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Mabbu Subbaram Reddi Vs. T.A.P. Srinivasa Raghavan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 219 of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1972AP203
ActsAndhra Pradesh Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act, 1960 - Sections 10(2)
AppellantMabbu Subbaram Reddi
RespondentT.A.P. Srinivasa Raghavan
Appellant AdvocateO. Adinarayana Reddy, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateE. Manohar, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....10 (2) - tenant preferred revision petition - held, appellate court was correct that there was sub-lease by tenant. - - if the controller, after giving the tenant a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the application is satisfied--(iii) that the tenant has committed such acts of waste as are likely to impair materially the value or utility of the building, or the controller shall make an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building and if the controller is not so satisfied, he shall make an order rejecting the application. 5. it is now well-settled that only those acts of waste by a tenant which materially impair the value or utility of the building will entitle the landlord to obtain an order of eviction. pushpalammal, air1952mad181 .6...........its own peculiar circumstances. drilling a hole 3 inches in diameter in the terraced portion of a building leased for running a hotel to let out smoke, and demolition of a parapet wall to an extent of 2' x 3' have been held not to be acts of waste, vide natarajan v. p. thandavarayan, (1969) 2 mad, lj 19. on the other hand, construction of pucca walls in place of wooden partitions of the first floor of an eighty year old building without proper foundation have been held to be acts of waste materially impairing the value of the building in govindaswami naidu, v. pushpalammal, : air1952mad181 .6. keeping the above in mind, it is now necessary to look into the facts in order to find out as to whether the facts of the tenant complained of by the landlord are such that they had materially.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. The relevant facts for purpose of this revision are that the respondent herein who is the landlord of the premises bearing Door No. 130/4570 in T. P. Area in Seshachaliah street, Tirupati had let out the said premises under a lease deed dated 15-5-67 to the petitioner herein for a period of seven years on a monthly rent of Rs. 300/- for the building and Rs. 250/- for fixtures by way of installation of a pumpset and fans etc. The premises comprise of a building and a compound around it. The respondent herein filed a petition for eviction before the Rent Controller who is the Principal District Munsif, Tirupati on four grounds viz. (1) that the tenant is a wilful defaulter, (2) that the tenant had committed acts of waste which have materially impaired the value or utility of buildings, (3) that the tenant had sublet a part of the premises to another persons who was running a tea stall and (4) that the acts of sublessee are causing nuisance to the occupiers in the neighbourhood.

The petitioner (tenant herein) stated that he is not a wilful defaulter, that he had constructed several rooms in order to carry out the purpose of running a lodging house for which the building was taken on lease and that his acts are such which instead of materially impairing the value of the building have increased its value. He has admitted that he had sublet a part of the premises to a third person for running, a tea stall but denied the allegation relating to causing of nuisance. The Rent Controller dismissed the petition for eviction finding on all the four points mentioned above in favour of the tenant. The landlord preferred an appeal and appellate court concurred with the finding of the Rent Controller that there was no wilful default on the part of the tenant. Neither of the Courts below have given a finding on the question relating to causing of nuisance. So far as the acts of waste are concerned, the appellate court found that the constructions carried out by the tenant have materially impaired the value or utility of the building and that the tenant having admitted the act of subletting has committed a breach of the provisions of S. 10 (2) (ii) (a) of the Andhra Pradesh Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act, 1960, hereinafter to be referred to as the Act. Aggrieved by the judgment of the appellate authority, the tenant has preferred this revision petition.

2. Mr. Adinarayana Reddy, the learned advocate for the petitioner assails the judgment of the appellate court on two grounds viz., (1) that the appellate Court was incorrect in coming to the conclusion that the constructions carried out by the tenant have materially impaired the value of utility of the building, and (2) that having regard to the way in which the petition for eviction was framed, it could not be countenanced that the landlord had intended the eviction of the tenant on the basis of the sub-letting of a part of the premises by the tenant. He submits that because of the vague allegation of the landlord with regard to the sub-letting of the premises, he could not specifically plead that it was only a licence and not a sub-lease.

3. So far as the first point is concerned it is to be noted that S. 10 (2) (iii) of the Act provides.

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(2) A landlord who seeks to evict his tenant shall apply to the Controller for a direction in that behalf. If the controller, after giving the tenant a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the application is satisfied-------------

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(iii) that the tenant has committed such acts of waste as are likely to impair materially the value or utility of the building, or

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The Controller shall make an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building and if the Controller is not so satisfied, he shall make an order rejecting the application......................'

