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Eknath Bhanudas Utane Vs. Shankarrao Deorao Jumde and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Appln. No. 229 of 1966
Judge
Reported inAIR1971Bom1; 1971MhLJ546
ActsCentral Provinces and Berar Letting of Houses and Rent Control Order, 1949; Central Provinces and Berar Regulation of Letting of Accommodation Act, 1946 - Sections 1(3), 2 and 8; Central Provinces and Berar House Rent Control Order, 1942; Defence of India Rules - Rule 81; Central Provinces and Berar Collection of Information and Letting of Houses Order, 1946; Bombay Rents, Hotel and Lodging House Rates Control Act, 1947 - Sections 12, 13(1) and 15; Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1949 - Sections 7(3); Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) (Amendment) Act, 1950; Central Provinces and Berar House Rent Control Order, 1947
AppellantEknath Bhanudas Utane
RespondentShankarrao Deorao Jumde and anr.
Appellant AdvocateK.H. Deshpande, ;K.M. Diwale and ;S.V. Natu, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateP.N. Karekar, Adv.
Excerpt:
- - (3) if after hearing the parties the controller is satisfied- (vi) that the landlord needs the house or a portion thereof for the purpose of his bona fide occupation, provided he is not occupying any other house of his own in the city or town concerned; *he shall grant the landlord permission to give notice to determine the lease as required by sub-clause (1).'6. sub-clause (4) then provides that if the landlord has obtained permission under item (vi) above and does not occupy the premises without good cause, then the controller is empowered to restore possession of the house or a portion thereof to the tenant from whom it was taken. 'when a landlord applies to the controller under item (vi) of sub-clause (3), the controller shall enquire into the needs of the landlord and if on.....kotval, c.j.1. this reference raises an important question under the central provinces and berar letting of houses and rent control order 1949. the question is whether a landlord in occupation of a house or a portion of a house of his own in the city or town concerned has any right at all to apply for permission to evict his tenant under clause 13(3) (vi) of the said order, on the ground that the landlord needs the house or a portion thereof for the purpose of his bona fide occupation.2. eknath the petitioner, was a tenant of house no. 130 in ward no. 29 of amravati town, of which shankar, the landlord, was the owner. the house is a two-storeyed building. on the first floor there is only a big hall which at the material time was in possession of the tenant at rs. 30/- per month. on the.....
Judgment:

Kotval, C.J.

1. This reference raises an important question under the Central Provinces and Berar Letting of Houses and Rent Control Order 1949. The question is whether a landlord in occupation of a house or a portion of a house of his own in the city or town concerned has any right at all to apply for permission to evict his tenant under Clause 13(3) (vi) of the said Order, on the ground that the landlord needs the house or a portion thereof for the purpose of his bona fide occupation.

2. Eknath the petitioner, was a tenant of house No. 130 in ward No. 29 of Amravati town, of which Shankar, the landlord, was the owner. The house is a two-storeyed building. On the first floor there is only a big hall which at the material time was in possession of the tenant at Rs. 30/- per month. On the ground floor, there are six rooms of which four were let out by the respondent No. 1 the landlord to the petitioner. The remaining two rooms were in possession of the landlord. The landlord applied for permission to serve a notice of ejectment on the tenant under Items (i), (ii) & (vi) of Clause 13(3) of the Rent Control Order. These items refer to the different grounds for ejectment of a tenant: (a) Item (i) refers to his being in arrears of rent for an aggregate period of three months, or (b) Item (ii) to his being habitually in arrears with the rent, and (c) Item (vi) to the landlord needing the house for his own bona fide occupation.

3. The Rent Controller and the Deputy Collector rejected the landlord's application upon the first two grounds. These authorities concurrently held that the tenant was not in arrears of rent, nor was he habitually in arrears with the rent. But both the authorities have granted permission under Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) of the Order. They have held that the landlord who was in occupation of only two rooms out of the six rooms on the ground floor, had a large enough family to require bona fide the rest of the rooms in the occupation of the tenant and therefore the landlord needed the house for the purpose of his bona fide occupation. It was found as a fact by the authorities that there were eight members in the family of the landlord and that the two rooms in the occupa-tion of the landlord were wholly inadequate for the needs of the landlord and his family.

4. Against these orders of the Rent Controller and the Deputy Collector, the tenant has come up to this Court. Apart from other questions, a point of law has been raised that having regard to the provisions of Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) of Order, the landlord, in the circumstances of the present case, could not have applied, for he was already in possession of a house of his own and therefore he would be barred from applying at all under Item (vi), having regard to the proviso in Item (vi).

5. It is necessary at this stage to refer to the relevant provisions of the law as it then existed. Clause 13(1) of the Rent Control Order prohibits a landlord from giving notice to a tenant determining the lease or determining the lease if the lease is expressed to be determinable at his option, without the previous written permission of the Controller. It also prohibits a landlord from requiring the tenant to vacate the house by process of law or otherwise in a case where the lease is determinable by efflux of the time limited thereby, so long as the tenant is willing to continue the lease on the same terms and conditions. This is the general principle which has been stated at the outset Then in Sub-clause (3) of Clause 13, the conditions and circumstances under which the permission may be granted by the Controller are stated. We are not concerned with the other grounds on which permission may thus be granted except the ground mentioned in Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) which runs as follows:

'(3) If after hearing the parties the Controller is satisfied-

* * * * * (vi) that the landlord needs the house or a portion thereof for the purpose of his bona fide occupation, provided he is not occupying any other house of his own in the city or town concerned; * * * * * he shall grant the landlord permission to give notice to determine the lease as required by Sub-clause (1).'

6. Sub-clause (4) then provides that if the landlord has obtained permission under Item (vi) above and does not occupy the premises without good cause, then the Controller is empowered to restore possession of the house or a portion thereof to the tenant from whom it was taken. By Sub-clause (5) the landlord is prohibited from letting out the premises in respect of which he has obtained permission under Item (vi).Sub-clause (8) of Clause 13 reads as follows: 'When a landlord applies to the Controller under Item (vi) of Sub-clause (3), the Controller shall enquire into the needs of the landlord and if on enquiry the Controller is satisfied that the needs of the landlord will be met by the occupation of a portion of the house he shall give permission in respect of such portion only.'

Clause 22 of the Order makes it the duty of the landlord to give notice where a house is vacant or is about to become vacant or available for occupation. Then Clause 23(1) provides as follows:--

'On receipt of the intimation in accordance with Clause 22 the Collector may, within fifteen days from the date of receipt of the said intimation, order the landlord to let the vacant house to any person holding an office of profit under the Union or State Government or to any person holding a post under the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board, or to a displaced person or to an evicted person and thereupon notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary, the landlord shall let the house to such person and place him in possession immediately, if it is vacant or as soon as it becomes vacant;

Provided that if the landlord has, in the intimation given under Clause 22, stated that he needs the house for his own occupation, the Collector shall, if satisfied after due enquiry that the house is so needed, permit the landlord to occupy the same.'

7. Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) which we have quoted above has undergone several amendments. We shall deal with these amendments separately when we come to consider the arguments based upon the legislative history of this item; but the clause we have quoted above was as it stood on 13-4-1964, that is to say, the date on which the present application under Clause 13(3) was made.

8. The Central Provinces and Berar Letting of Houses and Rent Control Order, 1949, was enacted by the then Provincial Government under powers given to it by Section 8 of the Central Provinces and Berar Regulation of Letting of Accommodation Act, 1946 (No. 11 of 1946). The purpose and object of the Act is stated in its preamble as being 'to make provision for regulating the letting and subletting of accommodation and other ancillary matters hereinafter specified.' The provisions of Clause 13 of the Order have been justified before us under Section 2(b) of that Act which provides as one of the powers given to the State Government 'for preventing the eviction of tenants or subtenants from such accommodation in specified circumstances'.

9. Now, the contention on behalf of the tenant has been that though no doubt the Rent Controller and the Deputy Collector have found in the present case that the landlord needs the four rooms occupied by the tenant having regard to the circumstances of his family, the fact remains--and that is an undisputed fact--that the landlord was in occupation of two rooms out of the six rooms on the ground floor of the premises in question. Therefore, upon the very terms of the proviso to Item (vi), the landlord is occupying another house of his own in the town or city concerned, and that would be a bar to his asking for the additional accommodation at all. It was urged that the proviso is couched in language which is absolute in its terms and admits of no relaxation on the ground of the additional need of the landlord for accommodation.

10. On the other hand, it has been contended on behalf of the landlord that the proviso is only a limitation placed upon the opening words of the item 'that the landlord needs the house or a portion thereof for the purpose of his bona fide occupation', and that therefore the proviso must be construed in consonance with the present provision to which it is a proviso, and so construing it, it was contended that an implication must be read into the proviso that if the need of the landlord for additional accommodation is established, then such accommodation can be granted to the landlord.

11. Though the landlord's need is to be taken into account in terms of the opening words of Item (vi), we find no such qualification in terms laid down in the proviso to Item (vi). The proviso is absolute in its terms and says in plain English 'provided he is not occupying any other house of his own in the city or town concerned'. The proviso does not say 'provided he is not occupying any other house of his own suitable to his needs'. Considering the plain words of the proviso, we are quite unable to find any words suggesting that the reasonableness of the accommodation or its quantum can be taken into account where the landlord is already in occupation of any other house of his own.

12. In this respect, it is necessary to refer to the definitions of 'house' 'landlord' and 'tenant' in Clause 2(3), (4) and (5) of the Order. It was contended that the definitions when read into Item (vi) and its proviso support the interpretation canvassed on behalf of the landlord. 'House' is defined in that clause to mean 'a building or part of a building, whether residential or non-residential, and includes--

(a) the garden, grounds and outhouses (if any) appurtenant to such building or part of a building, and

(b) any furniture supplied by the landlord for use in such building or part of a building.'

In Sub-clauses (4) and (5) the words 'landlord' and 'tenant' are defined but always in relation to a house. We do not see how these definitions carry the matter further. Reading the definition of 'house' into the opening words of Item (vi), the item would read .....that the landlord needs a building or part of a building whether residential or non-residential (including the garden, grounds, outhouses and furniture supplied by the landlord) for the purpose of his bona fide occupation. But this will not make the slightest difference to the operation of the succeeding words of the proviso, 'provided that he is not occupying any other house of his own in the city or town concerned.' The definition applies as much to the present clause as to the proviso and thus reading the definition into the proviso, the proviso will run 'provided he is not occupying any other building or part of a building whether residential or non-residential of his own' (and including the garden, grounds, outhouses and furniture). This would make matters worse for the landlord. The prohibition contained in the proviso would be enlarged and even if the landlord is in occupation of a part of a building the interdiction of the proviso would operate and he cannot get the rest of the house. Thus, when the proviso to Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) lays down a condition that the landlord should not be occupying any other house of his own, implicit in the use of the word 'house' is a building or a part of that building, as also its garden, grounds, outhouses appurtenant to such building or part of a building. In the present case, therefore, where the landlord occupies two rooms out of six on the ground floor of this building, he is occupying a part of that building, and therefore it must be held that he is occupying a house of his own within the meaning of the definition.

13. The further contention on behalf of the landlord has been that the proviso being a proviso to the parent clause 'that the landlord needs the house or a portion thereof', is a proviso so far as the need of the landlord is concerned, and therefore, the question of need of the landlord must fall to be considered in applying the proviso. The proviso itself does not suggest that it is concerned with the need of the landlord at all. But what is argued is that because it is a proviso to the opening clause, the question of need must be readinto the proviso. Now, it Is no doubt true that the opening part of Item (vi) speaks of the landlord's need for the house but it is equally clear that the Legislature in enacting the proviso may have itself determined what was the need in a given case and it is possible that the Legislature may have come to the conclusion that so long as that landlord is in occupation of any other house of his own, his need must be held 10 be satisfied and that therefore the opening words of the item cannot apply. In other words, instead of leaving it to the authorities to determine his need, the Legislature itself to that extent determined the question of need of the landlord, and therefore it provided in terms that if he is occupying any other house of his own, he cannot claim the benefit of Item (vi). We shall presently show that on a consideration of the legislative history of this item this conclusion is the only possible conclusion that can be reached upon the words used in the proviso.

14. The next argument was that Sub-clause (8) of Clause 13 indicates that in applying Item (vi) of Clause 13(3), the need of the landlord, although he may be in occupation of any other house of his own, must be considered. In other words, what is really suggested is that Sub-clause (8) of Clause 13 controls Item (vi) of Clause 13(3). This argument cannot be accepted upon the plain terms of Sub-clause (8) of Clause 13, because the sub-clause opens with the words 'When a landlord applies to the Controller under Item (vi) of Sub-clause (3).' Therefore, it is Item (vi) of Sub-clause (3) of Clause 13 which controls Sub-clause (8) and not vice versa. It is Item (vi) which confers the plenary power and Sub-clause (8) merely provides how that power is to be exercised in cases where the need of the landlord is to be inquired into. When Sub-clause (8) says that the Controller shall inquire into the needs of the landlord, it is clear that the sub-clause refers only to cases where the necessity to inquire into the needs of the landlord arises under Item (vi). But having regard to the proviso to Item (vi) in the case of a landlord who has a house of his own in the city or town concerned, no such inquiry becomes necessary, and therefore Sub-clause (8) would not be attracted. We do not therefore think that Sub-clause (8) of Clause 13 is of any assistance in construing the provisions of Clause 13(3) (vi). Sub-clause (8) only applies in cases where the needs of the landlord can be first inquired into having regard to the provisions of Item (vi), but not otherwise.

