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Maganlal Shivlal Vs. Memon Daudbhai Mithabhai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1969)10GLR336
AppellantMaganlal Shivlal
RespondentMemon Daudbhai Mithabhai
Cases ReferredIn Bhutan Singh v. Ganendra Kumar
Excerpt:
- - to make new or like new, to clean up, replace worn and broken parts in, repair etc. ; to restore to good condition. therefore, according to this dictionary meaning the term 'renovation' would mean making a thing new or restoring a thing to good condition or to repair a thing. the word 'repair' conveys the idea of replacing worn, broken or lost parts in a thing or restoring the thing to a good condition. 1878 (3) appeal cases 552, the making good defects, including renewal where that is necessary. in so far as the original building is kept as it is and portions of it are restored to good condition or such portions as are worn out or broken or damaged are replaced by new portions or the weak portions are strengthened, the building is said to be repaired. he stated that the making of.....v.r. shah, j.1. these two second appeals arise out of the two suits brought by the respondent in each appeal to recover possession of certain shops from the appellant under the provisions of section 13(1)(h) of the saurashtra rent control act, 1951 (hereinafter referred to as 'the saurashtra act'). the appellant is in possession of two shops in he carries on business and he is also in possession of one shop where he stores coal. these shops originally belonged to one popatlal and his two brothers. the respondent plaintiff purchased the whole building in which these shops are situate by two different sale-deeds, paying aggregate sale price of rs. 55,000/-. one sale deed was executed on 31-3-1958; while the other was executed on 1-11-1958. in respect of the two shops in which the.....
Judgment:

V.R. Shah, J.

1. These two Second Appeals arise out of the two suits brought by the respondent in each appeal to recover possession of certain shops from the appellant under the provisions of Section 13(1)(h) of the Saurashtra Rent Control Act, 1951 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Saurashtra Act'). The appellant is in possession of two shops in he carries on business and he is also in possession of one shop where he stores coal. These shops originally belonged to one Popatlal and his two brothers. The respondent plaintiff purchased the whole building in which these shops are situate by two different sale-deeds, paying aggregate sale price of Rs. 55,000/-. One sale deed was executed on 31-3-1958; while the other was executed on 1-11-1958. In respect of the two shops in which the appellant-defendant carries on business, the respondent filed Civil Suit No. 360 of 1958 on 27-10 1958; while in respect of the shop in which coal is stored by the appellant, the respondent filed Civil Suit No. 24 of 1959 on 19-1-1959. The respondent alleged in his plaints that he carried on business in various commodities and he found the premises In which he carried on business insufficient for his needs and he found them inconvenient. He also stated that he wanted to expand his business. His case for possession of the suit shops was based on two grounds; firstly that the building in which the suit shops are located was very old and that he wanted to pull down the building and build it new to suit his convenience; and secondly that he bona fide and reasonably required the suit premises for his personal occupation. These two grounds were based on Section 13(1)(h) and 13(1)(g) of the Saurashtra Act. He also alleged certain other grounds which would entitle him to possession, but his claim on these grounds has been negatived by both the Courts below and we are not, therefore, concerned with those other grounds in the present appeals.

2. The trial Court held In favour of the respondent-plaintiff on both the ground about requirement of the plaintiff for personal occupation and about the requirement for the purpose of renovation. The trial Court, therefore, passed a decree for possession in favour of the plaintiff in both the suits.

3. The appellant-defendant preferred two appeals Nos. 67 and 68 of 1960 to the District Court at Surendranagar, and the learned Assistant Judge in that Court, who heard the said appeals, held that the respondent-plaintiff was entitled to possession on the ground mentioned in Section 13(1)(h) of the Saurashtra Act. He thought it unnecessary to decide whether the ground about personal occupation is made out or not and he dismissed both the appeals. It is against this dismissal of the appeals by the learned Assistant Judge that the appellant-defendant has preferred these two Second Appeals.

4. Daring the course of the hearing of these two appeals, Mr. I.M. Nanavati, Advocate of this Court, intervened on the side of the appellant-defendant, since he was also concerned in some other matter wherein the point about the meaning of the term 'renovation' used in Section 13(1)(h) was involved.

5. The contentions of the appellant-defendant before us are (1) that the term 'renovation' used in Section 13(1)(h) of the Saurashtra Act does not include demolition of the existing building and re-building on the same site; and (2) that there is no bona fide and reasonable requirement of the plaintiff to do so.

