Surya Kant, J.
1. Challenge to a notification dated November 7, 2002 issued by the Administrator, Union Territory of Chandigarh in purported exercise of the powers conferred upon him by Section 3 of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restrictions (Extension to Chandigarh) Act, 1974 (hereinafter referred to as the 1974 Act) whereby it has been directed that the provisions of the aforesaid Rent Act shall not apply to the "Buildings and rented Lands" whose monthly rent exceeds Rs. 1500/-, has given rise to these bunch of writ petitions (Civil Writ Petition Nos. 20221 and 20232 of 2003, 1829, 1978 to 2065, 2689, 3902, 7360, 7836, 9855 and 11029 to 11034 of 2004) instituted by various tenants of residential. scheduled and/or commercial buildings located in the U.T. of Chandigarh, out of which CWP No. 20221 of 2003 has been dubbed as Public Interest Litigation also. Since the facts and questions of law involved in these writ petitions are common, we propose to decide them by this common judgment.
2. For the sake of brevity, the facts are being taken from Civil Writ Petition No. 20221 of 2003. Relying upon the "Statement of Objects and Reasons" embodied in the Rent Act, the petitioners have averred that the legislature of erstwhile State of Punjab wanted to enact a law to restrict the "increase of rents" of certain premises situated within the limits of urban areas and protection of tenants against mala fide attempts of their landlords" to procure their eviction. Due to this precise reason, the preamble of the said Act is to the following effect:-
"An Act to restrict the increase of rent of certain premises situated within the limits of urban areas and the eviction of tenants therefrom."
3. After the partition of the country on August 14, 1947, the partitioned State of East Punjab had no capital of its own, therefore, it was decided to develop a new city as the State headquarter and keeping that object in mind, the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952 was enacted. Pursuant thereto the first planned city of the country, namely, Chandigarh came to be established which also became the Capital of East State of Punjab. However, with the re-organisntion of the State of Punjab in the year 1966, Chandigarh acquired the status of Union Territory though it continued to be the Capital of both the States, namely, Punjab and Haryana. It may, however, be noted that Chandigarh was not declared as an "urban area" for the purposes of the Rent Act. It was in the year 1972 that the Central Government decided to extend operation of the Rent Act to the Union Territory of Chandigarh and consequently a notification dated October 13, 1972 was published in the Gazette of India on November 14, 1972 whereby the area comprising in the Union Territory of Chandigarh was declared to be an "urban area" under Section 2(j) of the Rent Act, by virtue of which the Rent Act became applicable in the Union Territory of Chandigarh with effect from November 4, 1972. The aforementioned notification, however, came to be challenged. A Full Bench of this Court in the case of Harkishan Singh v. Union of India,1 (1975)77 P.L.R. 163 held that the Rent Act was applicable within the territory of Punjab State, therefore, it could not be extended to the Union Territory of Chandigarh through a notification. The Court, however, expressed the view that the Rent Act could be enforced into Chandigarh through an Act of Parliament. It was thereafter that vide Act No. 54 of 1974, the Parliament passed East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction (Extension of Chandigarh) Act, 1974 thereby extending the Rent Act to the Union Territory of Chandigarh with retrospective effect from November 4, 1972.
4. In terms of Section 4 of the 1974 Act the Parliament gave overriding effect to the provisions of the Rent Act in Chandigarh irrespective of any judgment, decree or order passed by any Court, coupled with the fact that it was introduced retrospectively. It appears the Parliament intended to protect the tenants of Chandigarh so that the provisions of Transfer of Property Act under which a landlord could seek possession of the rented premises after issuing a notice of termination of tenancy, were not available to him. The 1974 Act was, however, slightly modified by the Parliament in the year 1982 whereby the word "East" was omitted from the title of the Act and the definition of "non-residential buildings" was also substituted.
5. It has been stated that Sections 4 and 5 of the Rent Act remained de facto inapplicable of Union Territory of Chandigarh as either there existed no building in the Union Territory of Chandigarh constructed prior to the year 1939 or the procedure laid down for fixation of fair rent and/or increase in the fair rent thereby giving some solace to the landlords of Chandigarh, is so cumbersome that it also remained practically inoperative. Thereafter, pursuant to the notification dated January 8, 1975, which was published in the gazette of February 1, 1975, the President of India, in exercise of his powers under clause (1) of Article 239 of the Constitution of India, appointed the Administrator of Union Territory of Chandigarh to exercise the powers and discharge those functions of the Central Government which are provided in clause (1) of Section 20 of the 1974 Act. This power was, however, delegated "subject to control of President:. It is in purported exercise of the afore-mentioned powers that the impugned notification dated November 7, 2002 (Annexure P5) has been issued by the Administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, thereby exempting from the applicability of provisions of the Rent Act and the 1974 Act those "buildings or rented lands" whose monthly rents exceeds Rs. 1500/-. According to the Petitioners, the afore-mentioned notification, apart from being arbitrary, un-reasonable and irrational, it lacks competence and have been issued overlooking the fact that rent of even 1 kanal house in Chandigarh was not less than Rs. 1000/- in the year 1974 which has gone as high as Rs. 18,000/- to Rs. 20,000/- per month in the year 2002. Similarly, even a small booth which used to fetch a rent of Rs. 300/- per month in the year 1974, now fetches Rs. 10,000/- per month as rent. However, ignoring these grounds realities that the impugned notification has been issued though the Chandigarh Administration itself being owner of several commercial establishments is fully aware of the monthly rental which the Administrations is charging from its tenants. The view-point expressed by a renowned jurist, namely, Shri Ram Jethmalani, in his letter dated August 22, 2003 has also been of no use as the Union Territory Administration has not reconsidered the desirability of withdrawal of its notification; that an "expert group" constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs, in relation to finding out the requirement of repealing of superfluous, redundant or obstructive laws, has submitted its Report in which 19 Acts of Punjab State, as applicable to Union Territory of Chandigarh, have been recommended for repeal but that list does not include the Rent Act/the 1974 Act.
6. The petitioners have averred that impugned notification provided a tool to the landlords who immediately started exploiting their tenants by asking them either to make exorbitant increase in the monthly rents or to face the consequences of their eviction. On illustrative basis, it has been referred that a former Chief Minister of Punjab, who had rented out his premises for Rs. 2000/- per month, has now filed a civil suit for possession in which damages to the tune of Rs. 2,00,000/- per month have been claimed. Due to the impugned notification, prices of commercial properties have risen un-precedented. The impugned notification, thus, is liable to be struck down as it runs contrary to the legislative policy and/or object behind the Rent Act; legislative powers cannot be delegated to a subordinate authority; the impugned notification has completely taken away the protection provided by the Parliament through the 1974 Act, if the impugned notification can seek shelter behind Section 3, then the said provision is also unconstitutional. The impugned notification is beyond the scope of powers delegated to the Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh and it has created anomalous situation in relation to applicability to the Rent Act; the powers to exempt certain premises from the rigors of the Act is not uncontrolled and un-fettered; the delegated powers can be exercised only to achieve the objects of principal statute; classification of buildings on the basis of rate of rent is unjust and bad in law and beyond the scope of Section 3 of the Rent Act; the impugned notification is also in the teeth of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
7. Upon notice of motion, written statement has been filed on behalf of the Union Territory, Chandigarh, namely, respondent Nos. 2 and 3, wherein preliminary objections have been taken to the following effect-
(i) Union of India has not been correctly implemented;
(ii) No fundamental/ statutory/legal rights of the petitioners have been violated;
(iii) the petitioners do not have any locus standi to file Public Interest Litigation as they themselves are tenants of such buildings whose monthly rent is Rs. 1500/- and/or above and thus, it is "Personal Interest Litigation";
(iv) the petition is bad for non-joinder of necessary parties as the persons who are likely to be affected, have not been impleaded.
8. On, merits, it has been asserted that vide notification dated January 8, 1975, the Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh was empowered to exercise the powers to discharge the functions of the Central Government under Section 3 of the 1974 Act and that the impugned notification dated November 7, 2002 (Annexure P5) has been issued in exercise of these powers only; that the classification done on rent basis is a proper exercise of the constitutional power and is legal, valid and has reasonable nexus with the object sought to be achieved; that a balance has to be maintained between the tenants as well as the landlords as no segment of the society can be exploited. A person paying rent of more than Rs. 1,500/- per month cannot be said to belonging to economically weaker section of the society and a provision which is initially valid, can in the long run, turn out to be discriminatory. It is for the competent authority to decide what is to be the cut off date for the purposes of classification having regard to the surrounding circumstances and facts and that the classification can be done on income basis or rental basis or some other reasonable basis and the safe-guard provided in Article 14 of the Constitution cannot be invoked till the classification is found to have a nexus with the object sought to be achieved: that no vested right of the tenants has been violated as they had the rights and remedies under the Rent Act and have lost the same once the protection under the Rent Act has been taken away; it is well settled that rights and remedies are not vested ones; and that the protection given to tenants does not create any vested right which can operate beyond the period of protection; when protection does not exist, the normal relations of landlords and tenants come into operation; that the notification has been issued in exercise of powers under Section 3 of the Rent Act with a view to strike balance between the interests of the landlords and the tenants; it has been denied that the case in hand is of delegation of any legislative powers. The Parliament has already enacted Section 3 which merely authorises a competent authority to grant exemption from the provisions of the Rent Act only in the circumstances and/or for the reasons mentioned in the provisions itself which does not amount to delegating the essential legislative powers; that by virtue of the impugned notification, no feature of the Act his been repealed as the litigating party shall have still a remedy under the general law that the notification dated November 7, 2002 (Annexure P-5) has been issued in public interest to strike a balance between the rights of both the landlords and the tenants and it has come up as a measure to promote the incentive investment in the construction/housing of real estate sector in the Union Territory, Chandigarh; that the city of Chandigarh has grown in size, economy, population etc. and has the highest per capita income in comparison to other cities/States in the country; the stamp duty on conveyance-deeds has also reduced from 12.5% to 6% by the Chandigarh Administration.
