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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sec. 15A of the Bombay Rent Act - Maharashtra Rent control Act - vs- sec. 15 of Public premises Act - - the writ petitioner was a tenant of Erstwhile private Insurance company in the disputed premises - Due to merge of private company in to government company does not change the status of the writ petitioner from Tenant to Unauthorized Occupant as he was a protected tenant - and as such Public premises Act not apply - only rent control Act apply - the orders of estate officer and city civil court to evict the writ petitioner is set aside - the High court order dismissing the writ petition is also set aside - appeal is allowed = Dr. Suhas H. Pophale … Appellant Versus Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. and Its Estate Officer … Respondents = 2014 (Feb.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41216

 Sec.  15A  of  the  Bombay  Rent  Act - Maharashtra Rent control Act - vs- sec. 15 of Public premises Act - - the writ petitioner was a tenant of Erstwhile private Insurance company in the disputed premises - Due to merge of private company in to government company does not change the status of the writ petitioner from Tenant to Unauthorized Occupant as he was a protected tenant - and as such Public premises Act not apply - only rent control Act apply - the orders of estate officer and city civil court to evict the writ petitioner is set aside - the High court order dismissing the writ petition is also set aside - appeal is allowed =

To begin with, it has to be noted that the relationship  between
the erstwhile insurance company as the landlord and  the  appellant  as  the
occupant, at all material times was governed under the    Bombay  Rent  Act.
Like all other rent control enactments,  this  Act  has  been  passed  as  a
welfare measure, amongst  other  reasons  to  protect  the  tenants  against
unjustified increases above the standard rent, to  permit  eviction  of  the
tenants only when a case is made out under the  specified  grounds,  and  to
provide for a forum and procedure for adjudication of the  disputes  between
the landlords and the tenants. The legislature  of  Maharashtra  thought  it
necessary to protect the licensees also in certain  situations.   Therefore,
this act was amended, and a section was  inserted  therein  bearing  Section
No.15A to protect the licensees who were in occupation  on  1.2.1973.   This
Section reads as follows:-
           “15A. Certain licensees in occupation on 1st  February  1973  to
           become tenants

           (1)   Notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in  this  Act

           or anything contrary in any other law  for  the  time  being  in
           force, or in any contract where any person is on the 1st day  of
           February 1973 in occupation of any premises, or any part thereof
           which is not less than a room, as a licensee he  shall  on  that
           date be deemed to have become, for the purpose of this Act,  the
           tenant of the landlord, in  respect  of  the  premises  or  part
           thereof, in his occupation.

           (2)   The provisions of sub-section (1) shall not affect in  any

           manner the operation of sub-section (1) of section 15 after  the
           date aforesaid.”

We may note that S 15(1) prohibits sub-letting of premises.


 It is true that Section 15 of the Public Premises  Act  creates
a bar of jurisdiction to  entertain  suits  or  proceedings  in  respect  of
eviction of any person in an unauthorised occupation.
However,  as  far  as
the relationship between the respondent No. 1, the other  General  Insurance
Companies, LIC, Nationalised Banks and such other  Government  Companies  or
Corporations, on the one hand and their occupants/licencees/tenants  on  the
other hand is concerned, such persons who are in  occupation  prior  to  the
premises belonging to or taken on lease by such entities, will  continue  to
be governed by the State Rent Control Act  for  all  purposes.   The  Public
Premises Act will apply only to those who  come  in  such  occupation  after
such date. 
whether the rights of an occupant/licensee/ tenant  protected  under  a  State  Rent
Control Act (Bombay Rent Act, 1947 and its successor  the  Maharashtra  Rent
Control Act, 1999, in the instant case),  could  be  adversely  affected  by
application of the Public  Premises  (Eviction  of  Unauthorised  Occupants)
Act, 1971 (‘Public Premises Act’ for short)? 
This question  arises  in  the
context of the eviction order dated 28.5.1993 passed by the  respondent  No.
2, Estate Officer of the first respondent, invoking the  provisions  of  the
Public Premises Act with respect to the premises occupied by  the  appellant
since 20.12.1972.  
The eviction order has been upheld  by  the  Bombay  High
Court in its impugned judgment dated 7.6.2010, rejecting the  Writ  Petition
No.2473 of 1996 filed by the appellant herein.
=
The erstwhile insurance company did not object to  the
appellant coming into exclusive possession of the said premises.   
In  fact,
it is the case of the appellant that when Mr. Voller sought the transfer  of
the tenancy to the appellant, the General  Manager  of  the  said  insurance
company, by his  reply  dated  16.1.1973,  accepted  the  appellant  as  the
tenant, though for residential purposes only.  
The said erstwhile  insurance
company,  thereafter,  started  accepting  the  rent   directly   from   the
appellant.  It is also the case of  the  appellant  that  on  14.3.1973,  he
wrote to the said General Manager seeking a permission for a change of  user
i.e. to use the premises for his clinic.   
It  is  also  his  case  that  on
18.4.1973, the  General  Manager  wrote  back  to  him  that  the  erstwhile
insurance company had no objection to  the  change  of  user,  provided  the
Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai gave no objection.
4.          The erstwhile insurance company subsequently merged on  1.1.1974
into the first  respondent  company  which  is  a  Government  Company.  
The  first
respondent, thereafter, addressed a notice dated 12.7.1980 to Mr. E.  Voller
terminating his tenancy with respect to the said premises, and then filed  a
suit for eviction against Mr. E. Voller and the appellant being R.A.E.  Suit
No.1176/3742 of 1981 in the Court of  Small  Causes  at  Mumbai,  under  the
provisions of the then applicable Bombay Rents,  Hotel  and  Lodging  Houses
Rates Control Act, 1947 (‘Bombay Rent Act’ for short).  
Initially  the  suit
came to be dismissed for default, but an application was made under Order  9
Rule 9 of Code of  Civil  Procedure  to  set  aside  the  said  order.   The
application was allowed, and the suit remained pending.
5.           The appellant then sent a letter dated 22.11.1984 to the  first
respondent requesting them to regularize his tenancy as a statutory  tenant.
 The first respondent, however, served the appellant notices  under  Section
4 and 7 of the Public Premises Act, to show cause as to why  he  should  not
be evicted from the concerned premises, and  to  pay  damages  as  specified
therein for  unauthorised  occupation  as  claimed.   
The  first  respondent
followed it by preferring Case No.10 and 10A of 1992 before  the  respondent
No. 2 Estate Officer under the Public Premises Act, to evict Mr.  E.  Voller
and the appellant, and also to recover the damages. After  initiating  these
proceedings, the first respondent withdrew on 22.2.1994 the  suit  filed  in
the Court of Small Causes.

The proceedings for eviction from premises, and for  recovery  of  rent  and
damages initiated by the first respondent against the  appellant  under  the
Public Premises Act, 1971, are held to be bad in law,  and  shall  therefore
stand dismissed.  
We however, make it clear, that in  case  the  respondents
intend to take any steps for that purpose,  it  will  be  open  to  them  to
resort to the remedy available  under  the  Maharashtra  Rent  Control  Act,
1999, provided they make out a case therefor.  The parties will  bear  their
own costs.

 2014 (Feb.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41216
H.L. GOKHALE, J. CHELAMESWAR
                                                                 REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1970 OF 2014
           (@ out of SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO.20625/2010)


 Dr. Suhas H. Pophale                                    …   Appellant

                                   Versus

Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. and
Its Estate Officer                                       … Respondents




                          J  U  D  G  E  M  E  N  T


H.L. Gokhale J.