15. Reference was then made to the distinction that has been made bythe Order by the proviso to Clause 23 and by the proviso to Item (vi) of Clause 13(3). We have already quoted Clause 23. It provides in brief that where intimation of a house being vacant is given under Clause 22, the Collector may within the time mentioned order the landlord to let the vacant house to any one of the several categories of persons mentioned in Clause 23 and the landlord would be bound to let out the house to such person and place him in possession thereof immediately if it is vacant or as soon as it becomes vacant. Then the proviso to Clause 23 says that if in giving intimation under Clause 22, the landlord has stated that he needs the house for his own occupation the Collector shall, if satisfied after due enquiry that the house is so needed, permit the landlord to occupy the same. It will be noticed that while this proviso refers to the need of the landlord for the house, there is no limitation whatever placed in considering that need such as is placed by the proviso in Item (vi) of Clause 13 (3). We do not see how the provisions of Clause 23 and particularly the proviso thereto can assist towards a proper construction of the proviso to Item (vi) of Clause 13 (3). The two provisions are not in pari materia and they deal with two different classes of cases. Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) obviously deals with the case where the tenant who is in occupation has not expressed any intention to vacate and yet is compelled to vacate because the landlord needs the house, whereas Clause 23 refers to a case where the tenant has vacated or is about to vacate upon the termination of the lease by efflux of time or otherwise and the house becomes vacant or is likely to fall vacant. It is clear that the law made a distinction between these two cases and did not lay down that qualification which is imposed against the interest of the landlord in the proviso in Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) in the case where the house has fallen vacant or is likely to fall vacant and Clause 23 applies. It is possible that the Legislature may have thought that once premises have been let and the tenant voluntarily vacates or vacates due to the determination of the lease by efflux of time or otherwise, it would be unfair to impose the same burden upon the landlord that has been imposed by the proviso to Item (vi), namely, that in considering his need he must show that he has no other house of his own in the city or town concerned. If anything therefore, Clause 23 serves to emphasise the distinction between its proviso and the proviso in Item (vi) of Clause 13(3).

16. At this stage, we may dispose of another mode of construction suggested on the basis of the decision of thethen High Court of Judicature at Nagpur in F.K. Rahate v. Dr. D.N. Pendharkar, 1954 Nag LJ 255: AIR 1954 Nag 257. The proviso to Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) says 'provided he is not occupying any other house of his own in the city or town concerned' (the underlining is ours), and what was suggested on the basis of these words and particularly the use of the word 'other' in the clause we have reproduced above is that it can only mean a house other than the house in respect of which the application under Clause 13(3) (vi) is being made. In other words, the contention is that by 'other house' in the proviso is meant a house different from the house in respect of which the landlord applies on the ground of his need for the purpose of his bona fide occupation. No doubt, this view seems to have been suggested in the decision relied upon 1954 Nag LJ 255 = AIR 1954 Nag 257 (cit. sup.), but that decision is brief in the extreme and the most careful reading of it does not suggest that that was the view clearly taken by the Division Bench which decided it. In that case the facts were that the respondent No. 1 was in occupation of half portion of the ground floor of the petitioner's house as his tenant and the rest of the building was occupied by the petitioner himself for residence, and no doubt also, under those circumstances the Division Bench allowed the petition and granted permission to the landlord to occupy the portion in possession of the tenant, but that the decision was induced by the reasoning now advanced before us is a little difficult to gather from the reported decision. Paragraph 4 of that decision at page 256 on which reliance was placed runs as follows:

'It appears that where a landlord is not in possession of any other residential house of his own, the question of his need to occupy the part of the building let out to the tenant is not barred under Clause 13(3) (vi) (a) of the Rent Control Order, 1949. The question of grant of permission to terminate the tenancy in such a case would depend upon whether he really needs the portion of the house for his bona fide residence. Therefore, this question is also a matter on which the Rent Controller will now direct his attention.'

17. It is these somewhat cryptic remarks on the basis of which it is contended that the Division Bench decided in that case that the expression 'any other residential house of his own' should be interpreted to mean a house other than the one in respect of which the application under Clause 13(3) (vi) was made. In the context of the facts ofthat case perhaps, such a suggestion may well be made; but it is a little difficult to hold that that was the ratio decidendi of that case. These remarks were only made while remanding the case. At any rate, there does not appear to be any reasoning and we do not think that we can accept that case as a decision upon the proposition canvassed before us,

18. Moreover it seems to us that if that was the ratio decidendi of that case, it cannot be accepted as having correctly decided upon the very terms of Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) for the simple reason that upon the view canvassed, it would necessarily lead to ignoring the very definition of 'house' in Clause 2(3) of the Order. Since a 'house' includes a building or part of a building, it is clear that in that case when the landlord-petitioner was occupying the rest of the building, the landlord was occupying another house of his own because a part of a building, by the definition, is a house. The words 'any other' in Item (vi) would not advance the argument any further because it seems to us that all that the Legislature intended to do by the use of those words was to place additional emphasis to qualify the word 'house' and virtually to convey that the landlord should be occupying no other house of his own. If the proviso had said 'provided he is not occupying a house of his own', it would have conveyed the same meaning but with lesser emphasis. The words 'any other' imply that the Legislature meant to say that he shall not have occupied any house at all of his own. We do not think therefore that the word 'other' can import a house other than the house in respect of which the application is made. We are unable to accept this contention.

19. When we turn however to consider the history of this clause and particularly of Item (vi) of Clause 13(3), it seems to us that the view which we have taken above is correct beyond any doubt. Originally, the Central Provinces and Berar House Rent Control Order, 1942, was enacted under Rule 81 of the then Defence of India Rules. But that Order merely prevented the landlord from giving notice to a tenant of his house to determine the lease or asking him to quit the house, vide Clause 8. There was no provision in that Order for a landlord getting back possession of the premises upon certain conditions as in the subsequent Order. In 1943, Clause 8 was amended by the State Government, see Central Provinces and Berar Gazette Notification dated 20-8-1943 and the provisions of Clause 8, after amendment, were substantially similar to the present Clause 13(1). In 1946, there cameinto force, however, the Central Provinces and Berar Regulation of Letting of Accommodation Act. 1946 (No. 11 of 1946), and all the Rent Control Orders with which we are concerned were issued under this Act. We have already referred to the provisions of Section 2(b) of this Act which is the relevant section under which Clause 13 of the present Rent Control Order came to be enacted by the executive under powers delegated to them by the said section.

20. Pursuant to this Act, there was enacted the C.P. and Berar House Rent Control Order, 1947, by the Gazette Notification No. 333-12131-A-VII-P.C., and in that Order for the first time Clause 13 came to be enacted substantially in the form in which it stands today. But Items (vii) and (viii) of Clause 13(3) were as follows:

'13. (3) If after hearing the partiesthe Controller is satisfied-

* * * * * (vii) that in the case of a residential house, the landlord needs the house or a portion thereof for the purpose of his bona fide residence and is not occupying a residential house of his own in the city or town concerned; or

(viii) that in the case of a non-residential house, the landlord needs the house or a portion thereof for purposes of a bona fide business which he is carrying on in the city or town concerned:

* * * * * he shall grant the landlord permission to give notice to determine the lease as required by Sub-clause (1).'

