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The Tirunelveli Weavers Co-operative Production and Sales Society Limited Through Its Secretary Vs. the South India Bank Employees Union Through Its General Secretary - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1981)1MLJ155
AppellantThe Tirunelveli Weavers Co-operative Production and Sales Society Limited Through Its Secretary
RespondentThe South India Bank Employees Union Through Its General Secretary
Cases ReferredMr. Jacob v. Com. Venkidu
Excerpt:
.....like extra allowances, holidays, medical benefits, etc. in view of the above decision, the word 'business' has to be understood in a very broad sense as an activity which occupies time, attention and labour for the purpose of livelihood or profit and it has already been pointed out that the activities of the respondent-union are such that it occupies the time as well as the labour and are intended to improve the service conditions of the bank employees and to promote and advance their welfare. the learned judge held that being a political party, its business is to carry on activities to progress, to advance and to improve its cause in the political sphere and it must have an office and it is only to serve this requirement, eviction was sought for under section 10(3) (a) (iii) of..........is not maintainable. on the ether hand, the learned counsel for the respondent contends that the word 'business' used in section 10(3) (a) (iii) of the act should be construed in the sense of activities that occupy the time, attention and labour for the purpose of livelihood or profit and considered in this light, the activities of an union will also be comprehended within the term 'carrying on business' and, therefore, the petition for eviction filed, by it is maintainable. section. 10(3) (a) (i) deals with residential buildings, while sections 10(3) (a) (ii) and (iii) deal with nonresidential buildings. it may be pointed out that the act by itself does not define a residential building or a non-residential building. with' reference to residential buildings, if the requirements of.....
Judgment:

V. Ratnam, J.

1. The tenant is the petitioner in this civil revision petition, which is directed against the order of eviction passed by the authorities below, on an application under Section 10(3) (a) (iii) of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, XVIII of 1960, as amended by Act XXIII of 1973(hereinafter referred to as the Act) filed by the respondent herein which is the union of The South India Bank Employees. According to the respondent, the building in question was purchased by the union from one Subramania Pillai on 24th May, 1974 and even at that time, the petitioner was in occupation of the building as a tenant on a monthly rental of Rs. 60 payable on or before the 5th of every succeeding month. Claiming that the building in question is a non-residential one and that the union has no building of its own to house its office to conduct the meetings and carry on the business of the union, the respondent filed an application under Section 10(3)(a) (iii) of the Act for an order of eviction against the petitioner, after issuing a notice terminating the tenancy. That application was resisted by the petitioner herein contending that while the petitioner was arranging to purchase the property from Subramania Pillai, the union had purchased the same and that the union is now housed in a spacious place where it is carrying on its business smoothly and without any hardship. The further case of the petitioner was that he has been carrying on business in dyeing and weaving and that he is aware of the functioning of the union which is a corporate body which cannot ask for an order of eviction on the grounds stated by it.

2. The learned Rent Controller (Principal District Munsif), Tirunelveli, who enquired into the application held on a consideration of the oral as well as the documentary evidence that the union had established that it requires the building for its own activities and occupation and that such requirement is also bona fide. On this finding, an order for eviction was passed against the petitioners. Aggrieved by this, the petitioner preferred an appeal in C.M.A. No. 98 of 1977 before the Appellate Authority (Principal Subordinate Judge), Tirunelveli. The Appellate Authority also concurred with the conclusion of the Rent Controller and held that the holding of the meetings of the union, general body meeting, committee meetings, etc., would amount to carrying on of the business of the union in connection with which the respondent is entitled to secure possession of its own building under the provisions of Section 10(3) (a) (iii) of the Act. Consequent to this finding, the order of eviction passed by the Rent Controller was upheld and the appeal was dismissed. It is the correctness of this order that is challenged in this revision.

