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Jugraj JaIn Vs. T.R. Ambikapathi Pillai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1959)2MLJ240
AppellantJugraj Jain
RespondentT.R. Ambikapathi Pillai
Cases ReferredVasudeva Nair v. Sri Kalikambal Kannateswarar Devaslhanam
Excerpt:
.....eviction was confirmed by the appellate authority on 19th february, 1957, and, the petitioner saw no use whatever in continuing to pay an unreasonably high rent when he was to vacate the premises, lock, stock and barrel, residence as well as pawn-broker's business. this will clearly show that the letting was only for residential purposes and that the petitioner had converted a portion of the premises thereafter for non-residential purposes. he could certainly keep them in a safe in his residential premises. srinivasan and shanmugham could not urge any strong arguments against this request for an order on terms, but, urged that in that case the rent of rs......ambikapathi pillai, had alleged no less than five grounds for eviction, the first being that the premises rented out for residential purposes had been diverted without the permission of the landlord to non-residential purposes. the second was that the tenant had sub-let the premises without the landlord's permission to dharmachand kanyalal sowcar. the third was that the tenant had caused damages to the electric installations by altering its fixtures and tampering with the wires and causing short-circuiting. the (fourth was that he had spoiled the flooring by dragging his heavy racks and bureaus recklessly along the floor. the fifth and last was that he had committed acts of waste and nuisance by keeping cattle on the premises, and making the premises highly insanitary.4. the tenant had.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Panchapakesa Ayyar, J.

1. This is a petition filed by one Jugraj Jain, a tenant, for revising and setting aside the order of the Rent Controller, Madras, dated 3rd April, 1956, in H.R.C No. 2959 of 1955, directing his eviction and the order of the appellate authority, the Second Judge, the Court of Small Causes, Madras, in H.R.A. No. 165 of 1956, confirming the order of eviction after calling for fresh findings from the Rent (Controller on remand.

2. The facts were briefly these. Jugraj Jain, the petitioner, took premises No. '2-A, Padavatta Amman Koil Street, Kosapet, Perambur Barracks, Madras, on rent from the respondent landlord, Ambikapathi Pillai, for Rs. 70 a month in July, 1951, for his residence. Some four months later he shifted to that house a pawn-broker's business run by him and one Dharmachand Kanyalal Sowcar in partnership. Soon the house was crowded with people seeking to pawn their goods, and, the landlord, who was living upstairs in the same house, felt thoroughly inconvenienced and upset. He protested to the petitioner to stop his pawn-broking business in the premises which was taken only for residential purposes. The petitioner would not desist, but tried to mollify the landlord and prevent an immediate eviction petition by him by increasing the rent at first to Rs. 90 per month and then to Rs. 100 per month. (Ultimately, however, he repented for his rash action in increasing the rent like that, on finding that the landlord filed an eviction petition, and filed a petition for fixing the fair rent in,1958, and, the fair rent has now been fixed at Rs. 80 per month. He filed the petition for fixing the fair rent because his attempts at mollifying the landlord by paying increased rent proved infructuous and the landlord filed H.R.C. No. 2959 of 1955 before the Rent Controller and got an order for eviction, and, that order for eviction was confirmed by the appellate authority on 19th February, 1957, and, the petitioner saw no use whatever in continuing to pay an unreasonably high rent when he was to vacate the premises, lock, stock and barrel, residence as well as pawn-broker's business.

3. Before the Rent Controller, the landlord, Ambikapathi Pillai, had alleged no less than five grounds for eviction, the first being that the premises rented out for residential purposes had been diverted without the permission of the landlord to non-residential purposes. The second was that the tenant had sub-let the premises without the landlord's permission to Dharmachand Kanyalal Sowcar. The third was that the tenant had caused damages to the electric installations by altering its fixtures and tampering with the wires and causing short-circuiting. The (fourth was that he had spoiled the flooring by dragging his heavy racks and bureaus recklessly along the floor. The fifth and last was that he had committed acts of waste and nuisance by keeping cattle on the premises, and making the premises highly insanitary.

