1. This Civil Revision Petition arises out of an eviction petition filed under Section 10 of the Andhra Pradesh Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act, 1960 (hereinafter referred to as the Act). The tenant is the petitioner and the respondent the landlord. The Rent Controller ordered eviction and it was confirmed in appeal by the learned Subordinate Judge, Guntur. Hence this petition by the tenant.
2. The building in question is a shop building situated in Patnam Bazar (Guntur town) which is the main business locality of the Guntur town. The respondent purchased the shop building for a sum of Rs. 15,000/- under sale deed, Ex. A-2 dated 5-10-1967. The petitioner has been occupying the hop as a tenant under the previous owner and carrying on his trade in biscuits etc. The respondent filed the eviction petition when the petitioner refused to vacate it when he was required to do so after the respondent purchased the building. Therefore, the eviction petition by the respondent.
3. The case of the respondent is that he has been carrying on his whole-sale business in sugar candy in another building of his own in a residential locality which is at a distance of over 200 years from the business Center. Of late, many sugar candy shops have come up in the main bazar where the suit building is situated. On that account, his business fell down. Therefore, he purchased the suit building for a sum of Rupees 15,000/- for the purpose of carrying on his sugar candy business in that responding. Therefore, the case of the respondent is that he requires the suit building for the purpose of his business which he is already carrying on in order to improve it. The case of the petitioner is that the building in which the respondent is now carrying on his business is also in a business locality and that building also is convenient for carrying on his business. The claim of the respondent for personal occupation is not bona fide. The respondent demanded a rent of Rs. 250/- to which the petitioner did not agree and that is a real reason for filing the eviction petition.
4. If the building in question is a non-residential building. the provision of law under which the respondent can ask for the eviction of the petitioner is one mentioned under S. 10 (3) (a) (iii) which reads as follows:-----
'A landlord may ................. apply to the Rent Controller for an order directing the tenant to put to landlord in possession of the building ..................
(iii) In case it is any other non-residential building, if the landlord is not occupying a non-residential building which is his own for the purpose of the business which he is carrying on or which the landlord bona fide proposes to commence.'
Both the Rent Controller and the learned Subordinate Judge concurrently found that the respondent requires the building bona fide for the purposes of carrying on his own business in it. The Rent Controller also found that the building in which the respondent is at present carrying on his business is a residential building in a residential locality. But in the appeal the learned Subordinate Judge came to a contrary conclusion and found that the building in which the respondent is at present carrying on his business is also a non-residential building. But still the learned Subordinate Judge confirmed the eviction order passed by the Rent Controller following the Bench decision of this Court in Balaiah v, Lachaiah, : AIR1965AP435 by coming to the conclusion that the building in question is more suitable for carrying on the sugar candy business of the respondent and it is necessary for him to increase and expand his business and with a view to expand his business only the respondent has purchased the building.
5. By a plain reading of Section 10 (3) (a) (iii) of the Act it appears that the landlord can require a non-residential building by evicting a tenant only if he is not already occupying a non-residential building in the same city, town or village. But nonetheless it was held in the cases a landlord can ask for eviction under a landlord can ask for eviction under certain circumstances. The learned Judges observed that:------
'the Act does not disregard the legislate and valid requirements of the landlord. That is why is in several provisions of the Act the tenant's and landlord's rights and liabilities are attempted to be balanced. It is evident from Section 10 (3) (c) that a landlord can claim a portion of the same building given on rent whatever may be the nature of his requirements, namely residential or non-residential subject of courses, to the satisfaction of other requirements of that provisions. When a landlord can thus get a tenant evicted under Sec. 10 (3) (c) in this manner, we fail to see why the landlord in an earlier clause would have been given altogether a different and diametrically opposite treatment. It is, therefore, impossible to construe Section 10 (3) (a) (iii) to mean that the landlord cannot in any case evict a tenant from another of his non-residential building if he is in occupation of a non-residential building in same city either for his business which he is carrying on or for a new business.'
Having said that, the learned Judges have held that:---------
'We, are, therefore, of the clear opinion that what the said provisions means is this; when a landlord, who is in occupation of a non-residential building in a city, town or village requires an other non-residential building of his own in the same city, town or village as the case may be, from his tenant for the purpose of the business which he is carrying on---------which can mean shifting or expansion of the business which he is carrying on or for commencing a new business-------can successfully claim eviction of his tenant if he is able to satisfy the Rent Controller that the non-residential building which he is occupying is not sufficient or suitable for the purpose of expansion of his business or for the purpose to commence, or that the shifting of his business has, in the circumstances of the case become inevitable. It would be open to him to prove that the non-residential building which he is occupying is not exclusively his own or that he is not entitled to its exclusive possession. Any one of the above mentioned cases falls, in our view, within the ambit of Section 10 (3) (a) (iii).'
