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This article is written by Disha Pathak.


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Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 finds its roots way back to the 20th century. The Act came into existence aftermath the horrible crisis of partition, while the first Rent Control Act in Delhi came into being after the outbreak of second world war in 1939. This act was tenant friendly and was to protect the interest of especially the economic weaker sections from the untimely evictions and skyrocketing rents demanded by the landowners. However with circumstances changing (even the century), the archaic law stands stagnant, and though many amendments were made, but no amendment managed to hit the bull’s eye, and dig no deeper. While large part of the Act deals with the fixation of rent, Controller was in the charge of fixing the standard rents and handles most of the cases related to the rent regulation in the parts of Delhi. Both the landlords and the tenants have the right to approach the Controller through Applications for the regulation of rent of their properties. 


Controller in the Delhi Rent Control Act,1958 is defined as “Controller appointed under sub-section (1) of section 35 and includes an additional Controller appointed under sub-section (2) of that section.” in a legal and technical language, however in the layman language they can be simply defined as officers who are in charge of controlling the rents of the properties as and when the need arises. They have their powers same as are vested in the Civil Court, under Code of Civil Procedure,1908 while trying a suit. 

Appointment and Powers

Qualifications to be appointed as a Controller and functions and powers vested in him has been defined under Chapter VI of the Act. 

Applications to the Controller

So far it is clear that the Controller is in the charge of regulating the rules for the rent of properties of Delhi. But how to approach a Controller? Whenever there is a rough patch between the landowners and tenants. 

Controller there acts as a mediator, who sought to bring their deal to a conclusion. Either the landlord or the tenant can approach the Controller through an application made to him in the name of his office. Application can be made to him/her for different purposes. The basic motive behind enacting this act and appointment of the Controller was to protect the interest of the tenants so they don’t have to pay more than the reasonable and stipulated rent, and the arbitrary evictions by the landlords. Standard and reasonable rent here means, the rent which is affordable to the economically weaker sections and is being provided in the Act itself. 

Applications under Sections 9, 13, 14 or 19(1) 

(1) Every application to the Controller under Section 9, Section 13, Section 14 or sub-section (1) of Section 19 shall be in Form A. 

(2) An application under section 13 shall also give particulars of the sum or consideration paid, the circumstances under which such payment was made and the provisions of the Act, or of the Delhi-Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952, which has been contravened. 

(3) An application for permission to re-let premises under sub-section (1) of section 19 shall also state the ground on which the premises are sought to be re-let in whole or in part. 

Section 9 guarantees, that the controller shall, through an application made to him, fix the standard rent keeping in with the provisions of Section 6 and 7 of the Act. 

Section 13 guarantees and protects the rights of the tenants, if they had paid any sum to the landlord in violation of the rules of this Act, the Controller shall on receiving an application may order the landlord to refund the sum to the tenant. 

Section 14 talks in length about the protection of tenants against eviction and specify certain grounds on which landlord can evict their tenants and not violating their rights. 

Section 19(1) elaborates about the recovery of possession of the property for the purposes of occupation and re-entry, and the landowner shall not except with the permission of the Controller re let the property within three years of having such possession; and Controller may by her/his order let the tenant take possession of such premises. 

Landowners perspective

Above mentioned sections deals in depth with the application to the controller. However these section give immense power to the tenants in regard of possession of the property. Since it is an archaic Act, it favors the tenants, which when the Act was enacted gave power to the economically weaker sections and gave them hope over the possession of their properties. However with the change in the scenarios, the Act has been misused by the tenants. Section 9 talks about the standard rent fixed by the Controller, however it is more like of a controlled market where the rent is fixed, irrespective of the current market situations.

Talking of the Controller, who has to be a judicial officer, it is not guaranteed that she/he may be an expert in fixing the rent, or aware of the market situations which gave a huge setback to this Act. Landlord does not get a chance to decide the rate of their property’s rent by themselves and therefore by mere application to the Controller, there can be a fixation in the rent. All the applications made to the Controller shall be in the Form A, which gives the details of the rent, about the property, and under which section it has been sent to the office. The act has been majorly in the tenant’ favor, however there are some sections and conditions which give relief to the landlords as well, as it provide certain grounds on which possession can be reclaimed, and protects them against the violations of the rules by the tenants. 

Under Section 19(1), through an application made to the Controller, re-possession of the property on grounds of occupation is possible, however it also grants powers to the Controller to decide that whether the tenant could acquire possession over the premises or not, which again leaves no room for the landowners to decide about their property. By a mere application tenant can possess the property. Controller here can be biased and there is no prior inspection of the property before letting the property to the landowners. Eviction should be ascertained and analysed, and therefore conclusion should be made that whether the eviction is just and lawful or not. 

Tenants’ perspective 

Since this act is Tenant friendly, and since ages it has been criticized because of stagnancy, it ignores the landlords’ concern over their properties. There has been considerable dip in the investments by the landlords in the properties, because of the controlled markets by virtue of interim and standard fixed rents. Initially it was enacted for the economically weaker sections, but now it has been misused by many residents, and even after several amendments it could not repair the financial damage done to the properties in the market dealings. The benefit of such act for the tenants is that it sets the fixed rent and standard rents by the act and protects them from the untimely or unreasonable evictions by the landlords. Also if the landlord acquires the possession of the property, on application to the controller, they can claim possession over the premises, if it is in the regulation of the rules provided under the Act. Also if the Controller thinks fit, they are eligible for the compensation. In all the ways this Act protects the interests of the tenants and ensures that they get a roof above their head.
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Application for Re-enter

An application by a tenant under sub-section (2) of section 19 or under sub-section (3) of section 20 for putting him in possession of the premises or part thereof shall be made within six months from the date on which the cause of action for re-entry arises and shall state the grounds on which such possession in claimed. 