6. Prior to the enactment of the Saurashtra Act in 1951, the law applicable was the Bombay Rents, Hotel and Lodging House Rates Control Act, 57 of 1947 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Bombay Act') with certain adaptations. Section 13(1)(h) of the Bombay Act 57 of 1947 as adapted, read as follows:

That the premises are in dilapidated condition requiring repairs which cannot be carried out without the premises being vacated.

Thereafter the Saurashtra Legislature enacted the Saurashtra Act in 1951 and by Section 35 of that Act, the Bombay Act, as adapted and applied to the State of Saurashtra was repealed. Section 13(1)(h) of the Saurashtra Act reads as follows:

That the premises are reasonably and bona fide required by the landlord for carrying out repairs or renovation which cannot be carried out without the premises being vacated;

7. The plaintiff in both the suits has based his claim for possession on the ground that the building in which these shops are situate is old and that he wants to pull down the building and erect a new one in its place. He says that this proposed act of his is included in the term 'renovation' used in Section 13(1)(h) of the Saurashtra Act. The appellant denies that the proposed act of the plaintiff is included in the term 'renovation' as used in the said section. The first point, therefore, that arises for our decision is whether demolition of the existing building and erection of a new building in its place would amount to 'renovation' within the meaning of Section 13(1)(h) of the Saurashtra Act.

8. Now, the term 'renovation' is not defined in the Act. We have, therefore, to look to its dictionary meaning and to adopt that meaning Which is justified by the context in which the word 'renovation' is used in the clause. In Webster's Dictionary (20th Century, Second Edition), the word 'renovate' is explained as follows:

to make new or like new, to clean up, replace worn and broken parts in, repair etc.; to restore to good condition.

In Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, the meaning is-

to renew materially, to repair, to restore by replacing lost or damaged parts, to create a new.

Therefore, according to this dictionary meaning the term 'renovation' would mean making a thing new or restoring a thing to good condition or to repair a thing. It would also include replacement of worn and broken parts in a thing. Now, under Section 13(1)(h), the requirement of the plaintiff can be either for repairs or renovation. Since the two words are used disjunctively by the Legislature, it must be assumed that the Legislature used the two words to express two distinct and separate meanings. The word 'repair' conveys the idea of replacing worn, broken or lost parts in a thing or restoring the thing to a good condition. In Greg v. Planoue 1936 (1) K.B. 669, Salter, L.J. states:

I take the word 'repair' as meaning in the language of Lord Blackburn in Inglis v. Buttery and Co. 1878 (3) Appeal Cases 552, the making good defects, including renewal where that is necessary.

Therefore, whenever a thing or a part of a thing is worn out and a new thing is replaced in its place, such replacement of a new thing amounts to repair of the thing. The term 'renovation' as seen from the meanings given in the dictionaries includes the making of repairs and also includes the act of making or creating a new thing but the term 'repair' would not include the meaning of creating or making of a new thing. In so far as the original building is kept as it is and portions of it are restored to good condition or such portions as are worn out or broken or damaged are replaced by new portions or the weak portions are strengthened, the building is said to be repaired. Such acts would no doubt also amount to renovation. But when the building itself is demolished and a new building is constructed on the site, it cannot be said that the old building is repaired; but in view of the dictionary meanings, it can be said that the building is re-novated. Since it must be assumed that the Legislature has meant to use the two words 'repair' or 'renovation' to express two separate meanings, it must be held that the term 'renovation' is not restricted to repairs only but includes demolition of a building and construction of another building on the same site.

9. Mr. M.C. Shah, learned Advocate for the appellant in both the appeals referred to the meaning of the term 'renovation' in Stroud's Judicial Dictionary. Therein the word 'renovate' has been explained as meaning 'renewals by way of repair and not replacements involving the introduction of new heritable subjects. 'In so far as 'renewals by way of repair' is concerned, it not doubt is one of the meanings of the term 'renovation' as we have seen above. The later part of the meaning in Stroud's Judicial Dictionary merely refers to such replacement as involve introduction of new heritable subjects. There is no attempt on the part of Mr. M.C. Shah to point out how this later part of the meaning is relevant in the present case. The meaning, therefore, of the term 'renovation' in Stroud's Judicial Dictionary does not in any way ran counter to the meaning of the term 'renovation' which, as stated above, we are disposed to accept. Mr. Shah urged that 'renovation' does not include pulling down the existing structure and building a new one on the same land. He urged that the term 'renovation' would mean such renovation of the building as can be made keeping existing building standing. He stated that the making of a new building would not be included in the term 'renovation', but if a building were made 'like new', it would be included in the meaning of the term 'renovation'. If the original building were to be kept standing and portions of it were to be replaced, it would amount to making repairs to the building; and if this were the only meaning to be given to the term 'renovation', the purpose would be served by mentioning the word 'repairs' in the clause and there was no need for the Legislature to introduce the word 'renovation' therein. It cannot be urged that the Legislature intended to use the word 'renovation' in the same sense as 'repair'. It is an established principle of interpretation of statute that the Legislature does not use any word with out a specific purpose.

