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Patel Roadways (P) Ltd. Vs. the State of Tamil Nadu Reptd. by Its Secretary, Home Dept. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy;Civil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1986)1MLJ186
AppellantPatel Roadways (P) Ltd.
RespondentThe State of Tamil Nadu Reptd. by Its Secretary, Home Dept. and ors.
Cases ReferredV.K. Joseph v. State of Tamil Nadu W.P.No.
Excerpt:
- - , prevention of unreasonable eviction of tenants from residential as well as non-residential buildings. provided that, in the case of an application under clause (c)(of section 10(3)), the controller shall reject the application, if he is satisfied that the hardship which may be caused to the tenant by granting it will outweigh the advantage to the landlord. in like manner, a tenant would be unmindful of the safety and security of the building, if it is put to a hazardous use, but the landlord would never consent to the building being put to such use. 11791 and 11792 of 1984. 17. the first additional ground put forward is that the act had its origin in rent control orders, which were passed as war-time legislation to meet certain contingencies, that the legislation, intended to.....orders. natarajan, j.1. the two writ petitions are identical in nature and have been filed by the same petitioner. they relate to the tenancy rights of the petitioner in a non-residential building which is owned in equal moieties by two minors who are arrayed as the second respondent respectively in each of the petitions. the petitioner has filed the petitions praying for the issue of a writ of declaration to nullify section 10(3)(a)(iii) and section 10(2)(ii)(b) of the tamil nadu buildings (lease and rent control) act, 1960, as amended in 1973 (hereinafter referred to as the act), on the ground that they are unconstitutional.2. the circumstances under which the petitioner has come forward with these petitions are as under: the petitioner is a company incorporated under the companies act,.....
Judgment:
ORDER

S. Natarajan, J.

1. The two writ petitions are identical in nature and have been filed by the same petitioner. They relate to the tenancy rights of the petitioner in a non-residential building which is owned in equal moieties by two minors who are arrayed as the second respondent respectively in each of the petitions. The petitioner has filed the petitions praying for the issue of a writ of declaration to nullify Section 10(3)(a)(iii) and Section 10(2)(ii)(b) of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960, as amended in 1973 (hereinafter referred to as the Act), on the ground that they are unconstitutional.

2. The circumstances under which the petitioner has come forward with these petitions are as under: The petitioner is a Company incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956. Its head office is in Bombay and it has 150 Branches spread over all the States of the Union of India. The Branch office in Madras is situated at Door No. 173, Broadway, Madras-1. The building is owned by two minor girls, viz., S.M.A. Zulaika and S.M.A. Rahila, represented by their father. In 1970, the petitioner took the building on lease for a period of ten years. The monthly rent for the half portion owned by each of the owners was fixed at Rs. 2,000 per mensem. The petitioner has been using the premises as a godown and administrative office and, besides, the Regional Manager of the petitioner is also residing in a portion thereof. The petitioner would say that it owns 60 trucks and in addition, it hires a number of trucks in order to carry on its business as a transport organisation. It has a freight booking worth nearly Rs. 95 lakhs per annum and a local freight collection of nearly Rs. 50 lakhs. Goods worth about a crore of rupees of its customers are stored in the godown in the petition premises. About sixty staff members, nine watchmen and thirty-five labourers are engaged by the petitioner to run its office-cum-godown in the petition building.

3. The lease agreement executed in 1970 contains a clause for renewal of the lease for a further period of ten years subject to revised rates of rent to be mutually agreed upon by the parties. The petitioner exercised its option to renew the lease, but, as the parties could not reach agreement on the quantum of rent, the owners of the building filed petitions before the Rent Controller for fixation of fair rent. The Rent Controller fixed the fair rent which, according to the petitioner, is nearly fifty per cent over the prevailing rent. In the meantime, the owners of the building filed two petitions for eviction of the petitioner on the ground that they required the premises for the purpose of a business they were carrying on. They also sought eviction of the petitioner on another ground, viz., that the petitioner had made use of the premises for a purpose other than that for which it was leased. The Rent Controller dismissed the petitions, but on appeal by the owners, the Appellate Authority accepted their case and allowed the appeals and passed an order of eviction against the petitioner. Against the order of the Appellate Authority, the petitioner has filed civil revision petitions to this court and they are pending disposal.