21. It will be noticed that Items (vii) and (viii) distinguished between two categories of houses--residential and non-residential. The definition of 'house' however in the 1947 Order was the same as the one with which we are concerned in Clause 2(3) of the 1949 Order. Because of the distinction drawn in the 1947 Order between a residential house and a non-residential house, the crucial words with which we are concerned in this reference were in that Order 'and is not occupying a residential house of his own in the city or town concerned.' The Rent Control Order with which we are concerned namely, the C.P. and Berar Letting of Houses and Rent Control Order, 1949, came into force on 26-7-1949 under the General Administration Department Notification No. 3730-3140-B dated 26-7-1949, and by Clause 31(1) of that Order, the Central Provinces and Berar House Rent Control Order, 1947, as also the Central Provinces and Berar Collection of Information and Letting of Houses Order, 1946, came to be repealed. In the Rent Control Order of 1949, as itwas originally enacted, the items of Sub-clause (3) of Clause 13 were re-numbered and materially altered, and the provisions as to the landlord needing the house or a portion thereof for his own occupation were incorporated in Clause 13 (3) (vi) for the first time. But the way in which this Item (vi) was originally enacted is, in our opinion, crucial to the point we are called upon to decide m this reference. Clause 13(3) (vi) as originally enacted read as follows:

'13. (3) If after hearing the parties theController is satisfied-

* * * * * (vi) that the landlord needs the house or a portion thereof for the purpose of-

(a) his bona fide residence, provided he is not occupying any other residential house of his own in the city or town concerned; or

(b) his bona fide residence on medical grounds whether or not he is occupying any other residential house of his own; or

(c) a bona fide business of his own which he intends to start or is already carrying on in the city or town concerned; or

* * * * * he shall grant the landlord permission to give notice to determine the lease as required by Sub-clause (1).' This clause stood in the form in which we have quoted it above from the date of its initial enactment in the 1949 Order till 21-11-1952 when it came to be amended by Notification No. 5463-1151-II. dated 15-11-1952 issued by the then Madhya Pradesh Government. By that amendment, paragraphs (b) and (c) in Item (vi) of Sub-clause (3) of Clause 13 were omitted. Thus, only Clause 13(3) (vi) (a) as it was originally enacted remained.

22. This clause further came to be amended in 1963 by the Maharashtra Government Gazette Notification No. BRA 1962/16713-E, dated 20-7-1963. By that amendment the words 'bona fide residence' were substituted by the words 'bona fide occupation' and the word 'residential' in the item came to be deleted. The legislative history of this item thus shows how the item in its origin came to be enacted, and as it was originally enacted, item (vi) made a distinction between the landlord's need for a house or a portion thereof in three cases (a) for his bona fide residence, (b) for his bona fide residence on medical grounds, and (c) for a bona fide business of his own. But what is of vital importance, in our opinion, is that at the same time the legislation made a distinction between the three categories of need of the landlord, the legislative draftsman contemplated each case sepa-separately and laid down separate qualifications for exercise of the landlord's right to get back for his need a house in the three separate cases. In the case of his need for bona fide residence, the item laid down the following qualification 'provided he is not occupying any other residential house of his own in the city or town concerned;' for his need for bona fide residence on medical grounds, the qualification was: 'whether or not he is occupying any other residential house of his own'; and in the case of his need for a bona fide business of his own, there was no qualification whatsoever.

23. A reading of these three paragraphs in Item (vi) gives the clearest possible indication that in the case of a bona fide business, the legislative draftsman did not want to lay down any qualification as to what the landlord already occupied or did not occupy. But in the case of his need for bona fide residence, the legislative draftsman provided the condition 'he is not occupying any other residential house of his own in the city or town concerned'. On the other hand, in the case of his need for his bona fide residence on medical grounds, the legislative draftsman expressly provided 'whether or not he is occupying any other residential house of his own' and thereby indicated that even though he may be occupying any other house of his own, he would be entitled to claim another house for his bona fide residence on medical grounds. Thus, in case (a) the condition was that the landlord must not be occupying any other residential house of his own; in case (b) even though he occupied another residential house of his own, he could get the premises; and in case (c) no provision was made. Now, when the law itself indicated that each separate category of the landlord's need was separately provided for and the question as to what would be the effect of the landlord being already in occupation of some portion of his house or not was also expressly provided for it could hardly be said that the meaning of the words in paragraph (a) in Item (vi) admitted of any doubt or difficulty. It becomes immediately clear that the words 'provided he is not occupying any other residential house of his own in the city or town concerned' when read in contradistinction with para (c) can import nothing except an absolute bar if the condition is once fulfilled. In other words, when Item (vi) was originally enacted it was clearly the intention' of the law to prevent the landlord from getting his house in the occupation cf a tenant if he was occupying any other residential house of his own in the cityor town concerned. If, on the other hand, it had been the intention of the draftsman to say that the need may be considered by the Rent Controller in a given case although the landlord was occupying a residential house of his own, it is clear that he would have simply not said anything at all as he has done in the case of paragraph (c) in Item (vi) in the case of a bona fide business, thereby implying that each case may be considered by the Rent Controller himself. The omission in paragraph (c) of any qualification and the insertion of a specific qualification in paragraph (a) are, in our opinion, telling and give a clue to the intention of the draftsman in enacting paragraph (a) in Item (vi).

24. This paragraph (a) in Item (vi) has remained exactly the same as before in the Order. Now the lettering has gone and it is only Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) except for one small change to which we shall presently refer.

25. Till 1963 Item (vi) of Clause 13 (3) read:

'that the landlord needs the house or a portion thereof for the purpose of his bona fide residence, provided he is not occupying any other residential house of his own in the city or town concerned;'

After the 1963 amendment, the words 'bona fide residence' were dropped and instead the words 'bona fide occupation' were substituted, and in the proviso the word 'residential' qualifying the word 'house' was dropped. Some argument has been advanced on the basis of this amendment, and particularly the dropping of the words 'residence' and 'residential' in Item (vi) of Clause 13(3). That argument is based upon the decision of a Division Bench of this Court in Special Civil Appln. No. 284 of 1959, D/-2-2-1960, Abdul Latif v. D.R. Jaodekar 1960 Nag LJ 130. We will presently advert to that argument when we come to consider the several authorities which were referred to Meanwhile, we may say that two conclusions follow from the legislative history of this item which we have just considered. The first is that the terms in which this Item (vi) originally came to be enacted as paragraph (a) in Item (vi) of Clause 13(3), when compared and contrasted with the other paragraphs (b) and (c) in Item (vi), indicate beyond any doubt that the bar created by the proviso by the use of the words 'provided he is not occupying any other residential house of his own in the city or town concerned' was intended to be an absolute bar and prevented any landlord occupying any portion of a house of his own from applying under Item (vi) at all, on the ground that heneeded it for his bona fide residence. The second and equally important conclusion is that all these measures for control of house rent and house accommodation were temporary measures during War time to begin with, and were later on continued also as temporary measures during peace time immediately following the last War. This is clear from Sub-section (3) of Section 1 of the C.P. and Berar Regulation of Letting of Accommodation Act, 1946 (No. 11 of 1946), which says: 'It shall come into force on the 1st October 1946 and shall remain in operation for a period of one year'.