4. It is to be observed that the above provisions cover two aspects, viz., (a) where the tenant has committed such acts of waste which impair materially the value of the building, and (b) where the tenant has committed such acts of waste which though do not materially impair the value of the building but they do materially impair the utility of the building. The material value or utility of the building is to be ascertained from the point of view of the landlord and not from the point of view of the tenant. In either of the cases mentioned above, the landlord is entitled to obtain an order of eviction.

5. It is now well-settled that only those acts of waste by a tenant which materially impair the value or utility of the building will entitle the landlord to obtain an order of eviction. In other words, acts of waste by a tenant which do not materially impair the value or utility of the building will not entitle the landlord for an order of eviction. Obviously every case has to be judged in the light of its own peculiar circumstances. Drilling a hole 3 inches in diameter in the terraced portion of a building leased for running a hotel to let out smoke, and demolition of a parapet wall to an extent of 2' x 3' have been held not to be acts of waste, vide Natarajan v. P. Thandavarayan, (1969) 2 Mad, LJ 19. On the other hand, construction of pucca walls in place of wooden partitions of the first floor of an eighty year old building without proper foundation have been held to be acts of waste materially impairing the value of the building in Govindaswami Naidu, v. Pushpalammal, : AIR1952Mad181 .

6. Keeping the above in mind, it is now necessary to look into the facts in order to find out as to whether the facts of the tenant complained of by the landlord are such that they had materially impaired the value or utility of the building. The landlord along with the petition for eviction has filed 'B' Schedule pointing out the constructions and alternations effected by the tenant to the building, and has detailed fifteen items pointing out the acts of alleged waste by the tenant. It appears from the record that a commissioner was appointed to inspect the property and he has submitted his report (Ex. A-2). The commissioner has given in detail the alterations and constructions carried out by the tenant but concluded that the building was in good condition with up-to-date white-washing, that the doors and windows are duly painted, and that there was no alteration in the flooring and the flooring was not in a damaged condition. Mr. Adinarayana Reddy, the learned advocate for the petitioner relying upon this report (Ex. A-2) contends that the acts of the tenant complained of do not amount t acts of waste as it can be gathered from the report of the commissioner, and that the lower court was incorrect in finding on this point in favour of the landlord, respondent herein. From the report (Ex. A-2) and the testimony of P. W. 1, I find that there are several acts of the tenant which amount to waste impairing the value of the building. Even the deposition of the tenant (R. W. 1) himself would show that he had turned the premises which consisted only of six rooms into one consisting of sixteen rooms by spending Rs. 15,000/- towards construction and conversion. He admits that there is no condition mentioned in the lease deed (Ex. A-1) permitting him to make alternations to the suit building. He also admitted that the door ways for Room No. 1. to Room No. 4 were newly put by him by breaking the parapet wall along the line 'DC'. He has converted two rooms on either side of the wall and also the halls into two rooms by putting 2 1/2' thick walls for converting the halls into rooms. He also admits that the landlord had protested against all these constructions. In spite of the fact that the commissioner's report indicate that the building is in good condition with up-to-date white-washing, and the doors and windows duly painted, nevertheless, what has to be looked at is whether there were any acts of waste on the part of the tenant which materially impaired the value of the building from the point of view of the landlord. I do not see any reason to differ from the conclusions arrived at by the lower appellate court on this aspect. Even assuming that the petitioner herein had constructed and altered the premises in such a way that his acts had not materially impaired the value of the building, nevertheless, I find that such constructions and alternations had materially impaired the utility of the building from the point of view of the landlord.

7. The next question is with reference to the sub-letting of the hall for the purposes of a tea stall. Mr. Adinarayana Reddy, the learned advocate for the petitioner contends that from the way in which the petition is framed, it cannot, be gathered that the landlord had sought the eviction of the tenant on the ground of the sub-letting. He points out that sub-letting was alleged for the purposes of showing the act of the causing nuisance by the tenant rather than to show a breach of condition. He submits that if this subletting had been specifically pleaded and was made one of the grounds for eviction, he would have definitely traversed the same in his counter by stating that he had not sublet but in fact it was a case of licence. He further submits that the case should be sent back to the Rent Controller to enable him to traverse the allegation of sub-letting and produce evidence to show that it was a licence not a sub-lease. I am afraid, I cannot agree to the contentions advanced by the learned advocate for the petitioner. The relevant provision relating to eviction of tenant on the basis of sub-letting is S. 10 (2) (III) (a) of the Act. It provides as following:

'2. A landlord who seeks to evict his tenant shall apply to the Controller for a direction in that behalf. If the Controller, after giving the tenant a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the application, is satisfied.

