G.P. Singh, J.
1. This is a tenant's appeal against a decree for eviction passed against him.
2. The facts are that the plaintiff Vimalchand is the landlord of the suit accommodation which is a shop. Dindayal is his tenant and Punitram is a sub-tenant of the tenant. Dindayal carries on business of awatch repairer in a part of the shop and has sub-let the other part to Punitram whocarries on laundry business. The original landlord of the shop was one Gulraj, who is the predecessor-in-interest of the plaintiff Vimalchand. The plaintiff filed the suit giving rise to this appeal against Dindayal and Punitram for eviction on two grounds: First, that the tenant has unlawfully sub-let a part of the accommodation to Punitram; and secondly, that the accommodation is needed by the plaintiff for opening a cloth shop.
The defence of the tenant Dindayal was that the shop was sub-let to Punitram with the consent of the original landlord Gulraj and that the sub-letting was not unlawful. It was also pleaded that the plaintiff's need is not genuine. The trial Court as well as the first appellate Court held in favour of the plaintiff that the grounds under Clauses (b) and (f) of Section 12 (1) of the Madhya Pradesh Accommodation Control Act, 1961, were made out and the suit was decreed. The tenant Dindayal, thereafter, filed the present second appeal.
3. Learned counsel for the appellant does not dispute that the tenant did sub-let a part of the shop to Punitram. His contention is that the sub-letting was with the implied consent of the predecessor landlord Gulraj and, therefore, not unlawful within the meaning of Section 12 (1) (b) of the Act.
4. Section 12 (1) (b) of the Act permits eviction of a tenant on the ground that 'the tenant has, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, unlawfully sublet, assigned or otherwise parted with the possession of the whole or any part of the accommodation for consideration or otherwise'. To claim the benefit of this ground it has, therefore, to be established by the plaintiff that the sub-letting was unlawful. In the instant case the sub-letting took place when the C. P. and Berar Rent Control Order, 1949, was in force.
Clause 12-A of the Order prohibited subletting of any portion of the accommodation 'except in pursuance of a condition in the lease-deed executed in favour of the tenant or with the written consent of the landlord.' Any contravention of the Order was made a criminal offence by Section 8 of the Central Provinces and Berar Regulation of Letting of Accommodation Act, 1946. Grant of a sub-lease, except when permitted by the lease-deed or with the written permission of the landlord, amounted to a criminal act and the sub-lease granted in breach of the prohibition of Clause 12-A of the Order was clearly unlawful.
5. Coming to the facts so far as they are relevant on the question of sub-letting, it is to be noticed that it is neither pleaded nor proved that the sub-lease was created inpursuance of any condition of the lease or with any written permission of the landlord. The case of the tenant is that after he sublet the shop to Punitram, Gulraj filed an application for permission to terminate the tenancy under the Rent Control Order and in that proceeding a compromise was reached by which the rent was increased and thereby the sub-tenancy was, thereafter, continued with the implied consent of Gulraj. The compromise which is Ex. D-1 bears the date February 9, 1956. According to the tenant's statement he took the third Chasma of the shop in 1955-56 and after two years sub-let it to Punitram.
Thus, the sub-lease was created sometime in 1957-58. The compromise evidenced by Ex. D-1 was of February 9, 1956 and could not, therefore, relate to the sub-lease created in favour of Punitram in 1957. It has, therefore, rightly been held by the Courts below that there was no express or implied written permission of the landlord for creating the sub-lease in favour of Punitram. The sub-lease was clearly in contravention of Clause 12-A of the Order and was unlawful. The plaintiff has thus succeeded in establishing the ground under Section 12 (1) (b) of the Act.
6. It was then contended that as the decree passed by the Courts below was also passed on the ground mentioned in Section 12 (1) (f), the first appellate Court was in error in not incorporating directions consistent with Section 12 (6) of the Act.
7. Section 12 (1) of the Act in Clauses (a) to (p) provides sixteen grounds for eviction of a tenant. Decrees passed on some of the grounds are absolute but in case of decrees passed on the grounds mentioned in Clauses (f), (g) and (h) some further restrictions are placed by the Act. The ground under Section 12 (1) (f) relates to the need of the landlord for business by proving which he can obtain non-residential accommodation in possession of a tenant. When a decree is passed on this ground, Section 12 (6) puts certain restrictions in the matter of execution of the decree. These restrictions, briefly stated, are that the landlord is not entitled to possession before expiration of two months from the date of the decree and until he pays certain amount as compensation to the tenant.