26. We may also observe incidentally that the Bill which became the Act, the Central Provinces and Berar Regulation of Letting of Accommodation Bill, 1946 (Bill No. 7 of 1946) intended to bring the law into force for a period of three years, and the reasons why that was done are stated in the Statement of Objects and Reasons, appended at the foot of the Bill dated 15-8-1946, as follows:

'The influx of a large population to towns as a result of war conditions necessitated the promulgation of the Central Provinces and Berar House Rent Control Order, 1942, under the Defence of India Rules. The Defence of India Rules will lapse at the end of September 1946. The abnormal conditions createdby the war still persist and are not likely to subside for some time. Rent Controlmeasures will therefore continue to benecessary and Government proposes to take powers for regulating house rents in urban areas by new legislation. It is proposed to keep the law in operation for a limited period of three years. If normal conditions return earlier, steps will be taken to repeal it,''

(underlining is ours)

These reasons for the legislation are important. Notwithstanding this statement by the Member-in-Charge of the Bill, the Legislature did not pass the Bill to enure for more than one year as is shown by Sub-section (3) of Section 1 of the Act. Subsequently, Sub-section (3) of Section 1 came to be amended and in 1947 the following sub-section was substituted:

'It shall cease to operate on such date as the Provincial Government may, by notification, appoint in this behalf.'

Thus what was initially a temporary measure brought into force due to chaotic conditions induced by the last War was still continued as a temporary measure, but the State Government was given the power to repeal it at such time as it may appoint in that behalf.

The measure therefore was initially a temporary measure to meet a temporary emergency and has continued also as a temporary measure.

27. This circumstance that the Legislation is only a temporary legislation and meant to meet a temporary emergency also indicates that the construction which we have placed upon the proviso to Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) is correct. It also helps to repel the frequently stressed argument before us of hardship to the landlord if he cannot get back the premises which he has let simply because he is in possession of a small portion of his own house. The Legislature may well have contemplated that having regard to the hardship being caused for want of accommodation to tenants as compared to the hardship upon landlord, it would be fair and equitable to provide that if the landlord is in occupation even of a small portion of his house, he should not be permitted to ask for a larger accommodation on the ground of need for his bona fide residence of a temporary period. Such a provision is quite understandable having regard to the fact that the whole purpose and object of this legislation was that it was to be only a temporary measure to meet a temporary emergency. That in the sequel it has enured for so many years would make no difference because no one could contemplate at that time when the measure was originally introduced how long the emergency would exist. That it has existed for so many years may be regrettable, but cannot make any difference to our reading of the provisions of the law.

28. Whenever such provisions have been made and the Legislature has contemplated that hardship would be inflicted upon the landlord preventing him from asking for additional accommodation simply because he possessed a small portion of his house for his own occupation, the Legislature has made adequate provision. For instance, we may refer to Section 13(1)(g) of the Bombay Rents, Hotel and Lodging House Rates Control Act, 1947. Clause (g) of Section 13(1) of that Act makes provision for the landlord requiring premises for the needs of his own occupation and is in the following terms:

'13. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act but subject to the provisions of Section 15, a landlord shall be entitled to recover possession of any premises if the Court is satisfied-

* * * * * (g) that the premises are reasonably and bona fide required by the landlord for occupation by himself or by anyperson for whose benefit the premises are held or where the landlord is a trustee of a public charitable trust that the premises are required for occupation for the purposes of the trust:'

This clause is one of the exceptions to the general rule laid down in Section 12 prohibiting the landlord from recovering possession of any premises so long as the tenant pays, or is ready and willing to pay, the amount of the standard rent and permitted increases, if any, and observes and performs the other conditions of the tenancy. Thus, Clause (g) serves the same purpose as the proviso in Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) of the Rent Control Order with which we are concerned, and in laying down the exception, the words used are 'reasonably and bona fide required by the landlord.' By the use of the word 'reasonably' it has been left to the authorities under the Act to decide in each case what is reasonable and thereby to give relief to landlords in proper cases. The provisions of the C.P. and Berar Letting of Houses and Rent Control Order, 1949, with which we are concerned, are in marked contrast to this provision. There is no qualification of reasonableness imported into the proviso to Item (vi) of Clause 13 (3). Therefore, again a comparison of these pieces of legislation would suggest that the bar in the proviso to Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) is absolute and there is no scope for consideration of the reasonable requirements of the landlord once the landlord has a house of his own in his occupation.

29. These considerations also help to explain and repel the alternative argument that the construction which commends itself to us would lead to absurd results which were advanced on behalf of the landlord. So far as the question of hardship is concerned, we have already shown that the Order was initially promulgated as a temporary measure to meet a temporary emergency and therefore it is very probable that the Legislature, though alive to the hardship of the landlord decided that because it was for a temporary period, he would have to put up with it Unfortunately though the temporary period has elapsed the public emergency has continued and so has the law. But these circumstances give a clue to what was intended at the time when the law was enacted. Secondly, on the question of hardship we may also say that no doubt as a result of such a long period having elapsed since the Order was initially enacted, some hardship does appear to be inflicted now upon the landlord by the same provision continuing, but because there has developed a certain measure of hardship, we cannot come toany different interpretation when as we have shown, the language of the statute is plain and its legislative history indicates beyond any shadow of doubt one interpretation and one only. Upon this explanation we can see no absurdity in the construction we have put. We may say however that the Legislature may take these circumstances into consideration, and if it considers that hardship is being inflicted upon landlords, there is nothing to prevent the Legislature from making suitable amendments. Upon the text of Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) as it stands, its genesis and history we can see no other possible interpretation, although we have made strenuous attempts to alleviate the so-called hardship.

30. Considerable stress in this respect was laid upon the rules of construction and particularly upon the following passage in Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes, eleventh edition, at page 221:

'Where the language of a statute, in its ordinary meaning and grammatical construction, leads to a manifest contradiction of the apparent purpose of the enactment, or to some inconvenience or absurdity, hardship or injustice, presumably not intended, a construction may be put upon it which modifies the meaning of the words, and even the structure of the sentence. This may be done by departing from the rules of grammar, by giving an unusual meaning to particular words, by altering their collocation, or by rejecting them altogether, under the influence, no doubt, of an irresistible conviction that the legislature could not possibly have intended what its words signify, and that the modifications thus made are mere corrections of careless language and really give the true meaning.'

