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Section 14(3)(c) does not require that the building plans should have been duly sanctioned by the local authorities as a condition precedent to the entitlement of the landlord for eviction of the tenant. = availability of building plans duly sanctioned by the local authorities is not an ingredient of Section 14(3)(c) of the Act and, therefore, could not be a condition precedent to the entitlement of the landlord for eviction of the tenant, but depending on the facts and circumstances of each case, the Court may look into the availability of building plans duly sanctioned by the local authorities for the purpose of determining the bonafides of the landlord. once the High Court maintained the order of eviction passed by the Controller under Section 14(4) of the Act, the tenants were obliged to give vacant possession of the building to the landlord and could only ask for reasonable time to deliver vacant possession of the building to the landlord and hence the direction of the High Court that the order of eviction could only be executed on the revised plan of the building being approved was clearly contrary to the provisions of Section 14(4) of the Act and the proviso thereto. We accordingly allow the appeals, set aside the directions in Para 27 of the impugned judgment of the High Court, but grant time to the respondents to vacate the building within three months from today. We make it clear that it will be open for the respondents to apply for re-entry into the building in accordance with the proviso to clause (c) of Section 14(3) of the Act introduced by the Amendment Act, 2009. Considering, however, the peculiar facts and circumstances of the cases, there shall be no order as to costs.

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Shimla, 1850s.

Shimla, 1850s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 
Reportable
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL No. 4127 OF 2013
(Arising out of SLP (C) No. 30 of 2012)
Hari Dass Sharma … Appellant
Versus
Vikas Sood & Ors. … Respondents
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL No. 4128 OF 2013
(Arising out of SLP (C) No.776 of 2012)
Hari Dass Sharma … Appellant
Versus
Kesri Devi & Ors. … Respondents
AND
CIVIL APPEAL No. 4129 OF 2013
(Arising out of SLP (C) No.888 of 2012)
Hari Dass Sharma … Appellant
Versus
Shiv Prashad … Respondent
J U D G M E N T
A. K. PATNAIK, J.Page 2
Leave granted.
2. These are appeals against the common order dated
02.09.2011 of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh in Civil
Revision Nos.179, 180 and 181 of 2008.
3. The facts very briefly are that the appellant let out
shops in premises No.5 Cart Road, Shimla (for short
“the building”) to the respondents. The appellant
filed applications under Section 14 of the H.P. Urban
Rent Control Act, 1987 (for short “the Act”) before
the Rent Controller, Shimla, for eviction of the
respondents from the building on grounds inter alia
that he bona fide required the building for purposes
of addition and alteration of the building or
rebuilding. The respondents filed their replies before
the Rent Controller denying that the appellant
required the building for additions and alterations or
rebuilding. The Rent Controller framed an issue as to
whether the building was required bona fide by the
appellant for rebuilding or reconstruction. The
appellant examined an official of the Municipal
Corporation, Shimla, in support of his case that a plan
2Page 3
for rebuilding/ reconstruction had been sanctioned
and also a Civil Engineer in support of his case that
the building was in dilapidated condition and required
to be reconstructed. The Rent Controller after
considering the oral and documentary evidence on
record held that though the sanction plan of the
building was not a requirement of the Act, it is a
circumstance to establish the bonafide of the
appellant to seek eviction for the purpose of
rebuilding or reconstruction and also held that the
building was old and the appellant was in the
occupation of second floor of the building and for
rebuilding or reconstruction, the respondents have to
vacate the building and accordingly allowed the
applications of the appellant for eviction of the
respondents from the building. The respondents filed
appeals before the Appellate Authority, Shimla
against the order of eviction but the Appellate
Authority dismissed the appeals.
4. The respondents then filed the Civil Revisions before
the High Court and by the impugned common order
3Page 4
maintained the orders of eviction but relying on the
decision of this Court in Harrington House School v.
S.M. Ispahani & Anr. [(2002) 5 SCC 229] directed that
only on the valid revised/renewed building plan being
sanctioned by the competent authority, the order of
eviction shall be available for execution. The High
Court further directed in the impugned order that the
valid revised/renewed sanctioned or approved
building plan shall be produced before the executing
court whereupon the executing court shall allow a
reasonable time to the tenants for vacating the
property and delivering possession to the landlord
and till then the tenant shall remain liable to pay
charges for use and occupation of the premises at
the rate at which they were being paid earlier.
Aggrieved, the appellant has filed these appeals.
