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Gurbachan Singh Versus Shivalak Rubber Industries

1996 (2) TMI 577 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Civil No. 514 of 1994 - Dated:- 23-2-1996 - Faizan Uddin And Kuldip Singh, JJ. JUDGEMENT Faizan Uddin, J. This is landlords appeal directed against the order dated August 7, 1993 passed by the High Court at Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh dismissing the appellants Civil Revision No. 618/1993 in limine against the judgment dated November 17, 1992 passed by the Appellate Authority, Amritsar in Rent Appeal No. 21 dated December 12, 1988 affirming the order dated November 4, 1988 passed by the Rent .....

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ies through its proprietor, Dev Raj was inducted as a tenant of Karam Singh in shops Nos. 4-S to 6-S together with 10 ft. vacant land behind the shops with effect from May 1, 1958 on a monthly rent of ₹ 28/-. The respondents Nos. 1-A to 1-F are the partners of respondent No. 1-firm. Later by a rent note dated October 25, 1965 the respondent No. 1-C Dev Raj obtained shops Nos. 2-S and 3-S from late Karam Singh together with 10 ft. open land behind the said shops and 7 ft. wide strip of vaca .....

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lants in respect of the suit premises by virtue of which the appellants became the owner/landlords of the respondents Nos. 1, 1-A to 1-F. The respondents Nos. 2 to 4 are impleaded as pro forma respondents. The appellants initiated eviction proceedings against the respondents Nos. 1, 1-A to 1-F under the East Punjab Rent Restriction Act, 1949 on the grounds of subletting and alterations in the demised premises impairing materially the value and utility of the premises let out to them. The appella .....

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doors of the 5 shops, converting verandah in front of the shops into sheds and closed the said verandah from the front and opened the shops on G. T. Road by brick work, it was further pleaded that the tenant-respondents converted shops Nos. 5-S and 6-S with verandah in front of the said shops by masonry work of manufacturing of rubber goods by making big appurtures in the walls between the 2 shops. It is alleged the door of shop No. 2 is alleged to have been removed and a small window with iron .....

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erandah. Shop No. 4 has been alleged to be merged with the verandah by fitting a door in the verandah in order to make it a godown. The appellants further alleged that the tenant respondents had demolished 17 ft. long and 5 ft. 9 inches high boundary wall existing on the western side of the demised land touching the house/kothi of Shri Chander Muni, respondent No. 1-A, which separated the appellants property from that of respondent No. 1-A on the western side. It has been alleged that the respon .....

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he shed made over the demised land as a direct approach. The open space at the back of the shops let out to the respondents has thus been converted by including the same into the shed with a shed with a pucca roof without the permission of the appellants. It has been alleged that the tenants-respondents have constructed a lintel roof over the shops Nos. 2-S to 6-S and mis-appropriated the costly wooden building material used in the original roof and thereby completely changed the shape of the bu .....

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have installed machinery and started industry of manufacturing rubber goods without the written consent of the appellants. The appellants also alleged that the two kothries illegally constructed on shop No. 2 and in the open space have been sub-let to one Jamuna Prasad, respondent No. 5 and other person which afforded additional ground to the appellants to seek eviction of the tenants-respondents. The appellants also took the plea that the tenants-respondents were in arrears of rent with effect .....

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aram Singh. The respondents denied all the adverse allegations with regard to the alleged alterations and additions in the demised premises. They took the plea that there were two separate tenancies in respect of two separate premises with separate terms and conditions and, therefore, the single application for ejectment from both the premises was not maintainable. The respondents took the stand that the alleged additions and alterations were made prior to the year 1971 before they were inducted .....

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was their Chowkidar who was permitted to occupy the kothri as a Watchman. Regarding the change of user the respondents pleaded that the demised premises were let out of carrying industrial business and it was being used for the same purpose. After recording the evidence and on evaluation of the oral and documentary evidence the Rent Controller decided all the issues in favour of the landlord appellants except issues Nos. 2, 3 and 4 relating to the alleged unauthorised additions and alterations .....

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-S with 10 ft. wide open space beings these shops and that both the tenancies were consolidated. The Rent Controller also took the view that by virtue of the Deed of Will dated June 28, 1972 executed by the former landlord Karam Chand in favour of his two sons, the appellants herein they became the owner and landlord of the disputed property to whom the tenants-respondents were paying rent which fully established the relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties. The Rent Controller, h .....