            Leave granted.
2.          This appeal by special leave raises the question as  to  
whether
the rights of an occupant/licensee/ tenant  protected  under  a  State  Rent
Control Act (Bombay Rent Act, 1947 and its successor  the  Maharashtra  Rent
Control Act, 1999, in the instant case),  could  be  adversely  affected  by
application of the Public  Premises  (Eviction  of  Unauthorised  Occupants)
Act, 1971 (‘Public Premises Act’ for short)?
This question  arises  in  the
context of the eviction order dated 28.5.1993 passed by the  respondent  No.
2, Estate Officer of the first respondent, invoking the  provisions  of  the
Public Premises Act with respect to the premises occupied by  the  appellant
since 20.12.1972.  
The eviction order has been upheld  by  the  Bombay  High
Court in its impugned judgment dated 7.6.2010, rejecting the  Writ  Petition
No.2473 of 1996 filed by the appellant herein.
The facts leading to this appeal are this wise:-
3.          One Mr. Eric Voller  was  a  tenant  of  the  Indian  Mercantile
Insurance Company Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as the  erstwhile  Insurance
Co.), the predecessor in title of the first respondent  in  respect  of  the
premises being Flat No.3, Second Floor, Indian Mercantile Mansion  (formerly
known as Waterloo Mansion), Wodehouse Road, Opposite Regal  Cinema,  Colaba,
Mumbai.
This Mr. Voller executed a leave and licence agreement  in  respect
of these premises on 20.12.1972 in favour of the appellant initially  for  a
period of two years, and put  him  in  exclusive  possession  thereof.   Mr.
Voller, thereafter migrated to Canada with his family. 
The  appellant  is  a practicing physician.
The erstwhile insurance company did not object to  the
appellant coming into exclusive possession of the said premises.   
In  fact,
it is the case of the appellant that when Mr. Voller sought the transfer  of
the tenancy to the appellant, the General  Manager  of  the  said  insurance
company, by his  reply  dated  16.1.1973,  accepted  the  appellant  as  the
tenant, though for residential purposes only.  
The said erstwhile  insurance
company,  thereafter,  started  accepting  the  rent   directly   from   the
appellant.  It is also the case of  the  appellant  that  on  14.3.1973,  he
wrote to the said General Manager seeking a permission for a change of  user
i.e. to use the premises for his clinic.   
It  is  also  his  case  that  on
18.4.1973, the  General  Manager  wrote  back  to  him  that  the  erstwhile
insurance company had no objection to  the  change  of  user,  provided  the
Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai gave no objection.
4.          The erstwhile insurance company subsequently merged on  1.1.1974
into the first  respondent  company  which  is  a  Government  Company.
The
management of the erstwhile insurance company had however  been  taken  over
by  the  Central  Government  with  effect  from  13.5.1971,   pending   its
nationalisation and that of other private insurance  companies.
The  first
respondent, thereafter, addressed a notice dated 12.7.1980 to Mr. E.  Voller
terminating his tenancy with respect to the said premises, and then filed  a
suit for eviction against Mr. E. Voller and the appellant being R.A.E.  Suit
No.1176/3742 of 1981 in the Court of  Small  Causes  at  Mumbai,  under  the
provisions of the then applicable Bombay Rents,  Hotel  and  Lodging  Houses
Rates Control Act, 1947 (‘Bombay Rent Act’ for short).
Initially  the  suit
came to be dismissed for default, but an application was made under Order  9
Rule 9 of Code of  Civil  Procedure  to  set  aside  the  said  order.   The
application was allowed, and the suit remained pending.
5.           The appellant then sent a letter dated 22.11.1984 to the  first
respondent requesting them to regularize his tenancy as a statutory  tenant.
 The first respondent, however, served the appellant notices  under  Section
4 and 7 of the Public Premises Act, to show cause as to why  he  should  not
be evicted from the concerned premises, and  to  pay  damages  as  specified
therein for  unauthorised  occupation  as  claimed.
The  first  respondent
followed it by preferring Case No.10 and 10A of 1992 before  the  respondent
No. 2 Estate Officer under the Public Premises Act, to evict Mr.  E.  Voller
and the appellant, and also to recover the damages. After  initiating  these
proceedings, the first respondent withdrew on 22.2.1994 the  suit  filed  in
the Court of Small Causes.   It  is,  however,  relevant  to  note  that  in
paragraph No.  4  of  their  case  before  the  Estate  Officer,  the  first
respondent specifically accepted that Mr. E. Voller had sublet or  given  on
leave and licence basis or otherwise transferred his interest  in  the  said
flat to the appellant in or about 1972, though without  any  authority  from
the respondent No. 1.  The first respondent alleged that the  appellant  had
carried out structural changes. The appellant  denied  the  allegation.   He
claimed that he had effected some essential minor  repairs  for  maintenance
of the premises since the first respondent  was  neglecting  to  attend  the
same. The appellant filed a reply pointing out that he had been accepted  as
a tenant by the  predecessor  of  the  first  respondent  by  their  earlier
referred letter dated 16.1.1973.  The first respondent,  however,  responded
on 5.1.1993 stating that they did not  have  any  record  of  the  erstwhile
insurance company prior to 1975.  The second  respondent  thereafter  passed
an  order  on  28.5.1993  directing  eviction  of  Mr.  E.  Voller  and  the
appellant, and also for recovery of damages  at  the  rate  of  Rs.6750  per
month from 1.9.1980.
6.          Being aggrieved by  the  said  order,  the  appellant  filed  an
appeal before the City Civil Court at Mumbai under Section 9 of  the  Public
Premises Act, which appeal was numbered as Misc. Appeal No.79/93.  The  City
Civil Court set aside the order of damages, and remanded the matter  to  the
second respondent to  reconsider  that  aspect,  but  upheld  the  order  of
eviction by its judgment and order dated 17.1.1996. The appellant  thereupon
filed a  writ  petition  bearing  No.2473/1996  before  the  High  Court  on
15.4.1996 to challenge that part of the appellate  order  which  upheld  the
order of eviction.  The High Court  dismissed  the  Writ  Petition,  by  the
impugned judgment and order dated 7.6.2010, with costs.
7.          The principal contention raised by the appellant right from  the
stage of the proceedings before the respondent No. 2, and  even  before  the
High Court, was that his occupation of the concerned premises was  protected
under the newly added S  15A  of  the  Bombay  Rent  Act  with  effect  from
1.2.1973, i.e. prior to the first respondent acquiring the  title  over  the
property from 1.1.1974. Therefore, he could not be evicted by  invoking  the
provisions of Public Premises Act, and by treating him  as  an  unauthorised
occupant under that act.  The impugned order of the High Court rejected  the
said submission holding that the provisions of the Bombay Rent Act were  not
applicable to the premises concerned, and the  said  premises  were  covered
under the Public Premises Act.
The High Court principally  relied  upon  the
judgment of a Constitution Bench of this Court in Ashoka Marketing Ltd.  Vs.
Punjab National Bank reported in 1990 (4) SCC 406.
As per  the  view  taken
by the High Court, this judgment rejects the contention that the  provisions
of the Public Premises Act cannot be applied  to  the  premises  which  fall
within the ambit of a State Rent Control Act.
The High Court held  that  the
Public Premises  Act  became  applicable  to  the  concerned  premises  from
13.5.1971 itself  i.e.  the  appointed  date  under  the  General  Insurance
(Emergency Provisions) Act, 1971 wherefrom the management of  the  erstwhile
insurance company was taken over by the Central  Government,  and  not  from
the date of merger i.e. 1.1.1974.   It  is  this  judgment  which  is  under
challenge in the present appeal.
8.          Mr. Rohinton F. Nariman, learned  senior  counsel  has  appeared
for the appellant and  Mr.  Harin  P.  Raval,  learned  senior  counsel  has
appeared for the respondents.
The principal issue involved in the matter:-
9.          To begin with, it has to be noted that the relationship  between
the erstwhile insurance company as the landlord and  the  appellant  as  the
occupant, at all material times was governed under the    Bombay  Rent  Act.
Like all other rent control enactments,  this  Act  has  been  passed  as  a
welfare measure, amongst  other  reasons  to  protect  the  tenants  against
unjustified increases above the standard rent, to  permit  eviction  of  the
tenants only when a case is made out under the  specified  grounds,  and  to
provide for a forum and procedure for adjudication of the  disputes  between
the landlords and the tenants. The legislature  of  Maharashtra  thought  it
necessary to protect the licensees also in certain  situations.   Therefore,
this act was amended, and a section was  inserted  therein  bearing  Section
No.15A to protect the licensees who were in occupation  on  1.2.1973.   This
Section reads as follows:-
           “15A. Certain licensees in occupation on 1st  February  1973  to
           become tenants

           (1)   Notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in  this  Act

           or anything contrary in any other law  for  the  time  being  in
           force, or in any contract where any person is on the 1st day  of
           February 1973 in occupation of any premises, or any part thereof
           which is not less than a room, as a licensee he  shall  on  that
           date be deemed to have become, for the purpose of this Act,  the
           tenant of the landlord, in  respect  of  the  premises  or  part
           thereof, in his occupation.

           (2)   The provisions of sub-section (1) shall not affect in  any

           manner the operation of sub-section (1) of section 15 after  the
           date aforesaid.”

We may note that S 15(1) prohibits sub-letting of premises.


10.         As far as the insurance business in India  is  concerned,  prior
to independence,  it  was  owned  and  operated  by  private  entities.  The
governing law for insurance in India was, and still is  the  Insurance  Act,
1938.  Post-independence, the Industrial Policy Resolution  of  1956  stated
that  the  Life  Insurance  industry  in  India  was  to  be   nationalised.
Therefore, the Life Insurance Corporation Act of 1956  was  passed  creating
the Life Insurance  Corporation  (LIC),  as  a  statutory  corporation,  and
transferring the assets of all  the  private  life  insurance  companies  in
India to LIC. Sometimes  around  1970-71,  it  was  felt  that  the  general
insurance industry was also in need  of  nationalisation.  Therefore,  first
the General Insurance (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1971  was  passed  by  the
Parliament which provided for the taking over of the management  of  general
insurance business.  Though the Act received the assent of the President  on
17.6.1971, it was deemed to have come into force  on  13.5.1971  from  which
date the Central Government assumed  the  management  of  General  Insurance
Business as an initial step towards the  nationalisation.   Thereafter,  the
General  Insurance  Business  (Nationalisation)  Act,  1972  was  passed  on
20.9.1972. Section 16 of this Act contemplated the  merger  of  the  private
insurance companies into certain other  insurance  companies.  Consequently,
these private insurance  companies  merged  into  four  insurance  companies
viz.,
      (a)   The National Insurance Company Ltd.,
      (b)   The New India Assurance Company Ltd.,
      (c)   The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd., and
      (d)   The United India Insurance Company Ltd.
 These four companies are fully owned subsidiaries of the General  Insurance
Corporation  of  India  which  is  a  Government  Company  registered  under
Companies Act, 1956, but incorporated as mandated under  Section  9  of  the
above referred Nationalisation Act.  The Central Government holds  not  less
than 51 per cent of the paid up  share  capital  of  the  General  Insurance
Corporation.  The above referred Indian Mercantile  Insurance  Company  Ltd.
merged into the first  respondent-Oriental  Insurance  Company  Ltd.  w.e.f.
1.1.1974.
11.         There is one more important development which is required to  be
noted.  The Public Premises Act, 1971 (40 of 1971) came to be passed in  the
meanwhile.  As per its preamble, it is “an act to provide  for  eviction  of
unauthorised occupants from  public  premises  and  for  certain  incidental
matters” such as removal of unauthorised construction, recovery  of  arrears
of rent etc.  It came into force on  23.8.1971,  but  Section  1(3)  thereof
states that it shall be deemed to have come into force on 16.9.1958,  except
Section 11 (on offences and penalty) and Sections 19 and 20 (on  repeal  and
validation). This is because from 16.9.1958, its predecessor  Act  viz.  The
Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act (32  of  1958)  was
in force for similar purposes, and which was repealed by the above  referred
Section 19 of the 1971 Act.  As provided under Section  2  (e)  (2)  (i)  of
this Act, the definition of ‘Public Premises’, amongst  others,  covers  the
premises belonging to or taken on lease by or on behalf of  any  company  in
which not less than fifty one per cent of the  paid  up  share  capital  was
held by the Central Government.
The definition  of  public  premises  under
Section 2(e) of this Act reads as follows:-
      “2. Definitions…..
      [(e) “public premises” means—
      (1) any premises belonging to, or taken on lease or requisitioned  by,
        or on behalf of, the Central  Government,  and  includes  any  such
        premises which have been placed by the Government,  whether  before
        or after the commencement  of  the  Public  Premises  (Eviction  of
        Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Act, 1980, under the  control  of
        the  Secretariat  of  either  House  of  Parliament  for  providing
        residential accommodation to  any  member  of  the  staff  of  that
        Secretariat;
      (2) any premises belonging to, or taken on lease by, or on behalf of,—
        (i) any company as defined in Section 3 of the Companies Act,  1956
           (1 of 1956), in which not less than fifty-one per  cent  of  the
           paid-up share capital is held by the Central Government  or  any
           company which is a subsidiary (within the meaning of  that  Act)
           of the first-mentioned company,
        (ii) any Corporation [not being a company as defined in  Section  3
           of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956), or  a  local  authority]
           established by or under a Central Act and owned or controlled by
           the Central Government,
        (iii) any University established or  incorporated  by  any  Central
           Act,
        (iv) any Institute incorporated by  the  Institutes  of  Technology
           Act, 1961 (59 of 1961),
        (v) any Board of Trustees constituted under the Major  Port  Trusts
           Act, 1963 (38 of 1963),
        (vi) the Bhakra Management Board constituted under  Section  79  of
           the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 (31 of 1966), and that Board
           as and when renamed as the Bhakra-Beas  Management  Board  under
           sub-section (6) of Section 80 of that Act;
        [(vii)  any  State  Government  or  the  Government  of  any  Union
           Territory situated in the National Capital Territory of Delhi or
           in any other Union Territory;
        (viii) any Cantonment Board consitituted under the Cantonments Act,
           1924 (2 of 1924); and]

       (3) in relation to the [National Capital Territory of Delhi],—
        (i) any premises belonging to the Municipal Corporation  of  Delhi,
           or any municipal committee or notified area committee,
        (ii) any premises belonging to  the  Delhi  Development  Authority,
           whether such premises are in the possession of,  or  leased  out
           by, the said Authority, [and]
        [(iii)  any  premises  belonging  to,  or   taken   on   lease   or
           requisitioned by, or on behalf of any State  Government  or  the
           Government of any Union Territory;]”

