1. These Revision Petitions are instituted by the tenants and they arise out of the common order dated 15-12-1976, passed by the First Additional Civil Judge, Bangalore City, in H. R. C. Nos. 674/1976, 684/1976. 686/1976, 678/1976, 672/1976, 736/1976, 689/1976 and 728/1976. The learned Civil Judge has ordered eviction of the tenants from the suit premises. Aggrieved by the said order, the ten-ants have come up in Revision before this Court.
2. The landlords instituted action for eviction of the tenants under Clauses (a), (h), (i) and (k) and against some under Clauses (f) and (p) of Section 21 (1) of the Karnataka Rent Control Act, 1961, (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act').
3. There were in all 11 tenants in the suit building occupying one tenement each and the landlords instituted action against them all. Three of the tenants, viz., tenants in H. R. C. Nos. 682, 722 and 724 of 1976, have not preferred any revision.
4. The landlords averred that they required the suit building occupied by the tenants bona fide and reasonably for their personal occupation; the 2nd landlord, viz., M. S. Srikrishna, was duly qualified 'to start an industry, he having obtained Diploma in Mechanical Engineering; he was at present unemployed; they had the necessary funds and the 2nd petitioner had the necessary experience to start the industry. So, the landlords intended to demolish the one room tenements which were in a dilapidated condition and construct therein a godown and shops to suit the 2nd petitioner-landlord to start the industry and hence, they required the suit premises bona fide and reasonably for their personal occupation.
5. They further averred that since the present tenements were in a dilapidated condition, they wanted to demolish them and put up a new building to suit the requirement of the 2nd petitioner-landlord and then occupy the same personally. They had obtained the sanction for the plan as per Exhibit P. 6, licence as per Exhibit P. 5 and they had also got the estimate prepared for the new construction as per Exhibit P. 7.
6. The landlords further affirmed that the tenants in H. R. C. Nos. 680 and 682 of 1976, had sublet the premises and some of them had not paid the rents. Two of the tenants had acquired their own houses elsewhere. So the landlords brought action against them under Clauses (a) (f) and (pi of Section 21 (1) of the Act. The landlords further claimed that the local authority had issued notices to them to demolish the tenements as they were in a dangerous condition and hence, claimed possession under Clause (k) of Section 21 (1) of the Act also.
7. The tenants on entering appearance, resisted the claim of the landlords. They denied the bona fide and reasonable requirement of landlords. They asserted that they would be put to greater hardship in case they were evicted from the suit tenements. According to them, the tenements were not in a dilapidated condition. They did not require either demolition or reconstruction. The concerned tenants denied sub-letting and the fact that they were in arrears of rental. They denied the ground made under Clause (p) of Section 21 (1) of the Act also. They denied that any notice was issued by the local Authorities to the petitioners to demolish the building. Alternatively they averred that they would be put to greater hardship in case of eviction.
8. Since all the petitions against the different tenants gave rise to common questions of law and facfs, the parties and Counsel submitted that they might be heard together and a common order passed. Accordingly, the learned Civil Judge recorded common evidence in H. R. C. No. 672 of 1976 and proceeded to pass a common order in all these cases.
9. The learned Civil Judge, appreciating the evidence adduced by the parties, held that the landlords required the suit premise? bona fide and reasonably for their personal occupation. He further answered the point under Clause (j) of Section 21 (1) of the Act in the affirmative in favour of the landlords and also the ground made under Clause (k) of Section 21 (1) of the Act. He negatived the claim of the landlords under Clauses (a), (f) and (p) of Section 21 (1) of the Act against the concerned tenants and in view of his findings under Clauses (h), (j) and (k) of Section 21 (1) of the Act, he ordered eviction of the tenants from the tenements by his order dated 15-12-1976. It is against that order, that the tenants have preferred these Revision Petitions before this Court.
