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Ramesh Chandra Misra vs Mahendra Tripathi & Ors on 19 November, 1976

Supreme Court of India
Ramesh Chandra Misra vs Mahendra Tripathi & Ors on 19 November, 1976
Equivalent citations: 1977 AIR 445, 1977 SCR (2) 128
Author: A Gupta
Bench: Gupta, A.C.
           PETITIONER:
RAMESH CHANDRA MISRA

	Vs.

RESPONDENT:
MAHENDRA TRIPATHI & ORS.

DATE OF JUDGMENT19/11/1976

BENCH:
GUPTA, A.C.
BENCH:
GUPTA, A.C.
BHAGWATI, P.N.

CITATION:
 1977 AIR  445		  1977 SCR  (2) 128
 1977 SCC  (1)	25


ACT:
	    Interpretation of statutes--If can	be construed   keep-
	ing  object  in	 view whether object to be gathered from the
	language  used--U.P. Urban Building (Regulation of  letting,
	rent and eviction) Act 1972--Sections 3(c), 11, 12, 13,	 16,
	18--Rules   10	 &   11--Application   for   allotment	  of
	premises--Whether  an authorised occupant  can	apply--First
	come first served basis.



HEADNOTE:
	    In September, 1973, the appellant applied under  section
	16(1)(a) of the U.P. Urban Buildings (Regulation of letting,
	rent and eviction) Act, 1972 for the allotment of a part  of
	a  house, which was actually occupied by him.  According  to
	the  appellant,	 he  was included as a tenant  by  a  person
	representing  himself to be the owner but who in fact was  a
	tenant.	  In November, 1973, the first respondent  also	 ap-
	plied for allotment of the said premises.  The Area  Ration-
	ing  Officer allotted the premises to the first	 respondent.
	The  District Judge allowed the appeal filed by	 the  appel-
	lant,  set  aside the order of allotment in  favour  of	 the
	first  respondent  and remanded the case  to  the  Rationing
	Officer	 to  be decided afresh in  accordance  with  law.The
	District Judge pointed out that the Area. Rationing  Officer
	had ignored altogether rule 11 of the Rules framed under the
	Act  which  required  that in the matter  of  allotment	 the
	principle 'first come first served' should be followed.	 The
	District  Judge also negatived the contention of  the  first
	respondent  that the appellant's application was  not  main-
	tainable  since he was an unauthorised occupant.  The  Court
	held  that there was no provision in the Act which  bars  an
	unauthorised  occupant from applying for an allotment. In  a
	wit  petition filed by the first respondent the	 High  Court
	quashed	 the  order of the District Judge and  restored	 the
	order made by the Area Rationing Officer.
	    Section 11 of the Act provides that no person shall	 let
	any  building  except  in pursuance of	an  allotment  order
	issued under section 16.  Section 13 provides that no person
	shall  occupy a building  or part thereof which a   landlord
	or  tenant  has ceased to occupy except under  an  order  of
	allotment  made	 under	section 16.  Under  section  16	 the
	District Magistrate is empowered to make an order  requiring
	the  landlord  to let any building which is  or	 has  fallen
	vacant or is about to fall vacant or a part of such building
	to  any person specified in the order.	An order under	sec-
	tion  16  is appealable under section 18.   In	exercise  of
	powers	conferred by section 41 of the Act, the	 rules	have
	been framed by the State Government.  Rule 10 prescribes the
	procedure  for allotment.  It provides that the	 application
	should	be  entered in the register after  classifying	them
	according to the priority of the categories. Rule 10 further
	provides  that a building shall not.be allotted to a  person
	who  is	 deemed to have ceased to occupy a  building  for  a
	period of two years from the date of such deemed  cessation.
	Rule  11 fixes order of priorities in allotment of  residen-
	tial buildings and   it further provides that in each of the
	categories the principle 'first come first served' shall  be
	followed.
	Al1owing the appeal,
	    HELD:  (1) The High Court in its judgment has  not	men-
	tioned any provision in the Act which dissentitles  unautho-
	rised occupants from applying for allotment.  Rules 10(5)  &
	(6)  provide that certain persons should not  ordinarily  be
	allotted  a  promises; the appellant does  not	fall  within
	those categories. [131D-E]
	    2.	The High Court infers the disability of an  unautho-
	rised  occupant	 from  applying for an	allotment  from	 the
	object of the Act.  The object of the Act has to be gathered
	from  its  provisions.	There is nothing in  the  Act  which
	disentitles  an unauthorised occupant from applying  for  an
	allotment.	[131H, 132A]
	 129