6. In support of his case the landlord examined himself as P. W. 1. He has stated in his evidence that at present he is carrying on his business in the same building in which he is also residing. There are only residential houses in that locality. It is not a business Center, and that the present building which he is occupying is at a distance of 200 yards from the business Center. There are now 15 or 16 sugar candy shops in the main bazar and his business fell down. Therefore he purchased the suit building for a sum of Rs. 15,000/- for the purpose of carrying on his business there. In support of the case of the petitioner, besides his giving evidence as R. W. 2, he has also examined one more witness as R. W. 1. Both of them have stated that after the respondent purchased the suit building he demanded more rent from the petitioner at the rate of Rs. 250/- and when the petitioner did not agree to pay rent at that rate the respondent filed the eviction petition. This fact spoken to by R. Ws. 1 and 2 was not accepted by both the Rent Controller and the learned Sub-ordinate Judge on the ground that this demand of rent at the rate of Rs. 250/- said to have been made by the respondent has not been stated in the counter filed by the petitioner. On the evidence adduced in the case, both the Rent Controller and the learned Subordinate Judge concurrently found that the requirement of the building by the respondent is bona fide and he purchased the building for a sum of Rs. 15,000/- for the purposes of carrying on his sugar candy business there, it being a business Center and more suitable for carrying that business; I do not see any reason to find that that conclusion come to by both the courts is in any way wrong.
7. As regards the nature of the building which the respondent is at present occupying.; which the Rent Controller came to the conclusion that it is a residential building, the learned Subordinate Judge reversing that finding found that it is a non-residential building. Whether that building is a residential or non-residential building does not matter very much now as even though it is a non-residential building, still having regard to the circumstances of this case, the respondent is entitled to get the possession of the building in question after evicting the tenant. It appears that in the same building the respondent let out a portion for the purpose of a godown. However, the Rent Controller found that the portion was let out only for the purpose of a godown and not to carry on any trade and that the building which the respondent is now occupying is more suitable as a residential building and not for the purpose of carrying on business and accordingly he came to the conclusion that it is not a non-residential building.
The learned subordinate Judge has stated in his judgment that after the close of the arguments in the appeal, the deputed an Amin to visit the locality and report to him. The Amin reported that in the building where the respondent is carrying on his business at present there is no residence put up and therefore it should be taken that the building where the respondent is carrying on his business at present is a non-residential building and not partly residential ant partly non-residential. I do not think that the learned Subordinate Judge is justified in basing his conclusion on the report of the Amin without giving an opportunity to the parties to make their representations about the report submitted by the Amin. I think that conclusion arrived at by the learned Subordinate Judge Amin cannot stand. Therefore, it should be taken as found by the Rent Controller that the building in question is a residential building and not a non-residential building. In which case, the respondent is entitled to the possession of the building whatever view may be taken with regard to the interpretation to be put on Section 10 (3) (a) (iii) of the Act.
8. Sri I. A. Naidu, learned counsel for the petitioner has argued that with regard to the interpretation of the provision contained in S. 10 (3) (a) (iii) two earlier single Judge decisions of this court in Chowdary Bakkara Hussein Saheb v. Mouli Saheb, 1956 Andh LT 370, V. Veerabhadrulu v. Kancherla Rama Rao, 1958 Andh LT 728 took a different view from the one expressed in : AIR1965AP435 (Supra) and those two single Judge decisions were not brought to the notice of the learned Judges who decided the case : AIR1965AP435 (supra) and if these two single Judge decisions were to be brought to their notice, it is quite possible that they would have agreed with the view taken in those cases and therefore, according to the learned counsel. it may be the matter requires further consideration by a Bench or if necessary by a Full Bench. In the two single Judges decision the learned Judges were considering Section 7 (3) (a) (iii) of the Madras Building (Lease and Rent Control ) Act of 1949 which is a similar to the present Section 10 (3) (a) (iii) of the Act.
In 1956 Andh LT 370, Umamaheswaram, J. took the view that if a landlord desires to get possession of a non-residential building, he must not be occupying any other non-residential building. Similarly, Seshachalapathi, J. who decided the case, 1958 Andh LT 728 was of the same view. He said that a landlord may apply to the Rent Controller for an order directing the tenant to put him in possession of a non-residential building only if he is not occupying for the purpose of his business a non-residential building in the city, town or village concerned which is his own. He said it is not open to the landlord to pick and choose from among the non-residential building which he owns. If he is found to be in possession of another non-residential building, he cannot apply for eviction of the tenant and the court would have no jurisdiction to order such eviction. In the decision AIR 1965 Andh Pra 435 (supra) the learned Judges have carefully considered the entire matter form all aspects and came to the conclusion that having regard to the scheme of the Act, it would not have been the intention of the Legislature that a landlord under no circumstances can require a non-residential building of his own if he is already occupying a non-residential building of his own, in the same city, town or village. With great respect to the learned Judges, in my opinion, that is the correct view to be taken in interpreting the provision contained in Section 10 (3) (a) of the Act.
9. The result is there are no merits in this Civil Revision Petition and accordingly it is dismissed with costs. The petitioner is granted two months time to vacate the building.
10. Revision dismissed.