5. Mr. Nidesh Gupta, learned counsel appearing for the
appellant, submitted that Section 14(4) of the Act
provides that if the Controller is satisfied that the
claim of the landlord is bonafide, he shall make an
order directing the tenant to put the landlord in
4Page 5
possession of the building on such date as may be
specified by the Controller and the proviso to Section
14(4) of the Act says that the Controller may give the
tenant a reasonable time for putting the landlord in
possession of the building and may extend such time
not exceeding three months in the aggregate. He
submitted that Section 14(4) of the Act thus makes it
clear that the order of eviction once passed by the
Controller will have to be executed and that the
direction of the High Court in the impugned order
that the order of eviction will not be executed till
such time as the building plan is sanctioned for
rebuilding or reconstruction of the tenanted building
is contrary to the bare provision in Section 14(4) of
the Act. He submitted that in Harrington House
School v. S.M. Ispahani & Anr. (supra), on which the
High Court has relied on in the impugned judgment,
this Court decided the dispute between the landlord
and the tenant under the provisions of the Tamil
Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960
and it had not considered the effect of the proviso to
5Page 6
Section 14(4) of the Act whereunder the Controller
had the power to grant in the aggregate three
months time to put the landlord in possession of the
tenanted premises. He cited the decision of this
Court in Shri Balaganesan Metals v. M.N.
Shanmugham Chetty & Ors. [1987) 2 SCC 707],
wherein this Court, while considering the proviso to
Section 10(3)(c) of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease
and Rent Control) Act, 1960, similar to the proviso to
Section 14(4) of the Act, held that the proviso
empowers the Controller to grant adequate time to
the tenant upto a maximum of three months to
vacate the building and secure accommodation
elsewhere. He also relied on the decision of this
Court in J. Jermons v. Aliammal & Ors. [(1999) 7 SCC
382] in which it has been similarly held that a tenant
is entitled under Section 10(3)(c) of the Tamil Nadu
Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960 to be
granted reasonable time for putting the landlord in
possession of the building, which may be extended
6Page 7
from time to time upto the maximum period of three
months.
6. In reply, Mr. Dhruv Mehta, learned counsel appearing
for the respondents, submitted that the provisions of
the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control)
Act, 1960 as well as the provisions of the H.P. Urban
Rent Control Act, 1987 (“the Act”) are analogous and,
therefore, the decision of this Court in Harrington
House School v. S.M. Ispahani & Anr. (supra) will
apply to a case arising under the Act and the High
Court rightly relied on the decision in Harrington
House School v. S.M. Ispahani & Anr. (supra) in which
this Court directed that the order of eviction will not
be executed until the plan for the building was
sanctioned. He further submitted that in any case
under the proviso to Section 14(4) of the Act the
Controller has power to give to the tenant a
‘reasonable time’ for putting the landlord in
possession of the building and it is only on expiry of
such reasonable time that the Controller may extend
the time not exceeding three months in any case. He
7Page 8
submitted that the power of the Controller to grant
reasonable time to the tenant for putting the landlord
in possession of the building is different from the
power of the Controller to extend such time not
exceeding three months. He submitted that the
expression ‘reasonable time’ to be given to the
tenant for putting the landlord in possession of the
building will depend upon the facts of each case and
in the facts of the present case, the High Court has
granted time upto the time of sanction of the plan for
rebuilding or reconstruction of the building. In this
context, he submitted that the sanctioned plan for
reconstruction of the building has lapsed and as the
building regulations for areas within the city limits of
Shimla have undergone drastic changes, it is not
permissible for the appellant to reconstruct the
building as per the sanction originally granted. He
submitted that in Jagat Pal Dhawan v. Kahan Singh
(dead) by L.Rs. & Ors. [(2003) 1 SCC 191] this Court,
while interpreting clause (c) of sub-section (3) of
Section 14 of the Act, has observed that while
8Page 9
adjudicating an eviction petition on the ground that
the building is bona fide required by the landlord for
reconstruction, the Court may look into the condition
of building, availability of necessary funds and
whether building plans have been sanctioned by the
local authority in order to assess the bona fide of the
landlord, even if the Act does not require these
aspects to be considered. He submitted that,
therefore, unless the appellant produces the revised
sanctioned plan before the executing court, the order
of eviction cannot be executed as rightly directed by
the High Court and this is not a case for interference
with the impugned order of the High Court. He finally
submitted that by the Himachal Pradesh Urban Rent
Control (Amendment) Act, 2009 (for short ‘the
Amendment Act, 2009’) a new proviso has been
added in clause (c) of Section 14(3) stating that the
tenant evicted under clause (c) of Section 14(3) of
the Act shall have the right to re-enter on new terms
of tenancy, on the basis of mutual agreement
between the landlord and the tenant, to the premises
9Page 10
in the rebuilt building equivalent in area to the
original premises for which he was a tenant. He
submitted that since the eviction orders passed by
the Controller in this case are under Section 14(3)(c)
of the Act, the respondents are entitled to re-entry as
per this proviso inserted by the Amendment Act,
2009.
