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The powers of the High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution of India to consider Appeal of the cases decided by the learned Additional Rent Controller (ARC) and the Rent Control Tribunal (RCT): High Court of Delhi

Article 227 determines that every High Court shall have superintendence over all courts and tribunals throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction. The question as to the powers of the High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution of India to consider Appeal of the cases decided by the learned Additional Rent Controller (ARC) and the Rent Control Tribunal (RCT) was examined by High Court of Delhi, consisting of Justice Asha Menon in the matter of Laxmi Devi vs. Inder Dev Sharma & Anr. [CM (M) 320/2021 & CM APPL. 14054/2021] on 29.30.2021.

The facts of the case are that the petitioner had filed a suit for eviction against the respondent, under Section 14(1)(a) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (DRC) claiming to be the landlord of property in Anand Parbat, Delhi. The learned ARC passed the eviction order. The benefit under Section 14(2) of the DRC Act was denied as the plaintiff had not complied with the order dated 14th July, 2005 passed under Section 15(1) of the DRC Act. Then the plaintiff preferred an appeal which was also dismissed by the learned ARC. Thereafter, an Execution Petition was filed. It was during the pendency of the Execution Petition that the present petitioner preferred objections initially under Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 followed by additional objections under Section 47 of the CPC read with Section 25 of the DRC Act claiming that she was the lawful, rightful and absolute owner in possession of the suit property and was having an independent right to the same having purchased it from Shri Mohan Lal Goyal s/o Shri Jyoti Ram vide Agreement to Sell. She further claimed that she was in possession of the suit property since then and had also obtained a factory licence for the property from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). The learned ARC vide order dated 30th September, 2019 concluded that the petitioner had miserably failed to prove her independent right to the suit property and dismissed the objections. In appeal, the learned RCT, upheld the said findings, again looking into the evidence referred to by the learned ARC and found that the conclusions of the ARC were justified.

The learned Counsel for petitioner submitted that both the courts had erred in coming to these conclusions as it was overlooked that there was some previous litigation between Shri Mohan Lal Goyal and the respondent No.1 through the objector, in which certain admissions had been made to the effect that the respondent No.1 was infact a tenant of the said Shri Mohan Lal Goyal. It is Shri Mohan Lal Goyal from whom the petitioner was claiming ownership to the suit property and that inadvertent typographical errors could not have the effect of denying to the petitioner the right to protect her possession in the suit property. It was further submitted that the documents ought to have been considered by the courts below instead of going by the statement made by the petitioner. Thus, it was prayed that the petition be allowed and the possession of the petitioner be protected under Section 25 of the DRC Act, as she was clearly having an independent right to the suit premises.

The learned Counsel for the respondent contended that the powers of the High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution of India are limited and the powers of a Court of Appeal could not be arrogated to itself by the Court. Thus, the arguments based solely on the assessment of evidence by the learned ARC and the learned RCT could not be considered by this Court. Furthermore, it was submitted that the documents relied upon by the petitioner had not been proved as per law. There was no chain of title that was mentioned in these documents to establish that Shri Mohan Lal Goyal himself had any right in the suit property, particularly to transfer title. In the circumstances, the concurrent findings of fact by two courts could not be interfered with, particularly in the absence of any perversity disclosed. Hence, it was prayed that the petition be dismissed.

The High Court of Delhi held that the scope of inquiry in a petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India is limited. Thus, the Court, not sitting as an Appellate Court, is precluded from reassessing and revaluating the evidence that has been brought on record by parties. Mere production of the papers without proof of a transfer of title in immovable property i.e. the suit property to the petitioner does not assist the petitioner at all. The Court found no error in the appreciation of evidence by both the courts below nor did their conclusions reflect any perversity or overstepping of jurisdiction. Neither have they ignored vital evidence nor have they considered irrelevant evidence to come to a conclusion that the petitioner has not been able to establish her independent title to the suit property. The petition lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed along with the pending application.

Judgment reviewed by Shristi Suman

AMN29092021CMM3202021_215229

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