4. During the pendency of the civil revision petitions, the petitioner claims to have disclosed constitutional flaws in certain provisions of the Act, and consequently, he wants the impugned provisions in the Act to be declared as null and void. Towards that objective, the petitioner claims to have filed an earlier petition challenging the constitutional validity of Section 4(fixation of fair rent) of the Act. In these petitions the petitioner challenges the constitutional validity of Section 10(3)(a)(iii) and Section 10(2)(ii)(b) of the Act.

5. In so far as the attack of the petitioner on Section 10(3)(a)(iii) is concerned, the petitioner's contentions are as follows:

(1) Section 10(3)(a)(iii), on its own and read along with Section 10(3)(c) and the first proviso to Section 10(3)(e), classifies tenants and landlords into various classes without any reasonable nexus to the object sought to be achieved by the Act, viz., prevention of unreasonable eviction of tenants from residential as well as non-residential buildings.

(2) While, in the case of tenants who are in partial occupation of a non-residential building, the Controller is directed to take into consideration the relative hardship to the tenant and the landlord in passing an order of eviction or in refusing to pass an order of eviction respectively, no such protection has been afforded in the case of tenants who are in full occupation of premises.

(3) A landlord owning a non-residential building can seek recovery of it under Section 10(3)(a)(iii) only if he or any member of his family is carrying on a business, but a landlord who does not carry on a business is discriminated and cannot seek recovery of possession under the said provision.

(4) What is really intended to be protected under Section 10(3)(a)(iii) is the business/commercial interests of the landlord as against those of the tenant rather than the restoration of possession of the property to the landlord in recognition of his proprietary interests. Since Article 19(1) of the Constitution providing for the fundamental right to acquire, hold and dispose of property has been deleted by the Forty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution with effect from 20.6.1979, any attempt to recover possession of leased premises, is not in recognition of the landlord's proprietory interests, but in recognition of his business/commercial interests and it will amount to violation of Article 14.

(5) Section 10(3)(a)(iii) provides for dispossession of a tenant from a building without taking into consideration the magnitude, importance or employment potential of the tenant's business, solely on the ground that the landlord is carrying on a business of his own and wants to shift his business to the leased premises.

6. Before taking up for consideration the grounds of attack enumerated above, the relevant provisions of the Act may be referred to. Section 10(3)(a)(iii) provides for an order of eviction being passed against a tenant by the Rent Controller where the landlord requires the building for a business carried on by him or any of his family members. It reads as follows:

Section 10(3)(a) - A landlord may, subject to the provisions of Clause (d), apply to the Controller for an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building.... (iii) in case it is any other non-residential building, if the landlord or any member of his family is not occupying for purposes of a business which he or any member of his family is carrying on a non-residential building in the city, town or village concerned which is his own.

Section 10(3)(c) provides for a case where a landlord has let out a portion of the building and is occupying the remaining portion and seeks recovery of possession of the leased portion by way of additional accommodation either for residential purposes or for non-residential purposes. The provision reads as follows:

A landlord who is occupying only a part of a building, whether residential or non-residential, may notwithstanding anything contained in Clause (a), apply to the Controller for an order directing any tenant occupying the whole, or any portion of the remaining part of the building to put the landlord in possession thereof if he requires additional accommodation for residential purposes or for purposes of a business which he is carrying on, as the case may be.

Lastly, we come to the first proviso to Section 10(3)(e) which will have reference to Section 10(3)(c). That provision is in the following terms:

Provided that, in the case of an application under Clause (c)(of Section 10(3)), the Controller shall reject the application, if he is satisfied that the hardship which may be caused to the tenant by granting it will outweigh the advantage to the landlord.