7. Before considering the submissions of the learned
counsel for the parties, we may have a look at clause
(c) of sub-section (3) and sub-section (4) of Section
14 of the Act. These provisions, as they stood before
the Amendment Act, 2009, when the Controller
passed the orders of eviction, are extracted
hereinbelow:
“14. Eviction of tenants –
(1) ………………
(2) ………………
(3) A landlord may apply to the Controller
for an order directing the tenant to put
the landlord in possession:
(a) ……………….
(b) ……………….
(c) in the case of any building or
rented land, if he requires it to carry
1Page 11
out any building work at the
instance of the Government or local
authority or any Improvement Trust
under some improvement or
development scheme or if it has
become unsafe or unfit for human
habitation or is required bona fide
by him for carrying out repairs which
cannot be carried out without the
building or rented land being
vacated or that the building or
rented land is required bona fide by
him for the purpose of building or rebuilding or making thereto any
substantial additions or alterations
and that such building or re-building
or addition or alteration cannot be
carried out without the building or
rented land being vacated.
(4) The Controller shall, if he is satisfied
that the claim of the landlord is bona fide,
make an order directing the tenant to put
the landlord in possession of the building
or rented land on such date as may be
specified by the Controller and if the
Controller is not so satisfied he shall
make an order rejecting the application:
Provided that the Controller may
give the tenant a reasonable time for
putting the landlord in possession of the
building or rented land and may extend
such time not exceeding three months in
the aggregate.”
8. A reading of clause (c) of sub-section (3) of Section
14 of the Act would show that a landlord may apply to the
Controller for an order directing the tenant to put the
1Page 12
landlord in possession in case of any building if it is
required bona fide by him for the purpose of building or
rebuilding or making thereto any substantial additions or
alterations and that such building or rebuilding or addition
or alteration cannot be carried out without the building
being vacated. In Jagat Pal Dhawan v. Kahan Singh (dead)
by L.Rs. & Ors. (supra), this Court had the occasion to
consider the provisions of Section 14(3)(c) of the Act and
R.C. Lahoti J. writing the judgment for the Court held that
Section 14(3)(c) does not require that the building plans
should have been duly sanctioned by the local authorities
as a condition precedent to the entitlement of the landlord
for eviction of the tenant. To quote from the judgment of
this Court in Jagat Pal Dhawan v. Kahan Singh (dead) by
L.Rs. & Ors. (supra):
“The provision also does not lay down
that the availability of requisite funds and
availability of building plans duly
sanctioned by the local authority must be
proved by the landlord as an ingredient of
the provision or as a condition precedent
to his entitlement to eviction of the
tenant. However still, suffice it to
observe, depending on the facts and
circumstances of a given case, the court
may look into such facts as relevant,
1Page 13
though not specifically mentioned as
ingredient of the ground for eviction, for
the purpose of determining the bona fides
of the landlord. If a building, as
proposed, cannot be constructed or if the
landlord does not have means for
carrying out the construction or
reconstruction obviously his requirement
would remain a mere wish and would not
be bona fide.”
It will be clear from the aforesaid passage that this Court
has held that availability of building plans duly sanctioned
by the local authorities is not an ingredient of Section
14(3)(c) of the Act and, therefore, could not be a condition
precedent to the entitlement of the landlord for eviction of
the tenant, but depending on the facts and circumstances
of each case, the Court may look into the availability of
building plans duly sanctioned by the local authorities for
the purpose of determining the bonafides of the landlord.
9. In the present case, the Controller has held in the
orders of eviction that the appellant had admittedly
obtained sanction from the Municipal Corporation, Shimla
and that the building was an old one and that the
appellant was occupying the second floor of the building
and that rebuilding or reconstruction cannot be carried out
1Page 14
without the building being vacated by the respondents.
