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P. Vairamani Ammal Vs. K.N.K.R.M. Kannappa - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1970)2MLJ689
AppellantP. Vairamani Ammal
RespondentK.N.K.R.M. Kannappa
Cases ReferredSolai Nadar v. A.T.A.V. Guruswami Nadar
Excerpt:
- .....legislations were cited before me. i do not think that those cases should be referred to, as the word 'business' has got a very wide meaning and as to what exactly the meaning that should be given to that word under a particular enactment will depend upon the context and intendment of the enactment. 4. 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.....
Judgment:

P.S. Kailasam, J.

1. This petition arises under the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960 ; the tenant is the petitioner herein. The landlord applied for eviction before the Rent Controller from the building which was in the occupation of the petitioner and used as a rice and flour mill. Eviction was sought on the ground of requirement of the leased premises for his own use. The landlord was conducting a charity which consisted of distribution of water--thanneerpandal--at Tirupparankundram, in a rented building in the same street. The petition was opposed, on various grounds. It was submitted that the landlord lacked bona fides, that no proper notice was given and that in any event the activity of carrying on thanneerpandal charity would not be ' business which would entitle the landlord to claim vacant possession.' The eviction petition was dismissed by the Rent Controller. But on appeal the Sub-Court, Madurai, granted an order of eviction. The tenant took the matter up the to District Court. The District Court dismissed the petition accepting the contention put forward by the landlord. Hence this further revision.

2. In this petition, Mr. O.V. Baluswami, learned Counsel for the petitioner, raised various contentions. He submitted that the landlord has not established that he required the building bona fide. The learned District Judge has dealt with this contention and has found that the landlord, who was occupying a rented building, where he was carrying on the thanneerpandal activity bona fide required his own building. I do not see anything erroneous in this finding. This contention is, therefore, rejected. It was also contended that no proper notice was given under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act. It was also submitted that what was carried on by the tenant was a rice mill business which was a manufacturing process and that six months' notice is necessary. On an examination of the contract between the parties Exhibit A-1, it is seen that the tenancy is terminable on a month's notice on either side. This being a contract to the contrary the learned Counsel is not entitled to insist on six months' notice. This point also fails.

3. Mr. O.V. Baluswami, learned Counsel submitted that in any event the thanneerpandal activity cannot be termed as ' carrying on business '. This raises a very important question, and arguments were advanced at considerable length. Section 10 (3) (a) (iii) of the Act provides that a landlord may apply to the Controller for an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building in case it is a non-residential building, if the landlord or his son is not occupying for purpose of a business which he or his son is carrying on ,a non-residential building in the city, town or village concerned which is his own. Section 10 (3) (a) (i) relates to a residential building, while Section 10 (3) (a) (ii) relates to a non-residential building which is used for the purpose of keeping a vehicle while Sub-section (iii) relates to any other non-residential building. According to this sub-section, the landlord is entitled to an order directing the tenant to put him in possession if he satisfies the conditions laid down in the sub-section. The conditions are that the landlord or his son should not be occupying for the purpose of business which he or his son is carrying on in a non-residential building in the town which is his own and that apart from himself or his son not occupying a building it is necessary that such requirement must be for the purpose of business. What is contended by the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that carrying on thanneerpandal activity will not be for the purpose of a business. What is ' carrying on business ' depends upon the context and the purpose of the enactments concerned. A number of decisions arising out of the Income-tax and other legislations were cited before me. I do not think that those cases should be referred to, as the word 'business' has got a very wide meaning and as to what exactly the meaning that should be given to that word under a particular enactment will depend upon the context and intendment of the enactment.

