1. The petitioners were tenants of different portions of the premises No. 88/89, Godown Street, Madras, let to them for non-residential purposes, and they were in possession when the second respondent purchased the property in January, 1958. Notice of the application of the second respondent to the Government to exempt the building from the operation of the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act (Act XXV of 1949) was given to the petitioners, and their representations were duly considered, before the Government by their order, dated 5th August, 1959, exempted the premises from the provisions of Section 7 of the Act. Each of the petitioners applied for the issue of a writ of cerliorari to set aside the order of the Government.
2. In paragraph 2 of the impugned order, the Government set out the reasons for granting the exemption sought by the second respondent.
The Government have carefully examined the request of the landlord in consultation with the Accommodation Controller, Madras. The Government have also carefully gone through the objection statements filed by the tenants--Messrs. Perumal Chetty & Co., and Messrs, Krishnamurthy & Co. The Government find that Messrs. Perumal Chetty & Co., (Petitioners in W.P. No. 830 of 1959) have sublet the premises and that they are making a substantial profit out of this. This subletting also shows that the chief tenant is not solely in occupation of the premises and that he can do with a smaller building. The Government consider that the need of the landlord's son for starting a business of his own is genuine, and consider that the eviction of the tenants from this premises for providing the landlord's son with a premises to carry on his business cannot be termed as unreasonable eviction. The Government therefore consider that premises No. 88/89, Godown Street, G.T., Madras, should be exempted from the provisions of Section 7 of the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1949.
3. Thus the real ground on which the exemption was granted by the Government was that the owner of the premises, the second respondent, wanted to provide business premises for his son Balasubramanian. It was common ground, that that was not one of the grounds within the scope of Section 7 of the Act, and that the owner could not have secured eviction of the tenant by recourse to the provisions of the Act.
4. The main contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioners was that, as the Act did not provide for, or even contemplate eviction of a tenant to provide for the needs of any one other than the owner of the building, the exemption granted to the second respondent, to enable him to secure the eviction of the petitioners, would result in an eviction inconsistent with the provisions of the Act, and it would therefore be unreasonable. To provide for unreasonable eviction was to defeat the purposes of the Act and that vitiated the order of tfte Government, dated 5th August, 1959.
5. The fallacy that underlies this argument of the petitioner's learned Counsel is the assumption, that every eviction of a tenant on grounds other than those specified in Section 7 of the Act is unreasonable. As was pointed out in Globe Theatres Ltd v. State of Madras (1954) 2 M.L.J. 110 the result of exemption in any particular case is that the landlord is allowed to enjoy his rights without the restrictions imposed by the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, thereby relegating the parties to the position ainder the general law, for example, the Transfer of Property Act. I am not saying that every eviction which is lawful under the general law is also reasonable and. : nothing that is lawful can be unreasonable. In deciding whether the statutory power : vested in the Government by Section 13 of the Act was properly exercised, what constitutes a reasonable or unreasonable eviction will have to be decided with reference only to the scheme that underlies the provisions of the Act. The Act itself, it should be remembered, was designed to prevent unreasonable eviction of tenants. Under the Act, when the owner requires the premises for his own use, the eviction he can obtain, subject of course to the provisions of the Act, is both legal and reasonable. If a person so obtains possession, the fact that he shares his house with the members of his family cannot make the eviction that preceded it unreasonable. If an owner wants to provide for any member of his family to whom he is under obligations, legal or moral, to make such a provision, eviction of a tenant, if that is lawful, cannot be viewed as unreasonable. It would not be lawful if the provisions of Section 7 of the Act alone were to apply. But if the operation of Section 7 is excluded by the exemption granted under Section 13, the eviction would be both lawful and reasonable. I am, therefore, unable to accept the contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioners, that the exemption granted in this case to the second respondent would result in an unreasonable eviction of the petitioners.
6. The next contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioners, which was based on the observations in Abdul Subhan Saheb and Sons v. State of Madras : (1959)2MLJ387 was that as exemption was granted to obtain eviction, which would not be permissible under the provisions of the Act, the exemption granted in the present case was vitiated. The scope of the decision in Abdul Subhan Saheb and Sons v. State of Madras : (1959)2MLJ387 was explained by the same learned Judges in a subsequent decision reported in Chinniak Servai v. State of Madras 72 L.W. 782 : I.L.R. (1960) Mad. 204. The learned Chief Justice referred to the contention put forward in W.P. No. 2 of 1954: (1959) 2 M.L.J. (N.R.G.) 27.
It was contended before the learned Judge that the statutory tribunals had decided against the landlord and the order of the Government was designed to reverse the order of the Tribunals and on the same material placed before the Tribunals,
7. And the learned Chief Justice proceeded:
He certainly subscribed to the proposition that if the Government exempted the premises from the provisions of the Act on the very same grounds it will in effect amount to a reversal of the appellate authority though in an indirect way and an order passed in such circumstances would be in excess of jurisdiction. It is this latter aspect which compelled this Court to set aside the order of exemption in Abdul Subhan Sahib v. State of Madras : (1959)2MLJ387 and W.A. No. 44 of 1956.
8. The learned Chief Justice after a review of the cases reaffirmed the principles laid down in the earlier cases:
Here then was a case the justice o which could not be met by any of the provisions of the Act. Here is an instance of the principle which was laid down in W.A. No. 27 of 1953 as following from the general principles set out in Globe Theatres Ltd. v. State of Madras (1954) 2 M.L.J. 110 namely, that it is only when the provisions of the Rent Control Act did not cover a particular case, that there is legitimate scope for the exercise by the Government of the powers conferred by Section 13 of the Act.
9. The scope of the decision in Abdul Subhan Saheb v. State of Madras : (1959)2MLJ387 was also examined by Balakrishna Ayyar, J., in W.P. No. 290 of 1957.
10. It should, therefore, be taken as well settled now that the grant of exemption is not vitiated merely because it may result in eviction on grounds other than those specified in Section 7 of the Act. It should be obvious that, if the desired eviction could be secured under the terms of the Act itself, there should be no occasion at all to grant any exemption from the operation of the Act. The exemption is not a substitute for a relief permissible under the Act itself. The relief granted to the owner in this case could not have been secured from the statutory tribunals under the statutory provisions, that is, under Section 7 of the Act. The justice of the case required the grant of relief, and that was possible only by exercising the statutory power to grant the exemption under Section 13. The power in this case was exercised1 on relevant considerations, which were in no way inconsistent with the object of the Act. It was not intended to result in any unreasonable eviction.
11. The rule nisi is discharged in each of the cases and the petitions are dismissed. No order as to costs.