The passage quoted itself gives the conditions under which Courts can depart from the normal rule of construction, namely, that the intention of the Legislature should be gathered from the express words used by it. The passage lays down the limitations of the rule and we can only highlight those limitations. First and foremost, there must be an irresistible conviction that the Legislature could not have possibly intended what its words signify; and in spite of every effort to mitigate the rigour of this law in favour of landlords, we cannot, upon the plain words of the proviso to Item (vi) of Clause 13(3), or upon a consideration of the legislative history of the provision feel that the Legislature could not have possibly intended what its words signify. On the other hand, we have shown that the words used by the Legislature meant exactly what theysay and that that was indeed the intention of the Legislature having regard to the nature of the provision, the circumstances under which it was brought into force and its legislative history. We have also shown that there is no hardship or only an apparent hardship or injustice in giving effect to this provision. Landlords who have no accommodation at all of their own are free to apply under Item (vi) and it is only the landlords who have already accommodation of their own in the city or town concerned who are prevented from taking advantage of Item (vi) of Clause 13(3). Of course, in a sense, every legislation inflicts a hardship upon citizens in that it restricts their rights or actions; but that is not the sort of hardship that the passage quoted above refers to. It refers to a hardship or injustice presumably not intended by the Legislature itself, and looking at this legislation from any point of view, we are unable to persuade ourselves that the small hardship which has been inflicted upon landlords who have accommodation of their own was not within the contemplation of the Legislature. In a subsequent passage in Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes at pages 221-2, the learned author has sounded a note of warning against the application of the rule when it is stated:

'Nevertheless, the courts are very reluctant to substitute words in a statute, or to add words to it, and it has been said that they will only do so where there is a repugnancy to good sense.'

We are not able to find in the statute any repugnancy to good sense. It is now well settled that the meaning which words ought to be understood to bear is not to be ascertained by any process akin to speculation and the primary duty of a Court is to find the natural meaning of the words used in the context in which they occur, that context including any other phrase in the Act which may throw light on the sense in which the makers of the Act used the words in dispute. The Court ought, therefore, to give a literal meaning to the language used by Parliament unless the language is ambiguous or its literal sense gives rise to an anomaly or results in something which would defeat the purpose of the Act: See Management, Shahdara (Delhi) Saharanpur Light Railway Co. Ltd. v. Workers' Union, : (1969)ILLJ734SC . So viewing it. the language of the proviso is clear and absolute when it says 'provided he is not occupying any other house of his own in the city or town concerned.' We do not see where the scope for reading into this language any qualification as to the need of the land-lord or sufficiency of the accommodation in the possession of the landlord can at all arise. Further, it is no doubt true that the proviso must be construed in consonance with the parent provision; but when the exception carved out by the proviso is clear, we cannot whittle down its effect in an attempt to harmonise it more than legislation intended to give it a meaning which the plain language of the proviso does not bear.

31. We have so far considered the position as it stands upon the text of the item and the connected provisions of the Rent Control Order and the Act under which the Order was promulgated without referring to the decided cases. A consideration of the decided cases also, in our opinion, supports the view which we have taken, although so far as this Court is concerned, there is some conflict. Before we go into the conflict in the decided cases of this Court, it would be instructive to consider analogous provisions of other Acts and the decisions under those Acts, and in this respect, the most important, in our opinion, is the provision of the Madras Act. Section 7(3) of the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1949 (Madras Act 25 of 1949). as amended in 1950, provided as follows:--

'7. (3) (a) A landlord may apply to the Controller for an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession-

(i) in the case of a residential building, if he requires it for his own occupation and if he is not occupying a residential building of his own in the city, town or village concerned;

(ii) in the case of a non-residential building, if he is not occupying for purposes of a business which he is carrying on, a non-residential building in the city, town or village concerned which is his own or to the possession of which he isentitled; * * * * *

It will be noticed that this section is in almost identical terms as the original Items (vii) and (viii) of Clause 13(3) in the C.P. and Berar House Rent Control Order 1947.

32. This provision came up for construction before a Division Bench of the Madras High Court in Mohammad Ibrahim v. Ahmed Khan. : AIR1950Mad556 . In that case the landlord had applied for possession of a building which consisted of several floors. He had asked for possession of the ground floor and the first floor of the building in which two different tenants were residing. The ground alleged was that the landlord required the building for his own occupation. The permission had been granted by the authorities under theAct, and the respondent being the landlord, the tenants raised the plea that the landlord could not be said to be 'not occupying a residential building of his own in the city', because the landlord owned two other houses. One of those houses was vacant and in another house, the second wife of the landlord was residing with her father and mother and others. The landlord himself was however residing in a rented house with his first wife. The tenants contended that on these facts, the landlord was occupying a residential building of his own, and this contention was accepted by the Madras High Court holding that though the landlord was physically not residing in the house occupied by his second wife, still it was clear that if he desired, he could go and reside there at any time. Therefore, the house in which his second wife was residing was certainly a house where he could go at any time if he chose to do so, and therefore, it was a house of his own which he was occupying. In these circumstances, the Madras High Court threw out the landlord's application, holding that the landlord in that case must be held to be occupying a residential house of his own in the city and therefore, his application for eviction must fail. Of course, the point was not pointedly taken as it has been taken in the reference before us that the condition in Section 7(3) (i) of that Act created an absolute bar to any application being made by the landlord for possession. But the case is an authority for so holding. That that was the correct interpretation--and we say so with all respect -- was shown by the fact that subsequently the Madras Act itself came to be amended.

33. That is clear from a consideration of the case which subsequently came up under the amended Act and is reported in Mohammed Jaffar v. Palaniappa Chettiar ILR (1964) Mad 34. Section 7(3) (c) of the Madras Act ran as follows:

'A landlord who is occupying only a part of a building, whether residential or non-residential, may, notwithstanding anything contained in Clause (a), apply to the Controller for an order directing any tenant occupying the whole or any portion of the remaining part of the building to put the landlord in possession thereof, if he requires additional accommodation for residential purposes or for the purposes of a business which he is carrying on, as the case may be.'

That section in terms permitted the landlord to apply for additional accommodation even though he was in occupation of a house of his own or a portion of it. It will thus be seen that the provisions of the unamended Madras Actwhich were almost similar to the provisions with which we are concerned here were construed, so that the proviso was held to be an absolute bar to the landlord applying for eviction of his tenant if the landlord was in possession of any house of his own for the purposes of residence, and it was in order to get over that hardship upon the landlord that Section 7(3) (c) was brought into force. There is no such amendment made so far as the C.P. and Berar Rent Control Order is concerned. We have already said therefore that if the Legislature chose, it may undertake a legislation upon those lines if it considered that, now that the Rent Control law has almost become a permanent part of our laws any hardship is being inflicted upon landlords. But so far as interpretation of Item (vi) is concerned, we can see no escape from the conclusion which we have reached above. The provisions of the Madras Act and the decision thereunder clearly support the view which we have taken.

34. Turning to the decisions of this Court, two decisions of this Court have taken the same view that has commended itself to us. One is Special Civil Appln. No. 406 of 1958, D/- 3-7-1959 (Bom), in which Tambe, J., as he then was, held as follows:

'Firstly, the authority concerned has to find out whether the landlord is in occupation of his own house for purposes of his residence. If it is so established then he need not proceed to further inquire into the matter. If the landlord is not in possession of any such house then the Rent Controller has to consider whether the premises in respect of which the application is made are bona fide required by the landlord for the purpose of his residence,'

35. With respect, we think that this was the correct view upon the provisions concerned. A similar view was taken in Special Civil Appln. No. 119 of 1961, D/-9-2-1962 (Bom) where the Division Bench held:

'Though no doubt in the order of the Deputy Collector there is an elaborate discussion of the evidence and the circumstances on the question whether the landlord needed the house for his bona fide residence, we need not go into that question. But superadded to that condition is another condition in Item (vi) of Sub-clause (3) of Clause 13, and that Is the condition laid down in the following words:

'Provided he is not occupying any other residential house of his own in the city or town concerned';

Now, here upon the admitted facts the landlord Shripatrao was occupying one block out of the three blocks in thehouse. He was originally occupying it as a tenant, but after his purchase on and after 1-8-1957 he was occupying it in his own right and he continued to occupy it till 1-5-1968 as its owner. Therefore, he had another 'residential house of his own in the city or town concerned'. Once that is found, we are unable to see how he would be entitled to claim permission under Item (vi) of Clause 13(3).'