4. The tenant had contended that the premises had been let out to him originally iboth for residential and for non-residential purposes, and that he was, therefore, entitled to run his pawn-broker's business also in the premises, and, that, in any event, under the general law, he could use a small portion of the premises for his occupational and profit-making purposes. He had denied the sub-letting, the wanton damage to electric wires and fittings, the spoiling of the flooring by dragging racks, and the keeping of cattle on the premises and consequential musance and waste. He said that he was keeping only one cow for his own domestic use, and that too with the knowledge and consent of the landlord.

5. Though the Rent Controller, Mr. Narasimhan, who heard the petition first, held that all the acts alleged by the landlord were proved, and ordered eviction on all those grounds by his order, dated 3rd April, 1956, when the tenant took the matter in appeal, and the appellate authority remanded the petition for fuller hearing and findings, the subsequent Rent Controller, Mr. Swaminathan, gave his findings on 17th January, 1957, to the effect that only the allegation that the residential premises had been in part converted into use for non-residential purposes, viz-, the pawnbroker's business was proved and that all the other four allegations of sub-letting, damage to electric wirings, damage to floor, nuisance and waste were unproved and unsustainable. After receiving the findings the appellate authority considered it fully proved that the premises were originally let out only for residential purposes and had been in part converted to non-residential purposes, viz., the running of the pawnbroker's business, though; all the other allegations were not proved. Therefore, he confirmed the Rent Controller's order of eviction, and dismissed the appeal with Costs.

6. The petitioner has felt highly aggrieved and has filed this revision petition.

7. I have perused the records, and heard the learned Counsel on both sides. Mr. Inamdar Abdus Salam, the learned Counsel for the petitioner, and Messrs. K. Srinivasan and K. Shanmugham, learned Counsel for the landlord-respondent, have argued the case fully and fairiy.

8. Mr. Inamdar Abdus Salam raised four main contentions : The first was that both the lower Courts were wrong in holding that the premises were not let both for residential and non-residential purposes. I cannot agree. Both the Courts have found that the premises was rented only for residential purposes, and that is a. question of fact which cannot be canvassed again in revision, especially when it is a concurrent finding. But, I am prepared to hold that the finding is correct even on the merits. There was no written lease-deed, and we have only to draw the inference regarding the nature of the letting from the evidence. It is admitted even by the petitioner that he was only living on the suit premises for four months after the letting, and that he brought in the pawnbroker's business only thereafter. This will clearly show that the letting was only for residential purposes and that the petitioner had converted a portion of the premises thereafter for non-residential purposes.

9. The next contention was that the landlord-respondent had permitted a portion of the premises to be converted into non-residential premises for running the pawnbroker's shop and had for that reason accepted the increased rent of Rs. 90 and Rs. 100 a month, as against the original rent of Rs. 70. I cannot agree with this also. There is nothing in writing to show that the increase of rent was due to the reason alleged by Mr. Inamdar. It may be due to the conscious or unconscious rapacity of the landlord and the desire to get as much as possible from the tenant. It may also be due to the infiltration tactics of the tenant by trying to mollify the landlord and placate him and prevent him from filing an eviction petition by dangling an increased rent as bait before him. Unfortunately, the bait, though taken, did not work. So though this may be taken as an equitable consideration for the order on terms I am going to pass eventually, it will not prove the point taken by Mr. Inamdar.

10. The third contention of Mr. Inamdar was that even; regarding the premises let out for purely residential purposes, a reasonable portion could be used for occupational and profit-making purposes provided there was no conversion of the residential premises to non-residential premises, arid no nuisance was caused, and it is unobtrusive and quiet affair not involving the running of a shop or the gathering of crowds as, laid down by me in Krishna Nair v. Valliammal (1949) 1 M.L.J. 75., approved by a Full Bench of this Court in Dakshinamoorthy v. Thulla Bai : AIR1952Mad413 . and. once, more affirmed and explained by me in P, Vasudeva Nair v. Sri Kalikambal Kannateswarar Devaslhanam by its Managing Trustee P. Vedachalam C.R. P. No. 354 of 1958., on 30th October, 1958. The gist of what I have, held is that eveen though a house is taken for purely residential purposes, some occupational and profit-making activities by the residents therein, in a small portion unostentatiously, and without running a shop or causing do nuisance, are inevitable and permissible in these days of complex civilisation. Thus a Judge may keep his case records and dicate his judgments in a portion of his residential house ; a lawyer may advise his clients in a room of his house; a doctor may give consultation to his clients in a room of his house; an astrologer may give his predictions to his clients in a room of his house ; a barber may have his select and urgent clients in a room of his house a pappadom-maker can make pappadom in a room of his house ; provided the portions so used form only a fraction of the entire premises and does not alter the nature of the premises from Residential to nor-residential, much less effect any structural alternations; So too an occupant of non-residential premises can use a small portion equally unostentatiously and informally for the residence of a watchman or a clerk to safeguard his wares, and that man may cook, eat and sleep in the premises without any permission from the landlord, provided the nature of the premises is not altered, much less structurally. It is impossible to contend in these days that residential premises should only, be used for living, eating, sleeping, praying and reading scriptures and other non-money yielding pursuits, or, that non-residential premises should be left without a clerk or servant on the premises with the danger of all the wares being carried away by thieves and burglars.