12.         The consequence of this development was  that  in  view  of  the
merger of the erstwhile insurance company into  the  first  respondent,  (of
which not less than 51 per cent  share  holding  was  that  of  the  Central
Government,) the Public Premises Act became applicable to its premises.   It
is the contention of the  appellant  that  although  the  Act  is  otherwise
deemed to have come into  force  from  16.9.1958,  as  far  as  the  present
premises are concerned, the Act became  applicable  to  them  from  1.1.1974
when the erstwhile insurance  company  merged  into  the  first  respondent.
Then only it could be said that the  premises  ‘belonged’  to  a  Government
Company. However, since the appellant’s occupation of the said premises  was
protected by Section 15A of the Bombay Rent Act  which  Section  had  become
enforceable prior thereto from 1.2.1973, he could  not  be  said  to  be  in
‘unauthorised occupation’ and, therefore, could not be evicted  by  invoking
the provisions  of  the  Public  Premises  Act.   On  the  other  hand,  the
contention of the  respondents  is  that  the  Public  Premises  Act  became
applicable to  the  concerned  premises  from  13.5.1971  itself,  when  the
management of the erstwhile insurance company was taken over by the  Central
Government, and the rejection of the writ petition  by  the  High  Court  on
that ground was justified. The principal issue involved in  this  matter  is
thus about the applicability of the Public  Premises  Act  to  the  premises
occupied by the appellant.
Submissions of the rival counsel:-
13.         Learned Senior Counsel for the appellant, Mr. Nariman  submitted
that the finding of the High Court that the Public Premises Act  applies  to
these premises from 13.5.1971 was an erroneous one.  That was  the  date  on
which the  Central  Government  assumed  the  management  of  the  erstwhile
private insurance company.  The erstwhile  insurance  company  continued  to
exist until it merged in the  appellant-company  w.e.f.  1.1.1974.   In  the
circumstances,  although  the  Public  Premises  Act  came  into  force   on
23.8.1971 (with deemed date of  coming  into  force  being  16.9.1958),  and
although the appointed date  for  assuming  management  was  13.5.1971,  the
premises could be said to have ‘belonged’ to the  first  respondent  as  per
the definition under Section 2(E)(2)(i) of  the  Act,  only  from  1.1.1974,
when the merger took place.  Prior thereto the  Bombay  Rent  Act  had  been
amended and the licensees in occupation, were declared  as  deemed  tenants,
by virtue of Section 15A of  the  said  Act.   The  appellant  has  been  in
continuous occupation of the said premises as a  licensee  from  20.12.1972.
On 1.2.1973 his status got elevated to that of a ‘deemed tenant’  which  was
prior to the respondent No. 1 becoming owner of the building from  1.1.1974.
 The submission of Mr. Nariman was that the appellant  had  a  vested  right
under the statute passed by the State Legislature protecting the  licensees,
and since the Public Premises  Act  became  applicable  from  1.1.1974,  the
rights of the tenants and also those of the licensees  protected  under  the
State Act prior to 1.1.1974, could not be taken away by the  application  of
the Public  Premises  Act  which  can  apply  only  prospectively.   In  his
submission the eviction proceedings under the Public  Premises  Act  against
the appellant were therefore, null and void.  The only remedy available  for
the first respondent for evicting the appellant would be  under  the  Bombay
Rent Act or under the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999 which has  replaced
the said Act with effect from 31.3.2000.  We may note  at  this  stage  that
Mr. Nariman made a statement that the appellant is making out a case on  the
basis of his legal rights as a protected licencee, and not on the  basis  of
the  earlier  mentioned  correspondence  between  the  appellant   and   the
erstwhile insurance company.
14.         Learned senior counsel for the respondents  Mr.  Raval,  on  the
other hand, submitted that once the management of  the  erstwhile  insurance
company  was  taken  over,  the  Public  Premises  Act  became   applicable.
Therefore, it was fully permissible for the  first  respondent  to  initiate
the proceedings to evict the appellant from the  public  premises.   In  his
view, the legal position, in this behalf, has been settled by  the  judgment
of the Constitution Bench in the above referred Ashoka Marketing  case,  and
the view taken by the High Court with respect to the date  of  applicability
of the Public Premises Act was in consonance with the said judgment.
15.         As against that, it is the submission of the  Mr.  Nariman  that
the judgment in Ashoka  Marketing  (supra)  has  to  be  understood  in  its
context, and that it did not lay down  any  such  wide  proposition  as  Mr.
Raval was canvassing.  He pointed out that the judgment in Ashoka  Marketing
(supra) was with respect to the overriding effect  of  the  Public  Premises
Act vis-à-vis the Delhi Rent Control Act, which are both Acts passed by  the
Parliament, and where the  premises  fall  within  the  ambit  of  both  the
enactments.  In the instant case, we are concerned with one  Act  passed  by
the Parliament, and another by a  State  Legislature.  That  apart,  in  his
submission, the Public Premises Act must  firstly  apply  to  the  concerned
premises, and in his submission the concerned premises did not  fall  within
the ambit of that act. That being  so,  in  any  case,  the  rights  of  the
tenants who were protected under the State Act  prior  to  passing  of  this
Act, could not be said to have been extinguished by virtue  of  coming  into
force of the Public Premises Act.
Consideration of the submissions

The Judgment in the case of Ashoka Marketing

16.         Inasmuch as, the  judgment  in  the  case  of  Ashoka  Marketing
(supra) is crucial for determining the issue in  controversy,  it  would  be
relevant to refer to the said  decision  in  detail.  When  we  analyse  the
judgment in Ashoka Marketing (supra), we have to first see as  to  what  was
the  subject  matter  of  the  controversy  before  this  Court  in   Ashoka
Marketing?
It was with respect to the eviction of  the  occupants  from  the
premises owned by Punjab National Bank and Allahabad  Bank  which  are  both
nationalised banks, and by Life Insurance Corporation, which is a  Statutory
Corporation.  In paragraph 1 of this judgment  of  the  Constitution  Bench,
the question framed by the Court for its consideration was as follows:-
            “whether a person who was inducted as  a  tenant  in  premises,
    which are public premises  for  the  purpose  of  the  Public  Premises
    (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 (hereinafter referred to
    as the ‘Public Premises Act’), and whose tenancy  has  expired  or  has
    been terminated, can be evicted from  the  said  premises  as  being  a
    person in unauthorised occupation of the premises under the  provisions
    of the Public Premises Act and whether such a  person  can  invoke  the
    protection of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958   (hereinafter  referred
    to as the ‘Rent Control Act’).  
In short, the question is, whether  the
    provisions of the Public Premises Act would override the provisions  of
    the Rent Control Act in relation to  premises  which  fall  within  the
    ambit of both the enactments.”
                                                 (emphasis supplied)
  17.       We may refer to the definition of “unauthorised  occupation”  as
      provided under Section 2(g) of the Public Premises Act at this  stage.
      It reads as follows:-
                 “2. Definitions….
                 (g) “unauthorised occupation”, in relation  to  any  public
           premises, means the occupation  by  any  person  of  the  public
           premises without authority for such occupation, and includes the
           continuance in occupation by any person of the  public  premises
           after the authority (whether by way of grant or any  other  mode
           of transfer) under which he was allowed to occupy  the  premises
           has expired or has been determined for any reason whatsoever.”

As can be seen from this definition, it consists of two parts. In  paragraph
30 of the above judgment also, this  Court  noted  that  the  definition  of
‘unauthorized occupation’ in Section 2(g) of the Public  Premises  Act,  was
in two parts.
The first part of this definition deals with persons who  are
in  occupation  of  the  Public  Premises  ‘without   authority   for   such
occupation’, and
the second part deals with those in  occupation  of  public
premises, whose authority to occupy the premises ‘has expired  or  has  been
determined for any reason whatsoever’.
As stated  in  paragraph  1  of  the
judgment, the Constitution Bench was concerned with the second part  of  the
definition.
As far as these two parts are concerned, the Court  observed  in
paragraph 30 as follows:-
            “30. The definition of the expression ‘unauthorised  occupation’
           contained in Section 2(g) of the Public Premises Act is  in  two
           parts. In the first part the said expression has been defined to
           mean the occupation by any person of the public premises without
           authority for such occupation. It implies occupation by a person
           who has entered into occupation of any public  premises  without
           lawful authority as well as occupation which was  permissive  at
           the inception but has ceased to be so. The second  part  of  the
           definition is  inclusive  in  nature  and  it  expressly  covers
           continuance in occupation by any person of the  public  premises
           after the authority (whether by way of grant or any  other  mode
           of transfer) under which he was allowed to occupy  the  premises
           has expired or has been determined for  any  reason  whatsoever.
           This part  covers  a  case  where  a  person  had  entered  into
           occupation legally under valid authority but  who  continues  in
           occupation after  the  authority  under  which  he  was  put  in
           occupation  has  expired  or  has  been  determined.  The  words
           “whether by way of grant or any other mode of transfer” in  this
           part of the definition are wide in amplitude and would  cover  a
           lease because lease is a mode of transfer under the Transfer  of
           Property  Act.  The  definition   of   unauthorised   occupation
           contained in Section 2(g) of  the  Public  Premises  Act  would,
           therefore,  cover  a  case  where  a  person  has  entered  into
           occupation of the public premises legally as a  tenant  under  a
           lease but whose tenancy has expired or has  been  determined  in
           accordance with law.”

18.         Thereafter, the Court dealt with the issue of  conflict  between
the two enactments and whether the Public Premises Act, would  override  the
Delhi Rent Control Act.  As this Court noted in paragraph  49  of  the  said
judgment, both these statutes have been enacted  by  the  same  legislature,
i.e. Parliament, in exercise of the legislative powers  in  respect  of  the
matters enumerated in  the  Concurrent  List.   With  respect  to  the  rent
control legislations enacted by the State Legislatures, this Court  observed
in paragraph 46 as follows:-
            “46. As regards rent control legislation enacted  by  the  State
           Legislature the position is well settled that  such  legislation
           falls within the ambit of Entries 6, 7 and 13 of List III of the
           Seventh Schedule to the Constitution (See. Indu Bhushan Bose Vs.
           Rama Sundari Devi1, V. Dhanpal Chettiar case2; Jai Singh  Jairam
           Tyagi  Vs.  Mamanchand  Ratilal  Agarwal3  and  Accountant   and
           Secretarial Services Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Union of India4.”

              1.    (1969) 2 SCC 289 : (1970) 1 SCR 443,    2.  (1979) 4 SCC
                 214 : (1980) 1 SCR 334
           3. (1980) 3 SCC 162 : (1980) 3 SCR 224,    4.  (1988) 4 SCC  324



19.         As far as Public Premises Act  is  concerned,  paragraph  48  of
this  judgment,  referred  to  the  earlier  judgments  in  Accountant   and
Secretarial Services Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Union of India reported in 1988  (4)  SCC
324, and Smt. Saiyada Mossarrat Vs. Hindustan Steel Ltd.  reported  in  1989
(1) SCC 272. In Accountant and Secretarial Service Pvt. Ltd.  (supra),  this
Court had held that the Public Premises Act is also referable to Entries  6,
7 and 13 of the Concurrent List.  At the end  of  paragraph  48,  of  Ashoka
Marketing this Court held:-
                  “………..There is no inconsistency between the  decisions  of
           this Court in Accountant and Secretarial Services Pvt. Ltd.  and
           Smt. Saiyada Mossarrat case in as much as in both the  decisions
           it is held that the Public Premises Act insofar as it deals with
           a lessee or licensee of premises other than  premises  belonging
           to the Central Government has been enacted in  exercise  of  the
           legislative powers in  respect  of  matters  enumerated  in  the
           Concurrent List. We are in agreement with this view.”