7. According to the petitioner, the classification of tenants and landlords into various categories viz., those who are in full occupation of a building either for residential or non-residential purposes, those who are in partial occupation of a building for residential or non-residential purposes, those who are carrying on business or not, etc. has no reasonable nexus to any of the objects sought to be achieved by the Act. The objects sought to be achieved by the Act are to be found in the Preamble to the enactment and they are in the following terms:

Whereas it is expedient to amend and consolidate the law relating to the regulation of the letting of residential and non-residential buildings and the control of rents of such building and the prevention of unreasonable eviction of tenants therefrom in the State of Tamil Nadu.

From the above, it will be seen that the objects of the Act are (1) to provide for regulation of the letting of residential and non-residental buildings, (2) the control of rents of such buildings and (3) prevention of unreasonable eviction of tenants therefrom. In order to achieve the objects of the Act, the buildings will have to be necessarily classified into residential and non-residential. Then again, a classification has to be made regarding buildings which are entirely in the occupation of tenants or buildings which are partly in the occupation of tenants and partly in the occupation of landlords. As a logical step of such classification, conditions have to be laid as to how and when a landlord can seek recovery of a residential building or a non-residential building. In the same manner, a differentiation has also to be made between tenants occupying the entire premises on the one hand and tenants occupying a portion of the building on the other. Since the purpose of the Act is not to confer permanent occupancy rights on tenants, but only to regulate the law relating to letting out of buildings and the control of rents and to prevent unreasonable eviction of tenants, the classifications enumerated above not only constitute necessary classifications, but also rational ones, and as such, they have abundant nexus to the objects sought to be achieved by the Act.

8. The alleged differentiation between tenants in occupation of the entire premises on the one hand and tenants occupying only a portion of the building and the other portion being occupied by the landlord, on the other, is also not meaningless or discriminatory. Unlike a landlord who has let out the entire building to a tenant, a landlord who lets out only a portion to a tenant, has the benefit of occupation of the unlet portion of the building. A landlord of the former category faces the danger of being evicted from a rented building occupied by him, whereas a landlord of the latter category will not have to face any such contingency. Therefore it is, that the Legislature has provided that a landlord falling under the first category is entitled to get recovery of possession of the entire building, whether it be for residential or non-residential purposes, for his own use. But, in the case of a landlord falling under the second category, it is only a question of his being given possession of the leased portion by way of additional accommodation, i.e. for a more convenient occupation of the building. It is on account of that factor, the proviso to Section 10(3)(e) directs the Controller to take into consideration the relative hardship that would be caused to the tenant and the landlord if an order of eviction under Section 10(3)(c) were to be passed. If these factors are borne in mind, there is no scope for an argument being advanced that tenants in occupation of entire buildings should also be placed on par with tenants occupying portions of buildings and the question of hardship that would be caused to those tenants by orders of eviction should also be taken into consideration by the Controller before passing eviction orders under Section 10(3)(a)(iii).

9. The third argument relates to an alleged discriminatory classification as between landlords who carry on business and those who do not carry on business. Even here, the classification has a rational and legal basis. More often than not, it is only a building which is structurally non-residential in character arid which is situate in a non-residential area, that will be let out for non-residential purposes. Apart from that, a landlord is not likely to let out his building for non-residential purposes if he has need for it for being used as a residential building. Taking these facts into consideration, the Legislature has made a difference between a landlord who carries on a business of his own and a landlord who does not have a business. Therefore it is, that the Act provides for a building let out for a non-residential purpose being made available to the landlord only if he himself or any member of his family is carrying on a business in a building not belonging to him. On the other hand, if a landlord who is not carrying on a business of his own seeks recovery of possession of a building let out for non-residential purposes, it must obviously be for inducting a new tenant into the building at a higher rate of rent. The eviction of the tenant in such a case, in the opinion of the Legislature, may constitute an unreasonable eviction. On account of that, the Legislature has made a differentiation between landlords who carry on business and landlords who do not carry on business, and have accordingly provided Section 10(3)(a)(iii).