The Division Bench also pointed to the peculiar definition of 'house' which does not bear the same connotation which it has in normal parlance and that even one block out of the three in one and the same building would be a 'house' within the meaning of that definition. These decisions of this Court support the view which we have taken above.

36. It is said that a contrary view has been taken in a number of cases and indeed it has been generally assumed in several of the decisions, but except one to which we will presently refer we have not been able to find those earlier decisions, nor have counsel been able to point out which those decisions were. In Balabhadra v. Premchand AIR 1953 Nag 144, the landlord was in terms found not to be occupying any premises of his own in the city of Nagpur and therefore he would be justified in applying under Item (vi) of Clause 13 (3), That decision therefore cannot throw light upon the point before us. In Bageshwari-prasad v. Harprasad AIR 1953 Nag 210, the landlord had made a gift of one of his two houses to a son and the Division Bench came to the conclusion that in those circumstances the landlord cannot be deemed to be in a position to occupy that house and therefore he was not in occupation of any house of his own within the proviso to Item (vi). That case again can be of no help to us because these cases were not cases of a landlord who was in possession of any portion of any house of his own.

37. In Special Civil Appln. No. 317 of 1957, D/-31-1-1958 (Bom), a Division Bench of this Court undoubtedly took a view contrary to the one which we have taken in this case. But the entire decision in that case is contained in the following paragraph of the judgment:

'Mr. Kalele appearing for the petitioner has contended that Radhabai being in possession of a portion of the building could not apply for terminating the tenancy of the petitioner under Clause 13 (3) (vi) of the Order. The High Court of Nagpur has consistently taken the view that under circumstances as found in the case a landlord can apply under Clause 13(3) (vi) for terminating the tenancy of a tenant provided it is proved to the satisfaction of the Rent Controlauthorities that the landlord bona fide needs additional accommodation for his residence and for the residence of his family. We see no reason to differ from this view.'

Thus, this can hardly be said to be an authority upon the contention advanced on behalf of the landlord for, all that the Division Bench did was to refer to some earlier decisions and say that they saw no reason to differ from those decisions. An almost similar remark has been made in the decision of another Division Bench of the then High Court at Nagpur in Special Civil Appln. No. 68 of 1954, D/-21-9-1954. In that case, the petitioner-landlord was occupying a portion of the premises and another portion of the same premises had been let out to the respondent No. 1, and under those circumstances, the Extra Assistant Commissioner had dismissed the landlord's application holding:

'If we look carefully to this clause, it does not mean that the order provides for extension of accommodation for the growing needs of the landlord, nor does it make any provision for ejectment of a tenant if the family of the landlord grows. The landlord has residential house of his own and therefore this clause will not entitle him to seek permission for ejectment of the tenant .....'

This view of the Extra Assistant Commissioner was set aside by the Division Bench by the following remarks:

'The learned Extra Assistant Commissioner exercising the powers of a Deputy Commissioner has construed Clause 13(3) (vi) (a) to mean that if a landlord is in occupation of a portion of some house, the other portion being in the possession of a tenant, he can never obtain permission to terminate the tenancy, because in his view the landlord is in occupation of a residential house of his own within the meaning of Item (a) of Clause 13(3) (vi). This view has been repeatedly negatived by a number of decisions of this Court. It has been laid down that the mere fact that the landlord is already in occupation of a portion of the premises does not debar him from showing that he needs the entire premises for himself, and that if the Rent Controller or the Appellate Authority is satisfied that the landlord has made out his need in respect of the remaining portion of the premises for himself or his family permission to terminate the tenancy should be granted.'

(the underlining is ours)

With respect here again, we do not find any discussion of the principle or the point of interpretation but merely a reliance upon some earlier decisions of thethen Nagpur High Court. We asked counsel on behalf of the landlord before us whether he was in a position to point out any such earlier decision, so that we may consider it, but despite all the research of counsel and arguments extending over two days, counsel was unable to point out 'the number of decisions' which have been referred to in this Division Bench judgment and the judgment we have earlier referred to. We do not think therefore that these two decisions can be of any assistance in supporting the view canvassed on behalf of the landlord before us.

38. The next decision is of our learned Brother Padhye, J. in Special Civil Appln. No. 904 of 1965 (Bom). That decision again can be of little avail to support the argument on behalf of the landlord in this case for, with reference to Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) Padhye, J. specifically found in that case upon the facts that the landlord in that case had no other house of his own for the purposes of the dispensary for which he had applied for permission under Item (vi). There is some further discussion, induced no doubt by arguments of counsel in that case, upon the effect of Item (vi) but obviously that discussion was obiter, for upon the finding given upon the facts that the landlord in that case had no other house of his own, any question of considering the stand now taken on behalf of the landlord did not arise. Upon the facts, with respect, that case was correctly decided.

39. The only case which does in terms take a contrary view to the one which we have taken above is the decision of a Division Bench of this Court in 1960 Nag LJ 130. In that case, no doubt, the landlord was, after a partition amongst the members of his family, in occupation of a very small portion of the house, whereas the tenant was in occupation of a much larger portion, and the Division Bench observed:

'As compared with the house in occupation of the petitioner the house in occupation of the respondent was definitely more spacious'.

The Rent Controller had held that in view of the fact that the tenant was already in occupation of another house of his own, the proviso to Item (vi) of Clause 13(3) debarred him from claiming the relief. This decision was reversed in appeal by the Deputy Collector and the tenant has come up to this Court by way of special civil application. After referring to the provisions of Item (vi), the Division Bench pointed out that those provisions did not debar the landlord from claiming the premises in occupation of the tenant for the purpose of his bona fide residence, and the rea-sons which the Division Bench gave may be quoted in their own words:

'In framing the Order the State Government has advisedly used the expression 'Residential house'. The emphasis must be on the word 'Residence'. Thus, in each and every case it has to be determined by the authorities concerned whether the house in the occupation of the landlord is a residential house. The question thus that arises for consideration is the true import of the expression 'residential house'.'

They then referred to the meaning of the words 'residence' and 'place of abode' in Stroud's Judicial Dictionary as meaning 'the dwelling and home where a man is supposed usually to live and sleep', and continued:

'The word 'residence' thus carries with it the idea of a place which is suitable for being used as an abode or a dwelling place. In other words, a place having the necessary amenities which a dwelling place or abode usually has, such as living rooms, kitchen, bathroom, latrine etc. When used in relation to any other particular person, it also necessarily carries with it the idea that the place affords sufficient accommodation to meet the needs of that person and the members of his family, of course, not according to the standard of a fastidious person but according to a reasonable standard having regard to the status of the person occupying it.

