1. The petitioners instituted Ejectment Suit No. 77 of 1958, in the Court of Small Causes. The learned Judge allowed the suit in so far as D. Nos. 1 and 2, Davidson Street, are concerned. In respect of another D. No. 1/3 of the same street, the view taken was that that was a lease of the land alone in consequence of which the respondent-defendant was entitled to the protection of the City Tenants' Protection Act. It is against the dismissal of the suit with regard to D. No. 1/3 that this Revision Petition has been filed.
2. The principal argument advanced before me has been that whatever might have been the position previously, to which reference will shortly be made, in or about May, 1955, a new tenancy arrangement was entered into covering the entirety of D. Nos. 1 and 2 and D. No. 1/3, which apparently is only a part of that T.S. No. which forms D. No. 2. By reason of this new lease arrangement, it is claimed that this tenancy came into force not before the Act but subsequent to the Act, and that, therefore, the respondent is not entitled to the protection of the Act.
3. It is conceded that in so far as D. No. 1/3 is concerned, it was let out to one Doraiswami in 1951 on a rental of Rs. 35 and that the lea^e was then of vacant land only. Nor is it denied by the petitioners that subsequently this Doraiswami put up a superstructure thereon and was living in it. Some time later, that year, this Doraiswami made over the superstructure to the respondent Batchamian Sahib and Company. From that date, the present respondent had been paying the rent in respect of the lease of the site covered by D. No. 1/3 to the petitioner-plaintiffs and such rent was being accepted from this company. This same respondent was also tenant in respect of D. Nos. 1 and 2 for which the rent was Rs. 72. It would appear that in May, 1955, the respondent wrote to the landlord, the petitioners, agreeing to pay a consolidated rent of Rs. 150 in respect of all the three door numbers. It is this circumstance that is relied upon by the petitioners as constituting a new tenancy, that is to say, a tenancy which was not of vacant land only but was a tenancy of both land and buildings, comprising of D. Nos. 1 and 2 and D. No. 1/3. The contention accordingly is that there is a single tenancy which included both building and land and that therefore the protection which the respondent would otherwise have had, has ceased to be available to it.
4. Reliance has been placed upon Ranganathan Chetti v. Ethirajulu Naidu (1937) M.W.N. 1315 and the decision of the Privy Council in Ranganathan Chetti v. Ethirajulu Naidu (1940) 1 M.L.J. 24 : L.R. 67 IndAp 25 :(1940) I.L.R. Mad. 172 (P.C.). The facts of that case were during the currency of a tenancy which would normally have expired on 1st October, 1922, the lessor and the lessee entered into another agreement for a fresh lease for ten years at an increased rent. The formal lease for that period was executed on the 1st February, 1923. That was after a date when the City Tenants' Protection Act came into force. On the lessees death, his sons became tenants and when the lessor claimed surrender of possession, the lessees claimed the benefits of the Act of 1922. Their Lordships of the Privy Council held that notwithstanding the physical continuity of possession of the land, a new tenancy had been created in September, 1922; that was after the Act came into force and was not a mere continuation of the tenancy created earlier. The principle of this decision is sought to be applied to the facts of the present case by the learned Counsel for the petitioners.
5. The argument that there was a creation of a new tenancy, in replacement of the two old tenancies, one of which covered D. Nos. 1 and 2 and the other of which covered D. No. 1/3 is not supported by any available document. What Mr. Thayagarajan, for the petitioners, claims is that on and after May, 1955, the two tenancies have been clubbed into one, and that the stipulation of a consolidated rent of Rs. 150 which marked an increase over the rent previously payable for both tenancies, which was Rs. 107 amounts to bringing into existence a new lease. The circumstance that the rent was increased should, it is argued, amount to the creation of a new tenancy.
6. It is no doubt true that there is nothing to prevent the creation of a new tenancy under similar circumstances. But what in fact was done has necessarily to be gathered from Exhibit P-3, which is the letter whereunder this alleged arrangement was effected. A careful perusal of the letter indicates to me that in so far as the lease of D. No. 1/3 is concerned, which was of a vacant site only, that position was maintained in tact. The respondent wrote to the landlord thus:
In respect of premises No. 2, Davidson Street, G.T., Madras, and the land in it and on which the shed was put up by P.N. Duraiswami Mudaliar, we wish to state that we have bought the shed from P.N. Duraiswami Mudaliar several years ago and we are paying you the land rent of Rs. 35 per month. The shed belongs to us and request that permission may be granted to alter the shed as the case may be.
As the said land forms part of premises No. 2, Davidson Street, G.T., Madras, we agree to pay you and we request you to accept a consolidated rent for both the matters and issue one receipt for us....
Though no doubt there is an undertaking to pay an increased consolidated rent, this letter keeps the two tenancies clearly separate and refers also to the fact that the rent for the vacant land covered by D. No. 1/3 was only Rs. 35. The increase of rent in the circumstances must have relation only to the other lease. It was pointed out by the Counsel for the respondent that at about the time when Exhibit P-3 came into existence there had been other proceedings for the eviction of the tenant in respect of D. Nos. 1 and 2 and that was the circumstance which led to the offer of increased rent in respect of that tenancy. Whatever that may be, it is only this document that is relied upon by the petitioners in support of their contention of the creation a new tenancy altogether. Reading this document carefully, it is seen that the tenancy of D. No. 1/3 is treated distinctly and apart from the tenancy in respect of D. Nos. 1 and 2. The consolidation was only of rent in respect of 'both the matters'. If there was a single tenancy, there can obviously be no two matters under consideration. This was the view taken by the learned Judge of the Court of Small Causes and I agree with this interpretation of the document.
7. The petition fails and is dismissed with costs.