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C.M. Khaja HussaIn Vs. R. Rajamani and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1984)2MLJ202
AppellantC.M. Khaja Hussain
RespondentR. Rajamani and ors.
Cases ReferredS.A. Henry v. J.V.K. Rao
Excerpt:
.....in the verandah, are to be kept intact though the walls on two sides of the verandah are going to be raised upto the roof level for the purpose of having a concrete terrace......the tiles in the verandah and to raise the height of the four walls in the verandah to put up a concrete terrace for the entire front room and also the verandah. the petitioner has also planned to remove the thattis in the verandah and put up grills over three feet wall in the front portion. he also intends to raise the parapet wall over the concrete portion which he intends to put up. these have been taken by the rent controller to attract section 14(1)(b). the appellate authority, however, differed from the view taken by the rent controller.4. on a due consideration of the matter, i am of the view that the view taken by the appellate authority is correct. it is not in dispute that each of the buildings in question consists of a front verandah a hall, a dining room, a kitchen,.....
Judgment:
ORDER

G. Ramanujam, J.

1. The petitioner herein filed three applications for eviction against his tenants in occupation of door Nos. 14, 14-A to 14-D, Krishna Rao Street, Dindigul Town under Section 14(1)(b) of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960 on the ground that the said buildings are required for demolition and reconstruction. The said petitions for eviction are resisted by each of the tenants on the ground that the petitions for eviction filed under Section 14(1)(b) were only a ruse for enhancing the rent, that the buildings in question are not old and dilapidated and therefore they do not require demolition and reconstruction. They also contended that since the landlord wanted to make only certain changes in the front portion of the existing building, the same will not amount to demolition and reconstruction so as to attract Section 14(1)(b) of the said Act.

2. The Rent Controller by a common order dated 5th September, 1979 held that the landlord has sufficient means for undertaking the proposed demolition and reconstruction, that the eviction petitions had not been filed with an oblique purpose of evicting the tenants or for claiming enhanced rent from them and that there is also no malicious motive on the part of the landlord in seeking the eviction of the buildings, that long before the filing of the petitions the landlord has been asking the tenants to vacate on the ground that he requires the premises for demolition and reconstruction and that the front portion of the existing building is actually in a damaged condition and as the age of the building is more than 20 years, the applications filed under section l4(l)(b) of the Act should be taken to be bona fide. In that view the Rent Controller allowed the eviction petitions and directed the eviction of the tenants. However, on appeal, the appellate authority has set aside the orders of eviction passed against the tenants after holding that the structural changes proposed by the landlord will not amount to demolition of the building as contemplated by Section 14(1)(b) and, therefore, it is not open to the landlord to invoke the said section on the facts and circumstances of this case. Aggrieved by the order of the appellate authority the landlord is before this Court.

3. In this case it is not in dispute that the landlord has sufficient means to undertake the alleged demolition and reconstruction proposed by him. Therefore, the only question is whether what the landlord proposes to do is demolition and reconstruction as alleged by him or it amounts to merely replacing of the roof with attendant repairs. Thus, the question is whether the provisions of Section 14(1)(b) are applicable to the case. It is seen from the eviction petition filed by the landlord and also the evidence of P.W. 1 that he intends to demolish the tiled verandah in front and also to remove the Madras terrace in the front room and to remove the tiles in the verandah and to raise the height of the four walls in the verandah to put up a concrete terrace for the entire front room and also the verandah. The petitioner has also planned to remove the thattis in the verandah and put up grills over three feet wall in the front portion. He also intends to raise the parapet wall over the concrete portion which he intends to put up. These have been taken by the Rent Controller to attract Section 14(1)(b). The appellate authority, however, differed from the view taken by the Rent Controller.