10. In this connection we may also point out that the Bombay Act 57 of 1947 was on the Statute Book from 1948. Section 13(1)(h) in the Bombay Act reads exactly like the present Section 13(1)(h) of the Saurashtra Act with the difference that the word 'renovation' is added in this clause by the Saurashtra Act. The Saurashtra Legislature seems to have adopted the Bombay provision, but enlarged its scope by adding the word 'renovation' after the word 'repairs'. The Legislature must have done it with some specific purpose and the only purpose that can be gathered is to enable the landlord to obtain possession, in addition to the ground of repairs, on the ground of renovation also. It must, therefore, be held that the term 'renovation' includes something more than the term 'repairs' and the only other meaning that can be attributed to the term 'renovation' is the making of a new building. Therefore, this argument of Mr. Shah cannot be accepted.

11. Mr. I.M, Nanavati contended that the renovation would start where repairs end. Therefore, he did not deny that the term 'renovation' would include making of a new building in place of the old; but he urged that before the landlord can ask for renovation, there must be satisfactory evidence that the old building is so dilapidated or weak that the repairs cannot be made and renovation is the only alternative. He referred to the provisions of the previous Clause (h) in the Bombay Act 57 of 1947 as adapted and in force in Saurashtra prior to 1951 and pointed out that at that time the landlord could obtain possession for repairs if he showed that the building was in a dilapidated condition. But after the Act of 1951, the Legislature has thought it fit to grant him a wider right of obtaining possession for renovation. Mr. Nanavati's argument, therefore, is that even for the purposes of renovation the landlord must show that the building is in a dilapidated condition. In our opinion, the contention of Mr. Nanavati is not correct. It is true that when the Bombay Act was adapted and applied to Saurashtra in 1948 it was thought fit that the right to obtain possession on the ground of repairs should be restricted only to those cases where the building was in a dilapidated condition. The Raj Pramukh at that time did not think it fit to apply Section 13(1)(h) as it stood in the Bombay Act of 1947. However, the Legislature when it passed the Saurashtra Act in 1951 substantially changed the provisions by reverting back to the language contained in Section 13(1)(b) of the Bombay Act and by expressly omitting the requirement that the building should be in a dilapidated state. The only condition which is now required to be fulfilled by the landlord is that he reasonably and bona fide requires the building for the purposes of repairs or renovation. If the Legislature wanted to restrict the meaning of the term 'renovation' only to those cases where the building has become dilapidated, it would have retained the word 'dilapidated' in this sub-clauses. In our opinion, in view of the reasons stated above, this contention of Mr. Nanavati cannot be accepted.

12. Mr. Nanavati also drew our attention to the fact that in Section 13(1)(b) of the Saurashtra Act words 'repairs or renovation' occur together and in view of the legislative history of this sub-section, Mr. Nanavati urged that the word 'renovation' should take its colour from the word 'repairs'. It was his argument, therefore, that the word 'renovation' would include in its scope only such replacements to the existing building as would not be included in the term 'repairs' and that the term 'renovation' would not include demolition of the existing building and erecting a new building in its place. In view of the dictionary meanings of the term 'renovation' which we have discussed above, we do not think that the meaning of the term 'renovation' ought to be restricted to such acts only as would amount to replacements in the old building keeping it intact and standing.

13. Both Mr. Shah and Mr. Nanavati pointed out that Section 13(1)(h) would apply to such repairs or renovation 'which cannot be carried out without the premises being vacated. 'It was urged, therefore, that this provision also contemplates such renovation as could be carried out with out premises being vacated and therefore it was urged that the term 'renovation' would not Include demolition of the building. But in our opinion since the term 'renovation' also includes replacements of worn or broken portions it is clear that such replacements may be capable of being made without requiring the tenant to vacate the premises, but when renovation is to be made by demolition of building, it is clear that premises have to be vacated.