11. Mr. Inamdar is rather extravagant when he says that even the entire pawnbroker's shop can be transferred to a portion of the residential premises as the petitioner did four months after he took this premises on rent. That will be making the medicine the daily food, and cannot be tolerated. Nor can I agree with Messrs. Srinivasan and Shanmugham that even keeping valuable pawned articles unostentatiously in a portion of the residential premises will be contrary to law unless the landlord permits it. Surely, we cannot expect a pawnbroker to keep valuable diamonds, gems, jewels, gold, etc., pawned with him in his pawn-shop far away, open to the depredations of thieves, burglars, etc. He could certainly keep them in a safe in his residential premises. But, he cannot convert even a portion of his residential house into a shop, or allow a whole army of people who want to pawn their articles, costly and cheap, small and big in his residential premises, converting the residential premises practically into a pawnbroker's shop.

12. Mr. Inamdar asked why honest pawnbrokers cannot operate in those premises in this Republic of India aiming at a classless society, There is nothing wrong in. pawnbrokers and pawnees operating with each other. But they should not operate in residential premises, causing nuisance to the landlord occupying a portion of the house. These operations must be carried on only in separate non-residential premises, as the petitioner was doing for four months after he took this premises for his residential purpose. There is no use stretching the rules beyond their legitimate Scope

13. The fourth contention of Mr. Inamdar was that the petitioner was not quite aware of the scope and limit of the rulings mentioned above and had, therefore, trespassed those limits, and that he was prepared to remove the pawnbroker's business to outside non-residential premises within a reasonable time, and, might be given an order setting, aside the eviction on terms, especially as the pawnbroker's business had been going on in the premises for the last seven years without the heavens falling, or the landlord suffering.

14. Messrs. Srinivasan and Shanmugham could not urge any strong arguments against this request for an order on terms, but, urged that in that case the rent of Rs. 100 a month may be kept on till the date of the re-shifting of the pawnbroker's business to outside non-residential premises to be fixed up by him, so that the landlord may get some compensation for this indulgence. I cannot agree that the fair rent fixed should be unfixed and replaced by an unfair rent. If the fair rent fixed was not the correct one the remedy is by way of appeal, (revision, etc. An appeal has been filed, and the fair rent has been finally fixed at Rs; 80 per month. 1 see no reason to increase that fair rent. The legal way to punish the petitioner for transgressing the limits, of residential uses is not by imposing as unfair rent on him, but by saddling him with costs when granting him the indulgence of an order setting aside the eviction on terms. Costs are the supreme panacea for all procedural ills,

15. In the end, therefore, I direct that if the petitioner pays Messrs; K. Srinivasan and Shanmugham, learned Counsel for the respondent, Rs. 100 as consolidated costs for the two hearings before the Rent Controller, two hearings before the appellate authority and the hearing in this Court, to compensate the landlord for his laches, and also shifts the pawnbroker's business from this house on or before 16th January, 1959, and removes, the board of pawnbroker from the house, and does not entertain people with their goods for pawning in those premises, but confines himself to the limits prescribed above, viz., simply storing the valuable pawned articles and documents in a room in those premises, then the orders of eviction passed by them Rent Controller and the appellate authority will be set aside and this revision petition allowed without costs. But, if the above conditions are not complied with them the orders of the Rent Controller and the appellate authority will stand confirmed, and this civil revision petition will stand dismissed with costs, including an advocate's fee of Rs. 35.


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