1. The tenant is the petitioner herein. The landlord applied for eviction on the ground that the premises was required for the purpose of demolition and reconstruction. The Trial Court held that the petitioner before the Rent Controller is not competent to maintain the petition as he is one of the joint co-owners and dismissed, it. On appeal, the appellate court held that the petition is maintainable and ordered a remand to the Rent Controller for disposal, on merits. This petition is filed by the tenant against the said order of remand.
2. The father of the respondent herein had settled the house property on the respondent herein and his three brothers, by means of a settlement deed dated 14-7-1966. The respondent was named as the manager. The father also directed the tenant to pay the rent to the eldest of the four sons, namely, the respondent herein, who was in management of the property. In the petition it was also alleged that the building is old and in a dilapidate condition and portions of the roofing are in such a bad state that they are likely to fall down any time and is thus a danger to the safety of the occupants. The landlord further stated that he required the building to pull it down and put up a new structure on new and modern lines to make the building more useful and profitable to the respondent herein and his brothers on whom the property had been settled. In the counter statement, the tenant raised the objection that the petition is not maintainable, as on his own showing, the petitioner before the Rent Controller was only a co-owner along with his three other brothers. He did not controvert the statement of the landlord that the demolition and reconstruction was for the benefit of himself and his brothers. It is also not in dispute that the tenant attorned the tenancy to the petitioner before the Rent Controller (landlord) and was paying rent to him. On the facts, the question arises whether the petitioner before the Rent Controller could maintain the application for eviction of the tenant on the ground of requirement for himself and his brothers for the purpose of demolition and reconstruction.
3. The definition of the word 'landlord' in Section 2(6) of the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960 may be extracted-
''Landlord' includes the person who is receiving or is entitled to receive the rent of a building, whether on his own account or on account or on behalf of another or on behalf of himself and others or as an agent, trustee, executor, administrator, receiver or guardian or who would so receive the rent or be entitled to receive the rent, if the building were let to a tenant'.
Section 10(8) of the Act says:
'Notwithstanding anything contained in this section on person who is receiving or is entitled to receive the rent of a building merely as an agent of the landlord shall, except with the previous written consent of the landlord, be entitled to apply for the eviction of a tenant.'
Section 10(8) imposes a restriction on a kind of persons who are included within the definition of the word 'landlord'. In the case of such class of persons included in Section 10(8) a petition for eviction can only be filed with the previous written consent of the landlord. Now the contention on behalf of the tenant is that sub-section (8) would include all persons who receive rent or are entitled to receive rent on their behalf as well as on behalf of others, i.e., sub-section (8) would be applicable to persons who may be co-owners that are collecting rents on behalf of other co-owners as well, for, the contention runs, that so far as the collection of rent on behalf of the other co-owners is concerned, it is only in his authority as an agent. In order to understand as to what classes of the landlords mentioned in the definition are excluded in sub-section (8), it is necessary to look into the definition of 'landlord'. There are several classes of persons included in the definition. It includes persons who are receiving the rent of a building, who are entitled to receive rent of the building, whether such receipt of rent or right to receive rent is on their own behalf of others or on their own account or on others' account. It also includes an agent, a trustee, executor, administrator, receiver or guardian or any person who receives rent so entitled to receive the rent of the building let to a tenant. Sub-section (8) of section 10 requires the written consent in the case of a person who is receiving or is entitled to receive the rent of a building merely as an agent of the landlord. The use of the word 'merely' is significant and the class to be excluded is the class of persons who receive or are entitled to receive the rent as agents. According to the definition what is stated is that it includes the person who is entitled to receive rent whether on his own account or on behalf of another or on behalf of himself and others. It also includes persons who are receiving or entitled to receive the rent as agents and that, though, persons who receive the rent on their own account or on behalf of any other or on behalf of themselves and others would, in a sense, be receiving rent on behalf of others as agent, that class is not excluded under Sec. 10(8). But the only class that is excluded is that class of persons receiving or who are entitled to receive the rent as agents. In other words, this sub-section is applicable only to the class of persons covered by the words 'or as agent' in the definition 'landlords'. The other class of persons would not fall within Section 10(8), and as such, written consent of the landlord would not be required. In the case of persons who are receiving rent on behalf of themselves and others and who are mentioned in the definition of 'landlord' the Court is not required to insist on the previous written consent of the landlord. It will be open to the court to satisfy itself that the person making the application is making it on behalf of others receiving rent from other materials placed before it. In this view, so far as the present petition is concerned, as the landlord does not fall within the category covered by Section 10(8), previous written consent of persons is not mandatory.
4. The question next arises whether the petition is on behalf of the other landlords also. As already pointed out, in the settlement executed by the father in favour of the four sons, the father has stated that the eldest son, the respondent herein will be in management. The father also directed the tenant to pay rent and attorn the tenancy to the petitioner before the Rent Controller. Further in the petition it is stated that the petitioner is moving the Court for eviction of the tenant for the benefit of himself and his brothers. The contention that the petition is filed on his behalf and on behalf of his brothers was not controverted in the counter statement. In these circumstances, I am satisfied that this petition was filed by the petitioner before the Rent Controller on behalf of his three brothers as well. In the result I find that this petition of the landlord is maintainable.
5. The lower appellate court found that the settlement deed executed by the father is not sham and nominal one. This finding cannot be disturbed. In the result the order of the lower appellate court remanding the petition to the Rent Controller for disposal on merits is right and this revision petition is dismissed. No order as to costs.
6. Revision dismissed.