The Delhi High Court reiterated that Article 227 of the Indian Constitution does not confer appellate jurisdiction on the High Court. An implicit corollary is that the manner in which the lower court or forum exercises its jurisdiction cannot be assessed on the basis of arguments which have never been put forward before it.
A single bench of judges of Judge Hari Shankar observes that the power conferred on the High Court by section 227 is a power of review and not a power of judicial review.
Briefly, the facts of the case are that the defendant sought the eviction of the claimant from certain premises under clauses (d) and (h) of the proviso of section 14(1) of the 1958 Act on Delhi’s rent control. The leased premises were assigned to the respondent’s grandfather by the Department of Rehabilitation in 1954. He inducted the applicant’s now deceased husband as tenant on the first floor of the premises. After the expiration of the initial allocation of the premises, one of the co-owners, who had succeeded to the ownership of the leased premises, terminated the claimant’s lease. The Claimant thus moved into one of the eight properties which he acquired in 1972. The Respondent became the owner of the rented premises by means of a deed of transfer in 2011 issued by the Land and Development Office.
Alleging that the electricity to the rented premises had been cut off since 2003 and that the applicant resided, even otherwise, in different premises which the applicant had succeeded to the ownership of, the respondent requested the applicant’s eviction under Article 14 (1)(d) ) and section 14(1)(h) of the DRC Act. The eviction petition was authorized by the Comptroller of Supplementary Rents under Section 14(1)(d) as well as Section 14(1)(h) of the DRC Act in 2020. The petitioner appealed to the rent controller, but his appeal was dismissed. The petitioner therefore invoked the jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.
The petitioner’s case was argued on three points. First, that the motion for eviction was time-barred. Secondly, that the alternative properties owned by the Claimant’s now deceased husband, on the basis of which Article 14(1)(h) of the DRC law had been invoked by the Respondent, had been acquired by him before the applicant does not succeed to his estate and therefore could not be considered a residence acquired by the applicant on the basis of which a request for eviction under Article 14(1)(h)) could be maintained. Third, that the RCT erred in finding that the petitioner failed to prove that she had resided in the rented premises for a period of six months prior to the filing of the petition for eviction.
With respect to the first argument, the plaintiffs argued that section 67 of the Limitation Act would be applicable in this case, under which an action brought by a landlord to recover possession of the tenant must be filed in the twelve years following the determination of the lease. . However, to a question from the Court as to whether the eviction petition filed by the Respondent could be considered an action brought by the Respondent to recover the Applicant’s possession, reliance was placed on Prakash H. Jain v . Marie Fernandes and Prithipal Singh v. Satpal Singh (dead) by LR by RCT. In these cases, it was held that the provisions of the Limitation Act would not apply to proceedings before the Rent Controller, as the Controller was not a civil court. In this case, the court found that the respondent only acquired ownership of the leased premises in 2011, through the deed of transfer signed by the L&DO. The motion to evict was instituted in 2014. Thus, the motion to evict was not considered time-barred.
The court further held that the grounds raised in the second assertion had never been invoked before either the CRA or the RCT. The court held that in the present case it was exercising its jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, which does not confer appellate jurisdiction. He further noted that–
“The court is only required to examine whether the authority which issued the contested order has, in so doing, exposed itself to a supervisory correction. The power conferred on the High Court by Section 227 is a power of review and not a power of judicial review. An implicit corollary is that the manner in which the lower court or forum exercises its jurisdiction cannot be assessed on the basis of arguments which have never been put forward before it. Therefore, in my view, a plea which was never advanced by the petitioner in the court or forum whose order is challenged under section 227, cannot be raised in the High Court either. .“
With respect to the third allegation, the Claimant had submitted several communications between the Claimant and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd., in or around 2014, to assert that the Claimant resided at the leased premises in the six months prior to the establishment of eviction. motion and that, therefore, the contrary conclusion of the RCT scholar was erroneous. Here, the RCT, weighing the evidence before it, came to the conclusion that there was no evidence that the claimant resided in the rented premises. The court found no cases of interference in the same.
Accordingly, the motion was dismissed in limine.
CASE TITLE: KUSHAL ANAND v. MANDHIR SACHDEVA
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 703
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