1. This Civil Revision Application raises a question under Section 13(1)(c), Bombay Rents, Hotel and Lodging House Rates Control Act, 1947. The facts leading up to the suit in which the question arises are shortly these :
2. The opponent is the owner of the suit property, of which the applicant is a tenant. The tenancy is evidenced by a rent-note executed by the applicant on 15-3-1939. It appears that the applicant was prosecuted for an offence under the Bombay Prohibition Act. The offence in relation to which the prosecution was launched took place on 10-11-1949, and the conviction was recorded against the applicant on 30-6-1950.
3. The opponent said that the applicant was a tenant in arrears, not having paid the rent since 1-1-1951, and also that he was guilty of conduct falling within the meaning of Section 13(1)(c), Bombay Rents, Hotel and Lodging House Rates Control Act, 1947.
4. The trial Court decreed the opponent's suit. The applicant preferred an appeal In the District Court, Ahmedabad, and the learned Assistant Judge confirmed the decree of the trial Court and dismissed the applicant's appeal. Feeling aggrieved by that order the applicant has come up in revision.
5. Upon this application in revision, the only question for decision is whether the opponent is entitled to recover possession on the ground that the applicant had been convicted of an offence under the Bombay Prohibition Act. Section 13(1)(c) provides that:
'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-.... that the tenant or any person residing with the tenant has been guilty of conduct which Is a nuisance or annoyance to the adjoining or neighbouring occupiers, or has been convicted of using the premises or allowing the premises to be used for immoral or illegal purposes;..'
The facts upon which the decision of the Question rests are not in dispute. The applicant was prosecuted for an offence under the Bombay Prohibition Act, the offence being one of possession of liquor, and the conviction was recorded against him on 30-6-1950. The question for decision is whether this conviction comes within Section 13(1)(c). That the applicant has been convicted cannot be disputed. The question, however, is whether it is shown that the tenant has been convicted of using the premises for an illegal purpose.
6. A point similar to the one which I am considering arose for decision in an English case reported in - 'S. Schneiders & Sons Ltd. v. Abrahams', (1925) 1 KB 301. In that case the facts were these: The landlords of a dwelling-house within Section 4, Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions Act, 1923, gave their tenant notice to quit. Before the date of the notice the tenant had been convicted under Section 33 of the Larceny Act, 1916, of receiving at the demised premises certain property of the landlords well knowing the same to have been stolen, and it was held that the tenant, having made use of the premises in order to commit the crime of which he had been convicted, had been 'convicted of using the premises for an illegal purpose' within the meaning of Section 4 of the Act of 1923.
In this connection, it is enough, I think, to quote the observations of Atkin L. J. at p. 311, where it is stated:
'..This leads to the conclusion that the words of Section 4 must be used in a less technical sense. In my opinion they cover a case where the tenant has been convicted of a criminal offence, and In the course of the trial it has been proved that he used the premises for an immoral or Illegal purpose.'
In my view, the present case is covered by the decision in the above case, and, with respect, I follow the same.
7. Mr. C. K. Shah then points out that in this case the conviction was recorded in the year 1950 and the suit was filed in the year 1953. He says, therefore, that there is only a single act of conviction and that the conviction was recorded more than two years before the date of the suit. This point is also answered in the case quoted above, because it Is observed in that case that to bring the tenant within the section it is not necessary that the user of the premises for an illegal purpose should be continuous or frequent.
8. In my opinion, therefore, the view taken by the lower appellate Court is correct. The application, therefore, fails and the rule will be discharged with costs.
9. Rule discharged.