3. The only contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that an entity like the respondent-union cannot be conceived of as carrying on any business as such within the meaning of Section 10(3) (a) (iii) of the Act and, therefore, the application filed by it under that section is not maintainable. On the ether hand, the learned Counsel for the respondent contends that the word 'business' used in Section 10(3) (a) (iii) of the Act should be construed in the sense of activities that occupy the time, attention and labour for the purpose of livelihood or profit and considered in this light, the activities of an union will also be comprehended within the term 'carrying on business' and, therefore, the petition for eviction filed, by it is maintainable. Section. 10(3) (a) (i) deals with residential buildings, while Sections 10(3) (a) (ii) and (iii) deal with nonresidential buildings. It may be pointed out that the Act by itself does not define a residential building or a non-residential building. With' reference to residential buildings, if the requirements of Section 10(3) (a) (i) of the Act are satisfied, then the landlord will be entitled to recover possession of the same from the tenant. With reference to non-residential buildings, the-Act has made provision with reference to a non-residential building used for the purpose of keeping a vehicle or adapted for such use and other non-residential buildings. The former category of non-residential buildings would fall within Section 10(3) (a) (ii) of the Act, while all other non-residential buildings would be covered by Section 10(3) (a) (iii) of the Act. The present case is one where the building would fall under Section. 10(3) (a) (iii) of the Act. It is only on account of this the respondent also filed the application under that section.

4. The nest question that arises is whether the landlord is not occupying for purpose of a business which it is carrying on, a nonresidential building in the city, town or village concerned which is its own. It is not in dispute that the respondent is not occupying; any other building of its own, but is now housed in a rental premises and consequently, this requirement under Section 10(3) (a) (iii) of the Act is also satisfied. The only other requirement that must be fulfilled before the respondent could seek to recover the premises in the occupation of the petitioner is that the respondent should be carrying on a business. The word 'business'' is also not defined in the Act. According to Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 'Business' means.--

the state of being busily engaged in anything'; 'activity', that about which one is busy'; 'functions'.; 'occupation'; 'that with which one is concerned at the time.

Bouvier's Law Dictionary states that 'business' means:

that which occupies the time, attention and labour of men for the purpose of livelihood or profit.

In Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, the word 'profit' is stated to mear:

'to make progress'; 'to advance';

'to improve'; 'to be of advantage'.

'to benefit, further, promote'.

The activities of a bank employees' union like the respondent herein comprise of several facets. Apart from the holding of periodical committee meetings and general body meetings, the activity of a bank employees, union is also directed towards securing benefits and privileges for the purpose of such bank employees. It is common knowledge that as a result of the sustained efforts of such bank employees' unions, the wage conditions, leave and other benefits of the bank employees and a host of other privileges like extra allowances, holidays, medical benefits, etc., have been secured to the bank employees. Undoubtedly, the process of securing those benefits had occupied the time, attention and labour of the union for the purpose of the profit of its members. To tie down the applicability of the expression 'business' only to commercial activities involving profit-making would, in my view, exclude a host of other activities falling under the broader definition of the word 'business', as in the present case. It cannot be disputed that as a result of the activities and efforts of the union, the working conditions of the bank employees had been improved and they have been considerably benefited as a result of the exertions of the union. Under these circumstances, it is not possible to accept the contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner that the word 'business' in Section 10(3) (a) (in) of the Act must be confined only to the profit aspect of the business activity. Considering the question whether the carrying on of a thanneerpandal activity is a business under Section 10(3) (a) (iii) of the Act,. Kailasam, J. as he then was, in P. Vairamani Animal v. K. N. K. RM. Katinappa : (1970)2MLJ689 . observed thus:

