Uttaranchal High Court: Manoj K. Tiwari, J. contemplated a tenant’s petition filed against the order passed by the Civil Judge. The particular order was related to a rent control case where the land lady’s application sought amendment in the release application was allowed by the relevant authority.
The factual matrix of the case was that the respondent filed an application under Section 21(1) (a) of Uttar Pradesh Urban Building (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972, for release of the premises in question on the ground of personal and bona fide need. Tenant (petitioner herein) filed written a statement against the ground set up in the release application. Thereafter, landlady’s evidence was closed. After four years of filing the release application, landlady moved an application seeking leave to amend her release application. By the said amendment, respondent wanted to introduce a new ground for the release of the premises, namely, reconstruction of the building after demolition, which is an independent ground for release under Section 21(1)(b) of Act No. 13 of 1972. Respondent relied upon one letter issued by Nagar Palika Parishad, Nainital to her in which it was stated that during the inspection, it was found that cracks have developed in the walls of the building, which may pose threat to the public. Subsequently, the Civil Judge allowed the amendments proposed by the respondent, which was challenged in the instant petition.
The counsel for the petitioner contended that the building was in a good habitable condition and no repair or reconstruction was needed and the fact was corroborated by the report of the Court. Further, it was submitted that the letter was procured by the respondent from Nagar Palika Parishad, Nanital as it referred to information sent by the respondent to the Nagar Palika Parishad regarding the dilapidated condition of the building. He further submitted that by the impugned order, the nature of the proceeding was changed and a new case had been set up on completely new grounds.
It was noted by the Court that under the Scheme of the Act, landlord sought release of building under occupation of tenant only on two grounds, namely, (i) that the building was bona fide required in its existing form or after demolition and new construction by the landlord for occupation by himself or any member of his family and (ii) that the building was in a dilapidated condition and was required for purposes of demolition and new construction. The release was originally sought on the first ground, subsequently, the second ground was sought to be added.
According to the respondent, the building was more than 80 years old and was in a dilapidated condition. She filed the release application in the year 2012 in which she sought eviction of the tenant on the ground that the building was bona fide required by her in its existing form for occupation by herself. In her release application, she (landlady) did not take the plea that the building was in dilapidated condition. After four years, she sought amendment in the release application to add the ground available under Section 21 (1) (b) of U.P. Act No. 13 of 1972. The question raised after the plea of the respondent was that, if the building was in habitable condition at the time of filing of release application, then how it became dilapidated within four years. It was inconceivable that the landlady was not aware of the condition of the building at the time of filing release application. Thus, the landlady did not act with due diligence.
Court hence set aside the order passed by the Civil Judge and the petition was allowed as it was noted that the amendment sought by the respondent was belated and appeared to be an afterthought. It was stated that the amendment sought by the respondent would change the nature of the proceedings, which the Civil Judge ignored.[Hari Datt Pathak v. Sanjeeda Begum, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 936, decided on 19-09-2019]