The Controller has accordingly arrived at a satisfaction
that the appellant bonafide requires the building for the
purpose of building or rebuilding and has accordingly
issued the direction in terms of sub-section (4) read with
clause (c) of sub-section (3) of Section 14 of the Act to the
respondents to put the appellant in possession of the
building. This order of the Controller was challenged by
the respondents in appeal but the Appellate Authority has
dismissed the appeal. Thereafter, the respondents filed
the Civil Revisions before the High Court challenging the
orders of the Controller and the orders of the Appellate
Authority, and the High Court has in the impugned
common order maintained the orders passed by the
Controller and the Appellate Authority subject to the
modifications mentioned in para 27 of its order. Para 27
of the impugned order of the High Court is quoted
hereinbelow:
“Accordingly, in view of the observations
and discussions made hereinabove, there
is no merit in the petition and the same is
dismissed. However, in the interest of
justice, in view of the judgment rendered
1Page 15
by their Lordships of the Hon’ble
Supreme Court in Harrington House
School v. S.M. Ispahani & Another (2002)
5 SCC 229, though the orders passed by
both the authorities are upheld/sustained,
however, it is directed that only on the
valid revised/ renewed building plan
being sanctioned by the competent
authority, the order of eviction shall be
available for execution. The valid
revised/ renewed sanctioned or approved
building plan shall be produced before
the executing court whereupon the
executing court shall allow a reasonable
time to the tenants for vacating the
property and delivering possession to the
landlord. Till then the tenant shall remain
liable to pay charges for use and
occupation of the premises at the same
rate at which they are being paid earlier.
Subject to these modifications, the orders
passed by both the authorities below are
maintained. No costs.”
10. We also find that the respondents challenged the
impugned order of the High Court separately in Special
Leave Petition (Civil) Nos. 14028 and 2971 of 2012, but
this Court dismissed the Special Leave Petitions of the
respondents. The result is that the findings of the
Controller regarding the claim of the appellants for
eviction of the respondents on the ground that the
appellant bonafide requires the building for rebuilding or
reconstruction as affirmed by the appellate authority and
1Page 16
the High Court have become final could not be reopened
on any ground whatsoever and the respondents cannot
now contend that the appellant cannot any longer
construct or reconstruct the building on account of drastic
changes in the building regulations within the city limits of
Shimla.
11. In fact, the only question that we have to decide in
this appeal filed by the appellant is whether the High
Court could have directed that only on the valid
revised/renewed building plant being sanctioned by the
competent authority, the order of eviction shall be
available for execution. The High Court has relied on the
decision of this Court in Harrington House School v. S.M.
Ispahani & Anr. (supra) and we find in that case that the
landlords were builders by profession and they needed the
suit premises for the immediate purpose of demolition so
as to construct a multi-storey complex and the tenants
were running a school in the tenanted building in which
about 200 students were studying and 15 members of the
teaching staff and 8 members of the non-teaching staff
were employed and the school was catering to the needs
1Page 17
of children of non-resident Indians. This Court found that
although the plans of the proposed construction were
ready and had been tendered in evidence, the plans had
not been submitted to the local authorities for approval
and on these facts, R.C. Lahoti, J, writing the judgment for
the Court, while refusing to interfere with the judgment of
the High Court and affirming the eviction order passed by
the Controller, directed that the landlords shall submit the
plans of reconstruction for approval of the local authorities
and only on the plans being sanctioned by the local
authorities, a decree for eviction shall be available for
execution and further that such sanctioned plan or
approved building plan shall be produced before the
executing court whereupon the executing court shall allow
a reasonable time to the tenant for vacating the property
and delivering the possession to the landlord and till then
the tenants shall remain liable to pay charges for use and
occupation of the said premises at the same rate at which
they are being paid. In the present case, on the other
hand, as we have noted, the Rent Controller while
determining the bonafides of the appellant-landlord has
1Page 18
recorded the finding that the landlord had admittedly
obtained the sanction from the Municipal Corporation,
Shimla, and has accordingly passed the order of eviction
and this order of eviction has not been disturbed either by
the Appellate Authority or by the High Court as the
Revision Authority. In our considered opinion, once the
High Court maintained the order of eviction passed by the
Controller under Section 14(4) of the Act, the tenants were
obliged to give vacant possession of the building to the
landlord and could only ask for reasonable time to deliver
vacant possession of the building to the landlord and
hence the direction of the High Court that the order of
eviction could only be executed on the revised plan of the
building being approved was clearly contrary to the
provisions of Section 14(4) of the Act and the proviso
thereto.
12. We accordingly allow the appeals, set aside the
directions in Para 27 of the impugned judgment of the
High Court, but grant time to the respondents to vacate
the building within three months from today. We make it
clear that it will be open for the respondents to apply for
1Page 19
re-entry into the building in accordance with the proviso to
clause (c) of Section 14(3) of the Act introduced by the
Amendment Act, 2009. Considering, however, the
peculiar facts and circumstances of the cases, there shall
be no order as to costs.
.……………………….J.
(A. K. Patnaik)
………………………..J.
(Gyan Sudha Misra)
New Delhi,
April 29, 2013.
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