10. The fourth ground of attack centres around the nature of the landlord's right in seeking recovery of possession of a non-residential building for his own business purposes. According to the petitioner's counsel, after the deletion of Article 19(1)(f) of the Constitution by the Forty-fourth Amendment, a landlord is not entitled to seek recovery of possession of a rented building in assertion of his proprietary right. Such being the case, if a landlord were to be given an order of eviction against this tenant in respect of a non-residential building, it would amount to a preferential treatment being given to the landlord's business and this would be in violation of Article 14. This contention, to say the least, is nothing but imagination running riot. Even though Article 19(1){f) has been deleted, a citizen's right to own and possess property has not been taken away. By reason of the Forty-fourth Amendment, a right to occupy or hold and dispose of property cannot be claimed by anyone as a fundamental right. But, in all other respects, those rights have been preserved under the ordinary laws of the country. It is therefore a baseless contention to say that by reason of the Forty-fourth Amendment a landlord loses his proprietary interests over the property owned by him and as such, he cannot seek recovery of possession of his property as owner and if he were allowed to recover possession of his property for running a business it would amount to a discriminatory order against the tenant and would therefore be violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

11. The last argument is with reference to an order of eviction being passed without taking into consideration the volume of business carried on by the tenant and the volume of business that is likely to be carried on by the landlord when he occupies the building for his own business purposes. The argument has to be rejected because of the fallacy contained in it. The passing of an order of eviction has to be based with reference to the genuine needs of a landlord for shifting his business to his own premises, and not with reference to the volume of trade carried on by him or by the tenant whom he wants to dispossess. The volume of trade is not a germane factor for consideration. On the other hand, what is relevant for consideration is the plight of the landlord in being compelled to run his business in a rented building because of the occupation of his own building by a tenant of his.

12. Hence none of the contentions put forward by the petitioner's counsel renders Section 10(3)(a)(iii) of the Act violative of the Constitutional provisions.

13. As regards the attack on Section 10(2)(ii)(b) of the Act, the contentions are as under:

(1) As no guidelines have been prescribed for the Controller to determine what would constitute a change of purpose, the said provision is arbitrary.

(2) While an unlimited right is given to the landlord to use his building in any manner he likes or to let it out on rent to others for being used to run different kinds of business, a tenant to whom a building has been let out for a particular purpose, is made to suffer if he changes the nature of a business even if such change would not affect the interests of the landlord and the change would be absolutely necessary for the tenant to make for valid and economical reasons.

14. In so far as this contention is concerned, the Act prohibits the use of a building for a purpose other than that for which it was leased.' Though the word 'purpose' has not been defined under the Act, Section 10(2)(ii)(b) cannot be said to be vague in content or providing scope for arbitrary exercise of powers by the Controller. The word, 'purpose' is qualified by the other words occurring in the Sub-clause, viz. 'other than that for which it was leased.' The purpose for which a building is leased can be gathered from the instrument of lease where there is one or from the oral evidence regarding the nature of the business for which the lease was created or the manner in which the trade or business was carried on in the building till such time the tenant made a change of it. From such evidence, the purpose of the lease can be easily found out. Once the purpose of the lease is determined, evidence regarding the different user to which the tenant puts the building can certainly afford material to the Controller to decide whether the tenant has put the building to an user different from the one for which it was leased. There is, therefore, neither vagueness in the use of the word 'purpose' in Section 10(2)(ii)(b) nor any room for arbitrary exercise of powers under the Sub-clause.