20.         Thereafter, on the question as to whether  the  Public  Premises
Act overrides the Delhi Rent Control Act, this Court observed as follows  at
the end of paragraph 49:-
            “In our opinion the question as to  whether  the  provisions  of
           the Public Premises Act override  the  provisions  of  the  Rent
           Control Act will have to be  considered  in  the  light  of  the
           principles of statutory interpretation applicable to  laws  made
           by the same legislature.”

 In this context, the Court noted that the two principles which  are  to  be
applied are (i) later laws  abrogate  earlier  contrary  laws,  and  (ii)  a
general provision does not derogate from a special one.   In  paragraph  54,
the Court noted that Public Premises Act is a later  enactment  having  been
enacted on 23.8.1971, whereas the Delhi Rent Control  Act,  was  enacted  on
31.12.1958.  Thereafter the Court observed in paragraph 55 as follows:-
            “55. The Rent Control Act makes a  departure  from  the  general
           law regulating the relationship of landlord and tenant contained
           in the Transfer of Property Act inasmuch as it  makes  provision
           for determination of standard rent, it specifies the grounds  on
           which  a  landlord  can  seek  the  eviction  of  a  tenant,  it
           prescribes  the  forum  for  adjudication  of  disputes  between
           landlords and tenants and the procedure which has to be followed
           in such proceedings. The Rent Control  Act  can,  therefore,  be
           said to be a special  statute  regulating  the  relationship  of
           landlord and tenant in the Union territory of Delhi. The  Public
           Premises Act makes provision for a speedy  machinery  to  secure
           eviction of unauthorised  occupants  from  public  premises.  As
           opposed to the general  law  which  provides  for  filing  of  a
           regular suit  for  recovery  of  possession  of  property  in  a
           competent court and for trial of such a suit in accordance  with
           the procedure laid down in the  Code  of  Civil  Procedure,  the
           Public Premises Act confers  the  power  to  pass  an  order  of
           eviction of an unauthorised occupant in a public premises  on  a
           designated officer and prescribes the procedure to  be  followed
           by the said officer before passing such an order. Therefore, the
           Public Premises Act  is  also  a  special  statute  relating  to
           eviction of unauthorised  occupants  from  public  premises.  In
           other words, both the enactments, namely, the Rent  Control  Act
           and the Public Premises Act, are special statutes in relation to
           the matters dealt with therein. Since, the Public  Premises  Act
           is a special statute and not a general enactment  the  exception
           contained in the principle that a subsequent general law  cannot
           derogate from an earlier special law cannot be  invoked  and  in
           accordance with the  principle  that  the  later  laws  abrogate
           earlier contrary laws, the Public Premises Act must prevail over
           the Rent Control Act.”
                                         (emphasis supplied)

21.         In paragraph 62, this Court noted the  objects  and  reasons  of
the Delhi Rent Control Act, which are as follows:-
      62.   ….(a)       to  devise  a  suitable  machinery  for  expeditious
           adjudication of proceedings between landlords and tenants;
      (b)   to provide for the determination of the  standard  rent  payable
           by tenants of the various categories of premises which should be
           fair to the tenants, and at the same time, provide incentive for
           keeping the existing houses in good  repairs,  and  for  further
           investments in house construction; and
       (c)    to  give  tenants  a  larger  measure  of  protection  against
           eviction……..

22.         In paragraph 63, this Court noted the statement of  objects  and
reasons of the Public Premises Act, which are as follows:-
            “63………”The court decisions,  referred  to  above,  have  created
           serious  difficulties  for  the  government  inasmuch   as   the
           proceedings taken by the various Estate Officers appointed under
           the  Act  either  for  the  eviction  of  persons  who  are   in
           unauthorised occupation of public premises or for  the  recovery
           of rent or damages from such persons stand null and void....  It
           has become impossible for government to take expeditious  action
           even in flagrant cases  of  unauthorised  occupation  of  public
           premises and recovery of rent or damages for  such  unauthorised
           occupation. It is, therefore, considered imperative to restore a
           speedy  machinery  for  the  eviction  of  persons  who  are  in
           unauthorised occupation of public premises keeping  in  view  at
           the same time the necessity of complying with the provisions  of
           the Constitution and the judicial  pronouncements,  referred  to
           above.”

Thereafter, the Court observed:-
            “63…….This shows that the Public Premises Act, has been  enacted
           to deal with the mischief of rampant unauthorized occupation  of
           public premises by providing a speedy machinery for the eviction
           of persons in unauthorized occupation…….”
                                             (emphasis supplied)

23.         In paragraph 64, this Court then noted  that  the  Rent  Control
Act and the Public Premises Act operated in two  different  areas,  and  the
properties ‘belonging to’ the Central Government,  Government  Companies  or
Corporations would be excluded from the  application  of  the  Rent  Control
Act.  The Court observed to the following effect:-
                 “64. It would thus appear that, while the Rent Control  Act
    is intended to deal with the  general  relationship  of  landlords  and
    tenants in respect of premises  other  than  government  premises,  the
    Public Premises Act  is  intended  to  deal  with  speedy  recovery  of
    possession of premises of public nature, i.e. property belonging to the
    Central Government, or companies in which the  Central  Government  has
    substantial interest or corporations owned or controlled by the Central
    Government and certain corporations,  institutions,  autonomous  bodies
    and local authorities. The effect of giving overriding  effect  to  the
    provisions of the Public Premises Act over the Rent Control Act,  would
    be that buildings belonging to companies, corporations  and  autonomous
    bodies referred to in Section 2(e) of the Public Premises Act would  be
    excluded from the ambit of the Rent Control Act in the same  manner  as
    properties belonging to the Central Government.…….”
                                               (emphasis supplied)

Thereafter, the Court observed:-
            “…..The reason underlying the exclusion of  property  belonging
    to the Government from the ambit of the Rent Control Act, is  that  the
    Government while dealing with  the  citizens  in  respect  of  property
    belonging to it would not act for its own purpose as a private landlord
    but would act in public interest……”
                                                (emphasis supplied)
24.         Paragraph 66 of the judgment makes it clear that this Court was
concerned with a contractual tenancy and ruled out  a  dual  procedure  for
eviction.  In that context it observed as follows:-
            “66……….This would mean that in order to evict a  person  who  is
           continuing in occupation after the expiration or termination  of
           his contractual tenancy in accordance with law, two  proceedings
           will have to be initiated.  First,  there  will  be  proceedings
           under Rent Control Act before the Rent  Controller  followed  by
           appeal before the Rent Control Tribunal and revision before  the
           High Court. After these proceedings have  ended  they  would  be
           followed by proceedings under the Public  Premises  Act,  before
           the Estate Officer and the Appellate Authority. In other  words,
           persons in occupation of public premises would  receive  greater
           protection than tenants in premises owned by private persons. It
           could not be the intention of Parliament  to  confer  this  dual
           benefit on persons in occupation of public premises.”


 It is relevant to note that, it is in this context that the Court rendered
its decision in Ashoka Marketing, and upheld the orders of eviction under
Public Premises Act.
25.         It was submitted by Mr.  Nariman,  that  as  can  be  seen  from
above, the Court was concerned with the second part  of  the  definition  of
“unauthorised occupation” under Section 2(g) of  the  Public  Premises  Act,
which is concerning expiry or determination of the authority to  occupy.  He
submitted that the ‘determination of tenancy’ is referable  to  Section  111
of the Transfer of Property Act, and similarly the concept of expiry of  the
authority to occupy.  Paragraph 30 quoted above specifically refers  to  the
Transfer of Property Act.   He  submitted  that  the  latter  part  of  this
definition was indicating a reference to contractual tenancy,  and  in  this
behalf referred to the above referred paragraph 66 which also  speaks  about
the contractual tenancy.  His submission was that since the  first  part  of
the definition under Section 2(g) referred to a person who is occupying  the
premises without any authority, it would exclude a person who  is  occupying
the premises under the authority of  law.   In  his  submission,  since  the
appellant was a deemed tenant under the state law, such a  statutory  tenant
will have to be considered as protected by authority of law  and  cannot  be
called a person in “unauthorised occupation”.  He referred to  the  judgment
of this Court in Chandavarkar Sita Ratna Rao Vs. Ashalata S. Guram  reported
in 1986 (3) SCR 866, which held that the amendment brought about by  section
15A was an attempt to protect very large number  of  legitimate  persons  in
occupation. The judgment also made  a  distinction  in  the  position  of  a
statutory tenant as against that of a contractual tenant.  In that  judgment
it is held that a statutory tenant is entitled to create a licence,  whereas
a contractual tenant can  create  a  sub-lease.   However,  the  proposition
canvassed by Mr. Nariman would mean that a  licensee  protected  by  statute
will not be in an unauthorised occupation, but a  contractual  tenant  could
be, since, his authority to occupy can be determined, and he would be in  an
unauthorised occupation thereafter.  Thus, a  protected  licensee  would  be
placed on a pedestal higher than that of  a  principal  contractual  tenant.
In our view, this judgment does not state so, nor can it lead us  to  accept
any such proposition as it would mean accepting an incongruous situation.
From what date  would  the  Public  Premises  Act  apply  to  the  concerned
premises?

26.         The question that is required  to  be  examined,  however,    is
whether the tenants as well as licencees, who are protected under the  State
Law, could be called unauthorised occupants by applying the Public  Premises
Act to their premises as ‘belonging’ to a  Government  Company,  and  if  so
from what date.  
As  we  have  noted  earlier,  to  initiate  the  eviction
proceedings under this statute, the premises concerned  have  to  be  public
premises as defined under Section 2(e) of the Act.  Besides, as far  as  the
present premises are concerned, it is necessary that they must belong  to  a
Government Company. The definition of public premises will, therefore,  have
to be looked into, and it will have to be examined as to from what date  the
premises can be said to be belonging to a Government  Company.   Section  19
of the Public Premises Act, 1971 repeals the Public  Premises  (Eviction  of
Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1958.  While repealing  this  predecessor  Act,
Section 1(3) of the 1971 Act lays down that it shall be deemed to have  come
into force on the 16th day of September, 1958 except sections 11, 19 and  20
which shall come into force at  once  (i.e.  from  23.8.1971).   Section  11
deals with offences and penalties.  Section 19 is the repealing  Section  as
stated above, and Section 20 is the section on validation of  any  judgment,
decree or order of any competent court which might have  been  passed  under
Public  Premises  (Eviction  of  Unauthorised  Occupants)  Act,  1958.   The
conjoint reading of Section 1(3) and Section 2(e) defining  Public  Premises
will be that although the provisions with respect to eviction under the  Act
of 1971 are deemed to have come into force from 16.9.1958, they  will  apply
to the concerned premises  only  from  the  date  when  they  become  public
premises.
27.         Thus, in the case of a company under the Companies Act, 1956  as
in the present case, it is necessary that the premises  must  belong  to  or
must be taken on lease by a company which has not  less  than  51  per  cent
paid up share capital held by the Central Government. The submission of  the
respondents is that the date  on  which  the  management  of  the  erstwhile
Insurance Company was taken over i.e. 13.5.1971 would be the relevant  date,
and from that date  the  premises  would  be  said  to  have  become  public
premises. It was submitted that after coming into force of the said Act,  it
was not open to the erstwhile company to transfer or  otherwise  dispose  of
any assets or create any charge, hypothecation,  lease  or  any  encumbrance
thereto without the previous  approval  of  the  persons  specified  by  the
Central Government.  It was contended that as a result,  the  provisions  of
Bombay Rent Act will have to be held as not applicable to the said  premises
from such date i.e. 13th May, 1971.
28.         The submission of the respondent was accepted by the High  Court
by relying upon an earlier judgment of a Division Bench of the  Bombay  High
Court in the case of M. Mohd vs. Union of India reported in AIR 1982  Bombay
443.  In para 22 thereof, the High Court held as follows:-
                       “…..There is no doubt that the expression  “belonging
       to” does not mean the same thing as “owned by”.  The two expressions
       have two different connotations. The expression “belonging to”  will
       take within its sweep not only ownership but also rights lesser than
       that of ownership.”