JUDGMENT:

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 127 of 1976.
(Appeal by Special Leave from the Judgment and Order
dated the 20.8.1975 of the Allahabad High Court (Lucknow
Bench) at Lucknow in Civil Writ Petition No. 1062 of 2974).
G.N. Dikshit and S.K. Bisaria, for the Appellant.
D. Goburdhan, for the Respondent.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
GUPTA, J.–This appeal by special leave arises out of a
proceeding under the Uttar Pradesh Urban Buildings (Regula-
tion of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972 (referred to
hereinafter as the Act). On September 11, 1973 the appel-
lant applied under section 16(1)(a) for allotment of a part
of house No. 98, Lokmanganj, Lucknow. He was in fact in
occupation of this portion of the building when he made the
application: according to the appellant he had been inducted
as a tenant by a person representing that he was the owner
of the house,though really he was himself a tenant. On
November 24, 1973 the first respondent also applied for
alloting the house to him. Subsequently there were two more
applicants for the house.The Area Rationing Officer (Rent
Control) by his order dated June 4, 1974 allotted the accom-
modation to the first respondent. The appellant before us
preferred an appeal to the District Judge, Lucknow, who on
August 7, 1974 allowed the appeal, set aside the order of
allotment made in favour of the first respondent and remand-
ed the case to the Area Rationing Officer (Rent Control) to
be decided afresh in accordance with law.

The District Judge pointed out that the Area Rationing
Officer (Rent Control) had ignored altogether rule 11 of the
Rules framed under the Act which required that in the matter
of allotment the principle “first come first served” should
be followed. The District Judge overruled a contention
raised on behalf of the first respondent that the appel-
lant’s application for allotment was not maintainable as he
was an unauthorised occupant within the meaning of the Act
of the building in question. The appellate authority held
that there was no provision in the Act which bars an unau-
thorised occupant from applying for an allotment. On a writ
petition filed by the first respondent, the Allahabad
High Court quashed the order of the District Judge and
restored the order made by the area Rationing Officer (Rent
Control) alloting the house to the first respondent on the
view that rule 11 requiring “first come first served” prin-
ciple to be followed was applicable only to persons similar-
ly situated, and an unauthorised occupant could not be
“placed in the same situation as others who were in need
of accommodation”. According to the High Court the princi-
ple “first come first served” was” not intend to be applied
mechanically and not in such a manner as to frustrate the
object of the Act”. The correctness of the view taken by the
High Court is in challenge before us.

It is necessary to refer briefly to the relevant provi-
sions of the Act and the rules framed thereunder. The Act,
as its long title shows, is a statute “to provide, in the
interest of the general public, for the
10–1458SCI/76
130
regulation of letting and rent of, and the eviction of
tenants from, certain classes of buildings situated in urban
areas, and for matters connected therewith”. Chapter III of
the Act which contains provisions regulating letting in-
cludes section 11 to section 19. Section 11 lays down that
no. person shall let any building except in pursuance of an
allotment order issued under section 16. Section 12
states inter alia that a landlord or a tenant of a building
shall be deemed to have ceased. to occupy the building or
part thereof if he has allowed it to be occupied by any
person who. is not a member of his family. The appellant
and the tenant of the building who inducted him there axe
not members of the same family. Section 13 provides that no
person shall occupy a building or part thereof which a
landlord or tenant has ceased to occupy except under an
order of allotment made under section 16 and that if a
person “so purports to occupy” he shall be deemed to be an
unauthorised occupant such building or part. Under section
16(1)(a) the District Magistrate may make an order requiring
the landlord to let any building which is or has fallen
vacant or is about to fall vacant or a part of such building
to any person specified in the order. An order made by the
District Magistrate under this provision is called an allot-
ment order. ‘District Magistrate’ as defined in section
3(c) includes an officer authorised by the District Magis-
trate to exercise all or any of his powers under the Act.
An order under section 16 is appealable under section 18.
Section 41 authorises the State Government to make rules to
carry out the purposes of the Act. Rule 10 of the Rules
framed under the Act prescribes the procedure for allotment.
The District Magistrate is required to maintain a register
of applications for allotment of buildings. The applica-
tions are to be classified according to the priority catego-
ries specified in rule 11 and they must be registered in the
order they are received. The register is prepared afresh
for every calendar year and applicants who are unable to
secure allotment by the end of an year and whose applica-
tions were not rejected as not maintainable are entitled to
apply by the 15th of January of the succeeding year for
renewal of their applications and they retain their original
relative priority. Sub-rule (5) of rule 10 provides that no
building shall ordinarily be. allotted to the persons or for
the purposes specified in clauses (a), (b) and (c) of the
sub-rule. Sub-rule (6) lays down inter alia that a person
who is deemed to have ceased to occupy a building within the
meaning of section 12(1)(b) shall not be allotted that or
any other residential building for a period of two years
from the date of such deemed cessation. Rule 11 which
fixes the order of priorities in allotment of residential
buildings states in sub-rule (1) that:

