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Section 14 in The Transfer of Property Act, 1882
The Transfer of Property Act, 1882
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Supreme Court of India
Surinder Singh Sibia vs Vijay Kumar Sood on 10 October, 1991
Equivalent citations: 1992 AIR 1540, 1991 SCR Supl. (1) 467
Author: R Sahai
Bench: Sahai, R.M. (J)
           PETITIONER:
SURINDER SINGH SIBIA

	Vs.

RESPONDENT:
VIJAY KUMAR SOOD

DATE OF JUDGMENT10/10/1991

BENCH:
SAHAI, R.M. (J)
BENCH:
SAHAI, R.M. (J)
THOMMEN, T.K. (J)

CITATION:
 1992 AIR 1540		  1991 SCR  Supl. (1) 467
 1992 SCC  (1)	70	  JT 1991 (4)	125
 1991 SCALE  (2)781


ACT:
Himachal Pradesh Urban Rent Control Act, 1987:
    Section  14(3)-  Second  Proviso---Expression  "has	 not
vacated	 such  building	 without  sufficient   cause"--Scope
of--Possession	given  be consequence of  requisition  order
cannot be held vacation not without sufficient cause.
    Himachal Pradesh Requisition and Acquisition of  Immova-
ble Property Act, 1972:
    Validity  or  invalidity  of  requisition  order--Cannot
reflect	  on   sufficiency   cause   under   Rent    Control
Act----Requisition  Proceedings--Non-filing of objection  by
Landlord--Effect of.
Words and Phrases:



HEADNOTE:
"Vacation "--"Sufficient Cause"-- Meaning of.
    Section 14(3) of the Himachal Pradesh Urban Rent Control
Act 1987 enables a landlord to obtain an order for  eviction
of the tenant if he requires the building for his own  occu-
pation and he has no other building  in the area  concerned.
This right however stands deferred under second proviso	 for
a period of five years if the landlord has vacated a  build-
ing in use without sufficient cause.
The  appellant,	 an owner of a house, was in  occupation  of
first floor of the house, while the second floor was let out
to a Judge. His entire house is requisitioned for occupation
of a Judge. The appellant did not file any  objection  under
section 3(2) of the Requisition Act. However, after vacating
the  building  he applied for eviction	of  respondent.	 The
Courts	in  view rejected his application  by  applying	 the
second proviso to section 14(3) of the Himachal Rent Control
Act.
468
    Allowing  the  Landlord's appeal and setting  aside	 the
order of Courts below, this Court,
    HELD:  1. 'Sufficient cause' is an expression  which  is
found  in various statutes. It has been construed  liberally
in keeping with its ordinary dictionary meaning as  adequate
or  enough.  That  is any justifiable  reason  resulting  in
vacation  has  to  be understood as  sufficient	 cause.	 For
instance  economic  difficulty or  financial  stringency  or
family	reasons may compel a landlord to let out a  building
in  his	 occupation. So long it is found to be	genuine	 and
bona fide it would amount to vacating a building for  suffi-
cient cause. And the bar of second proviso stands lifted  In
other  words if the vacation of the building was not a	pre-
tence  or pretext the proviso could not frustrate the  right
of landlord to approach the controller for necessary  direc-
tion to tenant to hand over possession to him. [470 B-C]
    1.1	 Vacation of a building by landlord in pursuance  of
an order of requisition by the competent authority could not
be characterised as 'not without sufficient cause'. A  land-
lord  has  no option. He is required to	 vacate	 under	con-
straint of law. Therefore the statutory restriction  created
by second proviso would not apply in such a case. [470-D]
    2. Validity or invalidity of an order under	 Requisition
Act  could  not adversely reflect on  sufficiency  of  cause
under Rent Control Act. Reason for either arises in  differ-
ent circumstances. Vacating a building, even under an incor-
rect order passed by a competent authority under Requisition
Act would be for sufficient reason. The Rent Control author-
ities could not examine merit of the order under Requisition
Act  Therefore	it could not be a  valid  consideration	 for
holding	 that  the building was vacated	 without  sufficient
cause.	The courts below thus committed an error of  law  in
applying  second proviso to reject the application filed  on
behalf of the appellant. [470-H, 471-A-B]



JUDGMENT:

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 2383 of 1988.

From the Judgment and Order dated 1.4.1988 of the Hima- chal Pradesh High Court in Civil Revision No. 29 of 1988. N.S. Hegde and Ms. Madhu Moolchandani for the Appellant.