14. Some argument was also advanced on the basis of the existence of Section 13(1)(hh) in the Bombay Act 57 of 1947. This Sub-clause (hh) was added in the Bombay Act in 1950 and it was on the statute book at the time when the Saurashtra Act was passed in 1951. This Sub-clause (hh) refers to cases where a landlord requires the premises for immediate demolition and rebuilding. The argument was that though the provisions of Sub-clause (hh) were before the Saurashtra Legislature when this Act was enacted by it, the Saurashtra Legislature did not incorporate any provision similar to the provision contained in Sub-clause (hh) in 1951; and it should, therefore, be assumed that Saurashtra Legislature did not want to provide for eviction in a case where the landlord wanted to demolish the building and build it a new, even though 'they were not dilapidated. In our opinion, looking to the meaning of the term 'renovation' as discussed above, Sub-clause (h) in the Saurashtra Act covers the case of demolition and rebuilding of a building and therefore, the provisions of Sub-clause (hh) in the Bombay Act might not have been thought necessary to be included separately in the Saurashtra Act.

15. We may also note the provisions of Section 16 of the Saurashtra Rent Act. In that section a provision is made for re-entry of the tenant into the premises after the repairs are completed. No provision is made for re-entry of a tenant after the completion of the renovation. Therefore, the Legislature has differentiated between a building which is repaired and a building which is renovated. It is true that 'renovation' may be partaking in the nature of repairs, in so far as renewals are included in the term 'repairs.' By enacting that a tenant will have a right of re-entry after repairs are completed the Legislature included a right of the tenant for re-entry even where renovation in the nature of repairs is made. Bat Section 16 of the Saurashtra Act does not give a right of re-entry to a tenant in a 'renovated' building. If the term 'renovation' were to include only repairs and nothing more, why should the Legislature draw this distinction between repairs and renovation? One would not be justified in holding that the Legislature lost sight of the word 'renovation' used in Section 13(1)(h) when it wanted to provide for re-entry of a tenant who has been asked to vacate the building under that provision. Moreover Section 4(2) of the Saurashtra Act, provides that the Act would not apply to new buildings erected and let after 1st of January 1951. The policy of the Legislature is, therefore, to see that new buildings are not brought under the operation of the Act, Since the word 'renovation' would also mean demolition of the existing building and rebuilding on the same site, there would be a new building for all practical purposes and therefore, the Legislature might have thought fit, in persuance of its policy relating to new building not to provide for the re-entry of a tenant in a renovated building, that is, abuilding which is demolished and re-built. The language of Section 16 of the Saurashtra Act, therefore, also supports the view that the term 'renovation' in Section 13(1)(h) would include in its scope the demolition of an existing building and rebuilding on the same site.

16. This construction of the term 'renovation' in Section 13(1)(h) of the Saurashtra Act is to a certain extent supported by the decision of the Bombay High Court, in Second Appeal No. 140 of 1957 decided by Vyas, J. on 8th January 1958. In that case the findings of fact were that the building had become old and foundations had become weak and the whole structure had become so dilapidated that it was necessary to pull down the whole building and erect another building on the said site. The question arose whether such an act by the landlord would be included in the term 'renovation' used in Section 13(1)(h) of the Saurashtra Act. The trial Court held that the term 'renovation' would not include demolition and re-construction of a building. The lower appellate Court took a contrary view and held that 'renovation' would cover the case of construction of a new building in place of the old. When the matter came before Vyas, J. for decision, the learned Judge noted the facts found about the condition of the building and held that if the building is required to be demolished and new building is required to be erected on the same site it would amount to renovation of the building. A reference was also made before us to another decision of the Bombay High Court in Second Appeals Nos. 11, 12, 20 and 21 of 1958 decided by Vyas, J. on 17-2-1958. In those appeals the question that directly arose for decision was whether the tenants against whom decrees for eviction have been passed to enable the landlord to renovate the building have a right of re-entry into the building after renovation. The learned Judge referred to Section 16 of the Saurashtra Rent Act and came to the conclusion that such tenants had no right of re-entry in the renovated building. No question of construing the term 'renovation' arose in that case.

