1. The short point for determination in both Courts below was whether the defendants were entitled to protection under the City Tenants Protection Act.
2. The case for the defendants was that they and their ancestors have been in uninterrupted possession and enjoyment of the suit property ever since 1910 and hence they were entitled to protection under the Act.
3. The scope of the City Tenants Protection Act may now be examined. That Act is not intended to confer benefit on all kinds of tenants in the city or at all times. The Act applies only to those tenancies created before 1921. Secondly it gives protection to those tenants who have constructed buildings on other's lands. The Madras City Tenants Protection Act as the Preamble states is thus intended to give protection to tenants who in many parts of the City of Madras had constructed buildings on other's lands in the hope that they would not be evicted so long as they pay a fair rent for the land. Therefore, we have got to examine this Preamble in view of the lease, Exhibit A-1, executed by the defendants.
4. Exhibit A-1 was executed first of all in 1944 which is certainly not before 1921, and therefore, would not come within the scope of the City Tenants Protection Act. Then in regard to the other part, the defendants themselves have not put up any structures of their own on the suit-site. It has been held in Thayarammal v. Junus Chettiar : AIR1939Mad744 , that
In a case where the tenant is not the owner of the superstructure, it is impossible to see how he can seek for compensation in respect of something which does not belong to him, or that the landlord should offer by his notice to pay compensation for a building which he himself owns. The entire scheme of the Act, as the preamble shows, is to afford protection to a tenant who has contructed a building on another's land, and net to throw obstacles in the way of a landlord enforcing his rights even where there are no rights of a tenant to be protected.
5. In other words, this case does not fall in either part of the protection namely, this is not a pre-1921 case and secondly this is not a case of the tenants constructing buildings on other's land in the hope that they would not be evicted so long as they pay a fair rent for the land.
6. Therefore, the endeavour of the learned Advocate was to show that though Exhibit A-1 was of 1944, it is merely a renewal of other lease-deeds, Exhibits A-4 to A-6, and should be dated back to 1910. But as pointed out by the Courts below, in the first place the lease-deed, Exhibit A-1 does not purport to be a renewal and secondly it does not contain any reference to prior leases. The tenants under Exhibit A-1 are not those under the prior leases; in fact, the 1st defendant, in particular, had nothing to do with the suit property, or its lease, prior to the date of Exhibit A-1. Therefore Exhibit A-1 is a fresh lease and the Act is clearly inapplicable.
7. Then Exhibit A-1 itself is not a lease to which the Act would apply. So far as items 2 and 3 comprised therein are concerned, what was leased to the defendants under clause 3 of Exhibit A-1 was merely a right to collect the rents from the occupiers or tenants, and hence to that extent the contract was one of agency and not of lease. The Act applies to lease and not to agency.
8. So far as Item 1 is concerned, clauses 10 to 13, 17 and 19 of Exhibit A-1 taken along with the admissions of the 1st defendant indicate that Exhibit A-1 was only an agricultural lease or a lease for purposes of toddy tapping. To that class of lease certainly the City Tenants Protection Act does not apply.
9. Therefore, both the Courts below rightly refused to apply the City Tenants Protection Act to this case and granted a decree for the plaintiffs.
10. The second appeal has, therefore, got to be and is hereby dismissed with costs. Three months time is given for vacating.
11. No leave