Skip to content


Ganesan Vs. Valambal Ammal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1982)1MLJ71
AppellantGanesan
RespondentValambal Ammal
Cases ReferredV.R. Jayarctman v. N.S. Ramalingam
Excerpt:
.....husband and wife can spend the better part of their time in different portions of the same house and yet live together happily in the married state, i do not see how their married life can receive a set-back by the mere circumstances that they begin to live in two separate and different structures, each being an independent residential house. but there is nothing unnatural in a wife living in a separate house from the husband and still making the marriage work, even as there is nothing unnatural in their living under the same roof and not beingable to pull together and make a success of their marriage. there might be a hundred and one reasons, all of them valid, as to why a husband or a wife might like to have a separate residence of his or her own, even though they have been living..........purpose of her own residence presumably because it was in, the same street in which she was at the time living with her husband.2. the rent controller rejected the plea of valambal ammal and held that her requirement was not bona fide. he said there was no evidence of misunderstanding between her and her husband or other family members. he further observed that he could not believe that she needed a separate residence for her own when she was actually living with her husband in her husband's house. on this basis, he refused to evict the tenant.3. on appeal, the appellate authority took a different view. the appellate authority accepted the evidence of valambal am-mal to the effect that the accomodation for her and the members of her family in bei husband's house was insufficient. on this.....
Judgment:

V. Balasubramanyan, J.

1. Lakshmanan and his wife Valambal Ammal are an elderly couple. Lakshmanan is aged about 7u years. Valambal Ammal has passed 60 years of age. Lakshmanan has a house in Mariamman Koil Street, Bheema Nagar, Trichinopoly. In that house this old couple are residing for a long time now. Along with them dwell their children and grandchilren. Their first son had unfortunately died at an early age, leaving a widow. The widowed daughter-in-law is also living with them. A few buildings away in the same street Valambal Ammal has a house of her own. The house is in the occupation of a tenant, byname, Ganesan. Valambal Ammal fileda petition before the Rent Controller for evicting this tenant from her house. The principal ground urged in the eviction petition was that she required that house bono fide for her own persona 1 occupation as a residence Valambal Ammal had some other house in Trichinopoly town, but they were all occupiedby tenants. She particularly wanted the house under the occupation of Ganesan for the purpose of her own residence presumably because it was in, the same street in which she was at the time living with her husband.

2. The Rent Controller rejected the plea of Valambal Ammal and held that her requirement was not bona fide. He said there was no evidence of misunderstanding between her and her husband or other family members. He further observed that he could not believe that she needed a separate residence for her own when she was actually living with her husband in her husband's house. On this basis, he refused to evict the tenant.

3. On appeal, the Appellate Authority took a different view. The Appellate Authority accepted the evidence of Valambal Am-mal to the effect that the accomodation for her and the members of her family in bei husband's house was insufficient. On this basis, the Appellate Authority held that her requirement was bona fide. An order of eviction accordingly followed.

4. In this revision brought by the tenant, his learned Counsel submitted that the finding of the Appellate Authority on the question of bona fides is based on a misdirection. Learned Counsel submitted that when a wife was living with her husband in her husband's house, her application for her own residence of a house belonging to her cannot be held to be bona fides unless the evidence shows that there Was a misunderstanding between the spouses or there were other circumstances which bad necessitated the wife's living apart from the husband. Learned Counsel derived comfort, if not support, from an observation of a Division Bench of this Court in a case briefly reported in I.R. Jayaraman v. N.S. Ramulingama The observation relied upon by the learned Counsel had nothing whatever to do with the decision which the Bench had to render in that case. Nevertheless, even though the passage was quite obiter in this sense, learned Counsel cited the passage as embodying some general principle for observance by Rent Control Authorities. The passage in question was in the following terms

If it is a residential building, the landlord may not be in a position 'to get a favourable order under Section 10(3)(a)(i) as accommodation for bis wife, for, the wife would naturally be living with the husband and there may not be a case for separate a ccommodation for the wife.

I should not be making the mistake of meeting the dictum in the above passage by drawing any distinction on facts between that case and the present case. That would be to accept that dictum was valid. I do not accept its validity at a 11. I question its basic assumption. I cannot understand how there is anything in nature, or in the natural course of events, which compels a wife to be living with her husband for the purpose of lea ding a happy married life. In my view, the matrimonial state does not depend upon an ever present joint living of the spouses in an architecturally integrated structure called a family house or home. Even in the most traditionally built structures, a house may be made up of several portions, such as, the living room, the office room and the drawing room on the one hand, and the kitchen, the puja room, the backyard and other rear portions, on the other. Each part has an individuality all its own. We can hardly visualisea married home in which the wife is living a 11 the time with the husband in the drawing room or the office room, any more than we can visualise the husband living with the wife all the time in the kitchen or in the back court-yard. If the husband and wife can spend the better part of their time in different portions of the same house and yet live together happily in the married state, I do not see how their married life can receive a set-back by the mere circumstances that they begin to live in two separate and different structures, each being an independent residential house. It maybe that difficulties can be encountered and suff-eredand met where quite a distance separates the two spouses and their dwellings. But there is nothing unnatural in a wife living in a separate house from the husband and still making the marriage work, even as there is nothing unnatural in their living under the same roof and not beingable to pull together and make a success of their marriage. In modern times, the exigencies of economic life are such that working women and house wives too, may have to be living separate from their working husband sand may have to be fending for themselves in separate accommodations, sometimes in different cities even. The particular ties of marriage which characterise and condition the proximity of the spouses in their younger days may not have the same adhesion as they both grow old, edging towards their silver or golden weddings. Old people in their roles as parents or grandparents tend to develop emotional attachments which can be quite different from those which once upon a time tied them romantically to the marriage bed. They begin to develop affections for their grandchildren and great-grand children, if not for pet animals. This affiection might often exercise a greater pull than any physical need to spend the time with the other spouse. There might be a hundred and one reasons, all of them valid, as to why a husband or a wife might like to have a separate residence of his or her own, even though they have been living together happily in the same house for a long time. It is, therefore, not realistic to assume as a general observation, much less, as a rule of probability, that the husband and the wife should 'naturally' be living in the same house and if the one or the other requires another building of his or her own for separate residence, that need should be rejected as unnatural and the urge itself must be dismissed as not lona fied. So much for the dicta in V.R. Jayarctman v. N.S. Ramalingam (1973) T.L.N.J. 393. To turn to the present case, there is no evidence whatever on record on the basis of which it could be said that Valambal Ammal's requirement of her house for her residence is not bono fide, merely for the reason that she was living with her husband in the hushand's house.

