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A.B.K. Kaliappa Nadar Vs. S.V.K.R. Amirthavalavandammal and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1973)1MLJ126
AppellantA.B.K. Kaliappa Nadar
RespondentS.V.K.R. Amirthavalavandammal and anr.
Cases ReferredDoraipandian Plllai v. Sivagnanam Pillai
Excerpt:
- .....district judge could properly draw from the circumstances. we do not wish to lay down as an inflexible rule that, whereas a letter contained a proper address, it necessarily followed that the addressee had notice of it even when it was returned with the endorsement 'not found'. but, when the additional district judge referred to certain circumstances which were relevant and tried to draw an inference justifiable from them, the finding so arrived at is one of fact and that should be taken to be conclusive in a revision petition under section 115 of the code of civil procedure.4. on that view, the petition is dismissed with costs. two months to vacate.
Judgment:

K. Veeraswami, C.J.

1. The matter comes up before us on a reference by Kailasam, J. The petitioner is the tenant and the proceeding related to eviction. The point before Kailasam, J., turned on whether the petitioner was served with sufficient notice. It is on record that a registered letter was sent by the landlord to the tenant at his correct address. The letter was, however, returned with the endorsement 'not found'. The postman, it is made to appear by the endorsement, called at the petitioner's residence thrice and every time he was not found. The first appellate Court found that, since the landlord had taken notice to the proper address, it should follow that a valid notice is quit had been served. The Additional District Judge, in disposing of the revision under Section 25 of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, accepted that finding but gave additional reasons in support of the finding. He said that although the landlord had stated in the petition for eviction that a notice had been sent to the tenant on a stated date, the tenant wantonly evaded to receive the notice and that the notice was returned to him as respondent not found. The tenant had not repudiated this statement. The Additional District Judge also noted that the address on the letter was correct, and that further it was not denied before him that the tenant was a businessman carrying on business every day. He, therefore, thought that it was difficult for him to believe that there was no tender of notice. When the matter was brought by the tenant to this Court, Kailasam, J., was not prepared to agree with the conclusion that the tenant had evaded service of notice. He also felt that the plea that the tenant had not repudiated the statement we referred to earlier or denied the allegation of evasion of notice, was not conclusive that the tenant had evaded service. He referred to Section 106 of the Transfer of Properly Act and the methods of service contemplated by that section and then Section 27 of the General Clauses Act. He observed that the requirements of the sections would be met if a notice signed by or on behalf of the person giving it was sent by registered post, and that, in such an event, the service would be deemed to have been effected unless the contrary was proved. The learned Judge did not agree with the view of Natesan, J., in Doraipandian Pillai v. Sivagnanam Pillai : (1970)2MLJ242 , and referred the matter for disposal by a Division Bench.

2. As we pointed out, the first appellate Court, the Additional District Judge and Kailasam, J., each felt that there was notice to the tenant and that is what we feel too, though the reasons in each case may differ.

3. In our view, having regard to the facts in this case, the tenant must be taken to have had notice of the proceeding. We agree that, when once one of the methods contemplated by Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act, namely sending the notice by post to the correct address of the tenant by the landlord, is adopted, a presumption follows not merely with reference to Section 27 of the General Clauses Act but also Section 114 of the Evidence Act that it had reached the addressee. But the presumption is a rebuttable one and it may be shown by the tenant that he had actually no notice of it. Natepan, J., in Doraipandian Plllai v. Sivagnanam Pillai : (1970)2MLJ242 , on the facts in that case, thought that, as the endorsement on the returned letter was 'not found', no presumption could be drawn that the letter had reached the addressee. In that case, there was no suggestion that the tenant, knowing that a notice to quit was intended to be served on him, manoeavred in league with the postal peon to secure a false return. That is the position in this case too. But the point is that, in this case, the first appellate Court found that there was notice the tenant and the Additional District Judge sitting in revision accepted that finding, and, in fact, he reinforced it by referring to certain other circumstances. Even assuming that the first appellate Court was not on firm ground in inferring service of notice from the fact that the letter contained proper address, we think that the finding as accepted by the Additional District Judge is not open to question. He referred to certain other circumstances, namely, that not only the letter contained the proper address but also the addressee was a business man carrying on business every day, and said, that in view of these it was unlikely that the addressee should not have known about the letter. That was a factual inference which the Additional District Judge could properly draw from the circumstances. We do not wish to lay down as an inflexible rule that, whereas a letter contained a proper address, it necessarily followed that the addressee had notice of it even when it was returned with the endorsement 'not found'. But, when the Additional District Judge referred to certain circumstances which were relevant and tried to draw an inference justifiable from them, the finding so arrived at is one of fact and that should be taken to be conclusive in a revision petition under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

4. On that view, the petition is dismissed with costs. Two months to vacate.


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