G.R. Jagadisan, J.
1. The facts giving rise to this Civil Miscellaneous Second Appeal are as follows. A vacant site belonging to two individuals Kadar Mohideen Rowther and Ibrahmsa Rowther was leased to the appellant (Srinivasa Iyengar) for a period of 10 years on 26th April, 1938 on a monthly rent of Rs. 40. The lease deed, Exhibit A-3 in the case, provided for an option in favour of the lessee to obtain a renewal for a period of two years after the expiry of the ten-year period. At the end of the ten years fixed under the lease the tenant (appellant) exercised the option and continued to be tenant till 1st April, 1950. Thereafter he claimed a further extension but the lessors would not consent to it. This dispute between the parties culminated in a suit O.S. No. 327 of 1950 which was a suit filed by the lessors for evicting the lessee. The trial Court granted a decree for eviction. There was an appeal by the tenant in A.S. No. 94 of 1951 on the file of the District Court of Madurai and at that stage the parties entered into a compromise on 13th December, 1951. The terms of the compromise were that there should be a fresh lease for a period of five years from 1st January, 1952 to 31stDecember, 1956 on an enhanced rent of Rs. 150 per month and in the event of the lessee failing to deliver possession at the expiry of the lease period, he should pay rent at the rate of Rs. 200 till delivery. But it must be noted that the lease was for a fixed terms of five years which, as stated already, expired on 31st December, 1956. The lessors then issued a notice calling upon the tenant (appellant) to deliver possession. The notice was refused and the lessors filed an execution petition under the compromise decree which embodied the terms of the compromise arrived at between the parties during the pendency of A.S. No. 94 of 1959. They filed E.P. No. 149 of 1957 for obtaining delivery of the site. The Madras City Tenants' Protection Act was extended to the City of Madurai and the consequence was that the appellant filed three applications: (1) under Section 9 of the Act to compel the lessors to sell the property to him for the amount to be fixed by the Court: (2) under Section 10 of the Act to fix the value of the buildings erected by him on the site and to direct the landlords to pay the same as condition precedent for evicting him from the property and (3) another petition O.P. No. 51 of 1957 to determine the fair rent at Rs. 80 per month and for a declaration that the fair rent thus fixed should take effect from 12th September, 1955, when the Act c ame into operation as regards Madurai City. In this Civil Miscellaneous Second Appeal, I am now concerned only with the question whether the application by the appellant in the Court below under Section 9 of the Act to compel the lessors to convey the site to him for a value to be fixed by the Court was filed in time. The Courts below have taken the view that the application is time-barred and have dismissed the application. The question is whether that view is correct.
2. The compromise decree is dated 12th January, 1951. The appellant was to continue in possession under the terms of the decree for a period of five years that is up to 12th December, 1956. E.P. No. 149 of 1957 for delivery was filed on 31st January, 1957. The application E.A. No. 279 of 1957 under Section 9 of the Madras City Tenants' Protection Act was filed by the appellant on 26th February, 1957. The contention urged by Mr. N.R. Govindachari, learned Counsel for the appellant, is that the application is not barred by limitation as he has filed the application within one month after the date of service in the execution petition. Now the terms of Section 9 of the Act are quite clear. In so far as it is material the section reads:
Any tenant who is entitled to compensation under Section 3 and against whom a suit in ejectment has been instituted.... may, within one month of the date of the Madras City Tenants' Protection (Amendment) Act, 1955, coming into, force or of the date with effect from which this Act is extended to the municipal town or village in which the land is situate, or within one month after the service on him of summons, apply to the Court for an order that the landlord shall be directed to sell the land for a price to be fixed by the Court....
As stated already the Amendment Act came into operation in the City of Madurai with effect from 12th September, 1955. On a strict and literal interpretation of the provision under Section 9, there cannot be any doubt that the application is time-barred. The application has not been filed within one month after the commencement of the operation of the Act as regards the City of Madurai. The suit itself having been filed and there having been a decree prior to the extension of the Act to the Madurai area, there can be no question of an application being preferred within one month after the service of the summons. Mr. Govindachari however contends that the word ' summons ' has got to be understood in the context as any process of Court by which the possession of the tenant is 'actually threatened to be taken away. It may be that such construction is just and equitable but, in my opinion, the word ' summons ' clearly indicates summons in the suit. Further Section 9 begins with the words ' any tenant.... against whom a suit in ejectment has been instituted'. The 'summons' refers only to a suit. In a case where there is already a decree for eviction against a tenant, there would be no-impediment in his way to seek relief under Section 9 of the Act by filing a proper application within the one month after the extension of the Act to the area in which the property is situate. The section provides a period of limitation comprehensively in respect of all stages of the proceedings in a suit for eviction. As regards suits filed after the date of extension of the Act or suits which though filed earlier had not proceeded to the stage of the defendant being served with suit summons, the application can be filed within a month after service. Where the suit has ended in a decree or where the suit is pending after service on the defendant, the application should be filed within one month after the date of operation of Act. This, in my opinion, is the plain and grammatical meaning of the language of the statute. It would not be proper to substitute any notions of equity or justice in a statute in which the words are plain and unambiguous. I agree with the Court below that the application of the appellant under Section 9 is barred by limitation.
3. The Civil Miscellaneous Second Appeal fails and is dismissed with costs.
4. Memorandum of Objections is not pressed and it is dismissed. No costs.
5. No leave.