Thursday, 20 September 2018

When tenant should not be evicted on ground of change of user from one business to another business?

 The main point urged on behalf of the Appellant is that
the premises which was let out for saw mill is now being
utilized for the purpose of manufacturing of grills which
amount to change of user. Submissions were made before
us by both sides on the interpretation of terms of the rent
agreement. On a perusal of the agreement, we are
convinced that there is no restriction placed on the
Respondents-tenant to run business only relating to the
saw mill. The tenant was given the liberty to carry on any
other business as well. In the absence of any negative
covenant the user does not amount to user for the purpose
other than for which the premises was leased.
Non - Reportable
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
Civil Appeal No.9598 of 2018

RAVI CHAND MANGLA Vs DIMPAL SOLANIA & ORS.

Dated:SEPTEMBER 18, 2018

L. NAGESWARA RAO, J.

Leave granted.
1. The petition for eviction filed by the Appellant under
Section 13 of the Haryana Urban (Control of Rent and
Eviction) Act, 1973 was dismissed by the Rent Controller.
The judgment of the Rent Controller was affirmed in appeal
by the Appellate Authority, Faridabad and in revision by the
High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh.
Aggrieved thereby this appeal is filed.
2. The Appellant is the landlord of the premises which
was let out on 04.01.1957 on payment of rent of 58.26
paisa per month. The Appellant filed a petition for eviction

under Section 13 of the Haryana Urban (Control of Rent and
Eviction) Act, 1973 for ejectment of the tenants on the
following grounds:
(i) “That the respondents have defaulted to pay rent
and is now in arrears of rent for 60 months
beginning from Kwar Bati 1 Sambat 2040 to
Sawan Singh Sudhi 15 Sambat 2015;
(ii) That respondent No.1 has sub-let the property in
dispute to the respondents No.2 & 3;
(iii) That respondents have impaired the value and
utility of the prosperity in dispute;
(vi) That respondents are nuisance to the
neighborhood;
(v) That the respondents have changed the user of
the property in dispute;”
3. The Rent Controller framed the following issues for
consideration:
1. “Whether the respondent No.1 is in arrears of
rent if so its effect? OPP
2. Whether the respondent No.1 has sub-let the
demised premises to the respondents No.2 & 3
without the consent of the petitioner? OPP
3. Whether the respondent has materially impaired
the value and utility of the building in question?
OPP
4. Whether the respondents are nuisance
neighborhood if so its effect? OPP
5. Whether the respondents have changed the user
of the demised premises without the consent
of the petitioners? OPP
6. Whether the petition is bad for mis-joinder and
non- joinder of necessary parties? OPR.
2
7. Relief.”
4. The Rent Controller held issue No.1 in favour of the
Respondents by observing that the arrears of rent for three
years between 01.09.1985 to 31.12.1988 were deposited in
the Court. The Rent Controller observed that sub-letting of
the property in dispute by the Respondents was not proved.
Reliance was placed on the evidence of PW-4, Har Saroop,
who admitted in his cross examination that the first
Respondent was continuing to do business in the name of
M/s Solania Engineering Works. The Rent Controller was of
the opinion that it cannot be said that Respondent No.1 was
in exclusive possession of the property in dispute. Likewise
issues No.3 and 4 pertaining to material alterations to the
property and nuisance created by the Respondents in the
activity of manufacturing of grills was rejected by the Rent
Controller. While deciding issue No.5, the Rent Controller
perused the rent agreement and was convinced that the
Respondents were given the property not only for the
purpose of installing the saw mill but also for carrying out
any other type of business. The contention raised by the
Appellant that the saw mill for which purpose the property

was let out was closed by the Respondents 4/5 years prior
to the filing of the eviction petition and the work of
manufacturing of grills was going on which amounts to
change of user, was rejected by the Rent Controller. On the
basis of the aforesaid, the Rent Controller dismissed the
eviction petition. The Appellant did not question the
conclusion of the Rent Controller on issues No.1 and 4 in
the appeal before the Appellate Authority. The Appellate
Authority found no fault with the judgment of the Rent
Controller on the other issues. On the issue of change of
user, the Appellate Authority found that the Respondents
had the liberty to run any other business activity apart from
the saw mill as per the rent agreement. The High Court
discussed the issues involved in the case carefully and held
that there was neither sub-letting nor any impairment to
the value and utility of the premises. The allegation of
change of user was rejected by the High Court.
5. It was submitted before this Court that the Appellant is
a reputed doctor who is aged 96 years and the premises in
question is about 2000 sq. feet which is part of a larger plot
of land which the Appellant intends to use for construction

of a hospital for charitable purpose. Looking at the
laudable object, we adjourned the matter several times to
enable the parties to settle the matter. In spite of our
persuasion, the Respondents- tenants were not willing to
accept monetary compensation for evicting the premises
and re-locating to another site. The Respondents contend
that they will lose their livelihood if they are evicted from
the premises. Having no other alternative, we kept the
matter for decision on merits.
6. There are two submissions that are made on behalf of
the Appellant. The first point relates to non-payment of
outstanding rent. The counter affidavit filed on behalf of
the Respondents was referred to submit that the arrears of
rent from 01.04.1993 to 31.08.2009 was paid only on
24.09.2009 which would amount to non-payment of rent
which is a ground for eviction. We are afraid that we
cannot agree with the submission made on behalf of the
Appellant. It is clear from the judgment of the Rent
Controller that the arrears of rent were paid for three years
prior to the filing of the eviction petition. It is also clear
from the judgment of the First Appellate Court that the

Appellant did not assail the findings of the Rent Controller
on issue No.1 pertaining to default in payment of rent. We
cannot permit the Appellant to make submissions for
payment of default of arrears of rent at this stage.
7. The main point urged on behalf of the Appellant is that
the premises which was let out for saw mill is now being
utilized for the purpose of manufacturing of grills which
amount to change of user. Submissions were made before
us by both sides on the interpretation of terms of the rent
agreement. On a perusal of the agreement, we are
convinced that there is no restriction placed on the
Respondents-tenant to run business only relating to the
saw mill. The tenant was given the liberty to carry on any
other business as well. In the absence of any negative
covenant the user does not amount to user for the purpose
other than for which the premises was leased.1. A
premises taken on rent for ‘sugarcane crushing’ was used
for cloth business in which case the landlord’s contention
that there was change of user was rejected2. We agree
1 Mohan Lal v. Jai Bhagwan 1988 (2) SCC 474
2 Dashrath Baburao Sangale and Ors. v. Kashimath Bhaskar Data 1994 Supp (1) SCC 504

with the judgments of the Courts below which are in
accordance with the law laid down by this Court.
8. In view of the aforesaid findings, we see no reason to
interfere with the judgment of the High Court. The appeal
is dismissed. No costs.
...................................J
[ L. NAGESWARA RAO ]
..................................................J
[ MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR ]
NEW DELHI;
SEPTEMBER 18, 2018

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