Nainar Sundaram, J.
1. The landlady under the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act 18 of 1960 (hereinafter referred to asthe Act) is the petitioner in this revision. The respondent herein is the tenant. The landlady filed a petition under Section 14(1)(a) of the Act for eviction of the tenant from the portion occupied by her in the petition premises on the ground that she bona fide required the said portion to effect repairs. This move of the landlady was resisted by the tenant. The petition HRC No. 301 of 1972 was heard by the VII Judge, Court of Small Causes, Madras, and on a consideration of the materials placed before him, he found that the requirement, as projected by the landlady, is bona fide and ordered eviction of the tenant. The tenant filed an appeal HRA No. 218 of 1974 which came to be heard and disposed of by the II Judge, Court of Small Causes, Madras. The appellate authority came to the conclusion that the requirements of the landlady are not bona fide, and in this view, he reversed the Order of the Rent Controller and dismissed the eviction petition preferred by the landlady. The present revision is directed against the orders of the appellate authority.
2. It is needless to point out that the bona fides under Section 14 of the Act has been held to be not tested by stringent standards when an application for eviction is filed under that provision. While laying down the test regarding 'bona fides' under Section 14(1)(b) of the Act, a Division Bench of our High Court in Selvaraj v. Narasimha Rao, : (1969)1MLJ587 has laid down as follows:--
'The quality and content of the expression bona fide appearing in the various sections of the Act and for purposes therein enumerated have to be weighed and construed in different lines under different circumstances having regard to the context in which the expression appears. Section 16 of the Act affords a statutory right to the tenant to reclaim possession of a building secured by the landlord under Section 14(1)(b), if he does not substantially demolish the building and attempt at reconstruction as proposed. This controlling provision provides as it were a key to the interpretation of the expression bona fide appearing in Section 14(1)(b) of the Act. It appears to us that in cases where the claim of the landlord is not per se dishonest and has not been found to be oblique or for any designed purpose to evict the tenant, then it follows that he is entitled to an order of eviction in the ordinary course, subject, however, to the tribunals constituted under the Act being satisfied that the other relevant conditions required and prescribed under the Act are complied with.'
I find that Section 14(2)(a) of the Act reads as follows:--
'(2) No order directing the tenant to deliver possession of the building under this section shall be passed -- (a) on the ground specified in Clause (a) of Sub-section (1), unless the landlord gives an undertaking that the building shall, on completion of the repairs, be offered to the tenant, who delivered possession in pursuance of an order under Sub-section (1) for his reoccupation before the expiry of three months from the date of recovery of possession by the landlord, or before the expiry of such further period as the Controller may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, allow.'
Here is a safeguard given to the tenant that after the completion of the repairs, the building shall be offered to the tenant. If we keep this in the background, we find that the question of bona fide pales into less significance and it cannot be put against the 'landlord' by applying the test stringently.
3. On the facts of the case, I find that a notice has been issued by the Corporation treating the premises concerned as in a ruinous condition and demanding rectification of the same by the landlady. The lapse of time between the filing of the petition and the issue of this notice will not be a factor that would militate against the bona fides of the landlady. The appellate authority has chosen to apply the very stringent test of bona fides to negative the claims of the landlady. This is not the proper approach especially when we remember the principles regarding the bona fides laid down by this court. In this view, I find that the order of the appellate authority suffers from an irregularity, illegality and impropriety. Hence this revision is allowed and the order of the appellate authority is set aside and the order of the Rent Controller is restored, and taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case, the respondent-tenant will have six months time to vacate and the learned counsel for the petitioner has no objection to the grant of such a time. No order as to costs.
4. Revision allowed.