Clauses (g) and (h) of Section 12 (1) entitle a landlord to obtain eviction of his tenant when the accommodation is required for repairs, rebuilding or reconstruction which cannot be carried out without the accommodation being vacated. When a decree is passed on these grounds, the tenant is given an option of re-entry under Section 18. A decree passed on other grounds mentioned in Section 12 (1) is absolute. Thus, if a decree is passed on the ground of sub-letting mentioned in Clause (b), it is absolute and no further benefit is given to the tenant and no restriction is placed on the landlord in thematter of execution of the decree. Now, the argument of the learned counsel for the appellant is that if a decree is passed, as in the instant case, on the ground in Clause (b) as also on the ground in Clause (f) of Section 12 (1), the restrictions provided in Section 12 (6) must still apply, for the decree is still a decree passed under Clause (f) of Section 12 (1).
If this argument is accepted then the right of a landlord to get an absolute decree by proving sub-letting under Clause (b) would be defeated simply because he has proved an additional ground under Clause (f) which enables him to get a decree with restrictions. Thus, a landlord having two grounds in his favour will be at a disadvantage as against a landlord who has only the ground under Clause (b) for his support. Such an anomalous result could not have been intended by the legislature. Sub-section (6) of Section 12 cannot be read in isolation. Reading the section as a whole it is quite clear that Section 12 (6) applies when the decree is passed under Clause (f) and is not based on any other ground in other clauses of Section 12 (1) which entitle the landlord to get an absolute decree.
8. But argues learned counsel with some vigour that in construing statutory words one should not be influenced by consequences at any rate when the language is plain. But, in my opinion, consequences always play an important part in the process of construction and the language is seldom so rigid that the Courts are unable to avoid absurd, unreasonable and anomalous results. If that were not so, much of the respect for the Courts would disappear. The reason why consequences play an important role is that it is never expected of an elected legislature that it will legislate to produce absurd, unjust or anomalous result and, therefore, if a particular construction leads to such a result it is inferred that that construction must not have been intended by the legislature. Even the conclusion that the language is plain or ambiguous has to be reached by construing the words in their context and the Courts are not readily prepared to accept as plain language which involves absurdity and inconsistency; (see Maxwell, Interpretation of Statutes, 11th edition, p. 6). It is true that if the words of the Act are so inflexible that they have only one meaning, that meaning must be adopted no matter how unreasonable the result, but as stated by Lord Reid 'such cases are rare because English language is a flexible instrument'; Ballrooms v. Zenith Investments, (1970) 2 All ER 871 (HL) p. 374. The real role that is played by consequences in the process of construction is, I think, correctly appreciated by Max Radin:
'It is..... true that the considerationof the consequences of a decision has at all times been a controlling factor in the judicial process. Those Courts who declare vigorously that they are completely indifferentto the consequences of what they decide, and would decide as they do though the heaven fell, merely mean that they do not really believe that the consequences will be seriously harmful. If they meant what they said, and acted on it, they would be taking a long step towards the destruction of our judicial system.'
(A case Study in Statutory Interpretation (1945) 33 Calif L Rev 219, p. 228)
9. Let us now come back to Section 12 (6) of the Act to see if the language used is so rigid that there is no option but to accept the construction suggested by the learned counsel. The material words of Section 12 (6) read as follows:
'Where an order for the eviction of a tenant is made on the ground specified in Clause (f) of Sub-section (1), the landlord shall not be entitled to obtain possession thereof .....'
The language employed in Section 12 (6) is silent as to whether that provision is to apply also when a decree is passed on more than one ground, one of the grounds being the ground under Clause (f) of Sub-section (1). The construction which the counsel for the appellant wants to be adopted would have been apparently the only construction possible had the language been as under:
'Where one of the grounds on which an order for the eviction of the tenant is passed is a ground specified under Clause (f) of Subsection (1), the landlord shall not be entitled to obtain possession thereof......'
The language being not that explicit, it is open to adopt the construction that Section 12 (6) does not apply when the decree is passed on one or more of the other grounds specified in Sub-section (1) which entitle the landlord to obtain an absolute decree although it is also passed on the ground specified in Clause (f) of that Sub-section. And this construction must be preferred as it is more in harmony with the scheme of the section read as a whole and has also the merit of avoiding unreasonable and anomalous results that flow from the alternative construction suggested by the learned counsel.
10. As the decree in the instant case has also been passed on the ground specified in Clause (b) of Section 12 (1), Section 12 (6) is not applicable. The first appellate Court was, therefore, right in vacating the direction given by the trial Court under Section 12 (6).
11. The appeal fails and is dismissed with costs.