9. A separate written statement has also been filed on behalf of respondent Nos. 5 to 7 as well. Additional preliminary objections of delay and laches, non-joinder of necessary parties and that the impugned notification is in furtherance to national housing policy and as such the petitioners have no locus standi to challenge the same, have also been taken. It has been highlighted that the notification, Annexure P5, is in the interest of both the landlords and the tenants as it will give a boost to house building activity. There are several persons with spare accommodation but did not let out the same due to fear of losing the accommodation altogether; by virtue of the notification, such landlords will also release their surplus accommodation which will definitely benefit the tenants; that as a matter of fact before the issuance of the impugned notification, it were the landlords who were being exploited by the tenants as valuable premises were let out at very meager rates of rent and in the absence of a provision for fixation of fair rent or increase therein, the tenants refused to make any reasonable increase in the monthly rent or vacate the premises which had caused immense hardships to the landlords apart from it deterred persons from investing in properties in Chandigarh. The averment made by the petitioners in relation to lack of competence of the Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh in issuance of the impugned notification and/or the same running contrary to the legislative policy articulated in the Rent Act have also been seriously controverted.
10. Thereafter, Civil Misc. Application bearing No. 2014 of 2004 was moved by one Anup Sud, resident of House No. 19, Sector 19, Chandigarh to impleaded him as a respondent, he being the landlord and co-owner of a premises let out to Punjab Tubewell Corporation. Vide our order dated February 5, 2004, the aforementioned application was allowed being unopposed and the above-named applicant was impleaded as respondent who too has filed a separate written statement in which somewhat similar pleas have been taken, apart from highlighting the fact that the revised monthly rents of residential/commercial premises by the petitioners themselves are a complete indication of sound economical condition of the tenants of Chandigarh.
11. A separate reply has been filed by the Union of India through the Ministry of Urban Development averring as under:-
"that the Rent Control Acts were conceived as a measure to overcome shortage of rental accommodation in the wake of Second World War and the influx of refugees following partition etc. - the objective was to provide for control and regulation of the rental housing market, determination of fair rent,protection of tenants against indiscriminate act of landlords and the right of the landlord for recovery in a specific case; with over a period of time, a view was expressed that the social objective of the Rent Control Act had not been realised and on the other hand, there were various other adverse effects including on the supply of rental housing which was influenced by these Acts in more than one ways, namely.-
(a) the negative impact on investment in view rental housing and withdrawal of supply from the existing stock of rental housing as there was a fear of losing houses to the tenant altogether;
(b) disincentive of reletting the premises in case the landlord managed to recover the premises as the eviction of the tenant was very difficult;
(c) accelerated depreciation due to inadequate maintenance as the rents remained frozen but the cost of maintenance increased continuously;
(d) the frozen rent led to the emergence of practice like key money'; the widening divergence between the interests of landlords and the tenants increased litigation as well as crime.
12. The Government of India formulated National Housing Policy which was laid before both the Houses of Parliament in the year 1992, one of the major concern of the aforementioned policies was to remove legal impediments to the growth of Housing in general, and rental housing in particular. Paragraph 4.62 of the aforesaid policy specifically provides for the stimulation of investment in rental housing especially from the lower and middle income groups by suitable amendments to Rental Control Laws. Hon'ble the Supreme Court of India also suggested changes in Rent Control Laws in case of Prabghakaran Nair v. State of Tamil Nadu and Ors., 1987(4) S.C.C. 238, it was observed that the laws of landlords and tenants must be made rational, humane, certain and capable of being quickly implemented; that a model Rent Control Legislation (Annexure R1/1) was formulated by the Government of India and its features were broadly endorsed in a conference of Chief Ministers and Housing Ministry held in Mach, 1992. The Model Rent Control Legislation was circulated to all the State Government/U.T. Administrations in July, 1992 with the request to initiate action for amending their existing rent laws or enact new laws on the lines of this Model Legislation, one of the features of which was to exempt residential and non-residential premises carrying more than a specific rental value ranging from Rs. 1,500/- per month to Rs. 3,500/- per month from the rent law; that the Government of India has been advocating Urban Sector Reforms and has introduced an Urban Reforms Incentive Fund Scheme under which funds are provided as additional central assistance to State/U.T.s to facilitate urban sector including reforms of Rent Control Laws to remove the rent control so as to stimulate private investment in rental housing; that the Chandigarh Administration has reported that they had issued a notification dated November 7, 2002 (Annexure P5) after taking into consideration the various representations received from time to time as well as part of the reform initiative taken up in the Urban Sectors; that the representations from public representatives were received and after obtaining the details from Chandigarh Administration, the answering Ministry took the view that the implementation of rent law in Chandigarh lies exclusively with the Administration which has to take a view after taking into account the entire gamut of issues and over-all perspective; that the action taken by the Chandigarh Administration in issuing the impugned notification is in consonance with the Model Rent Law circulated by the Union of India.
13. These matters were taken up for hearing by us on March 11, 2004 when after hearing the learned counsel for the petitioners at some length and by taking brief notice of his submissions having regard to the constitutional philosophy enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution of India and having regard to the object of the Rent Act which is a social piece of legislation, we considered it expedient to give an opportunity to the Chandigarh Administration to have a rethinking in the light of our observations so that a balance could be maintained between the rights of tenants as well as landlords, to which Shri Rajiv Atma Ram, learned Senior Standing Counsel for the Union Territory, Chandigarh very fairly agreed to. The matter was accordingly adjourned to May 11, 2004.
14. Later on and pursuant to our aforementioned order, an affidavit dated July 29, 2004 was filed by the Finance Secretary, Chandigarh Administration, Chandigarh, to the following effect:-
"It was, inter alia, seen that the Supreme Court has held that reasonable classification is permissible under Article 14 of the Constitution and to attract the operation of Article 14, it is necessary to show that the selection or differentiation is unreasonable or arbitrary and it does not rest on any rational basis having regard to the object which the legislation has in view. [Reference has been made to State of Andhra Pradesh v. Nalla Raja Reddy, 1967(3) S.C.R. 28]; that the Objects and Reasons of 1974 Act whereby the Rent Act was extended to the Union Territory states that this Act seeks to regulate rents of premises situated within the urban areas and the eviction0000000 of tenants from such premises." Further, the Rent Act mentions in its Statement of Objects and Reasons that "the need for restricting the increase of rents of certain premises situated within the limits of urban areas and the protection of tenants against mala fides attempts by their landlords to procure eviction, would be there even after 14.8.1949"; the Chandigarh Administration has already stated in its reply that similar classification of rented properties made by other State Governments have been upheld by the Supreme Court as a reasonable classification in terms of Article 14 and in D.C. Bhatia v. Union of India, 1995(1) R.C.R. 25, the Supreme Court upheld the exemption granted by Amending Act of 1988 in Delhi wherein premises having a monthly rent of Rs. 3,500/- or more were exempted from the operation of the Rent Act; that in Marripati Chander Sekhar Rao v. Alapati Jalaya, 1995(2) R.C.R. 488, the Supreme Court upheld the Andhra Pradesh Government Notification exempting premises with a monthly rent of Rs. 1,000/- or more from the operation of the Andhra Pradesh Rent Act. The Supreme Court further held that this exemption would apply to cases pending in the Rent Control Courts also; that the Rent Control legislation in different States of India contain provisions restricting the eviction of tenants and revision of rent. Therefore, the Government of India formulated a Model Legislation and circuited the same with an advice to the State Governments to amend their Rent Control Laws accordingly; that the rent laws have caused low returns on investment in rental housing high, risk of letting out premises, difficulty for landlords to resume possession wherever required etc. Therefore, having realised these problems, the Government of India vide its circular dated July 17, 2002 requested the State Government to check advantages of the urban reforms incentive funds created by it, as per item 3 of which the States were required to make reforms of rent laws to remove rent control so as to stimulate private housing investment in rental housing; that the Chandigarh Administration has accordingly entered into a Memorandum of Agreement dated October 17, 2003 with the Government of India under the Urban Reform Programme and the efforts made by the Chandigarh Administration through the impugned notification to take out certain rental properties out of the purview of the Rent Control Laws is also in accordance with the policy of the Government of India to stimulate private investment in housing; that in the very nature of Rent Control Laws, the balance of rights of landlords and tenants has titled in favour of the tenants which is causing deleterious, economic and social consequences. Therefore, the balance of rights shall stand fully restored if and when Urban Rent Control Laws as they presently exist are repealed and contracts with the landlords and tenants are governed by the laws of the land subject to such special provision as may be required to regulate such contracts; that in these circumstances, the Administration's Notification dated November 7, 2002 is a step towards meeting the balance of rights between the landlords and tenants; that the limitation of exemption has been kept at Rs. 1,500/- per month keeping in view the similar exetingnious other States ranging from Rs. 1,000/- to Rs. 3,500/- per month; the power has been exercised strictly in accordance with Section 3 of the 1974 Act."