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with shops. The Rent Controller proceeded further to take the view that even if for the sake of arguments it is accepted that the respondents made additions and alterations as alleged in the eviction petition, in his opinion, the same did not materially impair the value and utility of the demised premises and, therefore, respondents are not liable to eviction from the demised premises. The Rent Controller also took the view that if the shops were converted into shed, store and kothries by remov .....

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ing the khothri as a watchman of the tenanted premises which does not amount to sub-letting. On these finding the Rent Controller dismissed the eviction application. The appeal preferred by the applicants before the appellate authority also met the same fate as the findings of the Rent Controller were affirmed and the appeal was dismissed. The civil revision was also dismissed by the High Court in limine. Learned counsel appearing for the landlord-appellants strenuously urged that the Rent Contr .....

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umentary sufficiently established that the tenant-respondents have drastically changed the nature, character and form of the demised premises which has not only impaired materially the value but also impaired the utility thereof. He urged that all the Courts have not considered the material evidence in a right perspective and the statement of the witnesses have either been ignored on material aspects or mis-read and twisted to mean otherwise than what is intended to depose by them which has resu .....

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roller had appointed Ravinder Pal Kaur, AW4, an advocate to make an inspection of the premises in question and submit the report. Accordingly, AW 4 inspected the premises and submitted the report dated October 24, 1981. The premises were inspected in the presence of the appellants and respondent Chander Mani. A reading of the report goes to show that the verandah in front of the shops let out to the respondents was altogether missing which only indicated that it was enclosed in the manner allege .....

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sing. The Commissioner, AW 4, also found that the staircase was constructed for the approach and underneath the said stair-case a kothri was built and one steel and wooden gates were provided in the boundary wall for approach from the shed to the adjoining property belonging to the respondent Chander Muni. The demised property was also inspected by an Engineer S. C. Virmani, AW 12 and he also submitted his report Ext. AW 12/1. The said report also indicated almost the same additions and alterati .....

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of his shop dated April 5, 1980 and August 27, 1980. He also stated that the roof of the shop was relied with R. B. Slabs with the iron steel bar supplied by him. The evidence of the appellant Gurbachan Singh, AW 16 further established the additions and alterations made by the tenants-respondents in demised premises. Apart from the evidence discussed above there is also the evidence with regard to the issuance of notices Ext. AW 16/18/19 and AW 11/1. Ext. AW/11, 3 to 6 by Municipal Corporation .....

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d the additions and alterations having been made by the respondents in the demised premises but according to them the construction was either by the permission of the appellants or the same did not amount to the additions and alterations of such a nature as to impair materially the value or utility of the building and the rented land within the meaning of Section 13(2) (iii) of the Act. This finding of the Courts below in respect of the construction no doubt would be finding of fact, but the que .....

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es a ground for eviction of tenant reads as under:- "13 (2) (iii).- The tenant has committed such acts as are likely to impair materially the value or utility of the building or rented land." A plain reading will go to show that it contemplates that a tenant is liable to eviction who has committed such acts as are likely to impair materially the value or utility of the building or rented land. The meaning of the expression "to impair materially" in common parlance would mean .....

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ime as compared to a later stage after the alleged change is made or affected suggesting impairment. Further the use of the word "value" means intrinsic worth of a thing. In other words utility of an object satisfying, directly or indirectly, the needs or desires of a person. Thus, the ground for eviction of a tenant would be available to a landlord against the tenant under Section 13(2) (iii) of the Act. If it is established that the tenant has committed such acts as are likely to dim .....

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dealing with the provisions of Section 13(2) (iii) of the Act in the cast of Vipin Kumar v. Roshan Lal Anand, JT 1993 (3) SC 171 expressed the view as follows:- "The impairment of the value or utility of the building is from the point of the landlord and not of the tenant. The first limb of clause III of sub-section (2) of Section 13 is impairment of the building due to acts committed by the tenant and the second limb of the utility or value of the building has been materially impaired. Th .....

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e and kothries. They also converted the verandah in front of the shops into sheds by closing it from the front by masonry work. The door of shop No. 2 has been removed altogether and instead a small window with iron grills has been affixed in the front. The full size door of shop No. 3 has also been removed and a door measuring 3 x 7' has been installed in front of the verandah by merging the shop No. 3 into that part of the verandah. Similarly shop No. 4 has also been merged with the verand .....

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e big wooden door and another steel door in place of the demolished boundary wall. A small triangular shaped kothri has all been constructed and a brick stair case has been raised in order to facilitate an access from the courtyard of the kothi of respondent No. 1 A to the roof of the shed made over the demised land as a direct approach. Thus, from the above mentioned facts it is clear that even if it is assumed that the tenants-respondents raised the construction of shed over the part of the op .....

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