15. The lamentation of the petitioner that under Section 10(2)(ii)(b) the landlord and tenant should be given equality of right and parity of treatment is, indeed, too preposterous a contention to be accepted. A landlord, being the owner of the building, will put the premises only to such use as it would be capable of. He would certainly not put the building to any user which would affect the structural stability or the utilitarian value of the building. On the other hand, a tenant, who is occupying the building only to promote his business interests, will have no such concern for the safety or value of the building. All that he would be interested in, is to utilise or exploit the building for any type of business so long as the business proves remunerative to him. Without noticing this distinction, the petitioner would lament that the Act makes a discrimination between an owner of a building and a tenant. Equality of treatment and equal rights, can be asked for only by persons who are placed in similar positions and not by persons, whose rights and whose obligations are vastly different. In fact, to equate the status of a tenant with that of a landlord regarding the manner of user of a building, would be comparable to equating the impostor mother, who claimed parity of recognition, with the natural mother, when they appeared before the Caliph and claimed custody of a minor child. When the Caliph suggested that the child be cut into two and shared between the claimants, the impostor mother readily agreed, but the natural' mother shunned away from it. In like manner, a tenant would be unmindful of the safety and security of the building, if it is put to a hazardous use, but the landlord would never consent to the building being put to such use. It is on account of this factor, the Legislature has imposed a restriction under Section 10(2)(ii)(b) on a tenant from putting to use a rented building for a purpose different from the one for which it was taken on lease. Hence, this contention also fails.

16. Besides the attack on Section 10(3)(a)(iii) and Section 10(2)(ii)(b) on the grounds mentioned above, the petitioner obtained leave of Court to raise additional grounds and has filed W.M.P. Nos. 11791 and 11792 of 1984.

17. The first additional ground put forward is that the Act had its origin in Rent Control Orders, which were passed as war-time legislation to meet certain contingencies, that the legislation, intended to give relief to tenants as a welfare legislation requires periodical review with reference to changing circumstances in a developing country like India, that as such, the provisions impugned in these proceedings, which were enacted in the year 1960, have lost their relevance and the provisions of the Act do not take into consideration any hardship the tenants have been put to over the years in securing accommodation in business localities for business purposes. Another grievance voiced forth by the Counsel is that while the Act provides for eviction of tenants, it does not contain a corresponding provision for securing alternate accommodation for evicted tenants and that the Act does not also give relief to non-owners of buildings for securing buildings for business purposes inspite of the fact that such persons have to pay astronomical sums to landlords by way of pagadi to secure accommodation. To buttress the argument with legal authority, the petitioner's Counsel cited Shri Swamiji of Shri Admar Mutt v. Com missioner, H.R. and C.E. Dept : [1980]1SCR368 . The decision of the Supreme Court in this case was with reference to the validity of the application of laws applicable in one State to a District transferred from that State to another under the States Reorganisation Act, 1956. The Supreme Court observed that an indefinite extension and application of unequal laws for all time to come will militate against their true character as temporary measure taken in order to serve a temporary purpose. The petitioner's counsel also cited Motor General Traders v. State of A.P. : [1984]1SCR594 to argue that a legislation intended to serve as a temporary measure, cannot have force for all time to come. The case dealt with by the Supreme Court related to the validity of Section 32(b) of the Andhra Pradesh Buildings Lease, Rent and Eviction Control Act. The section provided, that all buildings constructed on and after 26.8.1957 would stand exempted from the provisions of the Act. The Supreme Court pointed out that though there was justification for the exemption being made when the statute was enacted, there was no justification to continue the exemption provision even after a period of 27 years. A little scrutiny will show that the contentions of the petitioners have no merit in them. It is true that the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, has its origin in Rent Control Orders passed during war-time and even thereafter, the Act had the status of a temporary enactment only and had to be periodically re-enacted until Act 18 of 1960 came to be passed as a permanent Act. Even so, the Act continues to have relevance even to-day to a certain class of tenancies, because of the growing chasm between the demand for buildings, residential and non-residential, on the one hand, and the availability of buildings already let out or to be let out in future, on the other. Various factors have contributed for the dearth of buildings, one of them being the very Act under consideration. On account of the numerous difficulties experienced by the landlords in recovering possession of the buildings let out to tenants and the enormous time taken for the proceedings before the Rent Control Court, Appellate Court, and the Revisional Court to come to termination, many persons feel shy of investing their capital in buildings. In such circumstances, the need for the State to protect the tenants upto a certain level from unreasonable eviction by Legislative measures, remains unaltered inspite of the passage of years. It is on account of that, the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, which was a temporary measure originally, has been made a permanent statute when Act 18 of 1960 was passed. Such being the case, the argument that a temporary measure is kept in force by the State oblivious of the changes that have taken place in the last three decades, is not a correct proposition. In fact in the very decision cited by the petitioner's counsel there is a reference to a legal principle enunciated in Broom's Legal Maxims (1939 Edition, page 97) which runs as follows:

