S. Sardar Zackria Hussain, J.
1. The appellant before the Rent Control Appellate Authority, Pondicherry is the revision petitioner. The revision is directed against the order of eviction on the ground that the petition non-residential premises is bona fide required for demolition and reconstruction, by the learned Rent Controller as confirmed by the learned Rent Control Appellate Authority.
2. The first respondent herein filed the Rent Control Original Petition for eviction under Section 14(1)(b) of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960 that the petition non-residential premises is required bona fide for demolition and reconstruction stating that it was purchased by his grandfather on 28.3.1941 and on his death, the first respondent's father leased the building to the tenant N. Thiagarajan Pillai to use it as a godown for storing and sale of vegetables. On the death of his father, the tenant attorned his tenancy to the first respondent in 1970 and at the time of filing of the petition, the tenant was running in the petition premises a lorry booking office and transport service business in the name and style of Pushpa Vinayagar. According to the landlord, the petition premises is more than 75 years old constructed by Madras terrace and mud mortar and plastered with lime and it is in highly dilapidated condition. Cracks have developed on the terrace and in the walls of the building. The terrace is sagging and it is resting on the support of 32 casuarina poles. There have been vacant space on the rear side and so it is required to be demolished for reconstruction to augment income and for better utility. Necessary approved plan has also been obtained from the Pondicherry Planning Authority and he has got sufficient income to put up new construction. He is also an income tax assessee. To the lawyer notice caused on 14.6.1988, the tenant, Thiagarajan Pillai did not reply, but however, he informed on 5.10.1988 that he would shift his business to one of the 5 shops constructed on his property at Mahathma Gandhi Road, Pondicherry. Even after construction of the said 5 shops bearing door Nos. 447 to 452 at Mahathma Gandhi Road, Pondicherry, he has not vacated the petition premises. In fact the tenant Thiagarajan Pillai also gave a letter on 6.10.1993 that the petition premises have become very old and dilapidated and it is unsafe. Again the first respondent caused notice dated 12.9.1994 calling upon the tenant Thiagarajan Pillai to vacate and hand over the petition premises.
3. During the pendency of the Rent Control Original Petition, the original tenant Thiagarajan Pillai died and the respondents 2 to 5 have been impleaded as his legal representatives.
4. The petition was opposed in the counter filed by the tenant Thiagarajan Pillai that the petition building is not 75 years old and it is not in a dilapidated condition.
5. Considering the evidence of the landlord as P.W.1 and Engineer as P.W.2 and Exs.A-1 to A-10 marked on the side of the landlord and the evidence of the revision petitioner Shanmugam as R.W.1 and Exs.X-1 to X-4, the learned Rent Controller ordered eviction recording finding that the requirement of the petition non-residential premises for the purpose of demolition and reconstruction is bona fide. The order was challenged before the Rent Control Appellate Authority and the same has been confirmed by the learned Rent Control Appellate Authority. Therefore, the 5th respondent before the Rent Controller, who filed the Rent Control Appeal, has filed this Civil Revision Petition.
6. The learned counsel for the revision petitioner contend that the Rent Control Original Petition has been filed only in respect of the petition premises though in the same building there are 5 other tenants running wine shop, book stall, hair cutting saloon, etc., against whom no eviction petitions have been filed. As regards the requirement of the petition non-residential premises, according to the learned counsel for the revision petitioner, there is no bona fide and it has been filed only to evict the revision petitioner alone who is now doing business on the death of his father Thiagarajan Pillai, the original tenant. Further, according to the learned counsel for the revision petitioner, the petition premises is not in a dilapidated condition requiring demolition and reconstruction. As regards the means to put up new construction, it is submitted that the landlord is not having enough funds.
7. The learned counsel for the first respondent/landlord argued that it has been proved before the learned Rent Controller that the requirement of the petition non-residential premises for the purpose of demolition and reconstruction is bona fide, the landlord has got sufficient means and the approved plan has also been obtained and necessary undertaking has been given. As regards the condition of the building, it is more than 50 years old at the time of filing of the petition and as such, the requirement of the petition non-residential premises to put up new construction after demolishing the existing structure is very much bona fide.
