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N.V. Panchapakesan Vs. K. Swaminathan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1976)1MLJ338
AppellantN.V. Panchapakesan
RespondentK. Swaminathan
Excerpt:
- .....business requested that the entire extent of land demised to him may be allotted to him and the price fixed therefor. it is significant to note that when the landlord filed o.s. no. 1382 of 1962 seeking for ejectment of the tenant from the leased land and in spite of the defences raised and in particular the request of the tenant for the recognition of his rights under section 9 of the tamil nadu city tenants protection act it was denied to him as early as 28th september, 1964. it was only the appellate court on appeal by the tenant in re his statutory rights under the act that confirmed the affirmed the rights of the tenant and conferred on him the benefits arising out of the beneficial provisions of the act. this was on 24th march, 1965. for the first time, therefore, the.....
Judgment:

T. Ramaprasada Rao, J.

1. As against the judgment and decree of the City Civil Court in A.S. No. 230 of 1972 the present revision petition has been filed by the landlord. The suit property said to be measuring about 48' 7' on the road side and about 49' in depth situate in No. 12, Doraiswami Road, T. Nagar, was leased out by the petitioner to the respondent as a vacant site. In the course of occupation the respondent who took the premises for conducting firewood business put up sheds thereon. In 1962 the petitioner filed a suit for eviction and the respondent in turn filed an application under Section 9 of the Tamil Nadu City Tenants Protection Act, claiming benefits thereunder : There was a controversy as to whether the tenant was entitled to such benefits. Finally in C.R.P. No. 1887 of 1965 disposed of by this Court on 11th February, 1971 the right of the tenant to secure the benefits under the Tamil Nadu City Tenants Protection Act, were affirmed. Thereafter, I.A. No. 12272 of 1971 was filed for the fixation of the extent of the convenient land to which the tenant would be entitled to as one who is entitled to the benefits under the above Act and for the fixation of the price of such land to be taken over by the tenant. The first Court fixed that the price of the land, whatever extent has to be given over by the landlord to the tenant or taken over by the tenant from the landlord under the Act, has to be fixed as on 24th March, 1965 which was the date on which the rights of the respondent under the Tamil Nadu City Tenants Protection Act, was first recognised by the civil Court. In accordance with the hypothesis so fixed the trial Court fixed the value of the property at Rs. 10,000 per ground, though the claim of the landlord was at Rs. 18,000 per ground with reference to the date as above and held that the tenant would be entitled to an extent of 2381 sq. feet out of the totality of the land demised to him as such an extent would be absolutely necessary for the convenient enjoyment of the tenement and the land demised earlier by the landlord to the tenant The appellate Court confirmed the order of the trial Court in all respects. It is as against this the present revision petition has been filed.

2. The revision is under Section 115 of the Civil Procedure Code, obviously on the foot that the appellate Court is a Court subordinate to this Court and its orders are revisable by this Court under Section 115 of the Civil Procedure Code. Bearing in mind the limits under which this Court could interfere with the orders or judgments of the Courts below under Section 115, Civil Procedure Code, the matter was heard.

3. Mr. K.N. Balasubramanian, Learned Counsel for the petitioner urged two contentions basing his arguments on the language of Section 9 of the Tamil Nadu City Tenants Protection Act. According to him the price to which such land which on due investigation under the provisions of the Act should be allotted to the tenant should be fixed as on the date when the application, for appointment of a Commissioner to evaluate the property was fixed viz., about April, 1971 and not on the date when the entitlement of the tenant to get the land or such convenient portion thereof at a price to be fixed by the Court has been found in favour of the tenant. Secondly, the contention is that under the guise of allotment of such land which may be necessary for the convenient enjoyment of the tenant, the Courts ought not to allot the entirety or a major portion of the demised land to the prejudice of the landlord.

4. Mr. Sundaram Iyer, contending contra would say that the price which has to be fixed by the Court for the minimum extent of land which has to be statutorily allotted to the tenant under the provisions of the Act should have a relation, to the judgment and decree of the Court in and by which the tenants' right to secure such land has been affirmed and if any other date were to be taken into consideration then the process of assessment would become ambulatory in character. As regards the second contention Learned Counsel would rely upon the report of the Commissioner who on an inspection of the site came to the conclusion that an extent of 2,381 square feet out of the total demised land would be necessary for the convenient enjoyment of the tenement by the tenant.

