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UNION OF INDIA v TEJENDRA SINGH - CMA Case No. 747 of 1995  RD-RJ 1975 (13 April 2007)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE FOR RAJASHTAN,
JAIPUR BENCH, JAIPUR.
S.B. Civil Misc. Appeal No. 747 / 1995
Union of India
Tejendra Singh and Ors. 13th April, 2007
Date of Judgment:
Hon'ble Mr. Justice R. S. Chauhan
Mr. Kamlakar Sharma with
Mr. Shashank Sharma, for the Appellant.
Mr. Suresh Pareek with
Mr. N.C. Sharma, for the Respondents.
The appellant are challenging the order dated 16-2- 1995 passed by the District Judge, Jaipur whereby the learned Judge has made the award dated 17-1-1994 a rule of the court and has rejected the objections filed by the appellant.
Briefly the facts of this case are that the respondents filed an application before the court of
District Judge, Jaipur under Section 8(1) of the Arbitration
Act, inter alia, with the averments that the respondents were the owner of the premises known as "KAMAL
NIWAS" at Govind Marg, Opposite Kanota House, Jaipur which building was taken on lease by the Government of
India, Ministry of Home Affairs for Jaipur office of the
Intelligence Bureau vide lease-agreement dated 11.1.1969 at the monthly rent of Rs.1300/- assessed by the CPWD. The period of the lease expired on 10.1.1974.
However, the lease was subsequently renewed up to 10.1.1979. The Government of India was requested to vacate the premises but that was not agreed to and instead of re-assessment of the rent as on 1.4.1984 was proposed. The respondents were informed vide letter dated 5.6.1990 by the Government of India that the enclosed lease-agreement may be signed for a period of another five years. On account of the joint ownership of the members of the Hindu Undivided Family three different lease-agreements were signed. As per the conditions No.2 and 3 of the lease-agreement, the lease was to be effective from 3.2.1989 for a period of five years with an option to the Government of India to renew lease for further term as setout in Clause-14 of the agreement. Clause-13 provided that the Government of
India shall, subject to the terms of the agreement, pay rent for the said premises at the rate of fair market rent as on 3.2.1989 to be assessed by CPWD. In the meantime, the Government of India would continue to pay as an interim measure the rent last assessed by the CPWD per months, payable monthly in arrears inclusive of maintenance. It was further contended by the respondents that as per the agreement dated 25.6.1990 referred to supra, the lease was effective for a period of five years from 3.2.1989 and is current up to 2.2.1994 only. The Government of India was, thus, liable to pay rent of the said premises at the rate of fair market rent as on 3.2.1989. However, its Ministry of Home Affairs,
Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau vide their letter dated 28.11.1991 informed the respondents that the revised rent as on 1.4.1989 shall be paid with effect from 22.6.1990 and fresh lease agreements shall be executed for five years. It was also contended by the respondents that the CPWD vide their certificate dated 31.1.1991 have conveyed fair market rent to be between 36,370/- to
Rs.28,070/- per month. It has accepted the rent to be
Rs.28,070/- per month although the CPWD has assessed the rent to be between Rs.36,370/- to Rs.28,070/- per month. The Government had not signed any reason in fixing the assessed rent at the lower rate instead of taking the mean average. The respondents claimed to have suffered losses at the rate of Rs.8300/- per month which is the difference between the lower and higher rate assessed by the CPWD. Apart from this, the Government has wrongly paid this rent w.e.f. 22.6.1990 instead of 3.2.1989, which was the intention of the lease-agreement dated 25.6.1990 and thereby deprived the respondents of their rightful claim for enhanced rate for sixteen months and 19 days. Notice was given to the Government of
India through its Director of Estate, New Delhi in terms of
Clause-16 and 17 of the lease-agreement for appointment of the Arbitrator to resolve this controversy.
However, the Government of India did not appoint any arbitrator. Therefore, the respondent filed the said application for appointment of Sole Arbitrator.
The appellant filed a detailed reply to the same and contested the application. In the reply, it was stated that the proposal for re-assessment of rent w. e. f. 1.4.1984 was processed and finally approval was received in the month of June 1990 and it was immediately conveyed to the respondents vide memorandum dated 5.6.1990.
Three different lease-deeds were executed in order to meet the request of the landlord. There was no obligation on the appellants to unilaterally revise/enhance the rate of rent w. e. f. 3.2.1989 unless and until the landlord made a request specifically on that point. It was stated that in accordance with the principles laid down by the Ministry of Law and Home Affairs and Ministry of Urban
Development, Government of India, rent is revised/re- assessed only when the landlord applies for revision of the rent prior to the expiry of the period up to which it is admissible. However, the request for such revision/re- assessment was received after expiry of the present sanctioned period. This principle was being universally followed throughout the country in all the Government of
India Departments. So long as the landlord did not apply for revision of the rent, the rate of existing rent would continue till the time such request for revision was received. This was conveyed to the respondent. The revision of the rent was sanctioned at the rate of
Rs.28,070/- w. e. f. 22.6.1990, the date on which the request for such revision was received from the landlord.
