K. Veeraswami, J.
1. The Courts below have agreed on the scope of Section 10 (3) (a) (iii) of Madras Act XVIII of 1960 that the landlord can take possession if he is net carrying on a particular business in a non-residential building of his own. On that view the Courts below also thought that, since the landlord, which is a cooperative society, was not carrying on the particular business in the premises in Pantheon Road Co-optex Saree Museum it was entitled to an order of eviction. The petitioners who are tenants in No. 188, Mount Road, contest that view and have filed these petitions.
2. What persuaded the Courts below to take the view they did was that if the interpretation were otherwise it would be a permanent impediment to the expansion of a landlord's business. They also relied on the words employed by the section.
Section 10 (3) (a) (iii) reads:
(3) (a) A landlord may, subject to the provisions of Clause (d), apply to the Controller for an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building:
(iii) in case it is any other 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:
Provided further that where a landlord has obtained possession of a building under this clause, he shall not be entitled to apply again under this clause....
(ii) in case he has obtained possession of a non-residential building, for possession of another non-residential building of his own.
In my view the Courts below were not right as to the precise scope of this provision. By its language it seems clear that if a landlord is carrying on a business in a non-residential premises of his own that will be a bar to his obtaining an order of eviction in respect of another premises. It does not appear to be the intention of the provision that the test is every business considered separately. it is not as if that if a landlord is having several businesses and is occupying a non-residential premises of his own in which he is carrying on one of the business, he is permitted by the provision to get possession of other non-residential premises of his own for carrying on every one of the other businesses. If that were the intention, the second proviso does not seem to accord with it. Nor would it be in line with the scheme of the conditions for eviction in respect of residential and other non-residential premises covered by Sub-section (3) (a) (i) and (ii). The second proviso is explicit that if a landlord has obtained an order under Section 10 (3) (a) (i) or (ii) he cannot obtain any further order of eviction in respect of any other non-residential premises of his own. What the sub-section provides is that the carrying on of a business by the landlord in his own non-residential building is the test, and that does not in my view, mean each business or a particular business. The phrase 'a business' in the provision has reference to any business and not each of the businesses. On that view, it should follow that if the landlord, in these cases, is carrying on Co-optex saree business in No. 34, Pantheon Road, which is its own it will not be entitled to an order of eviction.
3. But it is argued for the landlord that No. 34, Pantheon Road, is being used by it only for administrative purposes, and the show room, in which sales are carried on, cannot be regarded as a business carried on in the premises. If the bulk of the building is utilised, as contended for the landlord, for administrative purposes and only a show room exists in a part of the building, it can fairly be assumed that the landlord, having regard to the substance of the matter, is not carrying on Co-optex saree business in the premises. If, on the other hand, the finding is that the landlord is carrying on in the premises such business and the administrative activities are confined only to a portion of the premises, the landlord will, of course, be entitled to an order for eviction. The Rent Controller recorded a finding that the building in Pantheon Road was primarily an administrative Building housing all the administrative organisations of the society, and, in the show-room, in a portion of the building, sales were effected with a view not to disappoint visitors resorting to the showroom. The Lower Appellate Court did not record a specific finding on that question, it is therefore, necessary to remit the appeals to it for fresh disposal, in accordance with this judgment, and to record a finding on the question, if the parties so desire, the Lower Appellate Court may record further evidence on that point.
4. The petitions are allowed. The costs will abide the result.