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Tikkamchand Mithalal JaIn Vs. M.R. Narasimhachari - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1980)1MLJ522
AppellantTikkamchand Mithalal Jain
RespondentM.R. Narasimhachari
Cases ReferredDakshinamoorthi v. Thulji Bai
Excerpt:
.....purposes, when premises had been let out for residential as well as non residential purposes, the rent controller applied the rule down in moinuddin v. rukmani air1972mad263 ,and held that where a building has been let out for residential as well as non-residential purposes, the landlord was entitled to seek- recovery of possession of the building either for residential or for non-residential purpose. in such circumstances, i see no justification whatever to differ from the conclusion reached by the rent controller as well as the appellate authority, that the landlord bona fide requires the petition premises for the occupation of and carrying on of professional activities by his advocate-son and daughter in-law, who as already stated is a doctor. on the other hand, what we find is, that..........referred to as the 'act'), against the order of eviction passed against the petitioner by the rent controller, madurai, in 'r.c.o.p. no, 569 of 1975 on the file of his court and confirmed by the appellate authority (principal sub-judge, madurai) in c.m.a. no. 146 of 1977 on the file of his court.2. the respondent, who is the landlord, leased out the petition-premises some years ago on a monthly rent of rs. 485. the demised premises comprises a portion of the ground floor, wherein the petitioner is having his business! and the entire first floor, wherein the petitioner in residing with his family. the respondent sought the eviction of the petitioner from the demised premises under section 10(3)(a)(i) of the act on the ground that one of his sons, by name radhakrishnan, who is a.....
Judgment:

S. Natarajan, J.

1. This is a revision petition preferred under Section 25 of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act'), against the order of eviction passed against the petitioner by the Rent Controller, Madurai, in 'R.C.O.P. No, 569 of 1975 on the file of his Court and confirmed by the Appellate Authority (Principal Sub-Judge, Madurai) in C.M.A. No. 146 of 1977 on the file of his Court.

2. The Respondent, who is the landlord, leased out the petition-premises some years ago on a monthly rent of Rs. 485. The demised premises comprises a portion of the ground floor, wherein the petitioner is having his business! and the entire first floor, wherein the petitioner in residing with his family. The respondent sought the eviction of the petitioner from the demised premises under Section 10(3)(a)(i) of the Act on the ground that one of his sons, by name Radhakrishnan, who is a practising Advocate at Madurai, has married a lady Doctor and they are bona fide in need of the demised premises for their residence-cum-professional activities.

3. The petitioner resisted the petition. for eviction on various grounds. He first disputed the quantum of rent alleged that the monthly rent was only Rs. 225 and not Rs. 485. He nextly contended that since the demised premises had been leased out to him for residential as well as non-residential purposes, the landlord's application under Section 10(3)(a)(i) of the Act was not maintainable. He further contended that the son and daughter-in-law of the landlord, were not genuinely in need of the building and the petition had been filed with an oblique motive, since he refused to pay the enhanced rent that was demanded of him by the landlord.

4. The Rent Controller, rejected all the contentions of the tenant and ordered eviction. In so far as the objection raised about the landlord not being entitled to ask- for possession of the building for residential purposes, when premises had been let out for residential as well as non residential purposes, the Rent Controller applied the rule down in Moinuddin v. Rukmani : AIR1972Mad263 , and held that where a building has been let out for residential as well as non-residential purposes, the landlord was entitled to seek- recovery of possession of the building either for residential or for non-residential purpose.

5. The Appellate Authority affirmed the view taken by the Rent Controller and pointed out that as per the decisions in Dakshinamoorthi v. Thulji Bai : AIR1952Mad413 , where the Court finds the letting to be equally for residential and non-residential purposes and not mainly or substantially for the one or the other kind of purpose, the application by the landlord would be maintainable either under Section 7(3)(a)(i) or Section 7(3)(a)(ii) of the old Act, corresponding to Section 10(3)(a)(i) and 10(3)(a)(ii) of the present Act. The Appellate Authority also found that the landlord bona fide required the premises for the occupation of his son and daughter-in-law, and therefore, the tenant was bound to vacate the premises. Accordingly, he confirmed the order of eviction passed by the Rent Controller.