15. In view of the aforementioned stand taken by the Union Territory, Chandigarh, it became clear that after reconsideration of the whole matter, the Chandigarh Administration had formed its view-point that the notification dated November 7, 2002 (Annexure P5) and/or the amount of monthly rent in relation to grant of exemption from the rent in relation to grant of exemption from the Rent Act did not require any modification.
16. Replication has also been filed on behalf of the petitioners to the aforementioned written statements/replies, mainly reiterating their stand taken in the Writ Petition.
17. We have heard Shri Shanti Bhushan, learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners, Shri Rajiv Atma Ram, learned Senior Standing counsel of the Chandigarh Administration, Shri M.L.Sarin, learned Senior counsel on behalf of the remaining respondents (landlords) and have perused the pleadings as well.
18. Shri Shanti Bhushan has come up with the following three-fold submissions:-
(i) the power conferred by the legislature on its delegate can only be exercised in accordance with the legislature policy contained in the Act arid not contrary thereto. The policy of the Rent Act is clearly discernible from the Statement of Objects and Reasons, the Preamble of the Act, from its various provisions enacted for the protection of tenants against any exploitation by the landlords. However, the impugned notification, far from furthering the policy contained in the Act, is reversing it totally and has virtually repealed the Act in its application to Chandigarh, thus the impugned notification being inconsistent with the legislative policy ultra vires the Rent Act itself;
(ii) Section 3 of the 1974 Act only contemplates a power of the Government to direct that the provisions of the Act would not apply to a particular building or any class of buildings. This provision does not empower the Government to make the Rent Act inapplicable to any class of tenants; the impugned notification, however, does not classify the buildings but classifies "tenants paying rent of more than Rs. 1,500/- per month" and is thus contrary to the legislative object behind Section 3 of the Act;
(iii) the impugned notification is unconstitutional also for the reason that it is repugnant to the provisions contained in our Constitution and its social philosophy; it deprives the evicted tenants of their right to livelihood and right to shelter protected by Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
19. Shri Shanti Bhushan while relying upon the case law in support of his aforementioned contentions, as also other learned counsel for the petitioners, have made a pointed reference to:-
(i) In re: Delhi Laws Act, 1912 A.I.R. 1951 S.C. 332;
(ii) Hari Shankar Bagla v. State of Madhya Pradesh, A.I.R. 1954 S.C. 465;
(iii) Edwards Mills Co. Ltd. v. State of Ajmer, A.I.R. 1955 S.C. 25;
(iv) Hamdard Dawakhana and Anr. v. Union of India, A.I.R. 1960 S.C. 554;
(v) Vasanlal Maganbhai Sajanwala v. State of Bombay, A.I.R. 1961 S.C. 4;
(vi) P.J. Irani v. State of Madras and Anr., A.I.R. 19061 S.C. 1731;
(vii) Madhu Lal Amath Lal Gandhi v. Union of India, A.I.R. 1961 S.C. 21;
(viii) Hindustan Lever v. Hindustan Lever Mazdoor Sabha, 1994 Suppl. 1 S.C.C. 1;
(ix) U.P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad v. Friends Housing Co-op Society Ltd., 1995 Suppl.(3) S.C.C. 456;
(x) Chameli Singh and Anr. v. State of UP. and Anr., 1996(2) S.C.C. 549;
(xi) Ahmedabad Municipal Committee v. Nawab Khan Gulab Khan, 1997(11) S.C.C. 121.
Reference has also been made by Shri Shanti Bhushan, learned Senior counsel to the draft provisions contained in Model Rent Control Legislation, in particular the clause pertaining to exemptions.
20. On the other hand, Shri Rajiv Atma Ram, learned Senior Standing Counsel for Union Territory has contended that Section 3 of the 1974 Act empowers the "Central Government" to exempt any particular building or rented land or any class of buildings or rented lands from the provisions of the Rent Act; that it is in exercise of constitutional power under Article 239(1) of the Constitution that the President of India vide notification dated January 8, 1975 (Annexure P4) directed the Administrator of Union Territory, Chandigarh "to exercise the powers and discharge the functions of Central Government" and that it is a constitutionally protected delegation of powers which cannot be termed as excessive by any stretch of imagination. He further contended that the power of exemption exercised by the Central Government and/or the Administer of Union Territory of Chandigarh under Section 3 of the 1974 Act has already been upheld by the Apex Court in the case of M/s Punjab Tin Supply Co. v. Central Government and othera, A.I.R. 1984 S.C. 87. Therefore, the impugned notification (Annexure P5) intra vires as it does not offend either the provisions of the Constitution "or of the Rent Act. According to Shri Rajiv Atma Ram, the classification carved out by the impugned notification falls within the ambit of "reasonable classification" as it rests upon a reasonable basis having regard to the object which the legislature kept in view while incorporating Section 3 of the Rent Act. According to him, the object of Section 3 whereby the Executive is authorised to exempt "any particular building or rented land" or "any class of buildings or rented lands" is with the solemn object that the Executive is in a position and capable to ascertain the ground realities and thereafter to form an objective opinion as to whether the enforceability of the Rent Act is still in furtherance to the Legislative object/intent/policy. To buttress his submissions, Shri Rajiv Atma Ram has relied upon some judgments of the Apex Court in the Case of:- (i) B.C. Bhatia v. Union of India,15 (1995)1 S.C.C. 104 and (ii) Marripati Chandrasekharao and Sons v. Alapati Jalaiah, (1995)3 S.C.C. 709 to contend that such like classification has already been upheld by the Apex Court.
21. The contention of Shri Rajiv Atma Ram has been supported by Shri Gurpreet Singh, learned Additional Standing Counsel for Union of India as well as Shri M.L. Sarin, learned Senior Counsel appearing for some of the private respondents who contended that the original objects and reasons, the legislative policy which led to the enactment of the Rent Act, namely, mitigation of the hardships of the tenants can be attained by several measure, one of them being the creation of incentives to persons with the capital who are otherwise reluctant to invest in the construction of new buildings due to draconian impact of Rent Control Laws. According to him, the notification (Annexure P5) merely attempts to balance the interest of the landlords on the one hand and of the tenants on the other hand in a reasonable manner. Reliance has been placed upon judgment of the Apex Court in Kesho Ram and Co., v. Union of lndia,17 1989(3) S.C.C. 151 and a Division Bench judgment of this Court in M/s Cloth Palace v. Union of India and Ors., 181990(1) Rent Law Reporter 284.
22. On a thoughtful consideration of the rival submissions, it appears to us that the basic issue which needs to be adjudicated upon is "whether power under Section 3 of the Rent Act to grant exemption from the provisions of the Rent Act has not been exercised by the Competent Authority in accordance with the legislative policy and/or object embodied in the statute itself or has it been exercised in derogation thereof?
23. Before adverting to the issue afore-mentioned, a recapitulation of the provisions of the Rent Act read with the 1974 Act may be made. As per the "Statement of Objects and Reasons" of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949, namely, the Rent Act, having felt the need for "restricting the increase of rent of certain premises situated within the limits of urban areas and the protection of tenants against mala fide attempts by their landlords to procure their eviction" would be there even after 14.8.1949, namely, with the Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1947 was to expire, it was felt expedient to enact the afore-mentioned law so as "to restrict the increase of rent of certain premises situated within the limits of urban areas and the eviction of tenants therefrom." While Section 2 of the Act contains definitions, Section 3 empowers the Government to "exempt any particular building or rented land or any class of buildings or rented lands" from the provisions of this Act. Section 4 provides the mode of determination of fair rent and Section 5 provides how an increase in fair rent can be made. Section 6 prohibits a landlord not to claim any thing in excess to the fair rent whereas Section 7 bars claim of any fine or premium from the tenant for the grant, renewal or continuation of tenancy. Section 8, however, entitles the landlord to recover the unpaid rent whereas Section 9 authorises him to increase rent on account of imposition of a fresh rate, cess or tax in respect of the building or the rented land. Section 10 restrains the landlord from interfering with the amenities enjoyed by the tenant whereas Section 11 prohibits conversion of residential building into a non-residential building. Section 12 casts a statutory duty upon the landlord to carry out necessary repairs and/or to pay the cost to the tenant for carrying out the same. Section 13 spells out the grounds upon which the tenant can be evicted by the landlord, namely:
(i) non-payment of rent;
(ii) bona fide personal necessity;
(iii) sub-letting by the tenant;
(iv) change of user;
(v) material impairment in the value and utility of the building;
(vii) the tenant has ceased to occupy the building for a continuous period of four months without reasonable cause;
(viii) requirement of the premises by the landlord for his own occupation;
(ix) the building has become unfit for human habitation; and/or
(x) the landlord is a specified landlord and needs immediate possession of the premises etc.
Rest of the provisions of the Act have hardly any bearing in relation to the issue involved in this case.
24. The afore-mentioned Rent Act was extended to the Union Territory of Chandigarh by the Parliament through the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction (Extension to Chandigarh) Act, 1974 (Apt No. 54 of 1974), namely, the 1974 Act. In the statement of "Objects and Reasons", it was explained that the Rent Act was enforced in the Union Territory of Chandigarh by way of a notification which came into effect from 4.11.1972. However, the same having been quashed by the High Court, the Parliament has stepped in to extend the afore-mentioned Rent Act to the Union Territory of Chandigarh, with retrospective effect, namely, with effect from 4.11.1972. Section 3 and 4 of the 1974 Act, being relevant, read as follows:-
3. Extension of East Punjab Act HI of 1949 to Chandigarh.- Notwithstanding anything contained in any judgment, decree or order of any Court, the Act shall, subject to the modifications specified in the Schedule, be in force in, and be deemed to have been in force with effect from the 4th day of November, 1972 in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, as if the provisions of the Act as so modified had been included in and formed part of this section and as if this section had been in force at all material times.