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(ii) that the tenant has in the Andhra area after the 23rd October, 1945 and in the Telangana Area after the commencement after the Hyderabad Houses Rent Controller Order of 1353 Fasli, without the written consent of the landlord...........................

(a) transferred his right under the lease or sub-let the entire building or any portion thereof, if the lease does not confer on him any right to do so, or

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The controller shall make an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building and if the Controller is not so satisfied, he shall make an order rejecting the application .........................................

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8. These provisions cast a prohibition on the tenant not to sub-let without the written consent of the landlord. It further provides that in order that a tenant could sub-let without the permission of the landlord, it is necessary that the lease deed should positively confer on him such deed should positively confer on him such right to sub-lease., It further means that when the lease does not positively confer such right on the tenant the tenant cannot sub-leas the property without the written consent of the landlord. Bearing this interpretation in mind, it is now to be seen as to whether the contention advanced by the learned advocate for the petitioner are tenable in the circumstances of the case.

9. Mr. Manohar the learned advocate for the respondent points out that the arguments of Mr. Adinarayana Reddy that the landlord had not specifically pleaded about the sub-letting of the premises by the tenant, is not correct. He points out that in the cause title of the petition for eviction, the landlord had very specifically stated the section which provides for eviction on the basis of sub-letting. Secondly, the learned Advocate for the respondent contends that Exs. A-6, A-14, A-`16 and A-17 and the lawyer's notice (Ex. A4) dated 19-4-1968 complained about the sub-letting and there is no denial by the tenant of these allegations. He argues that in paragraphs 8 and 10 of the petition, the allegation with regard to sub-letting has been stated very clearly; that the parties had understood the case and have led evidence on the basis of sub-letting; and hat even the Rent Controller's judgment would show that point No. 4 in this regard was specifically considered by the Rent Controller, and hence it s no longer open to the petitioner to raise this objection that sub-letting has not been specifically alleged in the petition thereby causing misunderstanding in the mind of the tenant. Mr. Manohar relies upon a ruling of the Kerala High Court in Abu v. Beebi, 1970 Ker LT 1996, wherein it was held that in proceedings before the quasi-judicial authorities, like the Rent Control Act, meticulous application of the rules of pleading should not be insisted upon, the touchstone should be whether a party is prejudiced by insufficiency of particulars in the pleading of the other side. The learned advocate for the respondent further relies upon a ruling of the Supreme Court in Nagubal Ammal v. B. Shama Rao, : [1956]1SCR451 in which their Lordships of the Supreme Court have held that where the plea of his pendens was not specifically pleaded but since the defendants went to trial with full knowledge that the question of lis pendens was in issue and had the opportunity to adduce their evidences, and had fully availed themselves of the same, it can in the circumstances be held that he absence of a specific pleading on the question s a mere irregularity which resulted in no prejudice to the defendant. In the instant case, I find that the landlord has pleaded the act of sub-letting by the tenant and the tenant who is the petitioner herein has not only admitted the sub-letting in his counter but has categorically admitted in his deposition as R. W. 1. In cross-examination he states that it is not laid down in Ex. A-1. That he should not sub-lease the premises, Moreover, he admits as follows:

'The room was let out by me to S. Basha on lease. I built the roofing for it. He was paying Rs. 150/- per month as rent. I did not intimate petitioner in writing about the said sub-lease. I did not obtain his permission.'

It would be seen that from this categorical admission, the contention advanced by the learned advocate for the petitioner loses its force and his submission that the case should be remanded to enable him to prove that it was only a case of licence and not a sub-lease does not appeal, to me. I therefore, find that the lower appellate Court was correct in coming to the conclusion that there was a sub-lease in this case by the tenant for purpose of running of tea stall. I see no reason to interfere in the Judgment of the lower appellate Court.

10. Hence this revision petition is dismissed with costs. The petitioner is given three month's time from today to vacate the premises in dispute.

11. Revision dismissed.


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