6. In the revision petition, Mr. Himmatmal Mardia the learned Counsel for the petitioner, repeated the contentions that were put forward by the tenant before the Rent Controller and the Appellate Authority and raised a further contention that in view of Section 30 of the Act, the Rent Controller had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition filed by the landlord.

7. Before considering the legal objections raised by Mr. Mardia, the question whether the landlord bona fide required the premises for the occupation of his son and daughter-in-law can be considered. The landlord examined himself as P.W. 1 and has stated in his evidence that he and the other members of his family were residing at Door No. 20 Jadamuni Koil Street, Madurai, and the said house' consists of only a hall, two verandahs, and a kitchen in the ground floor and one hall in the first floor, which is used as a bed room. He further stated that besides himself and his wife, his Advocate son and daughter-in-law, who is a lady Doctor, his third son and the wife and children and his first son, who is employed at Tiruchi and staying alone there, were residing and it is difficult for all of them to live in the house referred to above, since the accommodation of the house was very limited. The tenant in his evidence, has not controverted these statements of the landlord. Therefore, the statement of the landlord, that there is not enough room in the present house for all the members of his family to live together and that separate accommodation is needed for the second son and daughter-in-law, remains uncontradicted. In such circumstances, I see no justification whatever to differ from the conclusion reached by the Rent Controller as well as the Appellate Authority, that the landlord bona fide requires the petition premises for the occupation of and carrying on of professional activities by his Advocate-son and daughter in-law, who as already stated is a Doctor.

8. Before dealing with the second of the contentions of Mr. Mardia, I will deal with the new ground of objection raised in the revision petition. This objection does not find a place in the grounds of revision and is put forward only at the time of argument. The argument of Mr. Mardia runs thus: Under Sub-clause (ii) of Section 30 of the Act, nothing contained in the Act will apply to any residential building or part thereof occupied by any one tenant, if the monthly rent paid by him in respect of that building or part exceeds. Rs. 400. Placing reliance on this provision, Mr. Mardia argued that the landlord can treat the building either as residential or non-residential and since he required the building under Section 10(3)(a)(i), it must be taken that the demised premises would amount only 1o a residential building, and since according to the landlord, the rent was over Rs. 400, the provisions of the Act are not attracted and consequently. the landlord can only file a suit in ejectment in the civil Court and he is not entitled to institute proceedings under the Act for eviction of the tenant. His further argument was, that if the landlord wanted to get over the exemption contained in Section 30 and treat the building as a non-residential one, then he should have filed this petition under Section 10(3)(a)(ii) and not under Section 10(3)(a)(i). The contention of Mr. Mardia cannot be countenanced for more than one reason. In the first place, this ground of objection has not been raised before the Rent Controller or the Appellate Authority or even in the grounds of revision. On the other hand, what we find is, that the petitioner has willingly subjected himself to the jurisdiction of the Rent Controller as well as the Appellate Authority, and has also filed the present revision only under Section 25 of the Act.

9. Secondly, the stand taken by the petitioner is, that the rent for the building was not Rs. 485 as claimed by the landlord but only Rs. 225. Having taken such a stand, it is not open to the petitioner to put forth this ground of objection, since the hypothesis for the objection is a matter of controversy. It is apposite to mention here that in the proceedings instituted by the landlord, no question regarding the determination of the rent payable by the tenant arises. It was stated at the Bar that the landlord has filed a civil suit against the petitioner for the recovery of arrears of rent and even in those proceedings, the petitioner has taken the stand that the rent payable for the premises is only Rs. 225 and not Rs. 485. Therefore, for all that we know, the petitioner may succeed in his defence in the suit. It is significant to note that the petitioner does not concede in this proceedings that the rent for the premises is the figure mentioned by the landlord and not the figure mentioned by him. In such circumstances, it cannot be categorically stated that the rent for the building is more than Rs. 400 and therefore, Section 30 will be a bar to the action instituted by the landlord. Over and above these things, there remains the fact that it is the admitted case of the parties that the premises was leased out for residential as well as non-residential purposes. Admittedly, the petitioner is carrying on his business in a portion of the ground floor and is using the entire first floor for residential purpose. In such circumstance, the exemption contained in Section 30 will not be attracted, because it will apply to a residential building only, which is used pure and simpliciter for residential purposes and not to a building, which is put to use for residential as well as non-residential purposes. Therefore, I have no hesitation in holding that the new ground of objection raised by the petitioner is wholly devoid of merits.