4. Validation and savings.- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any judgment, decree or order of any court, anything done or any action taken (including any notification or direction issued or rents fixed or permission granted or order made) or purported to have been done or taken under the Act shall be deemed to be as valid and effective as if the provisions of this Act had been in force at all material times when such thing was dona or such action was taken.
(2) Nothing in this Act shall render any person guilty of any offence for any contravention of the provisions of the Act which occurred before the commencement of this Act.
25. The Schedule referred to in Section 3 of the 1974 Act, contains certain modifications in the Rent Act and after incorporation of those modifications, the relevant provisions of the Rent Act (as applicable to the Union Territory of Chandigarh) read as follows:-
"Section 2, Definitions.- In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context-
(a) "building" means any building or part of a building let for any purpose whether being actually used for that purpose or not, including any land, godowns, out-houses, or furniture let therewith, but does not include a room in a hotel, hostel or boarding-house;
(b) xxx xxx
(c) "landlord" means any person for the time being entitled to receive rent in respect of any building or rented land whether on his own account or behalf or for the benefit, of any other person, or as a trustee, guardian, receiver, executor or administrator for any other person, and includes a tenant who sublets any building or rented land in the manner hereinafter authorised, and, every person from time to time deriving title under a landlord;
(d) "non-residential building" means-
(i) a building being used solely for the purpose of business or trade;
(ii) a building let under a single tenancy for use for the purpose of business or trade and also for the purpose of residence.
Explanation: For the purposes of this clause, residence in a building only for the purpose of guarding it, shall not be deemed to convert a "non-residential building" to a "residential building".
Special Provision as to pending cases - The provisions of the principal Act, as amended by this Act, shall apply to and in relation to every case, under the Principal Act, for eviction of a tenant from a building let under a single tenancy for use for the purpose of business or trade and also for the purpose of residence which is pending immediately before the commencement of this Act and any order made in such case before such commencement by any authority shall, on an application made in this behalf to such authority, be modified so as to be in conformity with the provisions of the principal Act as amended by this Act.
Explanation: For the purpose of this Section, a case relating to eviction of a tenant shall be deemed to be pending-
(a) if no order has been made in such case for the eviction or otherwise of the tenant; or
(b) if an order has been made in such case for the eviction of the tenant and such order remain to be executed.
(e) xxx xxxx
(f) "rented land" means any land let separately for the purpose of being used principally for business or trade;
(g) "residential building" means any building which is not a non-residential building;
(h) xxx xxx
(hh) "Specified landlord" means a person who is entitled to receive rent in respect of a building on his own account and who is holding or has held an appointment in public service or post in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State;
(i) "tenant" means any person by whom or on whose account rent is payable for a building or rented land and includes a tenant continuing in possession after the termination of the tenancy in his favour, but does not include a person placed in occupation landlord, or a person to whom the collection of rent or fees in a public market, cart stand or slaughter-house or a rents for shops has been farmed out as leased by a municipal, town or notified are committee; and
(j) "urban area" means any area comprised in Chandigarh, as defined in clause (d) of Section 2 of the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952 (Punjab Act XXVII of 1952) and includes such other area, comprised in the Union Territory of Chandigarh as the Central Government may, having regard to the destiny of the population and the nature and extent of the accommodation available therein and other relevant factors, declare by notification to be urban for the purposes of this Act.
Section 3. Exemptions.- The Central Government may direct that all or any of the provisions of this Act shall not apply to any particular building or rented land or any class of buildings or rented lands.
Section 20. Power to make rules.- (1) The Central Government may, by notification, make rules for the purpose of carrying out all or any of the provisions of this Act.
(2) Every rule made under this section shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if before the expiry of the sessions immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both House, agree in making any notification in the rule or both Houses agree that the rule should not be made, the rule shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be or no effect, a:; the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that rule.
26. At this stage, it will also be apposite to reproduce a notification dated 24.9.1974 issued by the Chandigarh Administration which was published in its Gazette dated October 1, 1974 and which reads as follows:-
"In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949 (Punjab Act 3 of 1949), as applicable to the Union Territory of Chandigarh, the Chief Commissioner, Chandigarh, is pleased to direct that the provisions of Section 13 of the said Act shall not apply to buildings, exempted from the provisions of the Act for a period of five years vide Chandigarh Administration Notifications No. 352-LD-73/602, dated the 31st January, 1973, as modified by Chandigarh Administration Notification No. 2294-LD-73/3473 dated the 24th September, 1973, in respect of decrees passed by Civil Courts in suits for ejectment of tenants in possession of those buildings instituted by the landlords against such tenants during the period of exemption whether such decrees were or are passed during the period of exemption or on any time thereafter."
It is, thus, seen that in exercise of powers conferred by Section 3 of the Rent Act,the Chandigarh Administration has exempted all the new buildings from the provisions of the Rent Act for a period of five years with effect from the date the sewerage connection is granted in respect of such buildings by the Competent Authority and/or where sewerage connection cannot be granted, from the date of electric connection is given by the Competent Authority and/or if there is no sewerage or electric connection, then from the date the building is actually occupied. (Note:The afore-mentioned manner of computing the period of five years is provided in the Chandigarh Administration Notification dated 31.1.1973 and dated 24.9.1973).
27. The powers conferred by Section 3 have now been invoked again by the Chandigarh Administration through the impugned notification dated November 7, 2002 (Annexure P-5) which we for the sake of ready reference reproduce below:-
No. 1986-UTFI(1)-2002/9055.- In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949 read with the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction (Extension to Chandigarh) Act, 1974 (Act No. 54 of 1974) and the Government of India's Notification No.S.O.22(E), dated 8th January, 1975, the Administration, Union Territory, Chandigarh is pleased to direct that the provisions of the aforesaid Act shall not apply to buildings and rented lands whose monthly rent exceeds Rs. 1,500/- (Rupees One thousand five hundred only).
KARAN AVTAR SINGH
28. The stage is now set to consider the primary contention raised on behalf of the parties, while it has been contended on behalf of the petitioners that the power conferred upon the Central Government by Section 3 of the Rent Act to direct that "all or any of the provisos of this Act" shall not apply to "any particular building or rented land" or any "class of buildings or rented lands", cannot be exercised in such a manner that it shall amount to repealing the Rent Act itself, namely, this power cannot be resorted to withdraw completely the provisions of the Rent Act thereby denying: the protection against the increase of rents and/or against mala fide attempts by the landlord to procure the eviction of the tenants, which is the categorically discernible object of the legislative policy embodied in the Rent Act. Shri Shanti Bhushan, learned Senior counsel contends that a delegate is to competent to act contrary to the legislative policy/intents which may tantamount to abdication of legislative powers and/or an excessive delegation and both being impermissible under our Constitutional Scheme, the impugned notification cannot sustain in law.
29. On the other hand, Shri Rajiv Atma Ram, learned Senior Counsel contends that neither is it a case of abdication and,or surrender of legislative powers in favour of the delegate nor a case of a excessive delegation. He contends that, in fact, exemptions under Section 3 are conditional delegation, provisions, pari materia to Section 3 of the Rent Act reproduced above, have already been upheld by their Lordships of the Supreme Court. According to him, with a view to ascertain the legislative intent/policy, this Court may not confine to the Objections and Reasons assigned by the Punjab Legislature while enacting the Rent Act, 1949. He lays emphasis that the need for restricting the increase or rent of certain premises situated with the limits of urban areas and protection of tenants against mala fide attempts by their landlords to procure their eviction after 14.8.1949, have material bearing to appreciate the legislative intent. According to him, at that point of time, the fall out of Second World War followed by the partition of the country which up-rooted lakhs of families who were desperately looking for shelter, could be exploited by landlords and this exploitation was the "mala fide attempt" which the legislature wanted to tie down. According to Shri Rajiv Atma Ram, the protection for the tenants irrespective of the age of the building or the amount of rent payable, continued for years together until the Legislature also started deviating from its original policy and made certain amendments keeping in view the hardships faced by the landlords as well.
30. Act No. 2 of 1985, was passed to carry out an amendment to provide summary procedure for eviction of tenants from the residential and scheduled buildings of defence personnel and other Central and State Government employees on the eve of retirement for their personal occupation and enabling such employees to get such building vacated from the tenants one year prior to their retirement. Vide subsequent Act No. 9 of 2001, yet another provision was added to provide relief to the N.R.Is. to enable them to recover possession of a residential or scheduled building and/or one non-residential building for their own use. Meanwhile, the notification vide which newly constructed buildings have been completely exempted for a period of five years from the provisions of the Rent Act, was also issued under Section 3 of the Rent Act and was upheld upto the Apex Court.
31. In re: Delhi Laws Act, 1912, the Constitution Bench of the Apex Court considered as to whether Sections 2 and 7 of Ajmer-Merwara (Extension of Laws) Act, 1947 ultra vires the legislature or not. Section 7 of the Act had provided that "the provincial government may, by notification in the official gazette, extend such restrictions and modifications as it thinks fit to the province of Delhi or any part thereof, any enactment which is in force in any part of British India at the date of such notification". Similarly, Section 2 of the Act read as follows:-
"The Central Government may, by notification in the official gazette, extend to the province of Ajmer-Merwara with such restrictions and modifications as it thinks fit, any enactment which is in force in other province at the date of such notification."
