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Dr. Krishnamurthi Iyer Vs. S. Govindaraja Pillai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1982)1MLJ421
AppellantDr. Krishnamurthi Iyer
RespondentS. Govindaraja Pillai
Cases ReferredMix. Sri Raja Lakshmi Dyeina Works and Ors. v. Rangasami Chettiar
Excerpt:
- - both the rent controller and the appellate authority who had gone into the evidence in this case, were fully satisfied that illness of the kind which immobilised the tenant had really prevented him from attending to financial and other commitments, and he could legitimately be excused when he had fallen in rent arrears. it might well be that another tribunal looking at the same facts might not draw the same inference, but that can be no reason to hold that the rent controller and the appellate authority in this case had come to a conclusion, which is unreasonable or one which is not based on a proper instruction on the law......visit to kumbakonam and from paying the, rent. learned counsel accordingly submitted that the rent controller and the appellate authority ought not to have drawn the inference that the tenant was suffering from a heart disease and that condition really prevented him from paying the rent.3. i do not think that in this revision i can go into the question, whether on the evidence on record, the rent controller or the appellate authority was justified in finding that the petitioner was suffering from a heart ailment, that tie was in madras for a considerable period of time undergoing treatment in a nursing home and that owing to that disability he was prevented from making payment of the rent to the landlord on the due dates. i cannot go into these findings, because as a revisional.....
Judgment:
ORDER

V. Balasubrahmanyan, J.

1. In this revision by the landlord of a building in Kumbakonam town, the only point for consideration is whether the Rent Controller was justified in holding that the default in payment of rent by the tenant was not wilful, since at the material time, he was afflicted by a heart condition and had to take his treatment in Madras.

2. The learned Counsel appearing for the landlord in this revision submitted, in the first place, that there was no evidence apart from that of the tenant himself, that he was suffering from a heart ailment. Learned Counsel further submitted, that although the tenant had stated that he was taking treatment for his heart condition in a nursing home at Madras, that did not prevent him from making a flying visit to Kumbakonam and from paying the, rent. Learned Counsel accordingly submitted that the Rent Controller and the appellate authority ought not to have drawn the inference that the tenant was suffering from a heart disease and that condition really prevented him from paying the rent.

3. I do not think that in this revision I can go into the question, whether on the evidence on record, the Rent Controller or the appellate authority was justified in finding that the petitioner was suffering from a heart ailment, that Tie was in Madras for a considerable period of time undergoing treatment in a nursing home and that owing to that disability he was prevented from making payment of the rent to the landlord on the due dates. I cannot go into these findings, because as a revisional Court I have no jurisdiction to review the findings of fact of the Rent Controller, although the revisional power under Section 25 of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960 would appear, on the surface, to confer a wider power than that which prevails under Section 115, Civil Procedure Code. In a recent decision of the Supreme Court in Mix. Sri Raja Lakshmi Dyeina Works and Ors. v. Rangasami Chettiar : AIR1980SC1253 , the Supreme Court had occasion is one which had been common to both on the High Court, under Section 25 is essentially a power of superintendence, and despite the wide language employed in that section, the High Court quite obviously should not interfere with findings of fact merely because it does not agree with the subordinate authority on those findings. In the present case the finding with which I am faced in this revision is one which had been common to both I the Rent Controller and the appellate authority. Concurrent findings of this kind are untouchable by the High Court in revision. I must therefore, accept the findings of the Rent Controller and the appellate authority that the tenant was suffering from a heart ailment and he had to go to Madras in 1977 for undergoing treatment and he was in Madras till December, 1977, when he returned to Kumbakonam. I must accept the further findings of the appellate authority and the Rent Controller that it was this physical disability of the tenant for a long period, which was responsible for his not attending to his responsibilities as a tenant.

4. The further question which was argued by learned Counsel for the landlord was that even on the footing that the tenant was suffering from a heart disease, the question is whether that could be a lawful excuse for not paying the rent on the due dates. To put the idea differently, can it be said that the default in payment of rent was not wilful default merely because the tenant was at the material time ill with a heart disease? In the present case the default was in respect of rents from August to November, 1977. On the evidence accepted by the authorities below, that he was bedridden from August to November, 1977 and that he was away in Madras, the question is whether that could be regarded as a lawful excuse, which will relieve the tenant from the consequences of the default committed by him. Learned Counsel for the tenant in the course of his argument submitted that the ailment of this kind cannot justify the non-payment of rent, because the, one has nothing to do with the other. He employed the familiar phrase obviously lifted from a decision of this Court that the tenant's attitude only showed 'supine indifference' to his responsibilities as a tenant. Apparently, this oft-repeated expression literally applied to this tenant who was stretched in a hospital bed with an afflicted heart.

5. It seems to me that in examining this argument, considerations of pure legalisms cannot furnish the requisite answer. I am inclined to believe that when the tenant in this case was bedridden in Madras with a coronary condition, one cannot fairly charge him with supine indifference, although he was supine in the sense that he was confined to the bed, lying on his back, face upwards. The question whether any default was wilful or not is in my judgment, a mixed question of law and fact. It cannot be considered as raising a pure question of law. This is because what might be wilful in one set of circumstances 'may not be wilful in quite different circumstances. Therefore, whether the default on the part of the tenant in a given case is or is not wilful must be judged fairly on the concatenation of circumstances attending on the default. Both the Rent Controller and the appellate authority who had gone into the evidence in this case, were fully satisfied that illness of the kind which immobilised the tenant had really prevented him from attending to financial and other commitments, and he could legitimately be excused when he had fallen in rent arrears. They had particularly taken note of the fact that no sooner did the tenant return to Kumbakonam than he paid up all his arrears. Taking all the facts into consideration, the Rent Controller and the appellate authority have entered their determination, that there was no wilful default in the payment of rents. It cannot be said that they had omitted any relevant consideration or taken into account irrelevant consideration.

6. In the decision of the Supreme Court, which I have earlier cited, it has been held that merely to hold that a question is a mixed question of fact and law is not sufficient, without more to warrant the exercise of the revisional power. The Court proceeded to hold that it must be shown that there was a taint of such unreasonableness in the finding of the lower tribunals which resulted in a miscarriage of justice;. In the present case, I cannot bring myself to hold that the inference drawn by the Rent Controller and the appellate authority from the evidence on record is or involved miscarriage of justice. It might well be that another tribunal looking at the same facts might not draw the same inference, but that can be no reason to hold that the Rent Controller and the appellate authority in this case had come to a conclusion, which is unreasonable or one which is not based on a proper instruction on the law.

7. For all the above reasons I hold that there is no merit in this revision. The revision petition is accordingly dismissed. I make no order as to costs in this revision in the peculiar circumstances of the case.


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