4. 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. Examining the scheme of the Act it will be seen that the purpose of the enactment is to consolidate the law relating to the regulation of the letting of residential and non-residential buildings and the control of rents of such buildings. In this context the meaning of the word 'business' will have to be determined. The main object of the enactment being to regulate the letting of residential and non-residential buildings, the Act provides under what circumstances the landlord is entitled to get possession of the premises for his own occupation. It may be stated that the Act does not define ' residential ' or ' non-residential ' building. 'Building' is defined in the Act. While the tenants are granted certain rights of occupancy the landlord also is entitled to get possession under certain circumstances. As already stated, Section 10 is a provision which enables the landlord to get an order directing the tenant to put him in possession. It provides that in case of a residential building he is entitled to such an order if he or his son requires it for his own occupation and if he or his son is not occupying a residential building. Apart from the clause relating to residential buildings, there are two clauses regulating the right of the landlord to get possession of non-residential buildings. There is no prohibition in the Act to the landlord carrying on any kind of activity in his own building. But if he wants possession of his own building in the occupation of others he must fulfil the conditions that are set out in Section 10 (3). 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 building 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. Mr. Baluswami, the learned Counsel, drew my attention to Section 10 (3) (b) and submitted that special provision is made for a case of religious, charitable, education or other public institution and if the word ' business' is given such a wide construction, there is no necessity for providing for a separate provision for religious, charitable and educational institutions. The contention cannot be accepted as Section 10 (3) (b) is wider in its scope and the institution can get possession even though if it is in occupation of another building in the same town. Further the religious institution is entitled to possession even though the purpose may not be one that falls under Section 10 (3) (a) (i), (ii) and (iii). Sub-section 10 (3) (c) would also support the construction which I am putting on it, as the landlord, who is occupying only a part of the building may apply to the Controller for an order directing a tenant occupying a portion of the building to put the landlord in possession if he requires additional accommodation for residential purposes or for purposes of a business which he is carrying on. The purport of this sub-section would be that if the landlord is in occupation of a portion of a residential or non-residential building, he would be entitled to the other portion, and I see no warrant in the section for restricting his right to activities which are commercial in nature.

5. Support for this view is also derived from the English decisions. In Rolls v. Miller (1884) 27 Ch.D. 71, where it was held that the carrying on of a charitable home for working girls, boarded without payment was not a trade, but it was the business of lodging-house keeper. It was held that the word 'business' meant almost anything which was an occupation as distinguished from a pleasure, anything which was an occupation or duty which required attention was a business. This view was affirmed in South-West Suburban Water Co. v. St. Marylebone Union (1904) 2 K.B. 174. In Kesavan Nair v. Babu Naidu (1954) 2 M.L.J. 149, this Court held that the term ' business ' had no technical meaning, but is to be read with reference to the object and intent of the Act in which it occurs.

6. Mr. Baluswami, learned Counsel for the petitioner, referred to the decision reported in P.K. Menon v. Income-tax Commissioner : [1959]35ITR48(SC) , where it was held that teaching of Vedanta is a vocation; Syed Jalal Sahib v. Commissioner of Income-tax Madras : [1960]39ITR660(Mad) , where it was held that betting on horse was not a business, and Krishna Kumar v. Jammu and Kashmir State : [1967]3SCR50 , where it was held that business and trade are synonymous. He also referred to Anand Mahanti v. Ganesh Maheswar I.L.R. (1913) Cal. 678, Abdul Manof v. Sunamagannj Municipal Board I.L.R. (1941) Cal. 127, Madras Pinjarapole v. Their Workmen : (1967)IILLJ399Mad , and In re Wallis ex parte Sulley (1884) 14 Q.B.D. 950. It is not necessary to refer to these decisions as they relate to the construction of the word ' business ' in the context of the enactment concerned. As the word ' business' has a very wide import, the decision rendered in a particular enactment cannot be made applicable to the word used in a different enactment.

7. Mr. Baluswami, learned Counsel submitted that this Court has taken a contrary view in a recent decision reported in Solai Nadar v. A.T.A.V. Guruswami Nadar & Co. : (1969)1MLJ629 . In the case cited the landlord challenged the finding of the lower Court that the landlord had made no application to secure a quota of iron and therefore the landlord's plea that it was required for his or his son's business was an after-thought and that the requirement, even if true, was not a bona fide one. This Court on the facts came to the conclusion that the landlord required the premises and the requirement was bona fide for the business of himself. There was no dispute in the case that if the requirement was bona fide it was not for the purpose of a business. The question whether the activities like thanneerpandal activity would be business or not did not arise for consideration in that decision. Strong reliance was placed by Mr. Baluswami on the following observation in the judgment:

There is no measure to reckon the activities covered by the expression 'carrying on business'. The very term comprehends an act or mercantile pursuit.

8. I do not think that this observation would help the petitioner, for it is pointed out that there is no measure to reckon the activities covered by the expression. Further it is stated that the term comprehends an act or mercantile pursuit. It does not mean that the act should be of a mercantile pursuit. The term would include, any act which the landlord could legitimately carry on as the dictionary meaning would indicate. I do not think that the decision cited would help the petitioner. On a consideration of the decisions and on a consideration of the submissions made by the learned Counsel on either side, I am satisfied that the learned District Judge was right in holding that the carrying on of the thanneerpandal activity would be for purposes of business as required under Section 10 (3) (a) (iii) of the Act. The petition is dismissed with costs.


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