Decided on May 26,1983

STATE OF DELHI Respondents

Cited Judgements :-



H.L.Anand,J. - (1.)This petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Article 227 of the Constitution of India is directed against the order of the Sub-divisional Magistrate, Kotwali, sealing the door of the mezzanine floor of the property in dispute opening towards the staircase which prevents the petitioners from using the staircase.
(2.)Premises No. 4946-48, Chandni Chowk, Delhi, was purchased in June, 1979 by Satinder Singh and Shri Pal Singh, respondents 3 and 4, M/s K.G. Raj & Company, watch merchants, respondent No. 2, and M/s Castophene Manufacturing Company, had been in occupation of the first and second floor of the premises as tenants for the last many years before the purchase of the property by the said respondents According to respondent No. 2, the said respondent and the other tenant had been entitled to the exclusive use of the staircase and respondent No. 2 used to put its lock on the door. outside the staircase, apparently with an arrangement with the other tenant for the purpose of security of their properly. The ground floor of the property, which consists of a shop, has been in possession of respondents 3 and 4 after the purchase of the property and it appears that the said respondents recently made wide structural changes in the ground floor so as to convert the shop into some kind of a mini market. Between the ground floor and the first floor is a mezzanine floor and there is considerable controversy between the parties if the mezzanine floor was in existence before the purchase or was recently constructed by respondents 3 and 4 alongwith making other structural alterations in the ground floor of the premises. There is a door which opens towards the staircase from the mezzanine floor and here also there is considerable controversy between the parties if there has been an opening from the mezzanine to the stairs from before or the opening was recently made and/or a steel structure was substituted for the wooden opening. There has also been some controversy if respondents 3 and 4 had obtained the prior permission of the local authority for the changes or if any such permission was necessary. It was urged that the recent construction put up by respondents 3 and 4 was unauthorised and is not only liable to be demolished but that it had been publically notified that the local authority proposes to deal with it in accordance with law. There is also controversy between the parties if the petitioners, who claim to be exporters and importers, and are not connected with the owners, have been in occupation of the mezzanine as tenants under the owners since April, 1981, as claimed by the petitioner, or were recently inducted into the newly constructed mezzanine somewhere in September, 1981, when contempt proceedings were initiated against the said respondents and the petitioners, on the ground that they had violated an injunction granted by a Civil Court.
(3.)It appears from an entry in the daily diary of September 13, 1981 of Police Station Lahori Gate that on a report to the Police, a Police Party went to the premises and were told that when fixing an iron shutter in place of a wooden door at the opening of the mezzanine, some debris fell into the staircase which was not liked by the employees of K.G. Raj & Go., respondent No. 1. The Police party, however, found that there was "no dispute" and were assured by the employees of respondent No 1 that "there was no quarrel". It was further observed that "no offence committed worth recording". The report concluded thus "Owner of the building Shri Raghbir Singh Chhabra came on the spot and explained the whole situation to the tenants and impressed upon them that they would not be put to any inconvenience and that the staircase will be got cleaned". This was, however, not the end of the matter. On September 17, 1981, K.G. Raj & Go. filed a suit in a Civil Court for permanent injunction against the owners. Castophene Manufacturing Co., the other tenant existing was also impleaded as a defendant. The suit of respondent No. 1 was based on the allegation that respondent No. 1 and the other tenant had exclusive right of user of the passage and the staircase leading from the ground floor to the second floor of the property and apprehended interference with the right of passage and the staircase from the owners and/or their agents and representatives. It was further alleged that the owners had put up a steel rolling shutter connecting the mezzanine floor with the opening made into the staircase by demolishing the intervening wall to provide passage to the said mezzanine floor from the staircase to which the owners had no right as it would interfere in the right to the exclusive user of the passage and the staircase claimed by the existing tenants. On September 18, 1981, Court granted an interim injunction restraining the owners, their agents, representatives, servants and workmen from using the passage and the staircase, leading from the ground floor to the first and the second floor. The injunction was eventually confirmed on October 23, 1981 after hearing the parties to the suit. It. is alleged that the owners and/or their representatives or agents violated the injunction and contempt proceedings were initiated against them, including the petitioners in. the present proceedings, who claim to be in occupation of the mezzanine as tenants under the owners since April, 1981. The petitioners were, however, not impleaded as defendants in the suit. Meanwhile, on September 23, 1981, a report under Section 145 of Code of Criminal Procedure was made by the Police Station, Lahori Gate to the Sub-divisional Magistrate, Kotwali, in which after recording the factum of the injunction order, it was pointed out that "there is still tension and simmering rancour between the two parties and they are complaining each other. Kalendra u/s 107/150 Cr. P.C. has been sent to the court of Sh. G.S. Sidhu, Spl. Executive Magistrate, Kotwali. Keeping in view the above facts and circumstances, it is prayed that this door (Marked 'B' in the map) may be sealed till the decision of the civil suit. Submitted for orders please."

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