4. On a due consideration of the matter, I am of the view that the view taken by the appellate authority is correct. It is not in dispute that each of the buildings in question consists of a front verandah a hall, a dining room, a kitchen, bath-room and latrine. The landlord is not going to touch any portion of the dining room, kitchen, bath-room or the latrine. He intends to remove the existing Madras terraced roofing in the hall and to put up a concrete roof. He also intends to remove the tiled verandah in front and to raise the walls all round to the same height as the hall and to have it covered by concrete roof. The question is whether removing of the Madras terrace and putting a concrete roof in the hall and removal of the tiled verandah and making it part of the hall by covering it with concrete roofing will amount to demolition and reconstruction so as to attract Section 14(1)(b). As already stated, the other portions of the building which are substantial, viz., dining-room kitchen bath-room and latrine are all infact and they are not going to be disturbed. The hall in front is going to be converted into a bigger hall having concrete terrace instead of Madras terrace by converting the verandah as part of the hall. He also intends to put up a parapet wall after the Madras terrace is converted. According to the learned Counsel for the petitioner what the petitioner proposes to do is to demolish and reconstruct the buildings and it cannot be taken as mere repairs or improvements to the existing buildings and that the view taken by the Rent Controller should be preferred to that of the appellate authority. As pointed out by the appellate authority the landlord does not purport to touch any of the walls nor is he going to touch any portion of the building except the tiled roof of the verandah and the Madras terrace over the hall. The existing walls of the verandah are to be raised to the roof level and grills are intended to be erected on the front walls above three feet. It is no doubt true that for filing an application under Section 14(1)(b) the entire building need not be demolished or reconstructed but the demolition and reconstruction should at least comprise of a substantial portion of the building. Here, as already stated, the dining-room, kitchen-room, bath room and the latrine are not to be disturbed at all. Only in the front hall some alterations are to be made. Even in the front hall there is only a change of roof from Madras terrace to a concrete terrace. The walls in the front verandah are to be kept intact though they are intended to be raised further to the roof level so that the space covered by the existing hall and the verandah will be converted into a single hall with concrete roofing. The proposal to convert Madras terrace into concrete terrace and to cover the verandah also as part of the hall cannot be taken to be demolition and reconstruction of even the existing hall and verandah. The learned Counsel for the petitioner relies on the decision of Kailasam, J., (as he then was) reported in Ramachandran v. Kasim Khalsali (1965) 1 M.L.J. 78, in support of his contention that it is not necessary that the entire building has to be demolished and reconstructed for the purpose of getting relief under Section 14(1)(b). In that case the court held that section I4(1)(b) confers the right on the landlord to get the tenant evicted if he bona fide requires the building for the immediate purpose of demolishing it, and if such demolition is to be made for the purpose of erecting a new building on the site of the building sought to be demolished, that it is not necessary that the building should be very old and decrepit to enable the landlord to claim that his immediate purpose was for the demolition of the building, that all that Section 14(1)(b) requires is that the building should be bona fide required for the immediate purpose of demolishing it, with a view to erecting a new building and that if all these conditions are satisfied the landlord is entitled to ask for eviction even though the demolition intended is not total but only partial. But as already stated, the demolition and reconstruction should at least be of a substantial portion of the building and not one room alone without affecting the other portions of the building. In this case, even the front hall and the varandah are not going to be demolished and in its place no new building is to be erected by the landlord. In the hall portion Madras terrace is going to be replaced by concrete terrace and in the verandah portion the tiles are to be removed and the walls are to be raised to the level of the roof and covered by concrete terrace making the existing hall and the front verandah into a bigger hall. It is not possible for this Court on the facts of this case to say that the hall and the varandah are going to be demolished for the purpose of putting up new construction in their place. Only if the new construction is intended in the portion now occupied by the hall and the verandah the above decision of Kailasam, J. (as he then was) would be applicable. But in this case the hall and the verandah are not going to be demolished so as to erect a new building in their place. It has been held in Thirupathy v. Maimoon Bibi, 95 L.W. 35, the work sought to be proposed by the landlord will only amount to repair and will not amount to demolition and reconstruction. In Motilal v. Azeem, 87 L.W. 106, the conversion of tiled portion into a terraced one has been held as not amounting to demolition and reconstruction within the meaning of Section 14(1)(b).

5. The learned Counsel for the petitioner then relied on the decision of this Court in S.A. Henry v. J.V.K. Rao (1971)1 M.L.J. 297. In that case the question arose as to whether the remodelling and improving of a building amount to demolition and reconstruction within the meaning of Section 14(1)(b) or it will amount to major repairs which will not come within the mischief of Section 14(1)(b). The Court held that all that Section 14(1)(b) requires is demolition followed by structural alterations by way of reconstruction so as to give a new face to the form and structure of the building and that the very fact that the Legislature has given a restricted meaning to the word 'repairs' in the definition clause is a pointer for drawing the inference that fresh work of a major nature involving structural alterations, changing the identity of the building and involving improvements after demolishing the existing portions would come under Section 14(1)(b). I do not see how this decision will help the petitioner in this case. As already stated, it is not a case of demolition of the entire building and it is only a case of certain alterations being made to the hall and the verandah. The proposed works do not appear to involve any structural alterations for the walls all round in the hall as well as in the verandah, are to be kept intact though the walls on two sides of the verandah are going to be raised upto the roof level for the purpose of having a concrete terrace. If no structural alterations are involved then it cannot be said to be a reconstruction at all. Thus in any view of the matter the works proposed to be undertaken by the landlord cannot come within the expression 'demolition and reconstruction' as contemplated by Section 14(1)(b) of the Act.

In this view of the matter, the orders of the appellate authority do not call for any interference. The Civil Revision Petitions are, therefore, dismissed. There will, however, be no order as to costs.


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