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Mohd. Inam vs Sanjay Kumar Singhal - (Supreme Court) (26 Jun 2020)

In the guise of exercising jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution, High Court cannot convert itself into a court of appeal



Present appeal challenges the judgment passed by the learned single judge of the High Court thereby, allowing the writ petition filed by Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 – landlords herein. The father of the present Appellant, was the original tenant of “the suit premises” since 1965. The Respondents had purchased the suit premises from the original landlord in the year 1998 and, as such, became the tenant’s landlord from 1998. The Respondents – landlord moved an application before the Rent Controller and Eviction Officer, contending therein, that father of the present Appellant had sublet the property to some other persons who were not the family members of the tenant. As such, they prayed for declaration of vacancy under the provisions of Section 16(1)(b) of UP Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972 (UP Act, 1972).

On the application of the landlord, a Rent Control Inspector was appointed to inspect the suit premises. The Rent Control Inspector visited the suit premises and submitted his report. The report stated that, there were several persons residing in the premises and they comprised of four separate families.

The original tenant filed objections to the inspection report. He, therefore, resisted declaring the suit premises as vacant. During the pendency of the proceedings, Rashid Ahmed (Original tenant) died leaving behind his son, the present Appellant, as his legal heir. As such, the name of Rashid Ahmed came to be substituted with that of the present Appellant.

The Rent Control and Eviction Officer came to the conclusion that, the persons, who were presently residing in the premises had not produced any evidence to prove, that they were living as tenants since 1965 along with late Rashid Ahmed. As such, he came to the conclusion, that the tenants had allowed persons to reside in the premises, who are not members of the family and, as such, declared the suit premises as vacant vide order.

The Rent Controller and Eviction Officer passed a final order under Section 16 of the UP Act, 1972 thereby, declaring the suit premises ‘vacant’ in favour of the respondents – landlord. Being aggrieved thereby, the appellant and said Shabbir Ahmed filed a revision. The learned District Judge, allowed the revision thereby, setting aside the order of vacancy. Being aggrieved thereby, the respondents No.1 and 2 – landlord filed a writ petition before the High Court. The said writ petition is allowed by the impugned order.

A perusal of the inspection report clearly established, that the original tenant was residing in the tenanted premises along with his son, brother’s son and their families. As such, the inspection report clearly established, that no person who was not a member of the tenant’s family was allowed to occupy the premises in his own right. As such, the finding of the Rent Controller and Eviction Officer that the landlord had proved the case under clause (b) of sub¬section (1) of Section 12 of the UP Act, 1972 was totally contrary to the law as interpreted by this Court in the case of Harish Tandon vs. Additional District Magistrate. Not only that, the finding as recorded by the said authority was totally on misreading or ignorance of the evidence on the record. It could thus be seen, that the case would squarely fall in the category of exercising the jurisdiction either illegally or with material irregularity. In that view of the matter, the learned District Judge was wholly justified in interfering with the order impugned before him and reversing the same.

It is a well settled principle of law, that in the guise of exercising jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, the High Court cannot convert itself into a court of appeal. It is equally well settled, that the supervisory jurisdiction extends to keeping the subordinate tribunals within the limits of their authority and seeing that they obey the law. It has been held, that though the powers under Article 227 of the Constitution of India are wide, they must be exercised sparingly and only to keep subordinate courts and Tribunals within the bounds of their authority and not to correct mere errors.

In the present case, the approach of the High Court in exercising the jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India was totally erroneous. The order of the High Court is quashed and set aside. Appeal allowed.


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