17. Lastly Mr. Shah referred to a decision by my learned brother Divan, J. sitting singly when he decided Second Appeal No. 19 of 1962 on 18th September 1963. The question that arose in that second appeal was whether the requirement of the premises being in a dilapidated condition, was necessary before the landlord can ask for possession of the premises on the ground of renovation. After noting the language of Section 13(1)(h) in the Bombay Act 57 of 1947 as adapted and applied to the State of Saurashtra prior to the enactment of the Saurashtra Rent Control Act of 1951, Divan, J. came to the conclusion that the question of the premises being in a dilapidated condition has not to be taken into consideration by the Court and that all that the Court has to consider is whether the premises are reasonably and bona fide required for renovation. Divan, J. thereafter observes that this view of his is in conflict with the view expressed by Vyas, J. in Second Appeal No. 140 of 1957 to which we have referred to above. It is because of this statement of Divan, J. in that Second Appeal, that these two Second Appeals have, been referred to this Division Bench. In my opinion, there is no conflict between the decision of Vyas, J. and the view held by my learned brother Divan, J.A perusal of the decision in Second Appeal No. 140 of 1957 leaves no doubt in my mind that Vyas, J. was not attempting to lay down an exhaustive definition of the term 'renovation. 'Vyas, J. referred to the condition of the building only because that condition was proved in the case before him. In view of the condition proved in the case the learned Judge referred to the dilapidated state of the building and the necessity of pulling down the same and therefore, be says that if the landlord were to do so, it would amount to renovation. The decision does not lay down that renovation can be made only when the building is in a dilapidated condition and has become structurally week and requires to be pulled down. In my opinion, there is no conflict between the view expressed by Divan, J. in Second Appeal No. 19 of 1962 and that of Vyas, J. in Second Appeal No. 140 of 1957. We, therefore, come to the conclusion that the term 'renovation' in Section 13(1)(h) of the Saurashtra Act would include the demolition of an existing building and re-construction of the building on the same site

18. The next question to be decided in this connection is whether in the instant case the plaintiff reasonably and bona fide requires the premises for being renovated, that is, for being demolished and re-constructed. This can be split up into two portions: firstly whether the requirement of the plaintiff is bona fide and secondly whether such requirement is reasonable. In order to show that the requirement is bona fide, it is not enough to show that the plaintiff has a mere desire or Intention to demolish the building and re-construct it. The provision about reasonable and bona fide requirement of the landlord also occurs In Section 13(1)(0) of the Bombay Act. That sub-clause relates to a case where the premises are land. As to the meaning of the word 'requirement'.

in this section, this Court held in Ishwarbhai v. Parshottam VIII G.L.R. page 665, on page 676 as follows: 'In my view, the word 'require' cannot be equated with 'desire' and it does not refer to the state of the landlord's mind. It involves something more than a mere wish and at least an element of need to some extent, although it may not be an absolute need or absolute requirement.

Same view is expressed on this point by the Punjab High Court in Labhu Ram v. Ram Prakash , when it was considering the provisions of Section 13(3)(iii) of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act of 1949. In Neta Ram v. Jiwan Lal : AIR1963SC499 , the Supreme had an occasion to construe the provisions of Section 13(3)(a)(iii) of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Ordinance (VIII of 2006 BK). Section 13(1) provided a bar in ejectment of the tenant. Sub-section (3)(a) of Section 13 enumerated the circumstances in which the bar would not apply. Sub-clause (iii) of Sub-section (3)(a) of Section 13 provided that the bar of eviction of the tenant will not apply to a landlord 'in the case of any building, if he requires it for the re-erection of that building or for its replacement by another building or for the erection of other building'. Sub-section 13(b) of Section 13 authorises the Controller to make an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building 'if he is satisfied that the claim of the landlord is bona fide'. The Supreme Court noted that the clause speaks not of the bona fides of the landlord but refers of the bona fide claim of the landlord that he requires the building for re-construction and re-erection and observed that it must be bona fide, that is to say, honest in the circumstances. In explaining as to what would be the bona fide requirement of the landlord, the Supreme Court observes as follows:

The Controller has to be satisfied about the genuineness of the claim. To reach this conclusion obviously the Controller 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 its 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.

In view of this decision of the Supreme Court it must be held that the plaintiff in this case, in order to prove that he bona fide requires the building for renovation, must prove that his claim is real and honest and this can be judged by the Court after taking into consideration the surrounding circumstances.

