1. The petitioner is the owner of premises No. 20 Maracair Lubbai St, Mannady. The ground floor has two compartments, a front portion and a rear portion. The front portion was occupied by one Abideen Sahib. When he vacated, the petitioner gave a notice of vacancy to the Accommodation Controller (respondent) stating that the building was non-residential, and that the rent previously paid by the tenant was Rs. 150 per month. On receipt of the vacancy notice, the respondent allotted the building to one Abdul Rasheed, a junior Assistant working in his own office, with effect from 19-1-1970 fixing the rent at Rs. 60 per month subject to fixation of fair rent. It is to quash this proceeding dated 12-2-1970 that this writ petition has been filed.
2. The petitioner's contention is that, wherever he had given notice of vacancy describing the building as non-residential, the respondent had no jurisdiction to allot it for residential purposes and that too by fixing the rent arbitrarily at Rs. 60. Though the respondent was served as early as 10-3-1970, he has not chosen to file a counter affidavit.
When the case was taken up for hearing before the holidays the Assistant Government Pleader wanted time to file a counter affidavit and time was accordingly given. Till this date no counter affidavit is filed. The Assistant Government Pleader submitted that, from the records, it was seen that the previous tenant intimated vacancy describing the building as residential and that was the reason why the Accommodation Controller allotted the building for residential purpose. But it is pointed out on behalf of the petitioner that no such mention was made at any time by the Accommodation Controller in the correspondence that passed between the petitioner on the one hand and the Accommodation Controller on the other in which the petitioner protested against the allotment of the building as residential.
3. The fact is that the building was notified by the petitioner as a non-residential building. The Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960, does not entitle the Accommodation Controller to allot a non-residential building for residential purposes. It is rightly contended on behalf of the petitioner that converting a non-residential building which is abutting another non-residential building belonging to the same owner into a residential building would entail serious inconvenience and disadvantage apart from the lack of authority of the Accommodation Controller to make such a conversion. When the petitioner intimated the vacancy describing the building as non-residential, the Accommodation Controller had no jurisdiction to allot it for residential purposes without the concurrence of the landlord. In this view, the impugned order is unsustainable and is liable to be quashed. The writ petition is accordingly allowed. No order as to costs.
4. Petition allowed.