Their Lordships held that the legislature can't abdicate its legislative functions and it can't efface itself and set up a parallel legislature to discharge the primary duty with which it has been entrusted and that the legislature must normally discharge its primary legislative function itself and not through others; once legislature has sovereign powers within a certain sphere, it is free to legislate within that sphere in any way it deems fit to give effect to its intention and policy in making a particular law; the legislature may utilize any outside agency to any extent it finds necessary for doing things which it is unable to do itself or finds it inconvenient to do, subject, however, to the condition that it cannot abdicate its legislative functions and, therefore, while entrusting the power to an outside agency, it must see that such agency acts as a subordinate authority and does not become a parallel legislature. While holding that Sections 7 and 2 (Partly) of the Act were intera vires the legislature, the majority held that the power of introducing necessary restrictions and modifications is incidental to the power to apply or adapt the law and that the power to modify certainly involves a discretion to make suitable changes, but it would be useless to give an authority, the power to adopt a law without giving it the power to make suitable changes.
32. In Hart Shanker Bagla's case (supra), Section 3 of the Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act, 1946 came under attack. While holding that the aforesaid provision did not amount to delegation of legislative powers outside the permissible limits, it was held that :-
"The Legislature cannot delegate its function of laying down legislative policy in respect of a measure and its formulation as a rule of conduct. The Legislature must declare the policy of the law and the legal principles which are to control any given cases and must provide a standard to guide the officials or the body in power to execute the law. The essential legislative function consists in the determination or choice of the legislative policy and of formally enacting that policy into binding rule of conduct."
33. Somewhat similar principles were reiterated by the Supreme Court in Edwards Mins Company Limited' case (supra) while observing that-
"When a legislature is given plenary power to legislate on a particular subject there must also be an implied power to make laws incidental to the exercise of such power. It is a fundamental principle of constitutional law that every thing necessary to the exercise of a power is included in the grant of the power. A legislature cannot certain strip itself of its essential functions and vest the same on an extraneous authority. The primary duty of law making has to be discharged by the legislature itself but delegation may be resorted to as a subsidiary or an ancillary measure."
34. While drawing a distinction between "conditional legislation" and "delegated legislation", the Supreme court in Hamdard Dawakhana 's case (supra) observed that -
"that in the former the delegate's power is that of determining when a legislative declared rule of conduct shall become effective, and the latter involves delegation of rule making power which constitutionally may be exercised by the administrative agent. This means that the legislature having laid down the broad principles of its policy in the legislation can then leave the details to be supplied by the administrative authority. In other words by delegated legislation the delegate completes the legislation by supplying details within the limits prescribed by the statute and in the case of conditional legislation the power of legislation is exercised by the legislature conditionally leaving to the discretion of an external authority the time and manner of carrying its legislation into effect as also the determination of the area to which it is to extend."
35. In Vasanlal Manganbhai Sajanwala's case (supra), vires of Section 6(2) of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948 and the validity of a notification issued by the Government on October 17, 192 under the afore-mentioned provision, came to be challenged. Vide the impugned notification, the Government had directed that "in the case of an irrigated land, l/5th and in the case of other land, l/4th of the crops of such land or its value as determined in the prescribed manner as the maximum rent payable by the tenants of the land situate in the areas specified in the Schedule appended thereto." Section 6(2) of the Act used to provide that "the provincial government may, by notification in the official gazette fix a lower rate of the maximum rent payable by the tenants of the lands situate in a particular area or may fix such rate in any other suitable basis as it thinks fit." This provision was attacked on the plea that it suffers from the vice of "excessive delegation" as the power delegated to the provincial government is unfettered and uncanalised and no guidance was afforded to it for exercising the said power. While summarizing that the powers of delegation is a constituent element of the legislative power, the Apex Court held that :-
"It is now well established by the decisions of this Court that the power of delegation is a constituent element of the legislative power as a whole, and that, in modern times when the Legislatures enact laws to meet the challenge of the complex socio-economic problems, they often find it convenient and necessary to delegate subsidiary or ancillary powers to delegates of their choice for carrying out the policy laid down by their Acts. The extent to which such delegation is permissible is also now well settled. The Legislature cannot delegate its essential legislative function in any case. It must lay down the legislative policy and principle and must afford guidance for carrying out the said policy before it delegates its subsidiary powers in that behalf. As has been observed by Mahajan C.J. in Harishankar Bagla v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (1955)1 S.C.R. 380 at p.388:(A.I.R. 1954 S.C. 465 at p.468).
"the Legislature cannot delegate its function of laying down legislative policy in respect of a measure and its formulation as a rule of conduct. The Legislature must declare the policy of the law and the legal principles which are to control any given cases, and must provide a standard to guide the officials or the body in power to execute the law."
36. On a hair-splitting consideration of the beneficent measures meant for agrarian reforms as incorporated in the Act, their Lordships in Vasanlal Maganbhai Sajanwala 's case (supra) finally concluded that -
"Having regard to the legislative policy laid down by the Act in its preamble and in the other relevant Section to which we have referred, and having regard to the guidance which has been provided for fixing a reasonable rent under Section 12(3), it would not possible to hold that the power delegated to the provincial government by Section 6(2) suffers from infirmity of excessive delegation. The fact that no minimum norm has been prescribed, would not affect this position. " (emphasis applied)
37. In P.J.Irani's case (supra) upon which strong reliance has been placed by Shri Shanti Bhushan, there was a premises bearing No. 1, Blackers Road, Mount Road, Madras in relation to which certain court proceedings were pending between an alleged landlord and the tenant (lessee). The alleged landlord had filed a suit for evicting the tenant on the plea that what had been leased out was a vacant site without any building, therefore, the Madras Act No.XV of 1946 did not apply to the afore-mentioned site. His suit as well as the first appeal were also dismissed after holding that the building as well as the vacant site were included in the lease. Meanwhile, 1946 Act was repealed by the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1949. Section 13 of the new Act contained a provision for exemption from the operation of the Act by the State Government which was in the following terms:-
"Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the State Government may, by a notification in the Fort St. George Gazette exempt any building or class of buildings from all or any of the provisions of this Act." The landlord applied to the Government seeking exemption of his building from the provisions of the Rent Act but his application was turned down on June 4, 1951 on the ground that the matter was then sub-judice. After the dismissal of his appeal, the landlord again sought exemption of his building which was granted by the government, vide notification dated June 4, 1952 which was to the following effect:-
"His Excellency, the Governor of Madras hereby exempts the building No. 1, Blackers Road, Mount Road, Madras, Gaiety Theatre from all the provisions of the said Act."
38. The aforementioned notification came to be challenged before the High Court at the behest of the tenant who also questioned the vires of Section 18 of the Act on the plea that the said provision conferred the Government with unguided and arbitrary discretion which was unconstitutional and violative of equal protection of the laws as guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution. The High Court after considering the reasons disclosed by the Government in support of the afore-mentioned notification held that those reasons were not germane to the purpose for which the powers had been vested in them and quashed the order of exemption. On an appeal by the landlord, their Lordships of the Supreme Court on a consideration of the legislative policy and internment behind the Act; by majority, held as follows:-
"Though the enactment thus conferred these rights on tenants, it was possible that the statutory protection could either have caused great hardship to a landlord or was the subject of abuse by the tenant himself. It was not possible for the statute itself to contemplate every such contingency and make specific provision therefor in the enactment. It was for this reason that a power of exemption in general terms was conferred on the State Government which, however, could be used not for the purpose of discriminating between tenant and tenant but to order to further the policy and purpose of the Act which was, in the context of the present case, to prevent unreasonable eviction of tenants. The learned Judges of the High Court, therefore, held that while Section 13 of the Act was constitutionally valid, any individual order of exemption passed by the Government could be the subject to judicial review by the Courts for finding out whether (a) it was discriminatory so as to offend Article 14 of the Constitution, (b) the order was made on grounds which were germane or relevant to the policy and purpose of the Act, and (c) it was not otherwise mala fide."
Thus, the view taken by the High Court that the reasons which led the Government to grant the exemption were not those which were countenanced by the policy or purpose of the Act and that the order of exemption was, therefore, invalid, were approved by the Supreme Court. Their Lordships further held that "the mere fact that the tenant continued in possession after the termination of the tenancy is by itself no ground why he should be evicted from the premises because it is the very policy of the Act to protect the rights of the tenant to continue in possession of the premises after the termination of the term because of the great difficulty of their obtaining an alternative accommodation.
39. In Madhubhai Amathalal Gandhi v. Union of India9 A.I.R. 1961 S.C. 21,there was a challenge to the notification dated 31.8.1957 issued under Section 4 of the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 whereby the Stock Exchange, Bombay, was recognised. The main contention was that the words "any other conditions" as contained in Section 45(1 )(b) of the Act conferred unfettered and unguided powers upon the Central Government to impose any condition. The Apex Court, however, held that the power can be exercised by the Government by imposing conditions which are germane to the recognition of Stock Exchange, after consultation with its Governing Board, namely, the power was required to be exercised in consonance with the legislative policy behind the Act.