19. In order to prove the need to reconstruct, the plaintiff in the instant case relies upon the circumstance that the building is very old. The facts found by the lower appellate Court are that the shops are about 70 to 80 years old; that they are carved out of a godown; that excepting the doors there is no other means for ventilation for air and light; that its height is only 10 to 12 feet and that its room is of corrugated iron sheets which are about 20 years old. It is also found that the level of the godown from which these shops are carved out is lower than the foot-path in front of it. It is found as a matter of fact that the building is not likely to fall down for another 25 to 30 years. It was urged that there is no need for the plaintiff to pull down this building which is yet stable enough to stand for about 25 to 30 years. The argument seems to be that if the premises are not likely to fall down in the near future it cannot be said that there is need to demolish them and re construct. In B.D. Pudumji v Sir Dinshaw Manekji Petit 22 B.L.R. page 880, the Bombay High Court was considering the provisions of Section 9(1) of the Bombay Rent (War Restrictions) Act, 1918. That section provided a bar to the recovery of possession from the tenant. There was a proviso to that Section 9(1), which ran as follows:

Provided that nothing in this section shall apply--. where the premises are reasonably and bona fide required by the landlord for the erection of the building.

Except for the use of the words 'erection of the building' in place of the word 'renovation', the provision in this proviso is similar to the provision made in Section 13(1)(h) of the Saurashtra Act. In that case the building was shown to be an old building, though the evidence disclosed that the building was stable enough to stand for another 15 years. It was urged on behalf of the tenant, as it is urged now before us, that it would not be bona fide and reasonable requirement of the landlord to pull down such a building and construct a new one. The case was first heard by Kajiji, I. The learned Judge observed that, if he accepted the contention of the tenant 'it would come to this, that owners of fairly substantial buildings would not be allowed to erect new buildings with modern requirements and develop their properties fully. If I decide in favour of the defendant and against the plaintiff, it would come to this and nothing else, that an owner is not entitled to have a building pulled down because it is a substantial building and would last for ten or fifteen years. This was never intended by Rent Act. 'The learned Judge rejected the argument on behalf of the tenant. There was an appeal before a Division Bench against this decision and Macleod C.J. who delivered the judgment of the Bench observed as follows:

Now, admittedly the house in which the defendant is a tenant together with the adjoining house is very old. The rooms are dark and badly ventilated; and certainly it would tend to the improvement of the premises and for the better conditions of the tenant who would occupy the new premises, that the present house should be pulled down and new house built on the site with all modern conveniences. I cannot see, therefore, that there was anything unreasonable in the plaintiff's conduct in wishing to get the tenants of the present house to vacate in order that proper improvements might be made.

The decision of Kajiji, J. was upheld. It follows from this decision that the need to construct cannot be said to arise only when the building becomes weak and is likely to fall down. If as in the instant case a building is old, ill-ventilated and below the level of the foot-path and the landlord wants to pull it down so as to build a new building in its place, it can be said that he reasonably and bona fide requires the building for that purpose. If the Court is satisfied that the landlord has a real and honest desire to improve his property by pulling down such an old building and to replace it by a new building on the same site, it cannot be said that his requirement is not bona fide. The suit building consists of six shops and two other tenants of two shops have already surrendered the possession of the premises to the plaintiff and the plaintiff has already demolished those portions of the building. He has got the plans and estimates prepared and they have been approved by the Municipal authorities. He has given the contract for supervision to the witness Velji. There is no dispute that the plaintiff-landlord has the means to build a new building on the place. In our opinion, the plaintiff-landlord has proved that he bona fide requires the premises for renovation.

20 It has been held in Carrera M. and C. Co. v. Charuchandra : AIR1957Cal357 that a bona fide requirement of the present description is prima fide reasonable, unless it is shown that the fulfilment of the requirement is contrary to any law or any rule having the force of law. In Bhutan Singh v. Ganendra Kumar : AIR1950Cal74 , the Calcutta High Court was considering the provisions of the West Bengal Premises Rent Control (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1948. In that case Section 11(1) of the Act provided for a bar to recovery of possession by a landlord from his tenant. To this Sub-section (1) of Section 11, there was a proviso consisting of several clauses providing that the bar would not apply if the conditions in those clauses were fulfilled. Clause (f) of Sub-section (1) of Section 11 ran as follows:

Where the premises are bona fide required by the landlord either for purpose of building or rebuilding, or for his own occupation or for the occupation of any person for whose benefit the premises are held.