Since the date 22.6.1990 was different from the date 3.2.1989 indicated in the agreement lastly executed, the necessity to execute a fresh lease-agreement arose. The applicant was himself responsible for the late revision, as he did not make the request for such revision on time.
The Government of India has been adopting a universal policy throughout the country to revise the rent at the lowest of the rate suggested by the CPWD. The very fact of there being a great variation between the lower and higher rate as assessed by the CPWD, disentitles the respondent to receive the highest or even higher than the lowest rate of rent. The Government of India was not obliged to accept the highest rate so suggested. The liability is limited to paying only the lower rate suggested by the CPWD. All the due arrears have been paid to the respondent. Since the approval of the Government of
India for enhancement of rent took sometime, the same was delayed. Moreover, the revision having been allowed w.e.f. 22.6.1990, the next revision would automatically fall due five years thereafter on 22.6.1995. The Director of
Estate on 28.8.1992 appropriately replied to the notice of the respondents dated 14.8.1992 for appointment of
Arbitrator. It was therefore, prayed that the application for appointment of the Arbitrator be rejected.
After hearing the arguments on the said application, the learned District Judge vide his order dated 25.9.1993 appointed Retired Judge of this Court, Mr. Justice Pana
Chand Jain, as the Sole Arbitrator. The respondents filed their statement of claims before the Sole Arbitrator; the appellants filed their reply. Affidavits on both the sides were filed in evidence. The Sole Arbitrator passed his
Award on 17.1.1994 that was amended on the request of the respondents on 1.2.1994. This award was filed before the Court of District Judge.
The appellants filed their objections to the aforesaid award. In the objections, it was stated that there was no justification for the learned Arbitrator to have awarded taking the average rate between the higher and lower rates suggested by the CPWD. There was also no justification for the learned Arbitrator to have made this rate effective from 3.2.1989. The award of interest @ 15% p.a. was also wholly unjustified. The learned
Arbitrator was requested by the Court of District Judge to submit his award within four months. However, the award was much delayed thereafter and the Arbitrator has exceeded his authority in delivery of award even after the period permitted to him expired. The learned Arbitrator has exceeded terms to his reference by awarding the rent in excess of the one covered by the terms to reference and interest. The learned Arbitrator has also mis- conducted himself in subsequently making the material corrections in the award even though the award had been filed on 17.1.1994 in the District Court and the corrections were subsequently submitted to the Court of District
Judge on 1.2.1994.
The learned District Judge vide its judgment dated 16.2.1995 accepted the award and made it the rule of the court. Hence, this appeal before this court.
Admittedly, the scope of judicial review of an arbitration award is extremely limited. Since the parties themselves appoint the learned Sole Arbitrator, his award is binding upon the parties. Once, the award is binding on the parties, the same cannot be challenged lightly before the learned Judge. Moreover, even if the arbitrator has wrongly appreciated the facts, or has wrongly applied the law, the same is not amenable to judicial review. For, neither this court, nor the Civil Court can sit as a court of appeal over the award. Even if there are two interpretations of the facts, the court cannot substitute its interpretation in place of that of the learned Arbitrator. [Ref to the cases of Maharashtra State Electricity Board
Vs. Sterlite Industries (India) & Anr. (2001 (8) SCC 482),
Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. Vs. L.K. Ahuja (2004 (5) SCC 109), Rajasthan State Electricity Board Vs. M/s. Gammon
India Ltd. (1998 DNJ (Raj.) 680), Indu Engineering &
Textiles Ltd. Vs. Delhi Development Authority (AIR 2001
SC 2668), State of U.P. Vs. Allied Constructions (2003 (7)
SCC 396), Rajasthan State Mines & Minerals Ltd. Vs.
Eastern Engineering Enterprises (1999 (9) SCC 283) and
D.D. Sharma Vs. Union of India (2004 (5) SCC 325)].
A bare perusal of the award reveals that the entire case revolved around question of fact and not around any question of law. The learned Sole Arbitrator has given his findings after meticulously considering the evidence produced by both the parties. Therefore, his interpretation of fact cannot be interfered with by a court of law. Even if there are two interpretations, the court is not empowered to substitute its interpretation in place of the interpretation given by the learned Sole Arbitrator. Considering the settled position of law as mentioned above, the learned
Judge has rightly refused to interfere with the impugned
Award. Hence, there is neither any perversity nor, any illegality in the impugned judgment dated 16.2.1995.
In the result, this appeal has no force. It is hereby dismissed. There shall be no orders as to cost.
R.S. Chauhan, J.
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