HIGH COURT OF DELHI
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S.B.Wad, J. -
(1.)This is the tenant's petition against the order of the Competent Authority (Slum) dated 27.5.1981 permitting the landlord to file eviction petition against him. After the said order the landlord has filed the petition for eviction of the tenant on the ground of bonafide personal requirement, (Section 14(1 )(e)) and the tenant's securing alternate accommodation (Section 14(1)(h) of the Delhi Rent Control Act. Against the said order the tenant preferred a writ petition in this Court being Civil Writ Petition No. 2239 of 1981. The petition was dismissed in limine. The Supreme Court granted a Special Leave Petition against the order of this Court which was lateron converted into Civil Appeal No. 1790 of 1982. On May 3, 1982 the Supreme Court disposed of the said appeal with the following order :
"Having given our anxious consideration of the matter, we are of the opinion that the High Court should consider the matter afresh. The High Court shall hear the parties and then come to a decision as to whether the condition pre-requisite for the grant of a certificate under sub-section 4 of Section 19 of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act 1956 has been fulfiled or not. The matter is, therefore, remitted back to the High Court. The appeal is disposed of accordingly. There shall be no order as to costs. The High Court shall endeavour to dispose of the writ petition within a period of four months from today."
(2.)The landlord filed a petition for permission under Section 19 of the Slum Act on 10.11.1976. Section 19(4A) of the Act lays down that in granting or refusing to grant the permission the court shall consider whether alternative accommodation within the means of the tenant would be available to him if he was evicted. The question of the "means" of the tenant, that is, his financial position, has to be ascertained by the Competent Authority. This would enable the Competent Authority to decide whether alternate accommodation can be hired by the tenant within his means. Counsel for the tenant submitted that the tenant's financial position on the date of the application under Section 19 as also his financial position as of today should be looked into. There could not have been any dispute with this proposition. The petition is now being considered six years after its filing. It must be seen whether today, that is on the date of the granting the permission or otherwise what is the financial status of the tenant. I, therefore, directed the tenant and his sons to file fresh affidavits in this court giving details of their income and financial position. The affidavits are accordingly filed. The landlord was also given an opportunity to file an affidavit. The same has how been filed with some documents.
(3.)The Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956 was passed on 29.12 1956. The Act provides for the improvement and clearance of slum areas in certain Union Territories of Delhi and for the protection of tenants in such areas from eviction. Under Section 3 of the Act the Competent Authority can declare an area to be slum area. Most of the old town of Delhi, what is called old Delhi, is declared as slum area. This also includes areas like Chandni Chowk. Sadar Bazar etc. The protection of the Act is available not only to the tenants of the residential buildings but also to commercial buildings. The word "slum" is not defined in the Act but Section 3 which empowers delaration of slum area throws some light on the concept of slum in the Act. Buildings which are unfit for human habitation or by reason of delapidation, over crowding, faulty arrangements and design fall in the category of slum. The areas where such buildings exist and where there are narrow and faulty streets, lack of ventilation light or sanitation facilities, the area can be declared as a slum area. This is so because such conditions are detrimental to safety, health or morals of the people. Most of the old towns in India including old Delhi have such conditions. Where the competent authority is satisfied that the most satisfactory method of dealing with the condition in the area is clearance of the area by demolition of all the buildings the action can be taken under Sections 9 and 10. Under Section 11 such area can be redeveloped after clearance. But where the conditions are not so bad, the Competent Authority can, under Section 4, carry out the improvements of the buildings unfit for human habitation at the cost of the occupier of the said buildings. The Authority can also order demolition of buildings unfit for human habitation. In Jyoti Prasad v. Administrator Union Territory of Delhi (A.I.R. 1961 Supreme Court p. 1602) the Supreme Court has held that the object of the Act was orderly elimination of slums. Section 19 of the Act gives protection to the tenants staying in the slum areas. The tenant cannot be evicted without the permission of the Competent Authority. In the said decision of the Supreme Court the Supreme Court interpreted Section 19 to mean that the protection was an interim protection for the slum dwellers until they are moved in better dwellings. It is not known with what success the slums are eliminated by the Competent Authority, in the last 25 years. There is a phenomenal increase of population in Delhi in the last 25 years. By same token there is an explosion of population in slum areas. The commercial establishments have increased and prospered beyond imagination. Most of the wholesale business and trade is carried out in the said areas. The residents of the slum areas do their business or work in the commercial establishments in the area. Vested interests have thus developed in the continuation of the slum areas. The provisions of the Act are to be enforced on the background of these social realities.
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