It  is  relevant  to  note  that  the  appellants  therein  were  government
employees occupying premises allotted to  them  as  service  premises.   The
premises were situated in privately owned buildings, and taken on  lease  by
the Government.  The appellants had retired from their  services,  but  were
not vacating the premises, and hence eviction  orders  were  passed  against
them under the Public Premises Act.  The premises were admittedly  taken  on
lease, and were therefore premises belonging to the Central Government.   At
the end of paragraph 21 of its judgment, the High Court  in  terms  held  as
follows, “Once the factum of lease is established, which has  been  done  in
the present case, the authorities under the act get jurisdiction to  inquire
under the act.”  The submission of  the  appellants  therein  was  that  the
premises could  not  be  said  to  be  belonging  to  the  respondents,  and
therefore, not public premises.  It is in this context that the  High  Court
held that the expression ‘belonging to’ will take within  its  sweep  rights
lesser than that of ownership.  The observations quoted above will  have  to
be read in that context.  It is however, relevant to note what the  Division
Bench has thereafter added:-
                       “It must be remembered in this  connection  that  the
       expressions used in the statute are  to  be  interpreted  and  given
       meaning in the context in which they are used.”

It is material to note that it was not a case like the  present  one,  where
the occupant has  claimed  protection  under  the  State  Rent  Control  Law
available to him prior to the Public Premises Act becoming  applicable.  The
High Court had relied upon a judgment of this Court in  Mahomed  Amir  Ahmad
Khan vs. Municipal Board of Sitapur reported in AIR 1965  SC  1923,  wherein
this Court has observed:-
                 “Though  the  word  “belonging”  no  doubt  is  capable  of
       denoting as absolute title, is nevertheless not confined to connoting
       that sense.”

This was a matter wherein the appellant was alleged  to  have  disputed  the
title of the respondent  landlord  by  contending  that  the  premises  were
belonging to the appellant.  The Court noted  that  all  that  he  meant  by
using the word ‘belonging’ was that he was a lessee, and nothing  more.   It
was in this sense that this Court  observed  as  above  while  allowing  his
appeal.
29.           In the present matter we  are  concerned  with  the  question,
whether the respondents  could  resort  to  the  provisions  of  the  Public
Premises Act at a time when the merger of the  erstwhile  insurance  company
into the first respondent was not complete.  The question is whether  taking
over of the  management  of  the  erstwhile  company  can  confer  upon  the
respondent No. 1  the authority to claim that the premises belong to  it  to
initiate  eviction  proceedings  under  the  Public  Premises  Act,  to  the
detriment of  an  occupant  who  is  claiming  protection  under  a  welfare
enactment  passed  by  the  State  Legislature.  At  this  juncture  we  may
profitably refer to the judgment of this Court  concerning  another  welfare
enactment in Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh, Nagpur Vs.  Model  Mills,  Nagpur
and Anr. reported in AIR 1984 SC  1813.  The  issue  before  the  Court  was
whether upon the appointment of an authorised controller under  Section  18A
of the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951 (IDR Act short)  in
respect of an industrial undertaking, when  it  is  run  by  him  under  the
authority of a Department of the Central Government, the  employees  of  the
undertaking would get excluded from the application of the Payment of  Bonus
Act, 1965, in view of the provision  contained  in  Section  32(iv)  of  the
Bonus Act.  The court made a distinction between the concept of taking  over
of management and taking over of ownership. Inasmuch as the taking  over  of
the management did not result  into  the  Central  Government  becoming  the
owner of the textile mills, the right of the workmen to  receive  bonus  was
not extinguished.  
The Court held as follows:
      “10.  Thus the significant consequence that ensues on the issue of  a
    notified order  appointing  authorised  controller  is  to  divert  the
    management from the present managers and to vest it in  the  authorised
    controller. Undoubtedly, the heading of Chapter  III-A  appears  to  be
    slightly misleading when it says that the  Central  Government  on  the
    issue of a notified order assumes direct management of  the  industrial
    undertaking, in effect on the issuance of a notified  order,  only  the
    management of the  industrial  undertaking  undergoes  a  change.  This
    change of management does not tantamount to either acquisition  of  the
    industrial undertaking or a take over of its ownership because if  that
    was to be the intended effect of change of management,  the  Act  would
    have been subjected to challenge of Article 31 and 19 (1)  (f)  of  the
    Constitution. One can say confidently that was not intended to  be  the
    effect of appointment  of  an  authorised  controller.  The  industrial
    undertaking continues to be  governed  by  the  Companies  Act  or  the
    Partnership Act or the relevant  provisions  of  law  applicable  to  a
    proprietary concern. The only change is the  removal  of  managers  and
    appointment  of  another  manager  and  to   safeguard   his   position
    restriction on the rights  of  shareholders  or  partners  or  original
    proprietor. This is the net effect of the appointment of an  authorised
    controller by a notified order.”

      (emphasis supplied)
A similar approach was adopted by the Court  in  Bhuri  Nath  and  Ors.  Vs.
State of J&K and Ors. reported in AIR 1997 SC 1711. Here  the  issue  before
the Court was with  respect  to  the  constitutionality  of  the  Jammu  and
Kashmir Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Act, 1988  (XVI  of  1988)  which  was
made to provide better management, administration  and  governance  of  Shri
Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, its endowments, all temples, and sum total of  the
properties, movable and immovable, attached or appurtenant  to  the  Shrine.
While addressing an argument with respect to the violation of Article 31  of
the Constitution, the Court observed in para 29 as follows:
             “29.  ……….The   right   to   superintendence   of   management,
      administration and governance of the Shrine is not the property  which
      the State acquires. It carries with it no beneficial enjoyment of  the
      property to the  State.  The  Act  merely  regulates  the  management,
      administration  and  governance  of  the  Shrine.   It   is   not   an
      extinguishment of the right. The appellants-Baridarans were  rendering
      pooja, a customary right which was abolished and vested in the  Board.
      The management, administration and governance  of  the  Shrine  always
      remained with the Dharamarth Trust from whom the Board has taken  over
      the same for proper  administration,  management  and  governance.  In
      other words, the effect of the  enactment  of  the  Act  is  that  the
       affairs  of  the


      functioning of the Shrine merely have got transferred  from  Dharmarth
      Trust  to  the  Board.  The  Act  merely  regulates  in  that  behalf;
      incidentally, the right to collect offerings enjoyed by the Baridarans
      by rendering service of pooja has been put to an end  under  the  Act.
      The State, resultantly, has  not  acquired  that  right  onto  itself.
      ……..”

      (emphasis supplied)


30.          As far as the present matter is concerned it is required to  be
noted that the Principal Agencies floated by the promoters of the  erstwhile
private  Insurance  Companies  were  controlling  their  business.   In  the
‘History of Insurance  of  India’  published  by  Insurance  Regulatory  and
Development Authority’ (IRDA) on its official website  on  12.07.2007  under
Ref: IRDA/GEN/06/2007 it is stated as follows:
             “The  Insurance  Amendment  Act  of  1950  abolished  Principal
Agencies.  However, there were a large number  or  insurance  companies  and
the level of competition was high.  There were also  allegations  of  unfair
trade  practices.   The  Government  of   India,   therefore,   decided   to
nationalize insurance business.”

Thus, as far as the erstwhile Insurance  Company  in  the  present  case  is
concerned, as an initial step, its management was taken over by the  Central
Government w.e.f.  13.5.1971,  and  it  was  entrusted  with  the  custodian
appointed by the Central Government.  It would definitely entail a right  in
the custodian to take necessary steps  to  safeguard  the  property  of  the
erstwhile insurance company.  But it  was  a  transitory  arrangement.   The
properties of the erstwhile  insurance  companies  did  not  belong  to  the
Government Companies or the Government at that stage.  The  Public  Premises
Act, undoubtedly provides a speedy remedy to recover the premises  from  the
unauthorised occupants.  At the same time, we have also to note that in  the
instant case the occupant is claiming a substantive right  under  a  welfare
provision of the State Rent Control Act, which gave him a  protected  status
in view of the  amendment  to  that  Act.   The  question  is  whether  this
authority of management bestowed on the Government Company can take  in  its
sweep the right to proceed against such protected tenants under  the  Public
Premises Act, by contending that the premises  belonged  to  the  Government
Company at that stage itself, and that the State Rent Control Act no  longer
protected  them.  Considering  that  the  Rent  Control  Act  is  a  welfare
enactment, and a further protective provision has been made therein, can  it
be permitted to  be  rendered  otiose  and  made  inapplicable  to  premises
specifically sought to be covered thereunder, and defeated by  resorting  to
the provisions of the Public Premises Act? In  the  present  case,  it  must
also be noted that the appellant is seeking a protection under  Section  15A
of the Bombay Rent Act, which has a non-obstante clause. The respondent  No.
1 is undoubtedly not without a remedy,  and  it  can  proceed  to  evict  an
unauthorised occupant under the Rent Control Act,  if  an  occasion  arises.
It can certainly resort thereto until the managerial right  fructifies  into
a right of ownership.  However by enforcing a  speedier  remedy,  a  welfare
provision  cannot  be  rendered  nugatory.   The  provisions  of   the   two
enactments will have to be read harmoniously to permit the operation and co-
existence of both of them to the extent it  can  be  done.   Therefore,  the
term ‘belonging to’ as occurring in the definition  of  Public  Premises  in
Section 2(e) will have to be interpreted  meaningfully  to  imply  only  the
premises owned by or taken  on  lease  by  the  Government  Company  at  the
relevant time.  In the  facts  of  this  case  what  we  find  is  that  the
appellant had the status of a deemed tenant under the Bombay Rent Act,  1947
prior to the concerned premises ‘belonging  to  a  Government  Company’  and
becoming public premises.  If at all he had to be evicted, it was  necessary
to follow the due process of law which would mean the process  as  available
under the Bombay Rent Act or its successor  Maharashtra  Rent  Control  Act,
1999, and not the one which is provided under the provisions of  the  Public
Premises Act.

