S. Swamikkannu, J.
1. This is a revision filed under Section 25 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, by the landlord against the reversing finding of the learned Appellate Authority--Fifth Judge, Court of Small Causes, Madras, in H.R.A. No. 861 of 1979.
2. The landlord has filed H.R.C. No. 2180 of 1977, under Sections 10(2)(i) and 10(2)(ii)(a) and 10(3)(a)(i) of the Act, seeking eviction of the tenant on the ground of wilful default in payment of rent, subletting and bond fide requirement of the premises by the landlord, for his own use and occupation. The respondent herein is a tenant of the upstairs portion of door No. 5, C.P. Ramaswami Iyer Road, Madras-18, on a monthly rent of Rs. 251. The landlord averred in his petition for eviction that he is not maintaining good health for the last few years and is often visiting Madras for medical treatment, that his family is also coming to Madras along with him and they have to stay in lodges or other places on rents and often it is found very difficult to get accommodation, that he requires the premises for his own use and Occupation, that the respondent has sublet the premises and that he had not paid rent from February, 1975 till date and thereby committed willful default in payment of rent and that the landlord is not in possession of any other house of his own in the city of Madras.
3. The respondent-tenant resisted the eviction petition contending that he has paid an advance of Rs. 750, at the time of the inception of tenancy, that he requested the landlord to carry out repairs but the latter did not comply with the same, that the requirement of the landlord is not bona fide, that the tenant had not sublet the premises to any other person and ever since the inception of tenancy, he is using the premises both for residence and for business purposes. The tenant has also denied the allegation regarding the irregularity in the payment of rent in that he had been regularly tendering the rent but the same was refused by the landlord, and as such, he had not committed wilful default in payment of rent.
4. The learned Rent Controller held that the respondent-tenant has not committed wilful default in payment of rent, and that the landlord has not proved his case of subletting. But, on the ground of (requirement for) own occupation, the learned Rent Controller allowed the petition and ordered eviction. Aggrieved by that order, the tenant took the matter on appeal and the Appellate Authority reversed the finding of the Rent Controller holding that the premises in question is only a residential premises and that the landlord has miserably failed to prove that the demised premises is required by him for his stay for the purpose of medical treatment. It is against this, the present revision is filed by the landlord.
5. It is contended by the learned Counsel for the revision petitioner-landlord that the learned Appellate Authority had not properly appreciated the evidence available on record and it ought not to have allowed the appeal since the bona fide requirement had been proved beyond all reasonable doubt and what is more, it had been made specifically clear that the landlord has no other building of his own excepting the demised premises and when he requires the same for his own occupation, there cannot be any effective opposition put forward on behalf of the tenant. In this regard, it is submitted by the learned Counsel for the revision petitioner that the learned Rent Controller had come to the correct conclusion in that the demised premises is required for the occupation of the landlord and that the said requirement is bona fide. It is also pleaded by the landlord before the Rent Controller that due to old age, infirmity and sickness, the landlord has a desire to live in his own premises'.
6. Even at the outset it has to be held that the reasoning offered by the learned Appellate Authority for reversing the finding of the learned Rent Controller is not sound. The learned Appellate Authority has observed in paragraph 8 of the judgment as follows:
The landlord was not examined; only his agent was examined as P.W. 1. In the petition it is specially stated that the landlord is an aged person and he is not maintaining good health for the last few years. The landlord is now residing in Kanapet and is often visiting Madras for medical advice and expert treatment and he is directed to come down to Madras and settle for regular medical advice and treatment. The nature of sickness or ailment of the landlord has not been disclosed in the petition. P.W. 1 merely says that whenever the landlord comes to Madras, he used to stay in hostels or in his friend's house and the landlord has no other house of his own. In the cross-examination P.W. 1 has stated that he is related to the landlord and the landlord is residing at Kanapet with his family and the landlord came to Madras 15 days ago for medical' treatment arid for the past five years the landlord is not keeping good health. The landlord used to get giddiness often and P.W. 1 does not know the nature of ailment or sickness. In Exhibit R-l the first notice in 1969, there is absolutely no mention about the illness of the landlord. It should be remembered that the landlord is residing in Pudukottai district with his family. If the landlord requires; the petition-premises for his own use and occupation, namely, for staying in Madras, for getting expert medical treatment them he ought to have entered the witness box and proved to the satisfaction of the Rent Controller, that he is a sick man requiring treatment at Madras. P.W. 1 has merely stated that the landlord used to come to Madras now and then. There is no admission in the evidence of P.W. 1 that the landlord has to come to Madras for medical treatment. If the landlord has to come to' Madras for a stay for two or three months, then for that purpose it cannot be said that he requires the entire premises for his own use and occupation. The entire documents and oral evidence show ill-feelings arose between the parties and the tenant started issuing cheque for the rents in the name of the firm and the landlord refused to receive the same and after that the notice terminating the tenancy was issued followed by the eviction petition. It is common knowledge that the landlord wants to evict the tenants if they refuse to pay higher rent and after evicting the tenants, let out the premises for higher rent. If is, therefore, absolutely necessary that the landlord should prove that he requires the premises bona fide for his own use and occupation. The landlord has miserably failed to prove that the premises is required by him for his medical treatment. Therefore, I find that the petition-premises is not required bona fide by the landlord for his own use and occupation. The point is answered accordingly.
The main thing that had weighed with the learned Appellate Authority to revise the finding of the Rent Controller was that if really the landlord used to come to Madras very often to get expert medical treatment, he ought to have gone into the box to prove the same. The above observation of the learned (sic) Authority is wrong. The learned Rent Controller was satisfied with the evidence of P.W. 1, who was a competent witness. Nothing was brought out in his cross-examination to discredit his evidence. It is not necessary that the landlord alone should go into the box and depose about the bona fide requirement. Even his own agent or anybody on his behalf whose evidence is cogent, convincing and trustworthy can be taken on its face value either for upholding or for rejecting the case of the landlord. Under the circumstances, the failure on the part of the landlord to go into the box and examine himself cannot be taken as a ground for not upholding his claim for bona fide requirement of the demised premises. Apart from the same, the other reasons given by the learned Appellate Authority to reverse the order of the learned Rent Controller are not at all convincing and satisfactory. Therefore, this Court has to set aside the order of the Appellate Authority and restore that of the Rent Controller.
7. In the result, the civil revision petition is allowed, the judgment of the Appellate Authority is set aside and that of the Rent Controller is restored with costs.