40. In Hindustan Lever and other case (supra), validity of notification dated October 9, 1992 issued by the Government of Maharashtra in purported exercise of its powers conferred by Section 13 of the Maharashtra Workmen's Minimum House Loan Allowance Act, 1983 was challenged by some employees' union, inter alia, on the ground of being ultra vires Sections 4 and 13 of the afore-mentioned Act. Section 4 of the Act mandates that "Every employer shall pay to every workmen employed by him a house rent allowance which shall not be less than 5 per cent of the wages payable to the workman for his service during a month, or 20 rupees, whichever is higher." Section 13(1) of the Act, however, provides that "Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the State Government may, by order published in the official gazette, and subject to such conditions and restrictions, if any, and for such period or periods, as may be specified in the order, direct that the provisions of this Act shall not apply to any specified factory or establishment or to any specified class of factories or establishments in any industry, if it is satisfied that it is just and proper so to do in the public interest or for any special reasons having regard to the more favourable conditions of employment in such factory or factories or establishment or establishments or to the financial-position and other relevant circumstances of such factory or factories or establishment, as the case may be." Vide the above stated notification dated October 9, 1992, the State Government exempted from the provisions of the Act, the factories and establishments, in relations to their workmen drawing wages as on January 1, 1991 or thereafter, at the rates exceeding the specified limits. This notification classified the State into three zones with different wage limits ranging from Rs. 2500/- to Rs. 3500/-. The notification further provided that the workmen receiving wages in excess of such limit would be paid house rent allowance as if their wages were as per such limits. Their Lordships after taking judicial notice of the fact that Section 4 which is the soul of the Act, makes mandatory for every employer to pay monthly house rent allowance to every workman, which shall not be less than 5 per cent of the wages payable to such workman, subject to a minimum of Rs. 20/- whichever is higher and having acknowledged that the object of the Act is that every workman should get house rent allowance at the rate of 5 per cent of the wages paid and that the exemption contemplated under Section 13 can be made applicable to specified factories and establishments and not to one class of employees thereby differently treating another class of employees in the same factory and that exemption under Section 13 could be granted for a specified period only, upheld the judgment of the High Court which had struck down the afore-mentioned notification.
41. In U.P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad's case (supra) their Lordships of the Supreme Court have held that "right to shelter is a fundamental right, which springs from the right to residence framed in Article 19(1)(e) and right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution."
42. In Chameli Singh's case (supra), acquisition of the land by the State under the urgency clause of Section 17(1) read with Section 17(4) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 for providing houses to down-troddens, was the subject matter of challenge. While repelling the aforementioned challenge, the Apex Court expanded the concept of fundamental right to live in terms of Article 19(1)(e) read with Articles 21 of the Constitution and held that "In any organised society, right to live as a human being is not ensured by meeting only the animal needs of man. It is secured only when he is assured of all facilities to develop himself and is freed from restrictions which inhibit his growth. All human rights are designed to achieve this object. Right to live guaranteed in any civilized society implies the right to food, water, decent environment, education, medical care and shelter. These are basic human rights known to any civilized society.........Shelter for a human being, therefore, is not a mere protection of his life and limb. It is home where he has opportunities to grow physically, mentally, intellectually and spiritually. Right to shelter, therefore, includes adequate living space, safe and decent structure, clean and decent surroundings, sufficient light, pure air and water, electricity, sanitation and other civic amenities like road etc. so as to have easy access to his daily avocation. The right to shelter, therefore, does to mean a mere right to a roof over one's head but right to all the infrastructure necessary to enable them to live and develop as a human being......." (emphasis applied).
43. Parameters in relation to the right to shelter as a component of fundamental right to live, were further enlarged by the Supreme Court in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation 's case (supra).
44. Coming to the judicial precedents relied on behalf of the respondents, the contention that Section 3 of the Act as applicable to Union Territory of Chandigarh neither suffers from the vice of excessive delegation nor it violates Article 14 of the Constitution, in no longer res intergra. The Hon'ble Supreme Court in M/s Punjab Tin Supply Company's case (supra) and again in Kesho Ram and Co.'s case (supra) specifically dealt with the contention afore-mentioned and after relying upon its judgment in P.J. Irani's case in which Section 13 of the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Controller) Act, 1949 which was worded somewhat similar to Section 3 of the Rent Act and also after relying upon the judgment in Sadhu Singh v. District Board, Gurdaspur,19 (1969)1 S.C.W.R. 139, held that Section 3 of the Rent Act does-not suffer from the vice of excessive delegation of legislative power and it also does not militate against the equality clause imbibed in Article 14 of the Constitution. The view taken by the Apex Court in relation to the vires of Section 3 of the Rent Act in the aforementioned two judgments was thereafter summarized by a Division Bench of this Court in M/s Cloth Palace (supra) also.
45. In the context of the validity of impugned Notification dated November 7, 2002, it may be mentioned that In M/s Punjab Tin Supply Company's case (supra), a notification dated January 31, 1973 issued by the Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh under Section 3 of the Rent Act whereby the newly constructed buildings in Chandigarh were exempted from the provisions of the Rent Act for a period of five years, was challenged. The Apex Court after taking cognizance of the preamble and the provisions of the Rent Act, namely, fixation of fair rent and prevention of unreasonable eviction of tenants, held that on account of shortage of number of houses in urban areas, the landlords get an opportunity to exploit the tenants who are in need of housing accommodation and since the Act is passed as a measure taken to mitigate the cost caused to the tenants, such mitigation can be attained by several measures, one of which being creation of incentive to persons with capital who are otherwise reluctant to invest in the construction of new buildings in view of the chilling effect of the Rent Control Law and as a part of the said Scheme, in order to persuade the landlords to invest in the construction of new buildings, that the exemption is granted to them from the operation of the Act for a short period of five years. Their Lordships, therefore, held that the impugned notification is not ultra vires Section 3 of the Act in its true effect, it advanced the Scheme, object and purpose of the Act. (emphasis applied).
46. In D.C.Bhatia's case (supra) to which a pointed reference has been made on behalf of the respondents, validity of the newly inserted Section 3(c) in the Delhi Rent Control Act which came to be incorporated by Act No. 52 of 1988 with effect from 1.12.1988 and which provided that the provisions of the Delhi Rent Control Act will not apply to any premises whose monthly rent exceeded Rs. 3,500/-, was impugned by the tenants in Delhi High Court. The writ petition, however, was dismissed holding that Section 3(c) of the Act was a valid piece of legislation. In appeal before the Apex Court, the main contention of the tenants was that the provisions of sub-section (c) of Section 3 ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution as the legislature failed to appreciate the present day realities of landlord and tenant relationship and if landlords were given a free hand to raise the rent of the premises, then they will abuse this amendment and demand unreasonable and exorbitant rent, that the classification of properties on the rental basis was arbitrary and discriminatory and in any event, the cut off point of Rs. 3,500/for the purpose of exclusion from the benefit of Rent Control Legislation was fixed arbitrarily. It was also contended that the provisions of Section 3(c) were prospective and could not be applied to the premises which were already tenanted on the date on which the amending Act came into force. Their Lordships, however, repelled these submissions and held as follows:-
"22. We are unable to uphold any of these contentions. The Rent Acts were enacted originally as temporary measures in order to protect the tenants from eviction and also from arbitrary enhancements of rent. Before these Rent Acts were passed rights and Obligations of landlords and tenants were regulated by the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act, which was enacted in 1882. The rent laws which were passed by various State Legislatures drastically curtailed the landlord's power to enhance rent and evict the tenant.
25. The rent control laws are now in force in Delhi for more than 50 years. New Delhi House Rent Control Order, 1939 was issued under Rule 21 of the Defence of India Rules. This was followed by a number of legislations like Punjab Urban Rent Restrictions Act, 1941 which was extended to Delhi, Delhi Rent Control Ordinance, 1944, Delhi and Ajmer, Bhilwara Control Act, Delhi Tenants (Temporary Protection) Act, 1956. The present law i.e. Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 was the last of a long line of legislations which were passed to control the rents and to restrict eviction of tenants except on the special grounds stated in the statute.
26. As a result of these legislations a host of problems have cropped. These problems have been stated in the various committee reports set out earlier in the judgment. Representations were also made by the landlords highlighting these problems. In order to tackle the problems created by the Rent Act, the Delhi Rent Control Act was amended in 1988 by Delhi Rent Control Amending Act, 1988 (Act 57 of 1988).
28. In order to strike a balance between the interests of the landlords and also the tenants and for giving a boost to house-building activity, the legislature in its wisdom has decided to restrict the protection of the Rent Act only to those premises for which rent is payable up the sum of Rs. 3,500/- per month and has decided not to extend this statutory protection to the premises constructed or after the date of coming into operation of the Amending Act for a period often years. This is a matter of legislative policy. The legislature could have repealed the Rent Act altogether. It can also repeal it step by step. It has decided to confine the statutory protection to the existing tenancies whose monthly rent did not exceed Rs. 3,500/-."
