1. The landlord is the petitioner in this civil revision petition. He filed the petition before the Rent Controller under Section 10(2)(i), and (iii) of the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act. Apart from the grounds of nuisance and willful default, the petitioner alleged that he wanted to celebrate the marriage of his two sons, aged 28 and 26 respectively, that the portion in his occupation consisting of one room and one kitchen, was not sufficient for the use and occupation of his family and that he bona fide required the portion in the occupation of the respondent for his own use and additional accommodation. The respondent contended that he never committed any nuisance and that the allegation as if there was default in the payment of rent was not bona fide. He further contended that the petitioner was in the habit of evicting tenants for the purpose of letting portions in their occupation for higher rents and that there were no bona fides in the case of requirement of additional accommodation for owner's occupation. The respondent also contended that the two rooms in the front portion were with the petitioner under his lock and key. The Rent Controller dismissed the petition holding that there was no willful default and that the requirement of additional accommodation was not bona fide. On appeal, the appellate authority (IV Judge, Court of Small Causes), dismissed the appeal holding that there was no willful default and there was no bona fide in the prayer for additional accommodation. Aggrieved by the decision of the authorities below, the landlord has come to this court in revision.
2. Thiru M. Srinivasan, the learned counsel for the petitioner, submitted that both the sons of the petitioner-landlord are married now and to that effect the petitioner has filed an affidavit in revision. It is stated in the affidavit that the petitioner's family consists of his wife, four sons, two daughters-in-law and a grand-child. The learned counsel also relied upon various decisions in order to substantiate his case and also stressed the point that the subsequent events can be taken note of by the court to enable the petitioner to have additional accommodation, asked for by him.
3. Thiru M. Srinivasan, the learned counsel for the petitioner, cited the decision in Abdul Kareem v. C. M. Mohamed, 1962-1 Mad LJ 382. That arose out of a case of owner's occupation, and not of additional accommodation. No doubt, in that decision, Ramachandra Iyer, O. C. J. (as he then was) observed that the observation of the authority below in that case that there was no satisfactory explanation as to whether the accommodation that he was to get in the rented premises was sufficient for him or not, was a wholly immaterial consideration.
4. The decision in A. N. Shah v. Annapurnamma, : AIR1959AP9 laysdown-
'It is now well-settled that in proper cases the court is entitled to take note of the subsequent events and grant relief to the parties accordingly, if by so doing it can shorten litigation and best attain the ends of justice. This power may be exercised even by the court of appeal as an appeal is only in the nature of a re-hearing.'
The next decision cited by Thiru M. Srinivasan is the one in M/s. Kotalwar and Co. v. Durgiah, 1966 2 AWR 160, dealing with the Hyderabad Houses (Rent, Eviction and Lease) Act. It is held there that it cannot be said that the court would have no power to take note of subsequent events.
5. In D. Rajanna v. Doulatram, 1967 2 AWR 216, it has been observed thus:
'The order of eviction in the instant case has not become final. It can become final if and when the Civil Revision Petition is dismissed. Till this is done, it is sub judice and the High Court can take note of events that happened subsequent to the order of eviction. It is true that Section 22 of the Act does not authorize the High Court to admit additional evidence in revision. But having regard to the general principle that a court or a tribunal is entitled to take note of the subsequent events, the High Court can take the sale deed into consideration for the purpose of deciding whether the landlord still requires the building for his own occupation.'
Pokrakutty v. Valappil Mammad, : AIR1954Mad381 states that-
'Although ordinarily the decree in a suit or proceeding should accord with the rights of the parties as they stand at the date of its institution, yet where it is shown that the original relief claimed has by reason of subsequent change of circumstances become inappropriate or that it is necessary to have the decision of the court on the altered circumstances in order to shorten litigation, or to do complete justice between the parties, it is incumbent upon a court of justice to take notice of events which have happened since the institution of the suit and to mould its decree according to the circumstances as they stand at the time the decree is made.'
Thiru N. Srinivasan, the learned counsel for the petitioner, relying on the above decision, submitted that this court can take to consideration the subsequent events in ordering eviction of the respondent. According to the learned counsel, the landlord's two sons have got subsequently married and it has become necessary for the landlord to have additional accommodation.
6. Thiru M. Srinivasan also cited case-law for the purpose of testing the bona fides of the claim made by the landlord. In Purushottaman v. Appunni Nair, (1972) 85 MLW 47, Raghavan, J., has held-
'Once the need of the landlord for additional accommodation is established, then no other question in an application under Section 10 (2) (i) will arise. In the present case, the landlord has established his bona fides in seeking additional accommodation. While that is so, there was no other outweighing circumstance which could prevent the landlord from claiming the property for the use for which he wanted.'