Can the Public Premises Act  be given retrospective effect?
31.         There is another aspect  of  the  matter.   Mr.  Raval,  learned
senior counsel for  the  respondents  has  contended  that  the  appellant’s
submission that he was  protected  under  the  Bombay  Rent  Act,  and  that
protection has been continued under the Maharashtra Rent Control Act,  1999,
is not available before the Estate Officer.  The question, therefore,  comes
to our mind as  to  what  happens  to  the  rights  of  the  appellant  made
available to him under the State Act at a time when  the  erstwhile  company
had not merged in the first respondent Government Company?  Can it  be  said
that  he  was  occupying  the  premises  without  the  authority  for   such
occupation? Can it be said that with the application of the Public  Premises
Act  to  the  premises  occupied  by  the  appellant,   those   rights   get
extinguished? It has been laid down by this Court time  and  again  that  if
there are rights created in favour of any person, whether they are  property
rights or rights arising from a transaction in the  nature  of  a  contract,
and particularly if they are protected under a statute, and if they  are  to
be taken away by any legislation, that  legislation  will  have  to  say  so
specifically by giving it a retrospective effect.   This  is  because  prima
facie every legislation is prospective  (see  para  7  of  the  Constitution
Bench judgment in Janardan Reddy Vs. The  State  reported  in  AIR  1951  SC
124).  In the instant case, the appellant was  undoubtedly  protected  as  a
‘deemed tenant’ under Section 15A of the  Bombay  Rent  Act,  prior  to  the
merger of the erstwhile insurance company with a Government Company, and  he
could be removed only by following the procedure available under the  Bombay
Rent Act.  A ‘deemed tenant’ under the Bombay  Rent  Act,  continued  to  be
protected under the succeeding Act, in view of the definition of a  ‘tenant’
under Section 7(15)(a)(ii)  of  the  Maharashtra  Rent  Control  Act,  1999.
Thus, as far as the tenants of the premises which are not covered under  the
Public Premises Act are concerned, those tenants  who  were  deemed  tenants
under the Bombay Rent Act continued  to  have  their  protection  under  the
Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999.  Should the coverage of  their  premises
under the Public Premises Act make a difference to the tenants or  occupants
of such premises, and if so, from which date?
32.         It has been  laid  down  by  this  Court  through  a  number  of
judgments rendered over the years, that a legislation  is  not  be  given  a
retrospective effect unless specifically provided for, and  not  beyond  the
period that is  provided  therein.   Thus,  a  Constitution  Bench  held  in
Garkiapati Veeraya Vs. N. Subbiah Choudhry reported in AIR 1957 SC 540  that
in the absence of anything in the  enactment  to  show  that  it  is  to  be
retrospective, it cannot be  so  constructed,  as  to  have  the  effect  of
altering the law applicable to a claim in litigation at the  time  when  the
act was passed.  In that matter, the Court was concerned with the  issue  as
to whether  the  appellant’s  right  to  file  an  appeal  continued  to  be
available to him for filing an appeal  to  the  Andhra  Pradesh  High  Court
after  it  was  created  from  the  erstwhile  Madras   High   Court.    The
Constitution Bench held that the right very much survived,  and  the  vested
right of appeal can be taken away only by a subsequent enactment, if  it  so
provides expressly or by necessary intendment and not otherwise.
33.         Similarly, in Mahadeolal Kanodia Vs. The  Administrator  General
of West Bengal reported in AIR 1960 SC 936, this Court  was  concerned  with
the retrospectivity of law passed by the West Bengal legislature  concerning
the rights of tenants and in paragraph 8 of  the  judgment  the  Court  held
that:-
                 “8.    The  principles  that  have  to   be   applied   for
      interpretation of  statutory  provisions  of  this  nature  are  well-
      established. The first of these is that statutory provisions  creating
      substantive rights or taking away substantive  rights  are  ordinarily
      prospective; they are retrospective only if by  express  words  or  by
      necessary implication……”


34.         In Amireddi Raja Gopala Rao Vs. Amireddi  Sitharamamma  reported
in AIR 1965 SC 1970, a Constitution bench was concerned with  the  issue  as
to whether the rights of maintenance of illegitimate  sons  of  a  sudra  as
available  under  the  Mitakshara  School  of  Hindu  Law  was  affected  by
introduction of Sections 4, 21 and 22 of the Hindu Adoption and  Maintenance
Act, 1956.  The Court held that they were not, and observed in  paragraph  7
as follows:-
            “A statue has to be interpreted, if possible so  as  to  respect
    vested rights, and if the words are open to another construction,  such
    a construction should never be adopted.”

The same has been the view taken by a bench of three Judges  of  this  Court
in J.P.  Jani,  Income  Tax  Officer,  Circle  IV,  Ward  G,  Ahmedabad  Vs.
Induprasad Devshanker Bhatt reported in AIR 1969 SC 778 in the context of  a
provision of the Income Tax  Act,  1961,  in  the  matter  of  reopening  of
assessment orders.  In that matter the Court was concerned  with  the  issue
as to whether the Income Tax Officer  could  re-open  the  assessment  under
Section 297(2) (d) (ii) and 148 of the Income Tax Act,  1961,  although  the
right to re-open was barred by that time under the earlier Income  Tax  Act,
1922.  This Court held that the  same  was  impermissible  and  observed  in
paragraph 5 as follows:-
                 “5…… The reason is that such a construction of Section  297
    (2) (d) (ii) would be tantamount to giving of  retrospective  operation
    to that section which is not warranted either by the  express  language
    of the section or by necessary implication.  The principle is based  on
    the well-known rule of interpretation that  unless  the  terms  of  the
    statute  expressly  so  provide  or  unless  there   is   a   necessary
    implication, retrospective operation should not be given to the statute
    so as to affect, alter or destroy any  right  already  acquired  or  to
    revive any remedy already lost by efflux of time.”

35.         In Arjan Singh Vs. State of Punjab reported in AIR 1970 SC  703,
this court was concerned with the issue of date of  application  of  Section
32KK added into the Pepsu Tenancy and Agricultural Lands  Act,  1955.   This
Court held in paragraph 4 thereof as follows:-
           “4. It is a well-settled rule of construction that no  provision
    in  a  statute  should  be  given  retrospective  effect   unless   the
    legislature by express terms or by necessary implication  has  made  it
    retrospective and that where a provision is  made  retrospective,  care
    should be taken not to extend its retrospective effect beyond what  was
    intended.”

36.         In Ex-Capt., K.C. Arora Vs. State of Haryana  reported  in  1984
(3) SCC 281, this Court was concerned with a service  matter  and  with  the
issue as to whether an amendment in the  law  could  take  away  the  vested
rights with retrospective effect.  The Court held  that  such  an  amendment
would be invalid if it is violative  of  the  present  acquired  or  accrued
fundamental rights of the affected persons.
37.         In the case of K.S. Paripoornan Vs. State of Kerala reported  in
AIR 1995 SC 1012, a Constitution Bench of this Court was concerned with  the
retrospective effect of Section 23(1A) introduced in  the  Land  Acquisition
Act.  While  dealing  with  this  provision,  this  Court  has  observed  as
follows:-
           “44.  A statute dealing with substantive rights differs  from  a
    statute which relates to procedure or evidence  or  is  declaratory  in
    nature inasmuch as while a statute dealing with substantive  rights  is
    prima  facie  prospective  unless  it  is  expressly  or  by  necessary
    implication made to have  retrospective  effect,  a  statute  concerned
    mainly with matters of procedure or evidence or which is declaratory in
    nature has to be construed as retrospective unless  there  is  a  clear
    indication that such was  not  the  intention  of  the  legislature.  A
    statute is regarded retrospective if it  operates  on  cases  or  facts
    coming into existence before its commencement  in  the  sense  that  it
    affects, even if for the future only, the character or consequences  of
    transactions previously entered into  or  of  other  past  conduct.  By
    virtue of the presumption against retrospective applicability  of  laws
    dealing with substantive rights transactions are neither invalidated by
    reason of their failure to comply with formal requirements subsequently
    imposed, nor open to attack  under  powers  of  avoidance  subsequently
    conferred. They are also not rendered valid by  subsequent  relaxations
    of the law, whether  relating  to  form  or  to  substance.  Similarly,
    provisions in which a contrary intention does not appear neither impose
    new  liabilities  in  respect  of  events  taking  place  before  their
    commencement, nor relieve persons from liabilities then  existing,  and
    the view that existing obligations were not intended to be affected has
    been taken in varying degrees even of provisions expressly  prohibiting
    proceedings. (See: Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th Edn. Vol. 44,  paras
    921, 922, 925 and 926).”

38.         In the case  of  Gajraj  Singh  Vs.  State  Transport  Appellate
Tribunal reported in AIR 1997 SC 412,  the  Court  was  concerned  with  the
provisions of Motor Vehicle Act and repealing of some of its provisions.  In
para 30 referring to Southerland on  Statutory  Construction  (3rd  Edition)
Vol.I, the Court quoted the following observations:-
      “30……Effect on vested rights
    Under common law principles  of  construction  and  interpretation  the
    repeal of a statute  or  the  abrogation  of  a  common  law  principle
    operates to divest all the rights accruing under the  repealed  statute
    or the abrogated common law, and to halt all proceedings not  concluded
    prior to the repeal. However, a right which has become  vested  is  not
    dependent upon the common  law  or  the  statute  under  which  it  was
    acquired  for  its  assertion,  but  has  an   independent   existence.
    Consequently, the repeal of the statute or the abrogation of the common
    law from which it originated does not efface a  vested  right,  but  it
    remains enforceable without regard to the repeal.
    In order to become vested, the  right  must  be  a  contract  right,  a
    property right, or a right arising from a transaction in the nature  of
    a contract which has become perfected to the degree that the  continued
    existence of the statute cannot further enhance its acquisition.……”


39.         Having noted the aforesaid observations, it is very  clear  that
in the facts of the present case, the appellant’s status as a deemed  tenant
was accepted under the state enactment, and therefore he could not  be  said
to be in  “unauthorised  occupation”.    His  right  granted  by  the  state
enactment cannot be destroyed by giving  any  retrospective  application  to
the provisions of Public Premises  Act,  since  there  is  no  such  express
provision in the statute, nor is it warranted by any implication.   In  fact
his premises would not come within the ambit of  the  Public  Premises  Act,
until they belonged to the  respondent  No.  1,  i.e  until  1.1.1974.   The
corollary is that if the respondent No. 1 wanted  to  evict  the  appellant,
the remedy was to resort to the procedure available under  the  Bombay  Rent
Act or its successor Maharashtra Rent Control Act, by approaching the  forum
thereunder, and not by resorting to the provisions of  the  Public  Premises
Act.
When are the provisions of Public Premises Act to be resorted to?

