K. Sadasivan, J.
1. The tenant, defeated in all the courts below, has come up in revision against the order of eviction passed under Section 11 (4) (iv) of the Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act (shortly stated the .Act). The petition was moved by the landlord for eviction on the ground that he requires the building for reconstruction as it is old and dilapidated and does not fetch reasonable rent. The importance of the locality and the prevailing high prices of the land, according to him, has necessitated the demolition and reconstruction of the building on modern lines. Necessary arrangements for the construction of the building have been made by him; the plan etc., have been submitted to the Corporation and the sanction has been obtained. He has also ability to reconstruct. The building in question is situate on the market road at Ernakulam, a little to the north of the junction, where the market road and the Cannonshed roads join. The tenant is running a hotel (the City hotel) in the building. The petition was opposed by the tenant on the ground that the building does not require reconstruction; it is in a sound and stable condition. The petitioner has not got the financial strength to carry out the reconstruction. Repelline these contentions, the learned Rent Controller allowed the petition. The order of the Rent Controller has been confirmed in appeal by the appellate authority and also in revision by the learned District Judge.
2. The main point urged before me is that the landlord-petitioner has hot got the ability to reconstruct. According to the plan and the estimate, the reconstruction would cost more than one lakh of rupees; but the petitioner possesses only Rs. 5000/- in cash. The tenant would, therefore, contend that the claim is wanting in bona fides and that it is only a ruse to evict him. The petitioner's answer to this contention is that he need not be in possession of the entire one lakh of rupees now; it is enough if he satisfies the court that he has got the means ready at hand for raising the necessary funds. His father-in-law and paternal grandfather are both in affluent circumstances. The father-in-law owns 2000 acres of tea and rubber estate and can command any amount. This part of the petitioner's case has not been challenged by the counter-petitioner. He would in a rather sweeping way sweat that the petitioner has not got the ability to rebuild. He has ho case that the father-in-law and the grandfather are not rich or that they, are miserly and will not help the petitioner in the matter. 'Ability' means 'sufficient power, capacity (to do); cleverness or talent'. So, even if the petitioner is not possessed at present of the entire amount required for the construction, it is enough if he satisfies the court that he has got the power capacity and the talent to raise funds and carry on the construction. If it turns out that the claim for reconstruction is not honest and that it is put forward as a mere pretext to evict the tenant, the section provides for penal measures being taken, against the landlord. So, no landlord with any amount of self-respect will dare to come forward with a false claim and run the risk of the penalty of a fine being imposed on him.
3. The tenant has also a casethat the building does not require reconstruction. It is stable and sound. Butthe question whether the building requires reconstruction is for the landlordto decide and in doing so, various factors,of course, have to be taken into consideration. As observed by Mathew, J., inAhammad Kanna v. Muhammed Haneef,(1967) Ker LT 841, following AIR 1963SC 499:--
'A conclusion on the question as to whether a building is in such a condition that it needs reconstruction, is to be arrived at, not merely on the basis of looking at the building alone or taking into account the actual physical condition of the building alone but having due regard to various other circumstances, namely the area where the building is situated, the nature of the developments that are taking place in the area etc. The court has to be satisfied about the genuineness of the claim. To reach this conclusion obviously the court must be satisfied about the reality of the claim made by the landlord and this can only be established by looking at all the surrounding circumstances, such as the condition of the building, its situation, the possibility of it being put to a more profitable use after construction, the means of the landlord and so on. It is not enough that the landlord comes forward and says that he entertains a particular intention, however strongly, said to be entertained by him. The clause speaks not of the bona fides of the landlord, but says, on the other hand, that the claim of the landlord that he requires the building for reconstruction and re-erection must be bona fide, that is to say, honest in the circumstances. It is impossible therefore to hold that the invest tigation should be confined only to the existence of an intention in the mind, of the landlord to reconstruct. This intention must be honestly held in relation to the surrounding circumstances.'
4. A commission was taken butfor reporting about the present conditionof the building arid Ex. C1 is the reportsubmitted by him. From Ex. C1 it couldbe seen that there are cracks on someof the walls; but the report does not saythat the building is so rickety and unsafe that unless immediate measure aretaken the structure would fall down. Ifthe physical condition of the buildingalone is taken into consideration it mightbe said that it does not call for immediate reconstruction. But other factorslike the situation of the building, thepossibility of its being put to more profitable use after reconstruction etc., havealso to be taken into consideration. Eventhough the building is located in one ofthe most important and prominent spotsof the city and the building itself is astoreyed it fetches only Rs. 85/- permensem. In the circumstances if thelandlord entertains the idea that if it isrebuilt and made more fashionable andattractive it might fetch a higher rent,he cannot be found fault with. All thatthe courts should see in a matter likethis is whether the claim put forwardis honest and the petitioner himself isearnest in carrying out the reconstruction. He had applied for enhancementof the rent and that petition was pending when it was followed by the present petition. But after present petition was filed the other one was withdrawn. From this circumstance, thetenant would argue that the landlorddoes not intend, in fact, to reconstructthe building. He will rest content withgetting a higher rent, I do not thinksuch an inference can be drawn fromthe above circumstance.
5. I do not see any reason to interfere with the concurrent findings of the courts below. The revision petition is accordingly dismissed.