to the treasury to make a deposit the tenant or for that matter, a clerk of his lawyer, entrusted with the money, instead of punctually making the deposit commits breach of trust and disappears or some other circum stances intervenes which makes it impossible for him for reasons beyond his control to physically make the deposit but the Court is helpless and has no power to interpret the law contrary to the expressed wish of the Legislature. If it is intended to ameliorate the hardship likely to be caused to honest or poor tenants, it is for the Legislature to intervene and consider the advisability of conferring an express power to the controller to extend the time as it occurs in Sub-section (8) of Section 15 or Sub-section (2) of Section 13 of the previous Act."


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