40.         In the context of the present controversy, we must refer to  one
more aspect.  As we have noted earlier in paragraph 63 of Ashoka  Marketing,
the Constitution Bench has referred to the objects and  reasons  behind  the
Public Premises Act wherein it is stated that it has become  impossible  for
the Government to  take  expeditious  action  even  in  ‘flagrant  cases  of
unauthorised occupation’ of  public  premises.   The  Court  has  thereafter
observed in that very paragraph that the Public Premises Act is  enacted  to
deal with mischief of ‘rampant unauthorised occupation’ of public  premises.

41.         It is relevant to note that there has been a  criticism  of  the
use of the powers under the Public Premises Act, and  the  manner  in  which
they are used in an arbitrary way to evict  the  genuine  tenants  from  the
public premises causing serious hardships to them.  The  Central  Government
itself has therefore, issued the guidelines to prevent  such  arbitrary  use
of  these  powers.  These  guidelines  were  issued  vide   Resolution   No.
21012/1/2000-Pol.1, dated 30th  May,  2002,  published  in  the  Gazette  of
India, Part I, Sec.1 dated 8th June, 2002.  They read as follows:-
      ”GUIDELINES TO PREVENT  ARBITRARY  USE  OF  POWERS  TO  EVICT  GENUINE
    TENANTS FROM  PUBLIC  PREMISES  UNDER  THE  CONTROL  OF  PUBLIC  SECTOR
    UNDERTAKINGS / FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

      1.    The question of notification of guidelines to prevent  arbitrary
    use of powers to evict genuine tenants from public premises  under  the
    control of Public Sector Undertakings/financial institutions  has  been
    under consideration of the Government for some time past.
      2.    To prevent arbitrary use of  powers  to  evict  genuine  tenants
    from public premises and to limit the  use  of  powers  by  the  Estate
    Officers appointed under section 3 of the PP(E) Act, 1971, it has  been
    decided by Government to lay down the following guidelines:
             (i)  The  provisions  of  the  Public  Premises  (Eviction   of
    Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 [(P.P.(E) Act, 1971] should  be  used
    primarily to evict totally unauthorised occupants of  the  premises  of
    public authorities or subletees, or employees who have ceased to be  in
    their service and thus ineligible for occupation of the premises.
            (ii) The provisions of the P.P. (E)  Act,  1971  should  not  be
    resorted to either  with  a  commercial  motive  or  to  secure  vacant
    possession of the premises in order to accommodate their own employees,
    where the premises were in occupation of the original tenants  to  whom
    the premises were let either by the public authorities or  the  persons
    from whom the premises were acquired.
      (iii) A person in occupation of any premises should not be treated  or
    declared to be an unauthorised occupant merely on service of notice  of
    termination of tenancy, but the fact of unauthorized  occupation  shall
    be decided  by  following  the  due  procedure  of  law.  Further,  the
    contractual agreement shall not be wound up by taking advantage of  the
    provisions of the P.P.(E) Act, 1971.  At the same time, it will be open
    to the public authority to secure periodic revision of rent in terms of
    the provisions of the Rent Control Act in each State or to  move  under
    genuine grounds under the Rent Control Act for resuming possession.  In
    other words, the  public  authorities  would  have  rights  similar  to
    private landlords under the Rent Control Act in  dealing  with  genuine
    legal tenants.
      (iv) It is necessary to give no room for  allegations  that  evictions
    were selectively resorted to for the purpose of securing an unwarranted
    increase in rent, or that a change in tenancy was permitted in order to
    benefit particular individuals or institutions. In order to avoid  such
    imputations or abuse of discretionary powers, the release  of  premises
    or change of tenancy should  be  decided  at  the  level  of  Board  of
    Directors of Public Sector Undertakings.
      (v) All the public Undertakings should immediately review all  pending
    cases before the Estate Officer  or  Courts  with  reference  to  these
    guidelines, and withdraw eviction proceedings against  genuine  tenants
    on grounds otherwise than as  provided  under  these  guidelines.   The
    provisions under the P.P. (E) Act, 1971 should be used henceforth  only
    in accordance with these guidelines.
      3.    These orders take immediate effect.”

42.          Thus as can be seen from these guidelines, it is emphasized  in
Clause  2(i)  thereof,  that  the  Act  was  meant  to  evict  (a)   totally
unauthorised  occupants  of  the  public  premises  or  subletees,  or   (b)
employees who have ceased to be in their service,  and  were  ineligible  to
occupy the premises.  In Clause 2(ii), it is emphasized that the  provisions
should not be resorted to (a) either with a commercial  motive,  or  (b)  to
secure vacant possession of the premises in order to accommodate  their  own
employees, where the premises were in occupation of the original tenants  to
whom the premises were let out (i) either  by  the  public  authorities,  or
(ii) by persons from whom the premises  were  acquired,  indicating  thereby
the predecessors of  the  public  authorities.   Clause  2  (iii)  of  these
guidelines is very important.  It states on the one hand  that  it  will  be
open for the public authority to secure periodic revision of rent  in  terms
of the provision of the Rent Control Act in each state, and  to  move  under
genuine grounds under the Rent control Act  for  resuming  possession.  This
Clause on the other hand states  that  the  public  authorities  would  have
rights similar to private landlords under the Rent Control  Act  in  dealing
with genuine legal tenants.   This  clause  in  a  way  indicates  that  for
resuming possession in certain situations, where the tenants  are  protected
under the State Rent Control Act prior to the Public Premises  Act  becoming
applicable, the public authorities will have to move under the Rent  Control
Acts on the grounds which are available to the  private  landlords.   Clause
2(iv) seeks to prevent imputations or abuse of discretionary powers in  this
behalf by  stating  that  there  should  be  no  room  for  allegation  that
evictions  were  selectively  resorted  for  the  purpose  of  securing   an
unwarranted increase in rent or change  in  tenancy  to  benefit  particular
individuals or institutions.  It, therefore,  states  that  the  release  of
premises or change of tenancy should be decided at the  level  of  Board  of
Directors of Public Sector Undertakings.  Clause  2(v)  goes  further  ahead
and instructs all public undertakings that they should  review  all  pending
cases  before  the  Estate  Officer  or  Courts  with  reference  to   these
guidelines, and withdraw the proceedings against genuine tenants on  grounds
otherwise than as provided under the guidelines.
43.         The instructions contained in this  Resolution  are  undoubtedly
guidelines, and are advisory in character and do not confer  any  rights  on
the tenants as held in para 23 of New Insurance Assurance Company Vs.  Nusli
Neville Wadia reported in  2008  (3)  SCC  279.    At  the  same  time,  the
intention  behind  the  guidelines  cannot  be   ignored   by   the   Public
Undertakings which are expected to follow the same. When  it  comes  to  the
interpretation of the provisions of the statute, the  guidelines  have  been
referred herein for the limited  purpose  of  indicating  the  intention  in
making  the  statutory  provision,  since  the  guidelines  are  issued   to
effectuate the statutory provision.  The guidelines do throw some  light  on
the intention behind the  statute.  The  guidelines  are  issued  with  good
intention to stop arbitrary use of the  powers  under  the  Public  Premises
Act.  The powers are given to act for specified reasons,  and  are  expected
to be used only in justified circumstances and not otherwise.
The overall consequence
44.         In Ashoka Marketing (supra), this Court was concerned  with  the
premises of two Nationalised Banks and the Life Insurance  Corporation.   As
far as Life Insurance Corporation is concerned, the life insurance  business
was  nationalised  under  the  Life   Insurance   Corporation   Act,   1956.
Therefore, as far as the premises of  LIC  are  concerned,  they  will  come
under the ambit of the Public Premises Act  from  16.9.1958,  i.e  the  date
from which the Act is brought into force. As far as Nationalised  Banks  are
concerned, their  nationalization  is  governed  by  The  Banking  Companies
(Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act,  1970,  and  therefore,  the
application of Public Premises Act  to  the  premises  of  the  Nationalised
Banks will be from the particular date in the year 1970 or thereafter.   For
any premises to become public premises, the relevant date will be  16.9.1958
or whichever is the later date on which the concerned  premises  become  the
public  premises  as  belonging  to  or  taken  on  lease  by  LIC  or   the
Nationalised Banks or the concerned General  Insurance  Companies  like  the
first respondent.  All those persons falling  within  the  definition  of  a
tenant occupying the premises prior thereto will not come  under  the  ambit
of the Public Premises Act and cannot therefore, be said to  be  persons  in
“unauthorised occupation”.  Whatever rights such prior tenants,  members  of
their families or heirs of such tenants or deemed tenants or  all  of  those
who fall within the definition of a tenant under the Bombay Rent  Act  have,
are continued under the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999.   If  possession
of their premises is required, that will have to be resorted  to  by  taking
steps under the Bombay Rent Act or Maharashtra Rent Control Act,  1999.   If
person concerned has come in occupation subsequent to  such  date,  then  of
course the Public Premises Act, 1971 will apply.
45.          It is true that Section 15 of the Public Premises  Act  creates
a bar of jurisdiction to  entertain  suits  or  proceedings  in  respect  of
eviction of any person in an unauthorised occupation.
However,  as  far  as
the relationship between the respondent No. 1, the other  General  Insurance
Companies, LIC, Nationalised Banks and such other  Government  Companies  or
Corporations, on the one hand and their occupants/licencees/tenants  on  the
other hand is concerned, such persons who are in  occupation  prior  to  the
premises belonging to or taken on lease by such entities, will  continue  to
be governed by the State Rent Control Act  for  all  purposes.   The  Public
Premises Act will apply only to those who  come  in  such  occupation  after
such date.
Thus, there is no occasion to have a  dual  procedure  which  is
ruled out in paragraph 66 of Ashoka Marketing. We  must  remember  that  the
occupants  of  these  properties  were  earlier  tenants  of  the  erstwhile
Insurance Companies which were the private landlords.  They have not  chosen
to be the tenants of the Government Companies.  Their  status  as  occupants
of the Public Insurance Companies has been thrust upon them  by  the  Public
Premises Act.
46.          This Court has noted in Banatwala and Co. Vs. LIC  reported  in
2011 (13) SCC 446 that the Public  Premises  Act,  1971  is  concerned  with
eviction of unauthorised occupants  and  recovery  of  arrears  of  rent  or
damages for such unauthorised occupation, and incidental  matters  specified
under the act. As far as the Maharashtra  Rent  Control  Act  is  concerned,
this Court noted in paragraph 25 of that judgment that as per  the  preamble
of the said Act, it is an Act relating to five subjects, namely (i)  control
of rent, (ii) repairs of certain premises, (iii) eviction, (iv)  encouraging
the construction of new houses by assuring fair return of investment by  the
landlord, and (v) matters connected with the purposes  mentioned  above.  In
that matter, the Court was concerned with the issue of fixation of  standard
rent and restoration and maintenance of essential supplies and  services  by
the landlord.  It was held that these two subjects were  not  covered  under
the Public Premises Act, and infact were covered under the Maharashtra  Rent
Control Act.  Operative para 99(c) of the  judgment  therefore  specifically
held as follows:-
                 “99 (c) The provisions  of  the  Maharashtra  Rent  control
      Act,  1999  shall  govern  the   relationship   between   the   public
      undertakings and their occupants to the extent  this  Act  covers  the
      other aspects of the relationship between the  landlord  and  tenants,
      not covered under the Public Premises Act, 1971.”

