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Natesan Vs. Surya Bagadhur Shah - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1957)2MLJ586
AppellantNatesan
RespondentSurya Bagadhur Shah
Excerpt:
- .....mr. r. desikan. no doubt, mr. k. s. desikan is right in saying that the petitioner did require a house bona fide in this colony for his own residence. but 'bona fides' under the act, is not confined to one stage alone, but extends all along the line. the fact that the petitioner required a house bona fide for his own residence, in this colony of 21 buildings, will not entitle him to turn the respondent out of his house when another house with much the same amenities was already vacant and available. mr. k. s. desikan urged that an owner can choose what house he will live in. i cannot agree. it is not an unconditional choice under the act. when there is a house already available for his residence, like the vacant house, with much the same amenities, and there was no proof that the.....
Judgment:

Panchapakesa Ayyar, J.

1. This is a petition filed by one Natesan, the landlord, for revising and setting aside the Order of the District Judge, Tirunelveli, in M.C. No. 8 of 1955, dismissing that petition for revising and setting aside the order of the appellate authority, the Subordinate Judge, Tirunelveli, in C.M.A. No. 23 of 1955, confirming the Order of the Rent Controller rejecting the petitioner's prayer for eviction of the 'respondent from the house he is occupying.

2. The facts were briefly these : The petitioner, Natesan, looks after a set of 21 houses in a colony on the Madurai Road, Tirunelveli, on behalf of his mother and two other ladies, who are all members of a joint family, and he has been deputed to look after all the 21 houses and to collect the rents therefrom and is in the position of a 'landlord'. He was reading for his B.A., examination and was residing in a rented house in the Dakshamanara Nadar Sangham and intended to settle down in a house in this colony, and so filed H.R.C. No. 11 of 1955, on 25th January, 1955, for evicting the respondent from a house in that colony which he was occupying on a rent of Rs. 6, per month, urging that he wanted it bona fide for his own residence. The respondent contended that the petition was mala fide and that it was motivated by his refusal to pay an illegal enhanced rent of Rs. 9 per month demanded from him by the petitioner as against the existing rent of Rs. 6 per month. He also pointed out that another house, out of the 21 houses in the colony with much the same amenities, had fallen vacant on 1st October, 1954 itself and was available for the petitioner's occupation. The Rent Controller found that this other house had fallen vacant on 1st October, 1954 itself and would suit the petitioner's needs equally well, and dismissed the petition as not bona fide, rejecting the petitioner's contention that he preferred the respondent's house owing to its being nearer the gate of the colony, and owing to its being tiled instead of terraced, like the vacant house, and also his further contention that the other house had not fallen vacant before his filing the petition on 25th January, 1955. The petitioner went in appeal. The appellate authority agreed with the Rent Controller and dismissed the appeal with the costs of the respondent amounting to Rs. 26-8-0. The indefatigable petitioner took the matter up in revision to the District Judge, Tirunelveli. The learned District Judge too agreed with the two Courts below and dismissed the revision petition with costs, including the advocate's fee of Rs. 25. The petitioner has now come up with this Civil Revision Petition.

3. I have perused the records and heard the learned Counsel on both sides. Mr. K. S. Desikan, the learned Counsel for the petitioner, urged that all the three Courts below erred in their finding against the bona fides of the petitioner, in view of the proved fact that the petitioner required a house for his own residence, and hisallegation that he preferred this house to the house already fallen vacant because of its being a tiled one instead a terraced one, and its being nearer the gate. Mr. R. Desikan, the learned Counsel for the tenant-respondent, contended that there was no force in this contention at all. I agree with Mr. R. Desikan. No doubt, Mr. K. S. Desikan is right in saying that the petitioner did require a house bona fide in this colony for his own residence. But 'bona fides' under the Act, is not confined to one stage alone, but extends all along the line. The fact that the petitioner required a house bona fide for his own residence, in this colony of 21 buildings, will not entitle him to turn the respondent out of his house when another house with much the same amenities was already vacant and available. Mr. K. S. Desikan urged that an owner can choose what house he will live in. I cannot agree. It is not an unconditional choice under the Act. When there is a house already available for his residence, like the vacant house, with much the same amenities, and there was no proof that the respondent's house was needed instead of the vacant house to meet the bona fide requirements of the petitioner's residence, the unfettered choice of the owner to choose which house he would live in, which would exist but for the Rent Control Act, was no longer open to him. The two advantages he gave for his preferring the respondent's house as residence were mythical and illusory. Its' being near the gate of the colony was no advantage at all. In fact, a house farther away from the hustle and bustle of the gate, like the vacant house, was better suited for residential purposes. That the respondent's house is tiled, instead of being terraced is also no advantage, as a terraced house is preferred by many modern-minded persons to a tiled house and it is all a question of half a dozen and six. It is not as if the petitioner had a dozen children and the respondent's house was a big commodious one suited for his living with his wife and children and the vacant house was a small one insufficient even for a man and wife to live in, let alone the dozen children.

4. So, I am of opinion that all the three Courts below were right in refusing the petitioner's request to evict the respondent from the house, but that the learned Subordinate Judge and learned District Judge were wrong, in the circumstances, in directing the petitioner to pay the costs of the respondent. Many an owner in his heart burning at not being allowed to occupy the house of his choice, which he would have been able to do but for the Rent Control Act, would persist in trying his luck in appeal and revision, and while it will be proper to dismiss such appeal and revision, it may not be proper to saddle him with the costs also, especially when the costs amount to many times the rent.

5. So, I take out the direction in the orders of the learned Subordinate Judge and District Judge making the petitioner pay the respondent his costs, but otherwise confirm those orders and also the order of the Rent Controller refusing eviction. In this Civil Revision Petition I direct all the parties to bear their own costs.


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