The claim made by the plaintiff in the suit was that he wanted the possession to demolish the building and to reconstruct another one on the site. It was urged before the Court that the plaintiff cannot claim possession of the building unless the state of the premises was such that they were required to be rebuilt. In connection with this argument, the Court observed as follows:

It is to be observed that proviso (f) to Section 11(1) of the Act does not mention premises requiring rebuilding What it states is that Sub-section (1) shall have no application if the landlord requires the premises bona fide for rebuilding. The State of the premises therefore is not an essential factor in the case..It appears to me that the premises are bona fide required by the landlord for the purpose of rebuilding if the landlord honestly requires them for that purpose. The equivalent of the phrase 'bona fide' is 'honestly'. It refers to the State of the landlord's mind. The landlord therefore will be entitled to possession as against the tenant if he established that he honestly requires the premises for rebuilding.

21. Mr. M.C. Shah, learned advocate for the appellant contended that in Suit No. 360 of 1958 out of which Second Appeal No. 644 of 1961 arises, there is no evidence to show that the building is illventilated and that the shops are carved out of the godown and that the level of the shop is below that of the foot-path in front of it. Now, these facts are gathered by both the Courts below from the inspection notes which are put on record of the case. It may be stated here that there were in all four suits filed by the landlord in respect of four different tenants, in the property. Suit No. 360 of 1958 out of which Second Appeal No. 644 of 1961 arises was one of them There were other three Suits Nos. 23 of 1959, 24 of 1959 and 366 of 1958 which were consolidated on 8th January 1960. The inspection notes of the learned trial Judge are at Exh. 117 in Suit No. 360 of 1958. The learned trial Judge has noted below the notes that they were prepared in open Court and in the presence of the parties in these suits. The record of inspection notes shows that the premises were visited by the learned trial Judge at the request of the patties and in their and their pleaders' presence. In the other three suits, which were consolidated, the parties gave an application at Exh. 116 in Suit No 366 of 1958 requesting the Court that the local inspection notes, put on record in Suit No. 360 of 1958, may also be treated as evidence in the other three suits. This would show that the parties agreed to treat the inspection notes as evidence in the case in Suit No. 360 of 1958 and by Exh. 116 they requested the Court to treat them as evidence in the other three suits also. Further in Suit No. 360 of 1958 the evidence of the parties was over and the suit was fixed for arguments when the defendant applied that the bearing of the arguments might be postponed until all evidence was recorded in the other three suits and thereafter the arguments might be heard at one time in all the suits. The learned trial Judge made an order on January 25, 1960 at Exh. 30 that it would be more convenient to decide all the suits together, that is, at the same time as the plaintiff's case in all is the same and the evidence is also the same. From these circumstances it is clear that the inspection notes put on record in Suit No. 360 of 1958 were evidence before the Court. It is true that ordinarily inspection notes of the Judge can be utilised to understand the other evidence on record. By making inspection notes evidence in the record, the parties agreed that the Court might read them as evidence. In our opinion, therefore, the facts found by the lower appellate Court are supported by the evidence on record.

22. The next question is whether the requirement of the plaintiff is reasonable. It is not always necessary that there should be separate circumstances to show the reasonableness of the requirement. It may happen that those circumstances from which the Court can come to the conclusion that the requirement of the plaintiff is bona fide may also support a conclusion that the requirement of the plaintiff is reasonable. In this particular case the same circumstances which lead to conclusion that the requirement of the plaintiff is bona fide are also sufficient to show that the requirement is reasonable. It is not unreasonable for the plaintiff who has purchased a building which is about 70 or 80 years old and which is illventilated and which is below the level of the foot-path in front of it, to think of pulling it down and to build another building in its place so as to improve his property. In our opinion, therefore, the plaintiff succeeds in proving that he reasonably and bona fide requires the suit premises for renovation. It is apparent that such renovation cannot be carried out without asking the tenants to vacate the premises. The plaintiff, therefore, is in our opinion, entitled to a decree for eviction on the ground mentioned in Section 13(1)(h) of the Saurashtra Act. The decision of the lower appellate Court is, therefore, correct.

23. In the result, therefore, both the appeals fail and are dismissed with cost. After the judgment is pronounced, Mr. M.C. Shah, learned advocate for the appellant asked for certificate under Article 133(1)(c) of the Constitution that the case is a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court. The certificate is refused.

24. On Mr. M.C. Shah for the appellant undertaking to apply for urgent certified copy of the judgment, by consent, decree for eviction not to be carried out for a period of two weeks from the date on which the certified copy is ready.


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