“In making allotment of a residential
building, .the following order of priorities
shall be observed:

Firstly, for public purposes;
Secondly, for accommodating a person
against whom an order has been passed for
eviction under Section 21, not being a tenant
referred to in Explanation (1) to Section
21(1), or a decree has been passed in a suit
filed with the permission of the District
Magistrate under section 3 of the old Act (or
such suit or application is pending) and who
or
131
members of whose family do not own or hold as
tenants any other residential building in the
same city, municipality, town ‘area or
notified area;

Thirdly, for accommodating others;
and in each of the above categories subject to
the provisions of sub-rule (2), the principle
“first come, first served” shall be
followed.”

As intending allottees the appellant and the first re-
spondent both come within the third category.
If the principle ‘first come first served’ is to be
followed in choosing between them, the appellant’s applica-
tion for allotment being earlier in point of time should
have preference unless there is any valid ground for reject-
ing his claim. We are not concerned in this appeal about
the existence of any such ground; the District Judge had
remitted the case to the Area Rationing Officer (Rent Con-
trol) for a fresh decision in accordance with law following
the ‘first come first served’ principle. The High Court
thought that the appellant being in unauthorised occupation
of the building within the meaning of section 13 was not
entitled to apply for allotment of the premises to him. It
does not however appear from the Judgment of the High Court
that there is any provision in the Act which disentitles
such unauthorised occupants from applying for allotment.
The appellant is not one of the persons to whom no building
is ordinarily to be allotted under sub-rules (5) and (6) of
rule 10. The High Court refers to sub-rules (4) and (5) of
rule 11 to show that the principle first come first served’
does not apply in all circumstances. Sub-rule (4) gives
overriding powers to the District Magistrate to make an
allotment out of turn in favour of a person who in occupy-
ing any accommodation proposed to be requisitioned under the
Uttar Pradesh Temporary Accommodation Requisition Act, 1947
and to whom alternative accommodation is required to be
provided under that Act. Sub-rule (5) which is expressly
made subject to the other sub-rules of rule 11 states that
it should be ensured that no person shall be allotted a
building which carries so little rent that he is able to get
a residence on payment of rent which is less than ten per
cent of his salary or other income, after taking into con-
sideration the house rent allowance allowed by his employer.
Both these sub-rules are quite irrelevant for the present
purpose. Therefore, assuming that sub-rules (4) and (5)
are exceptions to the ‘first come first served’ principle,
the appellant’s application for allotment cannot be thrown
out unless there was some provision prohibiting unauthorised
occupants from applying for allotment. The High Court
thinks that an unauthorised occupant cannot be “placed in
the same situations as others who are in need of accommoda-
tion” and that the principle ‘first come first served’ “has
to be applied amongst person of the same category who are
similarly situated”. The High Court has not mentioned any
provision of the Act to justify the view it has taken, nor
any such provision has been referred to by counsel for the
first respondent which disables an unauthorised occupant
from applying for an allotment. The disability, the High
Court infers from the object of the Act. The
132
object of the Act has to be gathered from its provisions and
we have not found anything in the Act which disentitles an
unauthorised occupant to ask for an allotment. In our
opinion the High Court was in error in quashing the order of
the District Judge. The appeal is accordingly allowed. The
judgment of the High Court is set aside and that of the
District Judge dated August 7, 1974 is restored. There will
be no order as to costs.

P.H.P. Appeal allowed.

133

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