Cessante ratione legis cessat ipsa lex', that is to say, 'Reason is the soul of the law, and when the reason of any particular law ceases, so does the law itself. As already stated, the factors which had impelled the legislature to enact the law in 1960 continues to exist even to-day and therefore, the Act has relevance even now. At this juncture, it will not be out of place to refer to the double standards set up by the petitioner. When it comes to a question of paying fair rent to the landlord, the petitioner's stand is that they are entitled to only a marginal increase in rent over the rate of rent fixed in the year 1970. But when it comes to the petitioner moving out and seeking accommodation elsewhere, it would start complaining about the higher rate of rent and pagadi it will be forced to pay for securing such accommodation. The further arguments regarding the Act failing to provide for alternate accommodation for evicted tenants and there being no provision in the Act for enabling businessmen to secure buildings on rent at reasonable rates are really non-legal contentions. The purpose of the Act is only to amend and consolidate the law relating to the regulation of the letting of residential and non-residential buildings and control of rents and the prevention of unreasonable eviction of tenants. As such, it is meaningless for any one to raise any argument that the Act does not contain any provision as to how an evicted tenant, should get alternate accommodation and likewises, the Act does not make any provision for non-owners of buildings securing buildings for rent without paying pagadi,. Having regard to this basic factor, the above said two contentions of the petitioner's counsel warrant dismissal without much of discussion.

18. In the course of arguments, Mr. Padmanabha Rao raised an argument, which is not contained in the additional grounds. The argument was that the proceedings under the Act are of a summary nature and this would constitute an unreasonable classification and unjust discrimination. To give weight to his argument, he cited the decision in State of W.B. v. Anwar Ali : 1952CriLJ510 , wherein the Supreme Court struck down Section 5(1) of the West Bengal Special Courts Act, (Act 10 of 1950) on the ground that the classification of certain offences based on the need for their speedier trial was violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. I fail to see any merit in the argument or the relevance of the authority cited in support of it. The proceedings under the Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, have to be necessarily of an expeditious nature, though in practice, the parties, particularly the tenants, are able to drag on the matters for an indefinite length of time. The proceedings have to be of an expeditious nature, because the Act not only provides for the landlords instituting proceedings for eviction of their tenants on certain grounds, but also provides for the tenants seeking reliefs against their landlords in the matter of fixation of fair rent, restoration of possession of buildings where the landlords fail to put the buildings to the particular use for which they wanted them and for restoration of amenities. If the proceedings are not of a summary nature, but of a regular and rigorous nature, the object of the Act will be defeated and the parties will be put to unbearable hardship. Indeed this position has been considered by the Supreme Court in Kewal Singh v. Lajwanti : [1980]1SCR854 . Therein, the Supreme Court has upheld the summary nature of the proceedings under the Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, and further observed that notwithstanding the proceedings being of a summary nature, the rights of the tenants are sufficiently protected. It is therefore futile to contend that the procedure contained in the Act is discriminatory in nature and on that score, the Act is vitiated.

