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N. Bhaktavatsalu Chetty and ors. Vs. M. Natesa Achari (Decd.) and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1968)1MLJ388
AppellantN. Bhaktavatsalu Chetty and ors.
RespondentM. Natesa Achari (Decd.) and ors.
Cases ReferredOfficial Trustee of Madras v. Gopalji Ckampshi
Excerpt:
- .....intended for the protection of tenants from 'unjust' or 'undue' eviction. in the present case, the tenants (revision petitioners) are in occupation of certain residential premises belonging to the trust, and it is not pleaded that they committed default in the payment of rent, or gave cause for any other ground for eviction, which is available to the landlord trust under the statute. nor is this a case where the landlord trust is attempting to avail itself of section 14(1)(b) of the act, requiring the building for the purpose of immediate demolition and reconstruction.4. simply stated, this is a case in which the landlord trust is seeking to evict the tenants, so that the building can be used as a kalyanamantapam, in which contingency, the trust expects that a much higher income will be.....
Judgment:

M. Anantanarayanan, C. J.

1. Under the circumstances of this revision proceeding by the tenants-of certain premises, it appears to me to be clear that the petition will have to be allowed. The facts are not in dispute, that the landlord is the Rajachar Ammakanna Ammal Trust, a religious and charitable endowment represented by the trustees. The revision petitioners are the tenants of certain residential premises.

2. Briefly stated, the landlord claim's the right to evict these tenants under Section 10(3)(b) of Madras Act XVIII of 1960, which Is in he following terms:

Where the landlord of a building, whether residential or non-residential, is a religious, charitable, educational or other public institution, it may, if the building is required for the purpose of the institution, apply to the Controller...for an order directing the tenant to put the institution in possession of the building.

3. At first, I Was inclined to the view that the effective words of this sub-section, namely, 'if the building is required for purposes of the institution' may have to be interpreted in a wide, rather than in a restricted sense. But, obviously, these words cannot be so interpreted as to defeat the very object of the statute, which is one primarily intended for the protection of tenants from 'unjust' or 'undue' eviction. In the present case, the tenants (revision petitioners) are in occupation of certain residential premises belonging to the trust, and it is not pleaded that they committed default in the payment of rent, or gave cause for any other ground for eviction, which is available to the landlord trust under the statute. Nor is this a case where the landlord trust is attempting to avail itself of Section 14(1)(b) of the Act, requiring the building for the purpose of immediate demolition and reconstruction.

4. Simply stated, this is a case in which the landlord trust is seeking to evict the tenants, so that the building can be used as a Kalyanamantapam, in which contingency, the trust expects that a much higher income will be derived. It seems by me that the argument is clearly fallacious, that the eviction of a tenant from a residential building belonging to the trust, in order to get more money by releasing the property to some other person for a limited purpose, can be one of the valid purposes of the trust, on the logic that the trust has to subsist on its revenues. If that argument is accepted, every trust will be automatically entitled to evict all or any of its tenants at pleasure, wholly disregarding the protection offered to tenants under the various provisions of Madras Act XVIII of 1960. The argument is certainly sustainable if the celebration of marriages in a Mantapam, is one of the objects for which the trust was founded. But that is not the case. Nor does the Trust require the building for its own use. The trust appears to be merely clutching at possession of the building, by evicting the present tenants, so that a higher income can be derived, irrespective of the fair rent which might be fixed for the premises under the Act.

5. I find that a very similar case came up before Veeraswami, J. in Official Trustee of Madras v. Gopalji Ckampshi & Co. (1967) 1 M.L.J. 45 : 80 L.W. 17, which is briefly reported. I have also obtained and perused the full text of the judgment. There were other facts involved in that case, not germane to the present proceeding, since the Official Trustee was the applicant there, and he did not fulfil the criterion of being a religious, charitable, educational or public institution under Section 10(3)(b) of the Act. But this apart, the learned Judge has explicitly observed that the Trust must require possession of the building 'for its own purpose.' Curiously, that Was also a case in which an attempt was made to convert the premises as a Kalyanamandapam.

6. Under the circumstances, it follows that in this case also, Section 10(3)(b) of the Act is not attracted to the facts of the case. Admittedly there is no other provision upon which the region petitioners (tenants) can be now evicted. I am leaving open the question of the determination of fair rent for this premises, if the contention of the trust is correct, that the premises have been leased for Very much below the true rental value. The revision is allowed accordingly and the order of eviction of the Court below is set aside. No order as to costs. The C.M.P. No. 10533 of 1067 is allowed.


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