47. In Partripati Chandrasekhar Rao and Son's case (supra), a notification dated 26.10.1983 was issued by the State Government in exercise of its powers under Section 26 of the Andhra Pradesh Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act, 1960 whereby the buildings whose monthly rent exceeded Rs. 1,000/- were exempted from all the provisions of the Act. The afore-mentioned notification was challenged by the tenants in a writ petition before the Andhra Pradesh High Court, however, the same was dismissed. On an appeal before the Apex Court, it was primarily contented on behalf of the tenants that they had acquired vested rights under the Act and they could not have been divested of the same by the notification which came into operation from a subsequent date. On the other hand, landlords contended that there is nothing like a vested right in a tenant against eviction and once the special protection granted through the Rent Act is withdrawn, the parties are liable to be governed by the common law. On a consideration of the case laws on the subject including the judgment in D.C.Bhatia's case (supra), the Supreme Court turned down the contention on behalf of the tenants and held as follows:-
"12. According to us there is a material difference between the rights which accrue to a landlord under the common law and the protection which is afforded to the tenant by such legislation as the Act. In the former case the rights and remedies of the landlord and tenant are governed by the law of contract and the law governing the property relations. These rights and remedies continue to govern their relationship unless they are regulated by such protective legislation as the present Act in which case the said rights and remedies remain suspended till the protective legislation continues in operation.Hence while it can legitimately be said that the landlord's normal rights vested in him by the general law continue to exist till and so long as they are not abridged by a special protective legislation in the case of the tenant, the protective shield extended to him survives only so long as and to the extent the special legislation operates. In the case of the tenant, therefore, the protection does not create any vested right which can operate beyond the period of protection or during the period the protection is not in existence. When the protection does not exist, the normal relations of the landlord and tenant come into operation. Hence the theory of the vested right which may validly be pleaded to support the landlord 's case is not available to the tenant." (emphasis applied).
48. We have purposefully referred to the case-law cited at the bar by learned counsel for the parties to unfold the settled principles as discernible out of these judgments to conclude that the power of delegation is a constituent element of the legislative power and now a days, when the legislature is required to enact the laws to meet the day-today challenges in relation to complex socio-economic problems, the legislature facilitates itself by delegating its subsidiary or ancillary powers to the delegates of its choice for carrying out the legislative object incorporated in the Act. The legislature, however, cannot delegate its essential legislative functions known as excessive delegation and it is expected to declare the policy of the law and the legal principles which are to control the exercise of powers by a delegate. Consistent to these principles, there is hardly any quarrel that the issue in relation to vires of Section 3 of the Rent Act stands settled in more than one judgments and it neither suffers with the vice of excessive delegation nor offends Articles 14, 19 or 21 of the Constitution of India.
49. Shri Shanti Bhushan, learned Senior counsel for the petitioners, however, while challenging the impugned notification dated November 7, 2002 (Annexure P-5), contends that the exemption from the provisions of the Rent Act granted by the aforementioned notification to the buildings and the rented lands whose monthly rent exceeds Rs. 1,500/-, is not an exemption countenanced by the legislative policy and/or the object of the Act. According to him, power under Section 3 of the Rent Act has to be necessarily exercised to restrict the increase of rent of tenanted premises and protection of tenants against their mala fide eviction, namely, the very object for which the Act has been enacted and not contrary thereto. He made a pointed reference to P.J.Irani's case (supra), wherein their Lordships of the Supreme Court upheld the provision of exemption contained in the Act but struck down the notification having found that it was contrary to the legislative policy and/or purpose of the Act. He has further referred to the view taken by the Supreme Court in Hindustan Liver and others' case (supra) wherein also the notification issued in purported exercise of power under Section 13 of the Maharashtra Act was struck down as the same was found contrary of the legislative policy reflected in Section 4 of the said Act. Shri Shanti Bhushan further argued that the judgment in D.C.Bhatia's case (supra) is clearly distinguishable because these exemption was granted by the legislature itself through Act No. 52 of 1988 whereby Section 3(c) of the principal Act was amended and, thus, the legislature being fully competent, could change its own policy, which power is not enjoined by a delegate.
50. On the contrary, Sarvshri Rajiv Atma Ram and M.L.Sarin, learned Senior Counsel have contended that the legislative policy and/or object behind enactment of the Rent Act was directly the subject-matter of judicial review before their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Punjab Tin Supply & Company's case and again in Kesho Ram's case (supra). In both the cases, the notifications which came to be challenged, were issued by the delegatee under Section 3 of the Rent Act though by virtue of those notifications, oniy the newly constructed buildings were exempted from the operation of the Rent Act for a prescribed period. They, however, contend that the legislative policy and/or object of the Rent Act, namely, "mitigation of hardship of tenants and/or their protection against mala fide attempts by the landlords to procure their eviction" could be achieved through various methods including encouraging and prompting the persons with capital to invest in the construction of new buildings so that there remains no gap between demand and supply. It will stop exploitation of the tenants as the landlords will come under constant threat of shifting of their tenants to an alternatively available prernises and it will also bring an internal competition amongst the landlords to offer their buildings on reasonable and attractive rents so that their premises do not remain vacant. According to them, the basic legislative policy, namely, "protection against exorbitant rents and arbitrary eviction of tenants" is not frustrated and/or diluted in any manner by the impugned notification inasmuch as the tenants, particularly those belonging to the lower income group and/or doing small vocations and paying monthly rent of Rs. 1,500/- or below, have not been exempted and their tenancies continued to be protected by the Rent Act.
51. The Rent Act, namely, the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949 was extended to the Union Territory of Chandigarh through legislative means when the Parliament enacted the Punjab Urban Rent Restriction (Extension to Chandigarh) Act, 1974. The statement of "objects and reasons" of the 1974 Act unfolds that the Rent Act was extended to the Union Territory of Chandigarh so that " the tenants were given pro-t tection against exorbitant rents and arbitrary eviction." In Punjab Tin Supply & Company 's case (supra) and thereafter in Kesho Ram's case (supra), their Lordships of the Supreme Court have already held that invoking of power under Section 3 of the Rent Act to exempt certain buildings and/or lands from the provisions of the Rent Act is one of the measures to mitigate the hardships of tenants so that the persons with capital who were otherwise reluctant to invest in the construction of new buildings in view of the chilling effects of Rent Control Laws, could invest in the construction of new buildings, therefore, exemption was granted to them from the operation of the Rent Act.
52. True it is that in the case of Punjab Tin Supply & Company and Kesho Ram (supra), the challenge was to a notification which had exempted from the provisions of the Rent Act and newly constructed buildings for a period of five years but no time period has been prescribed by the impugned notification and all the buildings whose monthly rent exceeds Rs. 1,500/- have been exempted from the provisions of the Rent Act. However, merely because the exemption granted by the impugned notification is perpetual in nature, per se, does not offend the legislative policy, particularly when somewhat similar notification which exempted the buildings whose monthly income exceeded Rs. 1,000/-, was upheld by the Apex Court in Marripati Chandrasekhar Rao's case. Similarly, the amended Section 3(c) of the Delhi Rent Act which exempted the buildings carrying monthly rent of Rs. 3,500/- or above from the provisions of the Rent Act was also upheld by their Lordships in D.C.Bhatia's case. It may be mentioned here that in D.C.Bhatia's case (supra), the exemption to the buildings carrying monthly rent of Rs. 3,500/- or above from the provisions of Delhi Rent Act was not upheld by the Supreme Court solely on the basis that exemption was granted by the legislature itself and the other reasons given by their Lordships in support of such exemption, equally apply to the facts and circumstances of the case in hand. Even in Vasanlal Maganbhai Sajanwala's case (supra), the impugned notification was issued by the State Government in exercise of its delegated power under Section 6(2) of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948. The Supreme Court upheld the said notification holding that the power delegated to the provincial government by Section 6(2) did not suffer from any infirmity of excessive delegation merely because "no minimum norm has been prescribed." No doubt in PJ.Irani's case, the notification purported to be issued in exercise of powers under Section 13 of Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1949 was struck down, but the facts and circumstances of that case are totally distinguishable. There, the power to exempt any building or class of buildings from all or any of the provisions of the Rent Act, was exercised by the State Government to grant exemption from the Rent Act to a single building, which exemption, on facts was found to be discriminatory and the reasons in support thereof not germane or relevant to the purpose or policy of the Act.
53. Though the Rent Act confers right on tenants against exorbitant rents and/or their mala fide eviction, the possibility of this statutory protection either to cause great hardship to a landlord or being abused by the tenant, could not be completely over-looked. For the legislature, in the very nature of things, it is not possible to contemplate every such contingency and incorporate a corrective measure in the enactment itself. It is for this precise reason that power has been conferred upon the Central Government "to exempt from all or any provision of this Act any particular building or rented lands or any class of buildings or rented lands." With a view to appreciate as to whether the protection of the Rent Act was either causing hardships to the landlords and/or was misused by the tenants, a reference to Section 4 of the Rent Act, which relates to determi- nation of fair rent, needs to be made. Section 4(2) (3) (4) and (5), while prescribing the procedure and mechanism in relation to determination of fair rent by the Rent Controller, mandate to consider the prevailing rates of rent in the locality for the same or similar accommodation in similar circumstances during the 12 months prior to 1st January, 1939. In the case of a building constructed on or after 1.1.1939, it provides that if the monthly rent does not exceed Rs. 25/-, an increase not exceeding 25% on such basic rent, if the monthly rent does not exceed Rs. 50/-, then an increase not exceeding 37 and half per cent on such basic rent and if the monthly rent exceeds Rs. 50/-, then an increase not exceeding 50% on such basic rent, is permitted for the residential, scheduled and non-residential buildings. It was contended, and rightly so, on behalf of the respondents that urban area of Union Territory, Chandigarh having been developed after the year 1952, the provisions in relation to determination of fair rent, after taking into consideration the prevailing rates of rent in the locality for the same and/or similar accommodation, are totally redundant as no building was in existence in the Union Territory of Chandigarh prior to the year 1952. It could hardly be disputed that after acquiring the status of a Union Territory on 1.1.1966 and thereafter extension of protection of Rent Act with effect from 4.11.1972, the monthly rents of tenanted premises in Chandigarh have remained completely freezed except where the tenants themselves agreed to increase it. The value of the properties and their cost have, however, increased manifold. There can, thus, be no doubt that with the passage of time, protection against exorbitant enhancement of rent and mala fide eviction of the tenants, which were intended by the legislature at a particular point of time, namely, the offshoot of Second World War followed by partition of the country, have now acquired an ugly image of exploitation of the landlord at the hands of the tenants.