5. Regarding the first contention Section 9(1) of the Tamil Nadu City Tenants Protection Act says that 'any tenant who is entitled to compensation under Section 3 and against whom a suit in ejectment has been instituted--shall within the time prescribed apply to the Court for an order that the landlord shall be directed to sell for a price to be fixed by the Court the whole or part of the extent of the land specified in the application.' It is common ground that the tenant having regard to the nature of this business requested that the entire extent of land demised to him may be allotted to him and the price fixed therefor. It is significant to note that when the landlord filed O.S. No. 1382 of 1962 seeking for ejectment of the tenant from the leased land and in spite of the defences raised and in particular the request of the tenant for the recognition of his rights under Section 9 of the Tamil Nadu City Tenants Protection Act it was denied to him as early as 28th September, 1964. It was only the appellate Court on appeal by the tenant in re his statutory rights under the Act that confirmed the affirmed the rights of the tenant and conferred on him the benefits arising out of the beneficial provisions of the Act. This was on 24th March, 1965. For the first time, therefore, the entitlement of the tenant to claim the benefits under the Act was given a judicial recognition only on 24th March, 1965. It is this specificity in the event that is pressed into service by Mr. Sundaram Iyer when he says that it is only that date, when the rights of the tenants under the Act are affirmed which enters into the computation for purposes of fixing the price of the land to which the tenant would be entitled in accordance with the provisions of the Act and that date alone has to be taken in account. If the argument of Mr. Balasubramanian is accepted it would be difficult to find any other alternative specific date for the ascertainment of such price. It may be that appeals or other proceedings before the higher hierarchy may be filed by the landlord opposing the conferment of such a statutory benefit on the tenant and the appellate Court or the Court of revision might take some time before deciding whether the tenant is entitled to such benefits or not. In the instant case the C.R.P. No. 1887 of 1965 filed by the landlord against the order of the appellate Court which recognised the right of the tenant to the benefits of the Act was disposed of only in 1971. Could it therefore be said that the price of the land to which the tenant would ordinarily be entitled to under the Act should be fixed as on the date when the High Court in exercise of its revisional powers disposed of the revision petition filed by the landlord? Can it also be said that after such final disposal of the matter by the High Court, if the tenant files an application for processing further the effect of the earlier orders whereunder he secured the benefit under the Act, it is the date on which he filed such an application for the ascertainment of the quantum of the land to be allotted to him or for the fixation of the price of land to be so allotted, is the date on which the price of the land has to be fixed? Many hypothetical reasons or options considerations might arise if the argument of Mr. Balasubramanian is accepted. There may be occasions when litigants might go to the Supreme Court as well. The order passed by the High Court in a revision petition can under certain circumstances by taken up further to the Supreme Court. Should the tenant therefore await the decision of the Supreme Court and take it for granted that it is only when the Supreme Court agrees with the Courts below that his entitlement to purchase the land has become fruitioned and complete in the eye of law and that such land to be taken over by him should be valued only on that date. Such ambulatory and indefinite methods of fixation of price of land to be allotted to a tenant in view of his entitlement under the provisions of the Act has to be necessarily avoided if a definite date is available for such fixation. Such a date for fixation of the price, in my view, would reasonably be the date on which the tenants' entitlement to compensation is first recognised by a competent Court which hears the matter and decides on it. Of course, if at any time another competent Court in the higher hierarchy sets aside the directive for the Courts below that the tenant is not entitled to such an entitlement, then the matter is closed. But if the judgments of the higher Courts are judgments of affirmance then such orders or judgments, obviously relate back to the date of the order of the first competent Court which decided on the entitlement of the tenant under the Act. As a specific, definite and unambiguous date is available for valuation of the land to be purchased by the tenant pursuant to his entitlement under the Act, I am of the view that the date for fixation of such price should relate back to the date when the Court, in the first instance, recognises and confers such a right on the tenant and cannot be relegated to any other uncertain, ambulatory and ambiguous dates.

6. As regards the extent of the land both the counsel placed before me two sketches. The words deployed by Section 9(1)(b) of the Act is that 'On such an application the Court shall first decide the minimum extent of the land which may be necessary for the convenient enjoyment of the tenant and thereafter fix the price of the minimum extent of the land decided as aforesaid'. The Commissioner, no doubt, expressed the view that almost the entire extent of the land is necessary for the convenient enjoyment by the tenant. In spite of the fact that the Tamil Nadu City Tenants Protection Act is a beneficial legislation which would entitle the tenant to get for himself at a reasonable price in accordance with the prescriptions in the Act such portion of the demised land which is necessary for the convenient enjoyment, yet it cannot be expected unreasonably that the Act intended that whatever the tenant pleads as the extent of the land required for his convenient enjoyment it should be allotted to him. The respondent is carrying on firewood business in the land which is roughly of an extent of one ground. Taking into consideration the fact that the superstructure which is abutting the road plus some land appurtenant thereto in the south would be sufficient for his convenient enjoyment of the tenant as a whole, I fix the extent of the land, which has to be surrendered by the landlord to the tenant and sold by him in accordance with law, as the land of an extent of 48 on the road side and the north to south depth of such land would be upto the limit of the bathrood shown, in the sketch and a line from east to west in continuation thereof. As a rough indication thereto the sketch which is made part of this record shall indicate as to what extent of the demised land would be deemed to be necessary for the convenient enjoyment by the tenant. This extent shall be sold by the petitioner to the tenant at the price fixed by the Court below. The revision is allowed in part. There will be no order as to costs.


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