19. On the mistaken assumption that the Act has out-lived its purpose and therefore several provisions of it must be struck down as not only irrelevant, but unconstitutional on account of their irrelevance, the petitioner's counsel referred to certain decisions, which contain the ratio that whenever the Courts find a provision of law to be unconstitutional, it is the bounden duty of the Courts to strike down that provision. The cases cited by the learned Counsel Mr. Padmanabha Rao are, State of W.B. v. Anwar Ali : 1952CriLJ510 , State of Madras v. V.G. Row 1952 S.C.J. 253 : (1952) 2 M.L.J. 135 : A.1.R. 1952 S.C. 196 and State of Punjab v. Khan Chand : [1974]2SCR768 . As already stated, the ratio laid down in these cases would call for application only if the petitioner has made out a case for striking down the impugned provisions of the Act. When that prime factor has not been established, the mere reference to the powers of the High Courts and the Supreme Court to strike down the unconstitutional provisions of an enactment, is a needless exercise.

20. Proceeding now to the further contention of the petitioner that the legislature has abdicated its essential legislative functions by entrusting to the Executive under Section 2(3) of the Act, the powers of appointment of a Controller and the forum in which he is to function, I have already held in V.K. Joseph v. State of Tamil Nadu W.P.No. 6674 of 1984 that Section 2(3) of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act is perfectly valid and it is not violative of the Constitution in any manner. 1 have pointed out in that order that only a Judicial Officer presiding over a Court, can be appointed a Rent Controller under Section 2(3) of the Act and not anyone else. That petition also had been filed by the present petitioner herein. In fact, if I may say so, the petitioner herein appears to be challenging the constitutional validity of several positions of the Act in instalments, in order to prolong the matters. Be that as it may, the point raised, has already been considered and rejected. Hence, following the order passed in W.P.No. 6674 of 1984, the contention about the constitutional validity of Section 2(3) of the Act has to fail to the ground.

21. The last contention of the petitioner's counsel is as much untenable as the other one raised by him. The strange complaint of the petitioner is that while a tenant can be directed under Section 10(2)(v) of the Act to vacate a building occupied by him, on the ground that he is causing nuisance to the neighbours, there is no corresponding provision in the Act to make a landlord quit his premises if he causes nuisance to this neighbours. The contention is clearly the outcome of confusion and lack of understanding of the purpose of the Act. There is no question of ' a landlord being asked to vacate his own building under the provisions of the Act either on account of acts of waste or causing nuisance, etc. It is therefore ridiculous to contend that since the Act does not contain a provision similar to Section 10(2)(v) for the landlords causing nuisance to their neighbours, the Act is unconstitutional. The petitioner fails to see that if a landlord causes nuisance to his neighbours, the affected persons can move the civil or criminal courts and effectively prevent the landlord from committing acts of nuisance. But in the case of a tenant, relief can be obtained by the landlord by getting an order of eviction against the erring tenant. There is therefore no comparison between a tenant committing acts of nuisance in a rented building occupied by him and a landlord committing nuisance in a building owned by him. The Act has not discriminated between the landlord and the tenant when it was passed and hence, there is no scope for contending that the discrimination may have had relevance at one point of time, but not now.

22. For all the aforesaid reasons, the attack of the petitioner on the validity of Section 10(3)(a)(iii); 10(2)(ii)(b); 2(3) and 10(2)(v) fall to the ground. The Writ Petitions therefore deserve to be dismissed in limine and will accordingly stand dismissed.

23. Before parting with the case, I think it is the duty of the Court to bring to the notice of the Legislature and the Executive the need for restricting the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, T.N. Act 18 of 1960, to certain classes of tenants alone. The prior legislations and the present Act, namely T.N. Act 18 of 1960 have been enacted mostly to safeguard the tenancy rights of the middle and lower classes of people. But in this case, the petitioner, who is a tenant, has a Head Office at Bombay and 150 Branch offices situated in various parts of the Country. It has 60 trucks of its own, besides hiring a number of trucks to transport goods on its behalf from one place to another. According to the petitioner, it has a freight booking worth nearly Rs. 97 lakhs per annum and a stock of goods worth over a Crore of Rupees in the godown. Such being the case, it is for the Legislature and the Executive to consider whether tenants, who are so affluent and who have such a large volume of business, should be given coverage under the provisions of the Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, instead of being governed by the Transfer of Property Act, which is the normal and general law governing inter alia the rights and duties of landlords and tenants.


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