47.          A judgment of a bench of three Judges  of  this  Court  in  M/s
Jain Ink Manufacturing Company v. L.I.C reported in (1980)  4  SCC  435  was
relied upon by Mr. Raval.  In this matter also a plea was raised  on  behalf
of the appellant tenant for being covered under the Delhi Rent Control  Act,
1958 which came to be repelled.  Mr. Raval stressed  upon  the  observations
in Para 5 of the judgment to the effect that Section  2(g)  merely  requires
occupation of any public premises to initiate the action.   Mr.  Nariman  on
the other hand pointed out that in the earlier part of  the  very  paragraph
the Court had observed, although after referring to the provision of  Punjab
Public Premises and Land (Eviction and Rent Recovery), Act 1959 that if  the
entry into possession had taken place prior to the passing of the act,  then
obviously the occupant would not be an unauthorized occupant.   That  apart,
Mr. Nariman submitted that the judgment was essentially on the  second  part
of  Section  2(g)  defining  ‘unauthorised  occupation’.  It  is,   however,
material to note that in that case the  premises  were  owned  by  LIC  from
19.7.1958, i.e. prior to the Delhi  Rent  Control  Act  becoming  applicable
from 9.2.1959. Besides, the issue of protection under a welfare  legislation
being available  to  the  tenant  prior  to  the  premises  becoming  public
premises, and the issue  of  retrospectivity  was  not  under  consideration
before the Court. The observations of the Court in that matter will have  to
be understood in that context.

48.          As far as the eviction of unauthorised  occupants  from  public
premises is concerned, undoubtedly it is covered under the  Public  Premises
Act, but it is so covered from 16.9.1958, or from the later  date  when  the
concerned premises  become  public  premises  by  virtue  of  the  concerned
premises vesting into a Government company or a corporation like LIC or  the
Nationalised Banks or the General Insurance Companies  like  the  respondent
no.1.  Thus  there  are  two  categories  of  occupants  of   these   public
corporations who get excluded from the coverage of the Act itself.  Firstly,
those who are in occupation since prior to 16.9.1958, i.e. prior to the  Act
becoming applicable, are clearly outside the coverage of the Act.  Secondly,
those who come in occupation, thereafter, but  prior  to  the  date  of  the
concerned premises belonging to a Government Corporation or a  Company,  and
are covered under a protective provision of the State  Rent  Act,  like  the
appellant herein, also get excluded.  Until such date, the Bombay  Rent  Act
and its successor Maharashtra Rent Control Act will continue to  govern  the
relationship between the occupants of such premises on  the  one  hand,  and
such government  companies  and  corporations  on  the  other.  Hence,  with
respect to such  occupants  it  will  not  be  open  to  such  companies  or
corporations to issue notices, and to proceed against such  occupants  under
the Public Premises Act, and such proceedings  will  be  void  and  illegal.
Similarly, it will be open for such occupants  of  these  premises  to  seek
declaration of their status, and other rights such as  transmission  of  the
tenancy to the legal heirs etc. under the Bombay Rent Act or  its  successor
Maharashtra Rent Control Act, and also to seek  protective  reliefs  in  the
nature of injunctions against unjustified actions or orders of  eviction  if
so passed, by approaching the forum  provided  under  the  State  Act  which
alone will have the jurisdiction to entertain such proceedings.
49.         Learned senior counsel for the respondents Mr.  Raval  submitted
that the  judgment  of  the  Constitution  Bench  in  Ashoka  Marketing  had
clarified the legal position with respect to the  relationship  between  the
Public Premises Act and the Rent Control Act.  However, as noted above,  the
issue concerning retrospective application of the Public  Premises  Act  was
not placed for the consideration of the Court,  and  naturally  it  has  not
been gone into it.  It was submitted by Mr. Raval that  for  maintenance  of
judicial discipline this bench ought to refer  the  issue  involved  in  the
present matter to a bench of three Judges, and thereafter that bench  should
refer it to a bench of five Judges.  He relied upon  the  judgment  of  this
Court in the case of Pradip Chandra Parija Vs. Pramod  Chandra  reported  in
2002 (1) SCC 1 in this behalf.  He also  referred  to  a  judgment  of  this
Court in Sundarjas Kanyalal Bhatija Vs. Collector,  Thane,  Maharashtra  and
Ors. reported in 1989 (3) SCC 396 and particularly paragraph 18 thereof  for
that purpose.  What is however, material to  note  is  that  this  paragraph
also permits discretion to be exercised when there is no  declared  position
in law.  The  Bombay  Rent  Act  exempted  from  its  application  only  the
premises belonging to the government or a  local  authority.   The  premises
belonging  to  the  Government  Companies  or  Statutory  Corporations  were
however covered under the Bombay Rent Act.  This position was  altered  from
16.9.1958 when the Public Premises  (Eviction  of  Unauthorised  Occupation)
Act,  1958  came  in  force  which  applied  thereafter  to  the  Government
Companies and Statutory Corporations, and that position has been  reiterated
under the Public Premises Act of 1971 which replaced the  1958  Act.   Under
these Acts of 1958 and  1971,  the  Premises  belonging  to  the  Government
Companies or Statutory Corporations are  declared  to  be  Public  Premises.
Thus, the Parliament took away these  premises  from  the  coverage  of  the
Bombay Rent Act under Article 254(1) of  the  Constitution  of  India.  This
was, however, in the  matter  of  the  subjects  covered  under  the  Public
Premises Act, viz.  eviction  of  unauthorised  occupants  and  recovery  of
arrears of rent etc. as stated above. Thereafter, if the  State  Legislature
wanted to cover these subjects viz. a viz. the premises  of  the  Government
Companies and Public Corporations under the Maharashtra  Rent  Control  Act,
1999, it had to specifically state  that  notwithstanding  anything  in  the
Public  Premises  Act  of  1971,  the  Government   Companies   and   Public
Corporations would be covered under the Maharashtra Rent Control Act,  1999.
 If that was so done, and if the President was to  give  assent  to  such  a
legislation, then the Government  Companies  and  Public  Corporation  would
have continued to be covered under the Maharashtra Rent  Control  Act,  1999
in view of the provision of Article 254(2).  That has not  happened.   Thus,
the Government Companies and  Public  Corporations  are  taken  out  of  the
coverage of the Bombay Rent Act, and they are covered under Public  Premises
Act, 1971, though from the date specified  therein  i.e.  16.9.1958.   After
that  date,  the  Government  Companies  and  Public  Corporations  will  be
entitled to claim the application of the Public Premises Act, 1971 (and  not
of the Bombay Rent Act  or  its  successor  Maharashtra  Rent  Control  Act,
1999), but from the date on which premises  belong  to  these  companies  or
corporations and with respect to the subjects  specified  under  the  Public
Premises Act.  In that  also  the  public  companies  and  corporations  are
expected to follow the earlier mentioned guidelines.
50.         We have not for a moment taken any position different  from  the
propositions in Ashoka Marketing.  We are  infact  in  agreement  therewith,
and  we  are  not  accepting  the  submission  of  Mr.  Nariman,  that  only
contractual tenancies were sought to be covered  under  that  judgment,  and
not statutory tenancies.  Tenancies of both kinds will be  covered  by  that
judgment, and they will be covered under the Public  Premises  Act  for  the
subjects specified therein.  The only issue is with effect from which  date.
 That aspect was not canvassed at all before  the  Constitution  Bench,  and
that is the only aspect which is being clarified by this judgment.   We  are
only clarifying that the application of the  Public  Premises  Act  will  be
only from 16.9.1958, or from such later date when concerned premises  become
Public Premises on the concerned landlord becoming a Government  Company  or
Public Corporation.  When the law laid down  by  the  different  Benches  of
this Court including by the Constitution Benches on  retrospectivity  is  so
clear, and so are the provisions of the Public Premises  Act,  there  is  no
occasion for this Court to take any other view. When this judgment  is  only
clarifying and advancing the proposition  laid  down  in  Ashoka  Marketing,
there is no reason for us to accept the  objections  raised  by  Mr.  Raval,
that the issues raised in this matter should not be decided  by  this  bench
but ought to be referred to a larger bench.
51.          In  this  context  we  may  note  that  since  the   issue   of
retrospective application of the Public Premises Act, to  tenancies  entered
into before 16.9.1958, or before the property in question becoming a  public
premises, was neither canvassed  nor  considered  by  the  bench  in  Ashoka
Marketing (supra), the decision does not, in any  way,  prevent  this  Bench
from clarifying the law regarding the same. This follows from  the  judgment
of the Supreme Court in State of Haryana  Vs.  Ranbir  @  Rana  reported  in
(2006) 5 SCC 167 wherein it was held that a decision,  it  is  well-settled,
is an authority for what it decides and not what can  logically  be  deduced
therefrom. The following observations of this court  from  paragraph  39  of
Commissioner of  Income  Tax  Vs.  M/s.  Sun  Engineering  Works  (P.)  Ltd.
reported in AIR1993 SC 43 are also pertinent:
      “The judgment must be read as a whole and the  observations  from  the
      judgment have to be considered in the light  of  the  questions  which
      were before this Court. A decision of this Court takes its colour from
      the questions involved in the case in which it is rendered  and  while
      applying the decision to a later case, the courts must  carefully  try
      to ascertain the true principle laid down  by  the  decision  of  this
      Court and not to pick  out  words  or  sentences  from  the  judgment,
      divorced from the context of the questions under consideration by this
      Court, to support their reasonings.

(emphasis supplied)
It is clear from a reading of the very first paragraph of  Ashoka  Marketing
that the question before it  was  ‘whether  the  provisions  of  the  Public
Premises Act would override the  provisions  of  the  Rent  Control  Act  in
relation to premises which fall within the ambit of  both  the  enactments.’
The Court answered this in the affirmative, and we respectfully  agree  with
the same. However, Ashoka Marketing  (supra)  can  not  be  said  to  be  an
authority on the retrospective application of the Public  Premises  Act,  or
where the premises fall within the ambit of only one act, as that issue  was
not before the Court.
52.         For the reasons stated above, we  allow  this  appeal  and  set-
aside the impugned judgment and order dated 7.6.2010 rendered  by  the  High
Court of Bombay in Writ Petition No. 2473 of 1996.  
The said  Writ  Petition
shall stand allowed, and the judgment and order dated  17.1.1996  passed  by
the City Civil Court, Mumbai, as well as the eviction order dated  28.5.1993
passed by the respondent No. 2 against the appellant will stand  set  aside.
The proceedings for eviction from premises, and for  recovery  of  rent  and
damages initiated by the first respondent against the  appellant  under  the
Public Premises Act, 1971, are held to be bad in law,  and  shall  therefore
stand dismissed.  
We however, make it clear, that in  case  the  respondents
intend to take any steps for that purpose,  it  will  be  open  to  them  to
resort to the remedy available  under  the  Maharashtra  Rent  Control  Act,
1999, provided they make out a case therefor.  The parties will  bear  their
own costs.

                                                …………………………………..J.
                                   [ H.L. Gokhale  ]


                                               ……………………………………J.
                                  [ J. Chelameswar ]
New Delhi
Dated: February  11, 2014









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