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Only where the findings are extremely perverse, a Court may interfere with the decision of subordinate Court under Article 227 of Indian Constitution: High Court of Delhi

In exercise of jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, the scope of interference in proceeding is extremely narrow. This Court is not sitting in appeal while exercising jurisdiction under Article 227 and therefore, cannot re-appreciate the evidence led on behalf of the parties. It is only where the findings are extremely perverse that a Court may interfere with the decision of the subordinate Court under Article 227 jurisdiction. These were stated by High Court of Delhi, consisting Justice Amit Bansal in the case of Rajinder Kumar vs. Raj Kumar & Ors. [CM(M) 458/2020] on 11.01.2022.

The facts of the case are that the eviction proceedings were initiated on behalf of the respondent (landlord) in respect of shop situated in Raghubir Nagar, Delhi, let out to the petitioner’s father on a monthly rent of Rs.625. The premises was let out in the year 1979 without any document. Eviction petition was filed by the landlord on 19th August, 2004, under Section 14(1)(a), (b) and (j) of the DRC Act. The said eviction petition was contested by the petitioner saying that his father had never sub-let the said premises to him and the petitioner was himself an independent tenant in the said premises. The eviction petition was allowed under Sections 14(1)(a) and 14(1)(b) of the DRC Act by the ARC, while it was dismissed u/s 14(1)(j) of the DRC Act. Accordingly, an eviction order was passed u/s 14(1)(b) in favour of the landlord and against the petitioner and his father. Insofar as the relief under Section 14(1)(a) of the DRC Act was concerned, an order was passed under Section 15(1) of the DRC Act directing the respondent and his father to pay arrears of rent. Upon the payment of arrears by the petitioner, the benefit under Section 14(2) of the DRC Act was given to the petitioner. The present petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India impugns the judgment passed by the Rent Control Tribunal (RCT).

The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the finding of the ARC in the order that the petitioner’s father did not contest the case or file any specific objections to the eviction petition filed by the landlord is wrong. It was contended that no document was brought on record by the landlord to show that the shop in question was let out to the petitioner’s father. It was further submitted that the landlord was throughout aware that the shop in question was in occupation of the petitioner. Therefore, it is clear from the various rent receipts issued by the landlord as well as the telephone records that the petitioner was in occupation of the premises. Accordingly, after the demise of petitioner’s father, the petitioner inherited the tenancy in question so there cannot be any sub-letting.

The Counsel for the respondent submitted that the petitioner was not a major in the year 1983 when he has claimed to be inducted as a tenant. Therefore, no valid contract of tenancy could have been created in his favour. It was therefore, contended that inconsistent stands have been taken by the petitioner in proceedings so as to continue to be in occupation of the premises.

The High Court of Delhi held that it is a settled position of law that in exercise of jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, the scope of interference in proceedings under Delhi Rent Control Act where there are two concurrent findings of the authorities below is extremely narrow. This Court is not sitting in appeal while exercising jurisdiction under Article 227 and therefore, cannot re-appreciate the evidence led on behalf of the parties. It is only where the findings are extremely perverse that this Court may interfere with the decision of the subordinate Court under Article 227 jurisdiction. On the aspect of Section 14(1)(b), the Court held that even though upon the death of the petitioner’s father the petitioner inherited his right in the tenanted premises, the tenancy has to be seen from the date when the eviction petition was filed and at that point of time the petitioner’s father was alive. It was further observed that since the father of the petitioner had gone abroad in 1981, he had left the possession of the tenanted premises in favour of the petitioner. Accordingly, the petition under Section 14(1)(b) of the DRC Act was allowed and in Court’s view there was no perversity or illegality in the impugned orders that required interference by Court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.

Judgment reviewed by Shristi Suman. Read Judgment

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