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Arumugam Vs. D.R. Srinivasan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1982)2MLJ298
AppellantArumugam
RespondentD.R. Srinivasan
Cases ReferredMetalware and Co. v. Bansilal
Excerpt:
- - the evidence is that the building is about ten years old and the landlord wants to demolish it for the purpose of putting better construction and for his own occupation. failure to pay rent even for one month will entail forfeiture of this concession......of his own occupation. the tenant resisted the application contending that the requirement is not bona fide and that the building does not require demolition and reconstruction. the rent controller appointed an advocate-commissioner to find out the condition of the building and the commissioner's report has been exhibited as exhibit c-t. he then accepted the commissioner's report as also the evidence of the landlord and found the requirement bona fide. on appeal, the appellate authority confirmed the finding of the lower court. hence the revision.2. the short point for consideration in this revision petition is whether the requirement of the landlord for the purpose of demolition and reconstruction under section 4(1)(b) is true and and bona fide. i have gone through the pleadings and.....
Judgment:

T.N. Singaravelu, J.

1. Tenant is the revision petitioner. The respondent-landlord filed an application for diction on the ground of requirement for demolition and reconstruction under Section 14(1)(b) of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960. According to the landlord, the portion in the occupation of the tenant is a non-residential portion comprised of an asbestos roof and cement flooring wherein the tenant is running a flour mill. The plea of the landlord is, he wants to pull down the building and construct a pucca structure for the purpose of his own occupation. The tenant resisted the application contending that the requirement is not bona fide and that the building does not require demolition and reconstruction. The Rent Controller appointed an Advocate-Commissioner to find out the condition of the building and the Commissioner's report has been exhibited as Exhibit C-t. He then accepted the Commissioner's report as also the evidence of the landlord and found the requirement bona fide. On appeal, the appellate authority confirmed the finding of the lower Court. Hence the revision.

2. The short point for consideration in this revision petition is whether the requirement of the landlord for the purpose of demolition and reconstruction under Section 4(1)(b) is true and and bona fide. I have gone through the pleadings and the orders of the Courts below. The learned Counsel for the revision petitioner urged that there is no finding with reference to the age and condition of the building, and, therefore, he placed reliance on the Metalware case reported in Metalware and Co. v. Bansilal : [1979]3SCR1107 , and argued that the age and condition of the building is a vital factor to be taken into consideration in assessing the bona fides under Section 14(1)(b). There is absolutely no difficultly in accepting this proposition of law. But, the case of the landlord as put forward in this petition is based on different facts. He: does not come forward with; a plea that the age and condition of the building require demolition. According to him, this is a portion of a building comprising a row of shops and it is constructed of an absestos roof and cement flooring. The evidence is that the building is about ten years old and the landlord wants to demolish it for the purpose of putting better construction and for his own occupation. The Advocate-Commissioner appointed by the Rent Controller has submitted his report, Exhibit C-1 which confirms the plea of the landlord. Exhibit C-1 recites that the roof is of asbestos, with cement flooring and the frontage is roughly about 7ft. x 7ft. The Commissioner has also pointed out that there is a sloping roof called 'monkey top' with wooden rafters in front of the shop, perhaps to serve as an improvised sunshade. He has also observed that the wall on one side of the building is not even plastered. Both the Courts below accepted the Commissioner's report and found that the requirement of the premises for demolition and1 reconstruction is bona fide.

3. With reference to the other tests of bona fides, namely, the preparation for the proposed reconstruction and the resources, there is no serious dispute about it. In fact, it is common ground that the landlord has already commenced demolition of the other four shops situated in a row. There is no dispute with reference to the resources of the landlord. In fact, in cross-examination, the tenant as R.W. 1 has plainly conceded that he does not know whether the requirement of the landlord for demolition and reconstruction is bona fide or not. In this state of evidence, both the Courts below have found that the requirement is bona fide.

4. Learned Counsel for the revision petitioner argued that the building is of a recent construction and therefore, does not require demolition and reconstruction, as observed in the Supreme Court judgment. But, the facts of this case are different. As already stated, the landlord has not based his case on the age and condition of the building, and this makes all the difference between this case and the Supreme Court case referred to. For instance, if a landlord wants to pull down a relatively recent construction and put up a multi-storeyed building according to modern requirements, the Jaw does not prevent him provided1 it is bona fide. The decision of the Supreme Court will come into play only when the landlord relies on the age and condition of the building for the purpose of Section 14(1)(b), Therefore, the Supreme Court decision referred to is not available to the tenant in this case. The result is, the findings of the Courts below are confirmed and the revision petition is dismissed with costs.

5. Learned Counsel for the tenant submitted that he has invested some substantial amount for the purpose of running a flour mill and that he requires at least six months time for vacating the same. The request appears to be reasonable and the learned Counsel for the landlord has no serious objection provided the tenant undertakes that he will not cause damage to the building, during the period of six months. This undertaking is readily given. In the circumstances, the tenant is granted six months time for vacating, provided the tenant pays rent regularly in the first week of every succeeding month. Failure to pay rent even for one month will entail forfeiture of this concession.


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