In N. Sampathu Chetti v. S. V. Bapulal, 1967 1 MLJ 289, though a case of owner's occupation under Section 10(3)(a) (iii), the principle laid down is that as long as the landlord honestly desires to occupy the premises, it should be construed that his claim is bona fide.
'The fact that he owned several other buildings, which were not mentioned in the petition, is of no consequence as it is entirely open to a landlord to choose which building he would require for his business.'
In Chandraleka v. Suseela Rani, : (1969)2MLJ17 , Ramaprasada Rao, J., has held-
'It is not for the tenant to dictate as to which of the portions in a premises is required for the personal use and need of a landlord. So long as the purpose is not designed or motivated or prompted by an oblique purpose, it is unwise to fetter the choice of the landlord. Where therefore a landlady prefers, as in the instant case, to occupy the upstairs portion of her house instead of the downstairs portion though it fell vacant and accordingly files a petition for eviction of the upstairs tenant under S.10(3)(a), the mere fact that she had not furnished any reason for the preference would not disprove her bona fides............. It is impossible to iron jacket the phrase 'bona fide' in the shape of a definition. As it is very much allied and concerns with a subjective element and not necessarily with physical facts, it has to be ascertained only from the facts and circumstances of each case.'
From the above decision, Thiru M. Srinivasan, the learned counsel for the petitioner, states that there is no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that the petitioner bona fide and honestly requires the additional accommodation. There is absolutely no mala fide intention on his part; nor has he any oblique motive in his mind to vacate the respondent. According to the learned counsel, the mere fact that some more portions are in the occupation of other tenants and those tenants have now vacated the premises cannot at all be a ground to deny the petitioner his prayer for additional accommodation. It is for the landlord to choose and select the place which be requires as additional accommodation and his right cannot be fettered by the argument that other portions which have fallen vacant can be easily occupied by the landlord. For all these propositions, he draws support and strength from the decisions above cited.
7. Thiru M. G. Natarajan, learned counsel for the respondent, rests his case on the ground that the authorities below have come to the conclusion that the requirement of the landlord is not bona fide and as such there is no point in interfering with that finding at the revisional stage. It is clear that the revision now under consideration is one under Section 25 of the Act under which this court has power to go into the legality, regularity and propriety of the decision of the authorities below. This apart, there is no finding as regards the mala fides of the landlord in demanding additional accommodation. Even though the learned counsel for the respondent pointed out that many tenants have vacated from the premises, it is not clear from the evidence as to when exactly those tenants vacated. It is sought to be argued by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the landlord herself came into occupation of the portions only subsequent to some tenants vacating their portions. Thiru M. G. Natarajan also makes a point as regards the occupation of the landlord of the verandah and two rooms vacated by tenants subsequent to the filing of the eviction petition. No doubt, these portions are not included in the eviction petition. It is also significant to note that in the counter-statement of the respondent there is no mention of the verandah portion being omitted to be mentioned in the eviction petition itself. No doubt, the counter statement states that two rooms in the front portions are with the petitioner under lock and key. The learned counsel for the petitioner, on instructions, states that these rooms are very small and they are being used as lumber rooms.
8. I am of the view that considering the principles laid down in the above decisions, the main question that has to be decided is the bona fide intention of the landlord to have the additional accommodation, asked for. As far as the facts and circumstances stand as now, the authorities below never had the opportunity to consider the subsequent events. Admittedly both the sons of the landlord have married and there is a grandchild to the landlord. Once it is conceded that the demand is bona fide, it is for the landlord to choose the portions for his additional accommodation and it is not for the tenants to dictate or direct the landlord to take such and such portions for additional accommodation. Taking all these aspects into consideration. I am of the view that the parties must be given opportunity to adduce further evidence and establish their respective cases. The subsequent events will definitely give strength to the claim of the landlord for additional accommodation. If it would have been the only case, I would have decided the matter in the revision itself. Since it is alleged by the respondent that certain portions have not been brought to the notice of the authorities below and since they have commented upon these aspects, it is better that the parties are allowed to put in additional pleadings giving the full details of the portions under the occupation of the landlord in order to enable the court to give a decision on the claim of the landlord. It is also necessary for the court to take into consideration the subsequent events.
9. Taking all these into consideration, I am of the view that the matter has to be remanded to the file of the Rent Controller for fresh disposal in the light of the observations I have made above, and in accordance with law.
10. The civil revision petition is allowed, setting aside the order of the authorities below. The matter is remanded to the file of the Rent Controller for fresh disposal in the light of the observation I have made above, and in accordance with law. The parties are at liberty to file additional pleadings and also let in additional evidence to substantiate their respective cases. It is desirable that the Rent Controller gives priority to the disposal of this case, since the matter is pending from the year 1968. The matter needs to be disposed of as expeditiously as possible. There will be no order as to costs in this civil revision petition.
11. Order accordingly.