8. The learned counsel for the first respondent/landlord relied on the following decisions:
(1) Vijay Singh, etc. etc. v. Vijayalakshmi Ammal, : AIR1997SC47 , in which the Full Bench of the Apex Court ruled in paragraph 6:
'Permission under Section 14(1)(b) cannot be granted by the Rent Controller on mere asking of the landlord, that he proposes to immediately demolish the building in question to erect a new building. At the same time it is difficult to accept the stand of the appellants that the building must be dilapidated and dangerous, unfit for human habitation. For granting permission under Section 14(1)(b) the Rent Controller is expected to consider all relevant materials for recording a finding whether the requirement of the landlord for demolition of the building and erection of a new building on the same site is bona fide or not. For recording a finding that requirement for demolition was bona fide, the Rent Controller has to take into account: (1) bona fide intention of the landlord far from the sole object only to get rid of the tenants; (2) the age and condition of the building; (3) the financial position of the landlord to demolish and erect a new building according to the statutory requirements of the Act. These are some of the illustrative factors which have to be taken into consideration before an order is passed under Section 14(1)(b). No Court can fix any limit in respect of the age and condition of the building. That factor has to be taken into consideration along with other facts and then a conclusion one way or the other has to be arrived at by the Rent Controller.'(2) S. Raju and Ors. v. K. Nathamani, 1998 (3) LW 214, in which it has been held:'... it has been held that when new buildings with modern amenities have come up in that locality, naturally the building in question may become unsuitable to the surroundings and a liability, in its present condition, to the landlord. Keeping the building in the same condition will amount to asking the landlord to shoulder the burden for ever. Tenants may be satisfied with the present state of the building since they have to pay only a nominal rent but the Rent Control Legislation, beneficial to the landlord and the tenant both, should be interpreted in that way. For the purpose of proving his bona fide the landlord need only show that he has got the capacity to raise the necessary funds.'
9. The petition non-residential premises is situated in Rangapillai Street and abutting the Mahathma Gandhi Road, Pondicherry and it appears, part of the building with other shops belonging to the first respondent/landlord. The property was purchased as per sale deed Ex.A-1 dated 28.3.1941 by the grandfather of the landlord. Therefore, as rightly found by the learned Rent Controller and the learned Rent Control Appellate Authority, the said building is more than 50 years old at the time of filing the Rent Control Original Petition. The building is constructed with Madras terrace with mud mortar and plastered with lime. The roof is sagging and supported by 32 casuarina poles. There is also vacant space on the rear side. According to the learned counsel for the landlord including that vacant space new building is to be constructed after demolishing the existing old building. It appears, under Ex.A-5 dated 6.10.1993, the original tenant Thiagarajan Pillai agreed to vacate the building by March, 1994 and stating that it is very old and danger of collapsing and further stating that he will hold responsible for the consequences during the period if the building collapsed.
10. In fact, it appears the Officers of Pondicherry Planning Authority when came on 17.6.1988 for inspection of the building pursuant to the order in I.A.No. 167 of 1988 as per which permission has been granted to the landlord and the staff of the Planning Authority to inspect the premises, they were obstructed by the revision petitioner and his brothers.
11. As rightly observed by the learned Rent Control Appellate Authority that the very fact the building is more than 50 years old at the time of filing of the Rent Control Original Petition would go to show that the building is not in good condition as also admitted by the Original tenant Thiagarajan Pillai in the letter Ex.A-5 that the building is likely to collapse at any time. Since the building is more than 50 years, naturally, the landlord is entitled to demolish or put up new construction so as to augment more income.
12. The revision petitioner as R.W.1 has admitted in his evidence that the roof of the petition premises is of country-tiles. The petition building is situated in Ranganathan Pillai Street and at the junction of Mahathma Gandhi Road and in a very busy locality. Necessary planning permission has been obtained under Ex.X-2 from the Pondicherry Planning Authorities. The landlord is to put up new shopping complex in the existing building after demolishing the same. As regards the financial resources, the landlord has filed Ex.A-2 challan for payment of income-tax. It is the evidence of P.W.1 that he owns several immovable properties and as such, he has sufficient income to put up new construction and it is also in his evidence that he is an Income-tax assessee. As such, the landlord has got capacity to raise necessary funds to put up new construction. The landlord has also given necessary undertaking that the work of demolition of the petition building will commence within one month from the date of possession and would be completed before the expiry of three months thereafter. As regards the other tenants in the same building, P.W.1 has deposed that they agreed to vacate and hand over possession and so he has filed the petition only against the original tenant Thiagarajan Pillai who did not vacate even though he agreed under Ex.A-5.
13. Both the learned Rent Controller and the learned Rent Control Appellate Authority taking into consideration, viz., the age and condition of building, financial position of the landlord to demolish and put up new construction and the steps already taken by the landlord in obtaining approved plan and if new building is raised it would augment more income and as such, found that the requirement of the petition non-residential premises for the purpose of demolition and reconstruction by the landlord is very much bona fide and such finding of facts need not be interfered with by this Court in the revisional jurisdiction.
14. In the result, this Civil Revision Petition is dismissed with costs. The judgment and decree passed in R.C.A.No. 27 of 1999 by the learned Rent Control Appellate Authority are confirmed. Consequently, the petitions in C.M.P.Nos. 6923 and 11055 of 2000 of 2000 are closed.