5. The approach of the Rent Controller, as I earlier mentioned, was that there must be some evidence of a quarrel or misunderstanding in order to establish the landlady's bona fide. In my view this is not a proper approach to the inquiry. If it were, then the courts will be paving the way for collusive evidence to be let in as though quarrels had taken place when in fact there are none. Rigged (sic) up evidence would be quite an undesirable tendency for courts to allow. At all events, the law does not require that there should be some quarrel or misunderstanding of some kind in the family as a ground for personal occupation of one of the spouses away from the residence of the other spouse.

6. Learned counsel for the tenant submitted that it is not reasonable to visualise that this lady, who had been married to her husband for a long number of years, would be leaving him to proceed to stay in her own house away from him. This argument assumes that after the lady obtains vacant possession of the house and occupies it, that would mark the end of her marriage and she would part company from the husband. The argument assumes that the husband will not follow her and live with her in the newly secured accommodation in the wife's house. In this case, there is no evidence to show that the preference of the husband would be to live apart from the wife and not to live with her, if she should repair to her house. On the contrary, quite as naturally as the wife had so far lived with her husband in his house, it is natural to expect that the husband might hereafter live with her in her house.

7, Learned Counsel then submitted that the main intention behind the eviction petition was to somehow drive the tenant away, an intention which is underlined by the fact that the petition also canvassed another ground, namely, willful default, as a ground for eviction. It is true that the intention of the landlady was to see the tenant out of the property. But there is the one and only basis on which one can claim her own occupation of the house. If the house is occupied by the tenant, the landlady cannot occupy it; she cannot occupy it till the tenant vacates and makes way. The driving out of the tenant is a sheer physical necessity and a practical precondition for the landlord's personal occupation. That is also the basissanctioned by the statute itself. So, merely saying that the intention in the eviction petition is to oust the tenant and therefore, the intention cannot be bona fide, is not an argument at all which can be sensibly raised in proceedings under Section 10(3)(a)(i) of the Act. What really has got to be enquired into is whether the landlord's or landlady's requirement of the house is bona fide. In judging this issue, the fact that possession cannot be obtained without ejecting the tenant in the process can hardly have any relevance on the finding as to bono fides.

8. For all the above reasons, 1 agree with the conclusion of the appellate authcrity. This petition has to be, and is, accordingly dismissed.

9. Learned Counsel for the tenant ultimately put forward a plea for some reasonable time to be granted to his client to enable him to vacate the premises. Hearing a request of this kind is not unusual in cases of this sort, when the tenant knows for certain that he has lost the game. The Act provides for indulgence to be shown to the tenant upto a point. The proviso to Section 10(3) of the Act confers on the Rent Controller a discretion to grant reasonable time to the tenant for putting the landlord in possession of the building. The Rent Controller may also extend the time subject to the ceiling of three months in the aggregate. The statute, however, does not confer discretion of a similar kind in so far as the appellate authority and the revisional Court are concerned. Nevertheless, this Court sitting in revision has always been known to grant further time to the tenants for vacating the premises, where the revision goes against them. This indulgence is extended either with the consent of the landlord or even irrespective of such consent, where this Court considers that time can be granted having regard to all the circumstances of the case. I propose to follow this practice without pausing to consider whether the la wallows it.

10. In this case, learned Counsel for the landlady reminded me that eviction proceedings had started as early as in the year 1975, and hence further time must be declined. Learned counsel for the tenant, however, pointed out that the landlady is even now, according to present indications, happily living with her husband, not in rented premises, but in her husband's house, and she should not be in any hurry whatever to occupy her own house. 1 do not however, think I should be examining the considerations urged oh either side meticulously for exercising my discretion one way or another. All I can say is that taking note of all relevant factors, it seems to me that four months' time would be reasonable in the circumstances. There will, accordingly be a direction that the landlady will not execute the eviction order a gainst the tenant for a period of four months from today. In other respects, the order of the appellate authority will stand confirmed. The civil revision petition is disposed of accordirgly. There will however, be no order as to costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //