S A JAWAD Vs. DELHI MUNICIPAL CORPORATION
LAWS(DLH)-1996-7-19
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
Decided on July 01,1996

S.A.JAWAD Appellant
VERSUS
DELHI MUNICIPAL CORPORATION Respondents

JUDGEMENT

J.K.Mehra, J. - (1.)This is an appeal filed by the landlord against the decision of the Rent Control Tribunal whereby the said Tribunal had reversed the findings of the Additional Rent Controller and had dismissed the petition of the landlord for eviction of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, respondent in the present proceedings. The ground for eviction was covered by clause (j) of proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 14 of Delhi Rent C'onlrol Act, i.e., causing substantial damage to the demised premises wherein Additional Rent Controller had found it in favour of the landlord and had come to the conclusion that it was during the tenancy of the Municipal Corporation of premises wherefrom it was running a Municipal school that extensive damage to the building look place as a result whereof it was rendered dangerous for use and Municipal Corporation through another department of Municipal Corporation of Delhi itself got the premises demolished instead of carrying out repairs and restoring the premises to original shape within two months, which it was required to do following the service of notice by the landlord. The Tribunal has misdirected itself in reaching the conclusion that it is not the Municipal Corporation which has demolished the premises or the authorities in use of the premises which had caused extensive damage, but the damage was caused because of the old and dilapidated structure, which was pulled down by another department of Municipal Corporation for which the tenant could not be held responsible. It was nobody's case that the building at the time of letting out was in a dilapidated condition. If the logic of impugned judgement is accepted, then every erring tenant can cause extensive damage to the building so as to render it dangerous and get the same demolished through Municipal authorities and escape all liability under the Delhi Rent Control Act, for causing such damage. He has completely lost sight of the fact that it was another wing of the same tenant which had resorted to demolition. The conduct of this tenant is much worse than the ordinary tenant. On being served with a notice of two months requiring them to repair the damage caused, they resorted through another department of theirs to get a part of the building pulled down and then claimed to be completely innoeeiil of having caused the damage. No tenant can absolve himself of the blame for the damage to the building in the circumstances in which it has occurred in the present case. The ratio of the case of Ganga Ram Vs. Mohd. Usman, reported as 1978(1) RCR 785 has no application to the facts of the present case. That judgement was rendered in the context of liability of property tax and is no precedent for a case of present nature. The findings of the Rent Control Tribunal are erroneous.
(2.)Mr. Saini appearing for the Corporation has not been able to support effectively the impugned judgement or put forward any argument in justification of pulling down of the building instead of repairing it. Today I am informed that there are virtually no premises standing on the land underneath the demised premises housing a school and it is virtually only a plot of land nor is any school being run from there. I fail to understand why the C"orporalion authorities arc holding on to that plot of land when it is not being put to any use.
(3.)In the present case, I find that the Additional Rent Controller had passed the final order on 28.5.1976. Against this, the appeal was filed on 13.7.1976, which means that the tenant had already a total period of about one and a half months to initiate action as per the directions of ARC to repair the damage, but no such action was taken in hand. On the contrary, the tenant's neglect lead to demolition of the remaining structure during the pendency of the appeal. This matter has remained pending for a very long time. During the pendency of the first appeal itself, the entire building had crumbled without the tenant taking any action to prevent its deterioration. On the contrary, it was instrumental in the building being pulled down. This fact was also lost sight of by I he Tribunal. I consider that giving further time to reconstruct, will be absolutely unnecessary in the peculiar circumstances of the case. In any event, if they initiate reconstruction work within 15 days from the date of this judgement,.which will be a total of two months, i.e., one and a half months from the date of original order against which appeal has been instituted and another 15 days from the date of this order, then Corporation authorities may approach this Court for grant of some further time to complete re- construction. If they start reconstruction within 15 days from the date of this judgement, they may move this Court for further directions to avoid eviction and the matter in that event will be considered on its own merits. But in case, no action is taken by the Municipal Corporation towards reconstruction/ restoration of the original building, then the landlord shall become entitled to seek eviction of the tenant under Section J4(l)(f) and will be entitled to move appropriate application to the Rent Controller and recover the possession without any further delay. This order is being passed keeping in view that this litigation has gone on for more than 20 years and valuable property has been allowed by the respondent to crumble without any care being taken thereof. This appeal is allowed and the judgement of the First Appellate Court, i.e., Rent Control Tribunal is set aside. This case is disposed of in the above terms with no order as to costs.
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