P.S. Kailasam, J.
1. This petition is filed by the landlord of premises No. 92, Royapettah High Road. The building was let out to a tutorial College from 1960 to 1964. The tenant vacated the premises on 1st April, 1964 and the petitioner occupied the building for his residence. On 21st September, 1965 the petitioner informed the Accommodation Controller that he had vacated his premises 92, Royapettah High Road on 15th September, 1965. He also stated that he desired to let out the building for non-residential purposes to the Director, Coaxial Cable project, Ordinance Lines, 2nd respondent in this petition, on a monthly rental of Rs. 950. The Accommodation Controller was asked to accord his permission. On 27th September, 1965 the Accommodation Controller issued an order under Section 3 (3) of the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960, informing the petitioner that the premises was required for Governmental purposes and the premises should not be occupied by the landlord, but should be handed over to the person authorised by the Accommodation Controller. On 13th October, 1965 the Accommodation Controller allotted the premises to the Director, Madras Ernakulam Coaxial Cable Project for locating his office from 21st September, 1965 and fixed the rent of the premises at Rs. 450 subject to the fixation of fair rent The validity of this order is questioned by the Petitioner.
2. By his letter dated 21st September, 1965 the petitioner had intimated vacancy of premises 92, Royapettah High Road, Madras, by his Vacating it. The subject of this letter is noted as ' notice of vacancy and permission to let out.' The petitioner cannot be heard to contend that this is not a notice intimating vacancy. It is no doubt true that the petitioner has prayed for permission to let out the building for non-residential purposes to the 2nd respondent. But that will not help the petitioner as the letter is clearly one of notice of vacancy. The Accommodation Controller will be within his rights in taking over the premises and allotting' it for Governmental purposes under Section 3 (3) within seven days from the receipt of the notice But Section 30 of the Act exempts from the operation of the Act residential building occupied by one tenant if the monthly rent paid by him in respect of that building exceeds Rs. 250. If the rent of the building in question is less than Rs. 250 the Accommodation Controller would be within his powers. But it is seen from the impugned order that the rent was fixed at Rs. 450. It is stated that at the request of the petitioner the Accommodation Controller treated the building as a non residential building for which exemption under Section 30 is not applicable and therefore he was within his rights to allot the building for Governmental purposes. The question whether the building was used for residential or non-residential purpose from 1960 to 1964 when it was in the occupation of the tutorial college need not be decided. Even if it is taken that it was used for non-residential purpose the building was vacated on 1st April, 1964 and subsequently it was in the occupation of the petitioner. Section 21 of the Act prohibits the conversion of a residential building into a non-residential building except with the permission in writing of the Controller. There is no such bar regarding the conversion of non-residential building into a residential building. There can be no dispute as to the nature of the user of the building when the petitioner was in occupation when he was residing in it between April, 1964 and 21st September, 1965. The building was undoubtedly a residential one. No doubt the petitioner had applied to the Accommodation Controller for permission to convert it into a non-residential building and to let it to the 2nd respondent. A residential building can be converted into a non-residential building only with the permission in writing of the Controller. Controller is defined in the Act as the person appointed to perform the functions of a Controller under the Act and that term refers to the Rent Controller, whereas the Officer who functions under Section 3 (3) in allotting the building for Governmental purposes is the authorised officer and not the Controller. The Accommodation Controller has no power to convert a residential building into a non-residential building. When the Accommodation Controller passed the impugned order, he was allotting a residential building to the 2nd respondent fixing the rent at Rs. 450. A residential building with a monthly rent over Rs. 250 being exempted from the operation of the Act, the building was outside the jurisdiction of the Accommodation Controller. The order of the Accommodation Controller has to be quashed on this ground.
3. The petition is allowed and the allotment of the building by the Accommodation Controller to the 2nd respondent is quashed. The premises will be released for the occupation of the petitioner. Time for giving vacant possession three months from this date. No order as to costs.