The Oxford Dictionary gives the meaning of the word 'business' as 'being busy, task, duty..... habitual occupation, profession, trade, serious work'. It is, therefore to be seen that the word has a very wide import and Would cover every activity where men keep themselves busy. In Halsbury's Laws of England, 3rd Edition, Volume 38, the word 'business' is stated as a wider term than and not synonymous with trade and means practically anything which is an occupation as distinguished from a pleasure........In this context 'the term' for purposes of a business' will have to be construed. There can be no objection to the landlord carrying on a business which is not strictly commercial as for instance, using the building as a place of Worship or Bajana. Mandapam or Thanneerpandal. These are absolutely legitimate objects to which the landlord can put to use his building. The object of the enactment being one to regulate the occupation of residential and non-residential buildings, I can see no prohibition against the landlord putting the, buildings to any legitimate use and also requiring the building bona fide for any legitimate use. So, long as the object is a legitimate one and so long as the requirements of the sub-section are fulfilled, I see no reason for restricting the meaning of the term 'for purposes of a business'. If the legitimate activity by the landlord will be his business the ordinary meaning of the word 'business' applies, and there is no warrant for construing the word 'business' in the very restricted, way and to confine it to commercial activities or activities of trade alone.

The learned Judge proceeded to consider Rolls v. Miller (1884) 27 Ch. D. 71. where it was held that the word 'business' meant almost anything which was an occupation as distinguished from a pleaure, anything which was an occupation or duty which required attention was a business. In Kesavan Nair v. Babu Naidu : AIR1954Mad892 . the term 'business' was held not to have a technical meaning but that that expression has to be read with reference to the object and intent of the Act in which it occurs. The Supreme Court of India had occasion to deal with the import of the word 'business' in relation to the carrying on of the profession of law by a lawyer in S. Mohan Lal v. R. Kondaiah : [1979]3SCR12 . While affirming the judgment of the Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in S. Mohan Lal v. R. Kondaiah : AIR1970AP384 . the Supreme Court observed thus:

It is needless to refer to the meanings given to that term in the various dictionaries except to say that everyone of them notices a large number of meanings of the word. In a broad sense it is taken to mean 'everything that occupies the time, attention and labour of men for the purpose of livelihood or profit'. In a narrow sense it is confined to commercial activity.

In view of the above decision, the Word 'business' has to be understood in a very broad sense as an activity which occupies time, attention and labour for the purpose of livelihood or profit and it has already been pointed out that the activities of the respondent-union are such that it occupies the time as well as the labour and are intended to improve the service conditions of the bank employees and to promote and advance their welfare. Such activities on the part of the respondent would also be within the scope of the broader sense of the meaning of the expression, 'business'. In G. Papachary v. Country Tobacco Merchants Association (1974) 2 An WR 91. Ramachandra Rao J., had occasion to consider the question of the entitlement of an association of persons for an order of eviction from the premises owned by it on the ground that it required the premises for its own business. It was pointed out by the learned Judge that though the association as such did not carry on any business, yet, its objects and activities were such as would amount to carrying on business activities which would fulfil the requirement of the provision. In St. Joseph's Armoury Gunasmith, by its partner Mr. Jacob v. Com. Venkidu, Secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Coimbatore G.R.P. No. 924 of 1979, dated 25th July. 1980. Nainar Sundaram, J., had occasion to consider the question whether the Communist Party of India can seek an order for eviction in respect of its own premises in the occupation of a tenant on the ground that it requires the premises for its own business. The learned Judge held that being a political party, its business is to carry on activities to progress, to advance and to improve its cause in the political sphere and it must have an office and it is only to serve this requirement, eviction was sought for under Section 10(3) (a) (iii) of the Act and such an application was perfectly maintainable. As pointed out earlier, in the present case also, the union is the means through which the progress, advancement, and improvement of the conditions of service of the bank employees is sought to be achieved and for the purpose of locating its office in the premises, the respondent sought an order for eviction against the petitioner. The requirement in the instant case also would fall within Section 10(3) (a) (iii) of the Act, as the respondent requires the premises for the purpose of a 'business' which it is carrying on and consequently, the orders of the Courts below have to be maintained. The result is, the civil revision petition fails and is dismissed. No costs.

5. The counsel for the petitioner prays that some time may be given to enable the petitioner to vacate the premises and the learned Counsel for the respondent has no objection to grant three months' time for this purpose. Accordingly, the petitioner will have three months' time from today, to vacate and hand over vacant possession of the premises to the respondent.


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