SUPREME COURT HOLDS THAT HIGH COURT ERRED IN GOING BEYOND THE LIMITED SCOPE OF REVISION UNDER THE DELHI RENT CONTROL ACT, 1958 BY WRONGLY HOLDING THE APPELLANT GUILTY OF FILING MIS-PLEADINGS IN COURT
Recently, a two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Sanjay Kumar passed a judgment dated 25.04.2023 in Kusum Lata Sharma v. Arvind Singh in Civil Appeal No. 3111 of 2023, and held that in the present case, the High Court went far beyond the limited scope of revision in terms of Section 25-B (8) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (Special procedure for the disposal of applications for eviction on the ground of bona fide requirement) and erred in making observations that the Appellant-Landlady had made mis-pleadings and mis-description of Property, etc in the Eviction Petition and wrongfully sought eviction of the Respondents-Tenants from the Property.
i) In the present case, the Appellant-Landlady, Ms. Kusum Lata Sharma, filed an Eviction Petition bearing No. 02 of 2011 before the Court of ACJ-cum-CCJ-cum-ARC, North District, Rohini, Delhi (Rent Controller) seeking eviction of the Respondent-Tenant-1, Mr. Arvind Singh from the tenanted premises i.e. one room on the first floor of the Property bearing No. C-586, Gali No. 12, Majlis Park, Delhi– 110033 (Property) on the ground that the Respondent-Tenant-1 had not paid the rent since 01.06.2010.
ii) The Respondent-Tenant-1 had been inducted as a tenant by the Appellant’s predecessor in the year 1995 at a rent of Rs. 1200/- per month. The Appellant also stated that the current monthly rent of the Property was Rs. 2100/- but the Tenant had not paid the rent since 01.06.2010.
iii) The Ld. Rent Controller passed an Order dated 21.11.2014 in the aforesaid Petition and observed that the Appellant-Landlady was residing in a joint family consisting of her brother-in-law and his wife, two unmarried daughters and son of her brother-in-law and thus, the Appellant had bona fide residential needs, for which she was rightfully entitled to seek eviction of the Respondent from the Property. Thus, the Ld. Rent Controller allowed the Eviction Petition and thereby, ordered eviction of the Tenant-1 from the Property, while granting him six months’ time to vacate.
iv) Further, the Appellant-Landlady had filed another Eviction Petition bearing No. 03 of 2011 in relation to one, Mr. Ghansar Singh, the Respondent-Tenant-2 who was occupying two rooms on rent, each on the first and second floor of the aforesaid Property. The said matter proceeded on similar evidence and the Ld. Rent Controller passed a similar Order dated 21.11.2014, in favor of the Appellant-Landlady and thereby, ordered eviction of the Respondent-Tenant-2 from the Property, while granting six months’ time to vacate.
v) Aggrieved by the Order dated 21.11.2014 passed by the Rent Controller, the Respondents-Tenants- 1-2 filed C. Rev. No. 2 of 2011 and R.C. Rev. No. 3 of 2011 respectively before the Delhi High Court.
vi) While exercising its power under Section 25-B(8) of Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (Act), the High Court vide Order dated 17.04.2018, reversed the decision of the Ld. Rent Controller, essentially on the ground that the Appellant-Landlady had not been forthright in giving the description of the Property and had filed the pleadings in a misleading manner about the facts concerning right, title and interest of the wife of her brother-in-law in the Property and about the fact that the building was constructed on two adjoining plots as a common superstructure.
REASONING AND ANALYSIS
Aggrieved by the aforementioned Order of the Delhi High Court dated 17.04.2018, the Appellant-Landlady moved the Supreme Court under Article 133 of the Constitution of India (Appeals to the Supreme Court in Civil Matters).
The Apex Court passed an Order dated 25.04.2023 in Civil Appeal No. 3111 of 2023 and observed as follows:
“The Appellant-landlord is said to be a widowed lady having no issues of her own but residing with her brother-in-law and other members of the family including the wife and children of her brother-in-law. The Appellant-landlord is said to have acquired title to the Property in question on being transferred by her brother-in-law; and has sought eviction of the respective Tenants from suit premises on the ground that the premises were required bona fide by her for use and occupation of herself and the other members of her joint family.”
The Supreme Court further observed that the Appellant made the position clear in her cross-examination that the Property / Building in question was constructed on plots jointly and she and her sister-in-law were residing in the same Building as one family. Further, the Bench observed that the High Court had gone far beyond the limited scope of revision in terms of Section 25-B (8) of the Act of 1958, while making observations regarding mis-pleadings and mis-description of Property, etc and observed as follows:
“It is clear that there had not been any such misdescription of the Property which would amount to a material flaw in the case of the Appellant or which could have caused prejudice to the Respondents-Tenants. We need not elaborate on the other aspects as to whether the members of the family of the brother-in-law of the Appellant could be taken as her dependents for the purpose of the eviction in terms of Section 14(1)(e) of the Act of 1958.”
Thus, based on the aforesaid observations, the Supreme Court held that that the High Court has gone far beyond the limited scope of revision in terms of Section 25-B (8) of the Act of 1958 and further held that the Appellant-Landlady was rightfully entitled to seek eviction of the Respondents from the Property by granting time to the Tenants 1-2 to vacate the Property by 31-12-2023. Therefore, the Apex Court allowed the Appeals filed by the Appellant-Landlady and restored the Orders dated 21.11.2014 passed by the Ld. Rent Controller and thereby, set aside the Order of the Delhi High Court dated 17.04.2018.
The Indian Lawyer
 25-B. Special procedure for the disposal of applications for eviction on the ground of bona fide requirement.—
(8) No appeal or second appeal shall lie against an Order for the recovery of possession of any premises made by the Controller in accordance with the procedure specified in this section:
Provided that the High Court may, for the purpose of satisfying itself that an Order made by the Controller under this section is according to law, call for the records of the case and pass such Order in respect thereto as it thinks fit.
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