In our opinion, in the Rent Control Order the expression 'residential house' is not used in any different sense than stated above.'

Then, their Lordships referred to the other provisions of the Order and held:

'It thus appears that the intention of the framers of the Act is that bona fide need of the landlord to occupy his own house for his residence should prevail over the need of the tenant.

* * * * * Looking to the main provision of Clause 13(3) (vi), read together with Clause 13(8) it is clear that securing such accommodation for the landlord for his residence which his reasonable need demands is aimed at. In other words, they aim at securing a dwelling place or house for a landlord. To these main provisions there is a proviso that the landlord would not get permission to terminate the tenancy if he is already in possession of any other 'residential' house of his own. It is a fundamental rule of construction that the proviso must be considered with relation to the principal matter to which it stands as a proviso. It is, therefore, difficult to assume that it is intended that the mere fact that the landlord is occupying hisown house would debar him from seeking to terminate the tenancy of his tenant even if the house in his occupation has no amenities of a dwelling place or it does not afford sufficient accommodation to meet his needs. In our judgment, therefore, the expression 'residential house' occurring in the proviso to Clause 13(3) (vi) means a house suitable for being used as a dwelling place having the necessary amenities and affording sufficient accommodation to meet the reasonable needs of the landlord and the members of his family, having regard to his status in life.'

In support of the view taken by the Division Bench, they relied upon the decision to which we have already referred, in Misc. Petn. No. 291 of 1952 of the then Nagpur High Court. As regards the decision of a Division Bench of this court in Special Civil Appln. No, 406 of 1958 (Bom) to which we have also referred, the Division Bench held that those observations, when read in the context of the facts, are of no assistance to the tenant and that the landlord who had applied to the Rent Controller was not in occupation of any house of Ms own for the purpose of his residence.

40. With all respect to the learned Judges who decided this case, we are unable to accept the view taken. The Division Bench in Special Civil Appln. No. 284 of 1959 = 1960 Nag LJ 130 was dealing with Item (vi), as it stood prior to its amendment in 1963 and that is why one finds mention of the words 'residential house' in the judgment because the word 'residential' was in the clause prior to its amendment in 1963. We are unable to see how laying the maximum emphasis upon the words 'residential house' as used in Item (vi), the conclusion can follow 'that because of those words, the proviso to Item (vi) imports the idea 'that the place affords sufficient accommodation to meet the needs of that person and the members of his family.'

41. On the other hand it seems to us that if we consider the legislative history of this item, the word 'residential' was used in Item (vi) not as a qualifying word to the word 'house' but in contradistinction with paragraphs (b) and (c) in Item (vi) as they stood in the original Rent Control Order of 1949. in which three categories of need were separately provided for, namely, need for residence, need for residence on medical grounds, and need for business; and it is because those three distinctions were made in the paragraphs originally enacted that the word 'residential' was used in paragraph (a) of Item (vi). Later on, as we have already pointed out, paragraphs (b) and (c) weredropped and paragraph (a) remained exactly as it was enacted until it came to be amended in 1963. In 1963 the word 'residential' was dropped and for a very valid reason, namely, that the Legislature intended to apply Item (vi) to all possible purposes and not merely confine it to the need of the landlord for residence. After the dropping of paragraphs (b) and (c), great difficulty was felt where a landlord needed premises for his business and it was held in a few cases that since the paragraph was dropped the landlord was incapable of asking for possession of a house on the ground of his business need. Therefore, the qualifying word 'residential' to the word 'house' was dropped and the item thereafter became applicable to all needs of a landlord. If one considers the legislative history of this item and the reason for this amendment in 1963, the reasoning adopted in the judgment of the Division Bench cannot, in our opinion. -- and we say so with all respect -- be sustained.

42. As to the other ground mentioned in the judgment under consideration, namely, that the proviso should be construed in consonance with the parent provision of Item (vi), we have already said enough in the earlier parts of this judgment- In our opinion, the necessity to construe it in consonance with the provisions of the parent item need not lead into giving the proviso a meaning other than what its plain language bears, so long as a reading of its plain language does not result in the proviso being rendered nugatory or resulting in some absurdity which is not the case here. Even as we have interpreted the proviso, it does not debar landlords who do not occupy any other house of their own from applying under Item (vi). Therefore, to that extent, full effect is given to the language of the proviso.

43. Reference is made in 1960 Nag LJ 130 to the decision of the Nagpur High Court in Miscellaneous Petition No. 291 of 1952 and it has been stated that the decision supports the view taken by the Division Bench in Abdul Latif's case 1960 Nag LJ 130. But we may point out with respect that in Misc. Petition No. 291 of 1952, the decision, if at all, was to the contrary. In that case, the landlord had applied under Item (vi) because the old kachcha house belonging to him had been rendered useless as it fell down and he had to remove his family into an. annexe which was really meant for storing his wares: see paragraph 3 of that judgment. Before the Division Bench no doubt, it was urged that the occupation of this small portion of the building debarred the landlord from applying under Item (vi). TheDivision Bench in that case negatived that contention not because they considered that the landlord's needs required better accommodation but because they found that that portion of the premises which was in the occupation of the landlord could not be said to be a house at all. In other words, the finding was that the landlord in that case did not have in his occupation any 'house' at all, and that is clear from what the Division Bench said in paragraph 9 of that judgment:

'In our opinion the single hut occupied as a matter of sheer necessity by the landlord in the circumstances of this case cannot be said to bring Ms case within Sub-clause (vi) (a) of Clause 13 (3) of the Rent Control Order, in the sense that the landlord was occupying his own residential house.'

(the underlining is ours)

On the other hand, we may point out that such remarks as the Division Bench made upon the state of the law supports the view that we have taken in the present case. In paragraph 6, after quoting the appellate authority and its findings, the Division Bench went on to say as follows:--

'The appellate authority again has made the following observations:

'Insufficiency of accommodation in his present house will not entitle the landlord to eject his tenant from another house. Even if the house has not been delibe separately damaged by the landlord and it has been rendered unfit for occupation on account of its having been blown away by storm, it is not in my opinion a sufficient ground for electing his tenant from another house.'

44. In our opinion, those remarks betray a very superficial appreciation of the law laid down in the Rent Control Order. The Deputy Commissioner could have refused permission to the landlord if he found that the landlord was in occupation of his own residential house in the town.'

(the underlining is ours)

The words which we have underlined clearly suggest that so long as a landlord has in his occupation his own residential house in the town, the Deputy Commissioner can refuse permission to the landlord.

45. With respect, we are unable to accept the view taken in 1960 Nag LJ 130. We are in agreement with the view taken in Special Civil Appln. No. 406 of 1958 (Nag) and Special Civil Appln. No. 119 of 1961 (Bom) and by the Madras High Court in : AIR1950Mad556 for the reasons which we have mentioned above.

46. We accordingly answer the question referred in the affirmative. The papers be returned to the learned single Judge for disposal of the Special Civil Application.

47. Order accordingly.


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