10. The learned Advocate appearing on behalf of the tenants vehemently contended that the learned Civil Judge was not justified in ordering eviction of the tenants under Clauses (h), (j) and (k) of Section 21 (1) of the Act. According to him, the landlords had an alternative site wherein they could build the godown and shops to run their industry. Besides, the notice issued under Clause (k) of Section 21 (1) of the Act on behalf of the local Authority was not issued by the proper Authority. Hence, it could not be countenanced in allowing the claim of the landlords under Clause (k) of Section 21 (1) of the Act. He further submitted that the tenants would be put to greater hardship in case of eviction and the learned Civil Judge had not properly appreciated this aspect. According to him, the landlords were not in a position to immediately demolish and reconstruct. The landlords had not shown to the court that they were having sufficient wherewithal. Hence, he submitted that the Revision Petitions should be allowed.
11. As against that, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the landlords argued supporting the findings of the learned Civil Judge. I was taken through the evidence on record and the order of the learned Civil Judge.
12. I may at once point out that the learned Civil Judge was not justified in allowing the claim of the landlords both under Clauses (h) and (j) of Section 21 (1) of the Act. There persists some confusion in regard to the application of these two clauses. Hence, it is necessary to elucidate the clauses and to clarify their respective field of application.
13. In Madanlal Fakirchand Dudhe-diya v. Shree Changdeo Sugar Mills Ltd., : AIR1962SC1543 , the Supreme Court of India made it clear that where the Court is dealing with two sub-sections of a section, it is necessary that the two sub-sections must be construed as a whole 'each portion throwing light, if need be, on the rest.' The two sub-sections must be read as parts of an integral whole and as being niter-dependent; an attempt should be made in construing them to reconcile them if it is reasonably possible to do so, and to avoid repugnancy.
14. Keeping this in mind, it is necessary to read Clauses (h) and (j) of Section 21 (1) the Act. Clause (h) reads:
'That the premises are reasonably and bona fide required by the landlord for occupation by himself or any person 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.'
Clause (j) reads:
'that the premises are reasonably and bona fide required by the landlord for the immediate purpose of demolishing them and such demolition is to be made for the purpose of erecting a new building in place of the premises sought to be demolished.'
In Section 25 of the Act, it is specifically stated that where a decree for eviction has been passed by the Court on the ground specified in Clause (h) of the Proviso to Sub-section (1) of the Section 21 and the premises are not occupied within a period of three months from the date the landlord recovers possession, or the premises are relet within one year of the said date to any person other than the original tenant, the Court may, on the application of the original tenant made within thirteen months of such date, order the landlord to place such tenant in occupation of the premises on the original terms and conditions.
15. Section 26 of the Act speaks of recovery of possession of the building after reconstruction and re-entry by the tenant. Thus, it becomes manifest that Section 21 (1) (h) of the Act comes into play when the landlord requires the premises for his personal occupation. When the landlord merely wants demolition and re-construction, the tenant will have a right to elect re-entry. Thus, the two clauses are clearly meant for different situations. When the landlord requires the premises for his personal occupation, he has to apply under Clause (h) of Section 21 (1) of the Act. When he merely wants to demolish and reconstruct with a view to derive better income or when the building has become dilapidated, he has to approach the Court under Clause (j) of Section 21 (1) of the Act. When he obtains possession under Clause (j) of Section 21 (1) of the Act, there is always an obligation on him to re-let the premises to the original tenant in case he elects for it after reconstruction, whereas under Clause (h) of Section 21 (1) of the Act, he has to occupy the premises himself. That being so, it is obvious that the two clauses are designed to play different roles and a decree cannot be passed both under Clauses (h) and (j) of Section 21 (1) of the Act.
16. It is now well settled that when once the landlord obtains a decree under Clause (h) of the proviso to Section 21 (1) of the Act, it is not necessary that he should occupy the premises in the same condition in which he took possession. The term 'occupy' has a wider connotation. When once the landlord obtains a decree for possession, he may occupy it in the same condition or he may perform any acts of ownership with regard to the property which also amounts to his occupation. He may alter the building to suit his convenience or he may demolish and reconstruct it. Simply because he intends to demolish and reconstruct the building after taking possession to suit his convenience, the facts would not attract Clause (j) of Section 21 (1) of the Act, Thus, there is no justification to give a narrow construction either to the word 'premises' or to the word 'occupy'; even demolition and reconstruction would amount to occupation in the circumstances.
