T. Ramaprasada Rao, C.J.
1. On three grounds the petitioner filed a rent control petition for evicting the respondent from premises No. 91/1, Venkatachala Mudali Street, Mylapore, Madras-4. The undisputed facts in this case are that originally a partnership consisting of mother and her three sons were carrying on business. in the premises in question under the name and style of Messrs. Stainless Steel Emporium. The petitioner later found the sign board of M/s. Ameena Metal Stores in the said premises and, therefore, he was of the view that the original emporium vacated the premises or it has sub-let the same to Ameena Stores. With that impression gained by him, on the facts discovered at site and also on the ground that the tenant, meaning thereby the Emporium, did not send rents from June to September, 1972, the present application for eviction was filed.
2. The first respondent's case was that the partnership was dissolved in 1970, that one of the partners of the quondam partnership continued to remain in the premises and was trading therein but under a different style of Ameena Stores and that, therefore, there was neither sub-letting nor a question of the tenant ceasing to occupy the premises can ever be thought of or has arisen in this case. In so far as the non-payment of rent for June to September, 1972 was concerned, the respondent's case was that the tenant in the sense the second respondent tendered the rent and notwithstanding the fact that the landlord1 was not put on notice of the dissolution of the original firm in writing and notwithstanding the absence of notice of specific induction of the second respondent as tenant, the rent, which was tendered by drafts was being so tendered or paid by the second respondent, Ameena Stores and it would not make any difference. The respondents, therefore, resisted the application for eviction on the above grounds.
3. The Rent Controller found that the petitioner as landlord was entitled to an 'order for eviction on all the grounds. The appellate authority reversed the judgment again on all the grounds. Hence, the civil revision petition.
4. Mr. Unnikrishnan, learned Counsel for the petitioner, repeats the contentions raised before the authorities and would say that there has been sub-letting and that the petitioner has made out a case that the tenant has ceased to occupy the building for a period of more than 'four months as contemplated under Section 10(2)(vi) of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act. He would also contend that by reason of Ameena Stores being inducted into the premises by the quondam partnership firm there has been sub-letting without authority within the meaning of Section 10(2)(ii)(a) of the Act. He would further contend that the appellate authority, while reversing the finding of the Rent Controller, did not give a specific ruling as to whether there has' been indifference or wanton failure on the part of the tenant in tendering the rents and in any event the tender of such rents by drafts by the second respondent without disclosing his identity is by itself a suspicious circumstance and such tender of rent ought to be ignored and the petitioner' given relief under Section 10(2)
5. The question is whether there is identity either in part of in whole in the cause of action when it is laid under Section 10(2)(ii)(a) and 10(2)(vi) of the Act. Under Section 10(2)(ii)(a) a landlord is entitled to an order for eviction if there is a subletting of the building or any portion thereof without his written consent. Section 10(2)(vi) on the other hand, speaks of a situation where the tenant has ceased to occupy a building for a continuous period of four months without reasonable cause. If the case of sub-letting of a part of the building is proved, then it would also pragmatically mean that the tenant has ceased to occupy that portion of the building for a continuous period of four months without reasonable cause. In this sense, where there is a partial letting out of a portion of a building and that is made out as a ground for eviction under Section 10(2)(ii)(a) then, it could also be viewed as if there has been a cessation of occupation of the building by the main tenant for over a period of four months if such sub-letting continues for that period without reasonable cause. But if it is a case where the entire building is sub-let without authority, then obviously it follows that the tenant has ceased to occupy the building and Section 10(2)(vi) would come into play, only if the cessation in relation to such non-occupancy could be for well over a period of four months. This is only one factor which distinguishes the purpose and meaning of the reliefs contemplated under Section 10(2)(ii)(a) and Section 10(2)(vi). In that sense, therefore, it has to be considered whether in the instant case there has been sub-letting and if such sub-letting continued for a period for well over four months, then the landlord can claim eviction both under Sections 10(2)(ii)(a) and 10(2)(vi) of the Act. Even so if it is a partial sub-letting and if it continues for more than four months the same result follows. Therefore, it is necessary to consider in the instant case whether the continuation of the business by one of the partners of the quondam dissolved firm would mean sub-letting by the erstwhile firm to the second respondent or whether relief could be granted to the landlord under Section 10(2)(vi) of the Act. It would have been necessary for me to go into the question in rather detail but for the decision of the Supreme Court rendered in Murli Dhar v. Chuni Lai and Ors 1970 All India Rent Control Journal 922. That was a case where the original tenant was a partnership firm. That business was closed and thereafter a shop was used by a new firm, of which one of the partners Was a partner of the quondam firm. The question arose whether it could be said, in the circumstances, that the original partnership, firm, which was the tenant in question, could be deemed Ito have sub-let the premises to the new firm in which one of the partners was common. In that connection, the Supreme Court said that the firm name is only a compendious way of describing the partners of the firm, and, therefore, occupation by a firm is only occupation by its partners, that where the old and new firms have a common partner, the occupation will be by one of the original tenants and that the common partner will be considered to be in possession all through in his individual capacity and it is impossible to treat him as possessing one legal personality as member of another firm. It, therefore, negatived the contention of the landlord that there was sub-letting in those circumstances. Applying this decision, it should be held that the occupation of the premises by Ameena Metal Stores, in which one of the partners was admittedly a partner of Madras Stainless Steel Emporium, cannot be said to be as a result of sub-letting by the quondam dissolved firm and, therefore, the appellate authority was right in having negatived the relief on that ground. I have already prefaced by saying that the relief of sub-letting could overlap with the relief contemplated under Section 10(2)(vi) of the Act which deals with cessation of occupation of the tenant for a period of four months and over. Having regard to the decision of the. Supreme Court as above (the relief asked for by the landlord on the ground that there has been such cessation of occupation is not available to the landlord in the circumstances of the case).
6. As regards the plea for eviction on the ground of wilful default, I am not satisfied that the appellate authority has rendered a finding which is required of him to do so in such circumstances. This is a case in which the second respondent kept his identity at the background and did not want to reveal either the dissolution of the firm in 1970 or the claim, that he was continuing in occupation of the premises as a partner in the quondam firm. He, however, sent certain drafts in his own name without reference to the quondam tenant who was the original tenant and without even candidly making it clear that the was sending it in the individual capacity as an occupant of the premises. Whether, in such circumstances, the consistent attitude and conduct of the second respondent by having sent rents in his own name, would amount to a valid tender, and if it is not, whether it would still amount to wilful default meaning thereby that the second respondent was supinely indifferent in the matter of sending rents without even disclosing his identity and without referring to the landlord that he was continuing in occupation as the past partner of the original tenant, are the questions to be considered. These questions were not considered in that light by the appellate authority but he would assume that as drafts were sent, it cannot be deemed that such tender should be completely ignored, and the grant of relief on the ground that there was wilful default in the payment of rent cannot be contemplated. Whilst, therefore, disagreeing with the appellate authority on the question Whether there has been wilful default or not in the payment of rent by the second respondent, who refused to disclose his identity, I remit the subject-matter to the appellate authority for a reconsideration on the evidence on record and to find whether the tenant did not pay or tender the rents due by him in respect of the building, as contemplated under the Act, and whether the payments made by drafts without the second respondent disclosing his identity would amount to a valid tender at all and whether in consequence there has been wilful default in the payment of rents for the months in question. The findings on the first two grounds as found by the appellate authority are confirmed. The subject-matter is remitted as hereinbefore stated for the consideration of the appellate authority. No costs.