54. Ours is a country committed to social, economic and political justice for all. While the poor strata of society desperately looks towards its right to shelter; has a legitimate expectation for it, legislative measures of different kinds are taken to achieve this object. The Rent Acts are also one of the components of such measures. Keeping in view the per capita income out of which the lower middle class or poor strata of society is expected to contribute towards the payment of monthly rent for the premises hired by such persons,protection of the tenancy to the extent of those who are paying monthly rent of Rs. 1,500/- or below, can successfully achieve the aforementioned constitutional object. At the same time, to boost the development measures to strive hard to achieve the goal of economic independence, exemption from the chilling effect of rent laws so as to encourage the persons with capital to invest in the new constructions, are equally important. In an urban area where hardly any rent revision took place and the provisions regarding fixation of fair rent have remained redundant, it is obvious that the same monthly rent which the tenants were paying during the period 1966 to 1972, are still continuing. It is the pleaded case of the tenants themselves that the premises used to be let out on a "monthly rent of Rs. 200/- to Rs. 300/-" at that point of time. Thus, by protecting those tenancies where monthly rents are Rs. 1,500/- or below, a substantial class of tenants still continues to enjoy the protection of Rent Act. Only those who belong to middle class and above and can afford to pay monthly rent of Rs. 1,500/- or above, have been stripped of the protection of the Rent Act. We, therefore, find no merit in the submission made on behalf of the petitioners that by virtue of the impugned notification, the Rent Act has been virtually repealed.
55. That apart, it cannot be over-looked that originally the Rent Acts were enacted as a temporary measure in order to protect the tenants either from exorbitant enhancement of rent and/or their arbitrary eviction by the landlords. Before such Rent Acts came into force, rights and obligations of landlords and tenants were governed by the common civil law, namely, the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 read with the Contract Act. The Rent Act drastically curtailed the right of the landlords to enhance rent or evict his tenant. By now the protection of Rent Act in Union Territory, Chandigarh has continued for more than 30 years. While considering the legislative policy and the object behind the enactment of the Rent Act, this Court cannot over-look the fact that after the original enactment, amendments have been carried out by the legislature on at least two occasions to mitigate the hardships experienced by the landlords. No doubt, the major part of the legislature despite subsequent amendment, continued to tilt in favour of the tenants, it is to be noticed that the legislature enacted Section 3 of the Rent Act with a meaningful object to enable its delegate to withdraw the protection of the Rent Act from any particular building or rented land or any class of buildings or rent lands. When the delegate has acted in furtherance to the aforesaid power expressly given to it by the legislature itself, it is too late in the day to contend that exercise of such power is contrary to the legislative policy and/or preamble of the principal Act.
56. It has also been contended on behalf of the tenants that now a days, even a small room or a portion of the shop is not available in Chandigarh at a monthly rent of Rs. 1,500/-, therefore, in substance the impugned notification has repealed the Rent Act itself. We are, however, not impressed by this submission as well. The object of the im-| pugned notification is to withdraw the protection of Rent Act in relation to the existing tenancies where the monthly rent is Rs. 1,500/- or above. The expected monthly rent of different premises in Chandigarh, as speculated on behalf of the tenants is, therefore, wholly irrelevant. So far as the new tenancies to be created after the issuance of the impugned notification are concerned, we are of the view that in the light of what their Lordships have held in Marripati Chandrasekharrao 's case, there is no vested right to claim protection of the Rent Act by a tenant and if such tenancies would yield monthly rent of Rs. 1,500/- or above the same shall be governed by the common civil law, namely, the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act read with the Contract Act.
57. As held by the Supreme Court in Parripati Chandrasekharrao's case also, there is a material difference between the rights which accrue to a landlord under the common law and the protection afforded to the tenant by the Rent Act. In the former case, the rights and remedies of the landlord and tenant are governed by the law of contract and the law governing the property relations. These rights and remedies continue to govern their relationship unless they are regulated by some other protective legislation like the Rent Act in which case the said rights and remedies remain suspended till the protective legislation, namely, the Rent Act continues in operation. It would mean that the landlord's rights under the common law continue to exist till and so long these are not abridged by a special protective legislation like the Rent Act. On the other hand, the tenants continue to enjoy the protective umbrella so long as the special legislation, namely the Rent Act is operative. It would obviously mean that in the case of tenant, the protection does not create any vested right which can operate beyond the period of protection or during the period the protection is not in existence. Thus, when the protection does not exist, the normal relationship of landlord and tenant comes into operation. The theory of vested right as such, can be validly pleaded to support the case of the landlord only as no vested right is available to a tenant.
58. Reference has also been made to the Model Rent Control Legislation which was circulated by the Government of India to all the States after formulation of National Housing Scheme in the year 1992. While referring to the "clause of exemption", as suggested in the aforementioned Model Rent Law, it has been argued that exemption has been suggested in such a manner that while tenant is enjoying security of tenure, he should agree to pay rent that would provide adequate return on investment and provide for proper maintenance and taxes so that he does not enjoy an unfair advantage over the landlord. We are, however, of the view that enactment of a provision and to couch it in a particular manner, is within the exclusive domain of the legislature. The legislature enjoins upon the privilege to enact a law keeping in view the social, economic and other relevant prevailing conditions in the society. The sovereign powers of the legislature are only subject to control of our Constitution. The Courts only interpret the existing laws and on a cursory look of Sections 4 and 5 of the Rent Act, we are satisfied that there exist hardly any effective and/or meaningful provision to enable" a landlord to claim reasonable rent and/or market rent within a suitable provision for future increase. The legislature, in its wisdom, left it for the Executive to consider the desirability of exemption from the provisions of the Rent Act if such an occasion arises, and the Executive having stepped into this field, the impugned notification appears to have attempted to achieve those objects also for which the National Housing Policy along with Model Rent Control Legislation were formulated and circulated to the State Government by the Government of India.
59. According to Shri Shanti Bhushan, the impugned notification also contravenes Section 3 of the Rent Act as it has exempted "tenants" who are paying monthly rent exceeding Rs. 1500/- whereas Section 3 of the Rent Act empowers exemption of "any particular building or rent land or class of buildings or rented lands. " Shri Shanti Bhushan elaborates his contention by pointing out that if in a multi-storeyed building, there is one tenant paying monthly rent exceeding Rs. 1,500/- and the other tenant is paying monthly rent below Rs. 1,500/- then by virtue of the impugned notification the building qua the portion occupied by the tenant paying monthly rent exceeding Rs. 1,500/- has been exempted from the provisions of the Rent Act whereas qua other tenants it continues to be protected under the Rent Act and, thus, it is not only discriminatory amongst the similarly situated tenants, it amounts to granting exemption to "tenant" and not to "rented building".
60. The expression "building" has been defined in Section 2(a) of the Rent Act and according to it, any building or "part of a building" let out for any purpose, whether being actually used for that purpose or not, including any land, godowns etc. means a building. Section 2(i) defines the expression "tenant" means "any person by whom or on whose account, rent is payable for a building or rented land and includes a tenant continuing in possession after the termination of the tenancy......." On perusal of ihe impugned notification dated November 7, 2002 (Annexure P5), it is evident that provisions of the Rent Act are to be applied to "buildings and rented lands whose monthly rent exceeds Rs. 1,500/-." These very expressions are used in Section 3 of the Rent Act. Since the "building" included "a part of the building", there is nothing which can be termed as "illegal" or "absurd" even if the consequences of the impugned notification are taken to their logical end in the same terms as suggested by Shri Shanti Bhushan. If there are several tenants in a multi-storeyed building, only those "parts of the building" which are fetching monthly rent exceeding Rs. 1,500/- have been exempted from the provisions of the Rent Act. Such buildings and/or part thereof, constitute a class apart and have been dealt with uniformly. The building and/or part thereof which are fetching monthly rent of below Rs. 1,500/- constitute a distinct and separate class. They too have been given an equal treatment. Thus, we do not find that the impugned notification suffers with the vice of discrimination and/or is hit by Article 14 of the Constitution. Similarly, the impugned notification dated November 7, 2002 squarely falls within the four corners of Section 3 of the Rent Act.
61. Our view in relation to reasonable classification based upon the monthly rent of the building/rented land successfully traces its genesis in the original statement of Objects and Reasons of the Rent Act wherein "need for restricting the increase of rents of certain premises situated within the limits of urban and the protection of tenants against mala fide attempts by their landlords to procure their eviction".......was felt. It appears that the legislature intended to impose restrictions regarding increase of rent in respect of certain premises and not in respect of all the premises situated within the limits of an urban areas. Such a classification based upon reasonable, rational and objective criteria is consistent with the objects and reasons for which the Rent Act was enacted.
62. For the reasons afore-mentioned, we are of the view that the impugned notification dated November 7, 2002 (Annexure P5) is neither an outcome of excessive delegation not it runs contra to the legislative policy enshrined in the Rent Act and/or the 1974 Act. Similarly, the afore-mentioned notification is neither violative of Article 14 nor it takes away the fundamental right to shelter and lead a meaningful life as guaranteed by Article 19(1)(e) read with Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
63. We, therefore, find no merit in these writ petitions which are accordingly dismissed but make no order as to costs.