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K.S. Nataraja Achari Vs. J.K. Balasubramaniam - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1957)2MLJ492
AppellantK.S. Nataraja Achari
RespondentJ.K. Balasubramaniam
Excerpt:
- .....for the eviction of the petitioner from these premises for carrying on his grain-trade, a different trade. it is also settled now that carrying on a business need not necessarily mean that he has begun the trade vigorously; it is enough if he had made all the preparations. just as swimming requires water, carrying on business requires suitable premises. as it is clear that there are no adequate premises for the respondent to carry on his grain-trade, unless he gets both the halves of these tiny premises it is enough for him to prove that he has got a licence for the grain-trade and has made other necessary preparations for carrying on the grain-trade. at present owing to his half of his premises being too tiny for carrying on this trade in grain, he has merely stored some bags of.....
Judgment:

Panchapakesa Ayyar, J.

1. This is a petition by one Nataraja Achari, a goldsmith tenant making and selling gold, silver and diamond jewels in a portion of the premises, rented out to the respondent, the chief tenant, for revising and setting aside the order of the appellate authority, the Judge of the Court of Small Causes, directing, his eviction from the premises on the ground that the respondent-land-lord required the premises bona fide for additional accommodation for running the grain? shop for which he bad made preparations, as his maligai shop, in the building, opposite, was not prospering, and was landing him in heavy loss, and he wanted to run this grainshop in addition to the maligai shop in order to earn a comfortable living. The respondent is keeping roughly one half of the very tiny premises and is paying a total rent pf Rs. 10 per mensem to Mr. K. Rajah Ayyar, the landlord. The petitioner is occupying the other half, and paying Rs. 9 as rent per month to the respondent, tne chief-tenant. It is admitted by the learned Counsel, on both sides that no grain-trade can be carried on in the one half of these very tiny' premises now in the occupation of the respondent, and that if grain-trade is to be carried on, both the halves must be in the occupation of the respondent, the chief-tenant. At present the respondent is only keeping his furniture and some, bags of grain in his half.

2. The petitioner had alleged that the petition for eviction had not been filed by the respondent, the chief-tenant, bona fide and that the respondent's father respondent's mother and the respondent himself had tried to evict him by hook or by crook. He said that the respondent's father had filed several petitions for evicting him on various frivolous grounds and had ultimately failed. The lower appellate authority brushed aside those objections on the ground that the father's petitions were not proved to be frivolous or mala fide and that? even if they were really frivolous or mala fide they would not show this petition by the son to be frivolous or mala fide, and, that this was the first occasion when the petitioner was sought to be evicted on the ground of additional accommodation required by the respondent for carrying on his grain-trade. It also, like the Rent Controller, disbelieved the story that the respondent's mother had-asked pagdi (tenancy bribe) of Rs. 700 in respect of the premises from the petitioner if he were to be left in peaceful occupation of the premises, and not harassed by further petitions for evictions. The petitioner had added that he could not pay this heavy bribe, being a foreman, though trading in gold jewels. There was little reliable evidence in support of the demand of pagdi. It is Very unlikely, as observed by the lower appellate authority, that the respondent's mother would have carried on any negotiations with the tenant for the payment of this bribe amount of Rs. 700 at the period alleged, namely the month following her husband's death. The respondent's own bona fides was attacked by saying that he wanted to evict the petitioner and rent out his portion for a higher rent to others. The Courts below; considered it very improbable, as the fair rent had been fixed at Rs. 9 per month for that portion, and nobody in Madras would pay more than the fair rent. S6 the bringing in of any third party as a tenant could not improve the situation for the respondent. The lower appellate Court considered, unlike the Rent Controller, that the respondent required half of these very tiny premises, occupied by the petitioner, for carrying on his grain-trade for which he had made preparations, and that the balance of hardship lay in favour of ordering eviction as the respondent stood to lose more than the petitioner. So it directed the eviction of the petitioner and made the petitioner pay the costs of the respondent.

3. It is well settled now that a chief-tenant will be a 'landlord' within the meaning of the Act, and that he can ask for eviction of his tenant for carrying on a business of his own or for additional accommodation for his business, in Case the hardship to the tenant is not incommensurate with the hardship to himself by refusing eviction. It is also settled that he can have an eviction order for carrying on a different business from the business he is carrying on in other premises. So the fact that the respondent has got, across the road, premises where he carries on a maligai trade will not prevent his applying for the eviction of the petitioner from these premises for carrying on his grain-trade, a different trade. It is also settled now that carrying on a business need not necessarily mean that he has begun the trade vigorously; it is enough if he had made all the preparations. Just as swimming requires water, carrying on business requires suitable premises. As it is clear that there are no adequate premises for the respondent to carry on his grain-trade, unless he gets both the halves of these tiny premises it is enough for him to prove that he has got a licence for the grain-trade and has made other necessary preparations for carrying on the grain-trade. At present owing to his half of his premises being too tiny for carrying on this trade in grain, he has merely stored some bags of grain and furniture there and is unable to begin active operations in grain trade. I cannot agree with the learned Counsel for the petitioner that the respondent might as well close down his maligai business, and use those premises to carry on this grain-trade., Freedom of trade, subject to the laws, is guaranteed by, our Constitution, and no one, least of all his own tenant, can dictate as to what trade the respondent is to carry on or close down. So long as the maligai business is not closed down, and those premises are not available for carrying on the grain-trade the respondent will have a right to apply for eviction of the petitioner from these premises in order to get more accommodation to begin his grain-trade . The fact that the petitioner carries on a trade in silver, gold and diamond jewels, and requires good light, and that he has also to establish a new clientele in a new locality, if evicted, will not be any proof that he cannot get premises where he can get good light or that he can only carry on his trade in the present premises. His real difficulty is that he cannot hope to get premises, of equal extent and suitability in a different house for this very small rent of Rs. 9 a month which he is now paying. It may also be, as urged by his learned Counsel, that it would take some eight or nine months before he could get equally suitable premises on even a slightly higher rent. So I have no doubt that the proper order to make is to give the petitioner eight or nine months' time from now to find out alternative suitable premises, and, to confirm the order of eviction passed by the lower appellate authority. The learned Counsel for the respondent, while admitting that some 8 or 9 months would be required for the petitioner to find equivalent alternative accommodation urged that the petitioner had had ample time since the order of eviction passed by the appellate, authority on 24th November, 1954, and that only three months' more time should be given to him. I cannot agree. Till this revision petition has been disposed of the petitioner must have been hoping to get the order of eviction set aside. It is only now that he knows for certain that he cannot hope to cling on to these premises any more. He will begin seriously to search for alternative premises only from to-day and the search will naturally take, as conceded by learned Counsel for the respondent, some 8 or 9 months. In that view, I modify the order of the lower appellate authority in two respects; firstly the petitioner will have time till 1st December, 1957 to vacate the premises and give vacant possession to the respondent, failing which this respondent can get him evicted through Court; secondly, the order directing the petitioner to pay the respondent's costs will be deleted, as I consider that both sides should, in the circumstances, bear their own costs. Subject to these two modifications, the order of the lower appellate authority is confirmed, and the Civil Revision Petition is dismissed. In the Civil Revision Petition also, all the parties will bear their own costs.


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