17. Turning to the facts of the present case, the landlords have made it very clear that the suit tenements are required for their personal use and occupation as the 2nd petitioner-landlord is a qualified hand to run the industry and he wants to start an industry in the premises after demolishing the existing tenements which have become dilapidated and after reconstructing a building hi their place to suit his convenience. This clearly falls under Clause (h) and not under Clause (j) of Section 21 (1) of the Act. The learned Civil Judge is, therefore, not justified in allowing the petition under both the Clauses. When he allowed the petition under Clause (h), Clause (j) of Section 21 (1) of the Act, does not survive for consideration.
18. Now, I have to examine and find out whether the order of the learned Civil Judge under Clause (h) of Section 21 (1) of the Act can be justified. The evidence on record clearly shows that the 2nd petitioner is a qualified hand. Their father was running an industry. He has training in it. He holds a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. He is at present unemployed. Hence, the bona fides of the landlords cannot be challenged. The learned Civil Judge has rightly pointed out that the tenants have not contended that the real intention of the landlords is to enhance the rental. They have not challenged the averments made by the landlords with regard to the training and 'experience of the 2nd petitioner-landlord. That being so. I have no hesitation to confirm the finding of the learned Civil Judge that the requirement of the landlords is bona fide.
19. The requirement of the landlords is also reasonable because the 2nd petitioner-landlord who is qualified and trained is unemployed. If he wants to start an industry in the suit premises, there is nothing unreasonable in it. It cannot be described as unfair, capricious or absurd, Hence, agreeing with the learned Civil Judge. I hold that the requirement of the landlords is reasonable also,
20. It is only to show their earnestness about starting the industry after putting up a suitable building, that the landlords have got marked Exhibit P. 6, the sanctioned plan, Ex. P. 5 the licence and Exhibit P. 7 the estimate. They have also deposed that they have got sufficient finance to put up such a construction to start the industry. The Income-tax returns of the landlords is at Exhibit P. 8. Valuation of the properties is at Exhibit P. 9. Exhibit P. 10 is the assessment of the value of their properties. These documents would go to show that the net wealth of petitioners-landlords, is to the tune of a lakh of rupees. That being so, it is obvious that the landlords have the necessary funds to put up a suitable building and to run the industry therein. The learned Civil Judge has believed them. I have no reason to differ. Thus, I hold that the requirement of the landlords under Clause (h) of Section 21 (1) of the Act, is both bona fide and reasonable,
21. The only other point that needs consideration under this clause is one of comparative hardship. The learned Civil Judge has rightly pointed out that greater hardship would befall the landlords in case they are not awarded possession. The learned Civil Judge has pointed out that two of the tenants have their own accommodation and the rest of them are generally taking up work in house construction-He has pointed out that the house construction activities are more in the extensions where they could easily secure tenements. That being so, he has come to the conclusion that the landlords would be put to greater hardship in case possession is not restored to them. I agree with him. Thus, the landlords are entitled to possession under Clause (h) of Section 21 (1) of the Act. That being so, Clause (j) of Section 21 (1) of the Act does not survive for consideration.
22. Though the learned Advocate for the Revision Petitioners submitted that the notice to quit issued in different cases was not valid, he was unable to show me how the notices were bad in law. The learned Civil Judge has rightly held that different tenants took the lease on different dates and the landlords have properly terminated their tenancies. The learned counsel was not able to show me how the findings of the learned Civil Judge was wrong. Hence, I hold that there is no substance In the contention so raised.
23. The learned Advocate for the Revision Petitioners invited my attention to the fact that the proper authority contemplated under the Act, has not issued the notice to the landlords and hence, the landlords cannot press the claim under Clause (k) of Section 21 (1) of the Act. Be that as it may, in view of my finding under Clause (h) of Section 21 (1) of the Act, it is not necessary for me to discuss that aspect.
24. That being so, I hold that theRevision Petitions are devoid of merits. Hence, I dismiss the same. Onthe peculiar facts of the cases, I makeno order as to costs. 1 grant threemonths' time from this day to the tenants in each case to vacate their respective tenements.
25. Revision dismissed.