469

Ms. Asha Jain Madan for the Respondent.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by R.M. SAHAI, J. The short but interesting question of law that arises or consideration in this appeal, directed against judgment of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, is if possession given to competent authority under Himachal Pradesh Requisition and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1972 (for brevity 'Requisition Act') is vacation of premises without sufficient cause within second proviso to sub-section (3) of Section 14 of Himachal Pradesh Urban Rent Control Act, 1987 deemed to have come into force with effect from 17th November 1971 (hereinafter referred to as the Act').

Sub-section (3) of Section 14 is extracted below:

"(3) A landlord may apply to the Controller for an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession (a) in the case of a residential building, if -
(i) he requires it for his own occupation: Provided that he is not occupying another residential building owned by him, in the urban area concerned: Provided further that he has not vacated such a building without suffi- cient cause within five years of the filing of the application, in the said urban area;"

It enables a landlord to obtain an order for eviction of the tenant if he requires the building for his own occupa- tion and he has no other building in the area concerned. This right however stands deferred under second proviso for a period of five years if the landlord has vacated a build- ing in his use without sufficient cause. The question is how the expression he has not vacated such building without sufficient cause' in the second proviso should be construed. It has two aspects one whether the proviso applies to volun- tary vacation only or it extends to vacating under pressure of legal proceedings such as requisition order by competent Authority. Second even assuming that the expression 'vacate such building' is given wide interpretation does giving up possession in consequence of a requisition order amounts to vacation without sufficient cause? Vacate, normally, means to go away, to leave. The setting or context in which the word has been used does not indicate ,my different meaning. Nor it is 470 necessary to decide if it applies to voluntary vacation only as it was urged that even assuming that giving up possession in pursuance of requisition order is included in the proviso can it be said to be without sufficient cause Sufficient cause is an expression which is found in various statutes. It has been construed liberally in keeping with its ordi- nary dictionary meaning of adequate or enough. That is any justifiable reason resulting in vacation has to be under- stood as sufficient. cause. For instance economic difficulty in financial stringency or family reasons may compel a land- lord to let out building in his occupation. So long it is found to be genuine and bona fide and would amount to vacat- ing a building for sufficient cause. And the bar of second proviso stands lifted. In other words if the vacation of the building was not a pretence or pretext the proviso could not frustrate the right of landlord to approach the controller for necessary direction to tenant to hand over possession to him.

Vacation of a building by landlord in pursuance of an order of requisition by the competent authority could not be characterised as, 'not without sufficient cause'. A landlord has no option. He is required to vacate under constraint of law. Therefore the statutory restriction created by second proviso would not apply in such a case. Does it make any difference in law or the action of the landlord is rendered without sufficient cause as he did not file any objection in requisition proceedings either under mistaken advice or ignorance of law? For this it is necessary to narrate facts in brief. The appellant is owner of Kennilworth house/Simla and its annexure He was in occupation of first floor of Kennilworth house. Second floor was let out to the District Judge, who, later was elevated to the Bench. For his occupa- tion the entire house was requisitioned. The appellant did not file any objection. After vacating, the building he applied for eviction to respondent from the annexe. His application was rejected as it would found to be in teeth of the second proviso. It was held that the order of requisi- tion was passed because the appellant did not show any cause be filing any objection under sub-section (2) of Section 3 of the Requisition Act even though proviso to the sub-sec- tion precluded any property or part from being requisitioned if it was in bonafide use by the owner. The explanation of the appellant that he was advised by his lawyer not to file an objection as the building was required for a High Court judge, was not accepted.

Validity or invalidity of an order under Requisition Act could not adversely reflect on sufficiency of cause under Rent Control Act. Reason for either arises in different circumstances. Vacating a building, even under an incorrect order passed by a competent authority under Requis-

471

tion Act would be for sufficient reason. The Rent Control authorities could not examine merit of the order under Requisition Act. Therefore it could not be a valid consider- ation for holding that the building was vacated without sufficient cause. The courts below thus committed an error of law in applying second proviso to reject the application filed on behalf of the appellant.

Even the finding on requirement of the appellant to occupy the building is not well founded. The inference drawn by the two courts below that the appellant being a rich man would not occupy the annexe or that he would use it occa- sionally is not well founded. It being undisputed that the appellant has no other building in the urban area and it having been found that he vacated the other building for sufficient reason there was no fetter on the right of appel- lant to seek eviction of the tenant.

In the result this appeal succeeds and is allowed. The orders of all the courts below are set aside. The applica- tion of appellant shall stand allowed. He shall approach the Rent Control authorities for appropriate directions. Parties shall bear their own costs.

T.N.A						      Appeal
allowed.
472