10. It only remains to consider the second of the objections put forward by the petitioner. The contention put forward is, that since the building had been let out for residential as well as non-residential purposes, it is not open to the landlord to seek recovery of possession of the premises either for residential or non-residential purpose and the landlord cannot seek relief either under Section 10(3)(a)(i) or Section 10(3)(a)(ii). In support of this argument, Mr. Mardia placed reliance on Dr. Gopal Dass Verma v. Dr. S.K. Bhardwaj and Anr. : 1961CriLJ856 and Sanyal v. Glam Chand : [1968]1SCR536 . I have carefully gone through these decisions and they lend apparent support to Mr. Mardia's contentions. However, on a little scrutiny, it becomes manifestly clear that the authorities cannot be of any help to the petitioner. Those cases were decided with reference to the provisions of Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952. In that legislation, the wording is entirely different from the Act, and the accent in the relevant clause, viz., Section 13(1)(e) is upon the letting out of the premises for residential purposes. The words used are, 'premises let for residential purpose'. On the other hand, under the Tamil Nadu Act, there is reference in Section 1.0(3)(a)(i) only to 'a residential building' and in Section 10(3)(a)(ii) to 'a non-residential building'. The purpose for which the building was let out is not placed in the fore-front under Section 10(3)(a)(i) and 1.0(3)(a)(ii). Then again, it has to be noted that the Tamil Nadu Act specifically interdicts under Section 21, the conversion of a residential building into a non-residential building without the permission in writing of the Controller. The relevant provisions of the Madras buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act XXV of 1949 viz., Section 7(3)(a)(i) and 7(3)(a)(ii) have been construed by a Full Bench of this Court in Dakshinamurthy v. Thulji Bai (1952) 1 MLJ 390 : 65 LW 242 : ILR (1952) Mad 651 (F.B.). After considering the various aspects of the matter elaborately, the Full Bench has held that where the Court finds the letting to be equally for residential and non-residential purposes and not mainly or substantially for the one or the other kind of purpose, the application by the landlord would be maintainable either under Section 7(3)(a)(i) or Section 7(3)(a)(ii) of the old Act. The Full Bench decision has been followed in Moinuddin v. Rukmani : AIR1972Mad263 , already referred to. Section 10(3)(a)(i) and 10(3)(a)(ii) occurring in the present Act is in pari materia with Section 7(3)(a)(i) and 7(3)(a)(ii) of the 1949 Act. Therefore, it follows that the ratio laid down by the Full Beach will be applicable to the relevant provisions of the present Act as well. In addition, it must be noticed that the landlord seeks recovery of possession of the building not only for the residential occupation of his son and daughter-in-law, but also for purposes of their professional requirements.

11. Mr. Mardia invited my attention to an unreported decision of Suryamurthi, J., in Nemichand Vejaj and Ors. v. G.M. Fathima Bivi C.R.P. No. 302 of 1974, dated 20th April, 1978. In the judgment there is an observation that as the building is used both as residence and for business, the provisions of Section 10(3)(a)(iii) of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, are not available to the landlord for evicting the tenant. This decision cannot advance the petitioner's case in any manner, because the observation of Suryamurthi, J., is in the nature of obiter. The landlady in that case sought eviction of the tenant on the ground of wilful default in payment of rent (Section 10(2)(i)) and unauthorised subletting (Section 10(2)(ii)(a)). Both the grounds were not established and therefore, the petition came to be dismissed. It was only incidentally the learned Judge has made the observation about the petition being not maintainable under Section 10(3)(a)' (iii) of the Act. Moreover, the judgment has not taken note of the Full Bench judgment in Dakshinamoorthi v. Thulji Bai : AIR1952Mad413 . In such circumstances, both in law and on facts, the petitioner's contentions cannot be sustained.

12. Thus, on a consideration of all factors. I find that none of the contentions of the Revision Petitioner has any merit in it. Consequently, the revision petition has to fail and will accordingly stand dismissed with costs. The petitioner (tenant) is given time till 31st May, 1980 to vacate the premises.


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