This provision provides that application shall be made under Section 19(2) and 20(3) within six months from the date on which the cause of action for re-entry arises and shall also specifies the grounds on which such possession is claimed. 

Section 19(2) provides that if the landowner lets the possession of the property to another tenant other than the evicted tenant within three years from the date of obtaining such possession, and such premises are not held by landowner, then controller, through an application made by the evicted tenant, may order the landlord to give possession of the land or compensate him in equals. 

Section 20(3) deals with that if landowner, after the tenant has delivered the possession, fails to continue the repairs and work on the building, and provide occupation to the tenant, then the controller shall order the landowner to give such occupation to the tenant, upon receiving an application from such a tenant. 

Landlord perspective

The above sections are clearly not in favour of the landowners and curbs their liberty to engage tenants and for that matter even workers required for the works and repairs on his building. These sections are arbitrary and biased towards the landowners, since it gives powers to the tenants and in a way this power may get misused, because there is no prior investigation on the same. Mere application under the section prompts the Controller to take an action before the landowner can be reasonably heard. Moreover it is a pressure on the landowner regarding employing such tenants, and giving them possession specially after the property has been repossessed. 

Also the question of delay is not reasonable as there may be genuine reasons behind it, and having such tenants again should not be compulsory. 

However it can be ascertained that tenants may not get dispossessed unnecessarily and unreasonably, and therefore special experts maybe employed for such investigations and counselling maybe done for both the landowners. 

Tenants’ perspective 

Above sections clearly supports the plight of the tenants who are unreasonably displaced from their properties and are untimely evicted. 

Section 20(3) not only maintains that they get compensated but also ensures that they are given occupation of the building. However it is an undisputed fact, that there maybe misuse of the act and therefore many tenants who are genuinely evicted and with mala fide intentions get the advantage out of the situation. 

Application for Recovery of Possession under Section 21

An application for recovery of possession under section 21 by the landlord shall be made within six months from the date of expiry of the period of tenancy. 

This section deals with the recovery of possession in case of tenancies for limited period. In this Section, if the landowner and tenant has a written agreement between them, about the limited period of the tenancy, and on the expiration of such period, tenant does not vacate the premises, then the Controller on behalf of the application by the landowner may place the possession of such property to the landowner, and evicting such tenant and whosoever in occupation of it. 

This section is in favor of the landowners and protect their interests against tenants with malafide intentions. It is illegal and not reasonable to go beyond the written agreement, and therefore both the landowners and tenants are obligated to adhere to such rules, and anyone who violates it, must bear with the legal consequences. 

Form of other Application

An application not herein before specified in these rules shall, so far as may be made in Form A and shall state the grounds on which it is made. 

This provision provides that the Applications made to the Controller shall be made in Form A, which also states the grounds on which they are made and specially sections under which these grounds fall. 

Manner in which Applications are to be made 

(l) Every application under the Act shall be signed and verified in the manner prescribed under rules 14 and 15 of Order VI of the First Schedule to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and shall be presented by the applicant or his recognised agent to the Controller. 

(2) Every such application shall be accompanied by a copy or sufficient number of copies thereof for service on the respondent of respondents mentioned therein. 

Rule 14 of the CPC, 1908 talks about “Pleading to be signed” i.e. the pleading has to be signed by the pleader, or in his absence any pleader who is authorised to do the same. 

Rule 15 of the CPC, 1908 specifies about “ Verification of Pleadings” which is to ensure that pleader verifying the facts of the case is upto the \satisfaction of the Court, and verifies the facts to be true by signing it duly. 

Appearance before the Controller 

A party may appear before the Controller either in person or by a recognised agent provided that if the Controller so directs the party shall appear in person. 

This ensures the legal identity of the party pleading, and if the Controller is not satisfied, he may order the party to appear personally. 

[8A. Form of report of valuation by valuer – (1) The report of valuation by a valuer in respect of the premises shall be in Form F. 

Fees – (2) The amount of fees to be paid to the valuer shall be such as may be decided by the Rent Controller.

-Form F deals with the details and intricacies of the valuation of rent and about the property to be valued. 


After discussing about the details and analysing the applications made to the Controller under The Delhi Rent Control Act,1958, we reach to the conclusion that beside all the benefits it has given to the tenants, economically weaker sections, it remains an archaic enactment, which has not come to terms to the modern times. All the amendments made were great efforts to fit this Act into the modern times and improve the rental housing conditions, but it remains a fact that it was enacted for a short time period and still it has managed to cross a century, the positive side is that it has proved the rental housing conditions for the tenants or those without the shelter but it has a worst hit on the landowners and their investments. 

Application to the Controller in this Article dealt with that how under several Sections provided in this act ensures that on what grounds, both the landlords and tenants could make applications to claim what’s rightfully theirs and have it through the right means. Nevertheless with the time and space changing, the laws must get the better out of it and keep pace with the modern scenarios. 

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