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C. Shanmughavel Vs. the Post Master, West Post Office Represented by the Superintendent of Post Office, Dindigul Division - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1980)1MLJ321
AppellantC. Shanmughavel
RespondentThe Post Master, West Post Office Represented by the Superintendent of Post Office, Dindigul Divisio
Excerpt:
- .....aggrived by this, the respondent herein preferred an appeal in c.m.a. no. 37 of 1973 before the appellate authority (sub-court, dindigul). the appellate authority felt that the appropriate provision applicable to the instant case would be section 12 as the central government should be deemed to be the tenant of the building and therefore, the application under section 14(1) would not be maintainable. by a process of reasoning, which is indeed curious, the appellate authority stated that the commissioner appointed was only an advocate and not a technical man with knowledge of building engineering and therefore, his report cannot be accepted at its face value.4. on these findings, the appellate authority dismissed the application filed by the petitioner.5. in this civil revision.....
Judgment:

V. Ratnam, J.

1. The landlord is the petitioner in this civil revision petition, which arises out of an application filed by him under Section 14(1)(a) of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act XVIII of 1960, as amended by Tamil Nadu Act XXII of 1973. It is not in dispute that the building in question belongs to the petitioner and the West Post Office in Dindigul is situated in this building. This building was let out to the respondent for the purpose of keeping and running a post office therein. The petitioner stated that when he went to collect rent on 2nd August, 1974, he found that the building had been kept in a very bad condition with the flooring considerably damaged and the walls full of holes with bricks visible in several places. It has also further stated that cracks had developed in the ceiling and that the beam had become bent and the walls in most places had also become damaged. The petitioner therefore claimed that unless immediate, proper and effective repairs were carried out, the building was liable to be totally damaged and according to him those repairs, being of an extensive nature, cannot be carried out unless the tenant vacated the premises. The petitioner further gave an undertaking that he will carry out the necessary repairs and after the completion of the repairs, offer the building to the respondent for its re-occupation before the expiry of three months from the date of recovery of possession. It was under these circumstances that the application was filed by the petitioner.

2. The respondent contended that though it was incumbent on the petitioner to do the repairs, yet he had been evading to do so and that the building is in proper and good condition. The application for eviction in order to enable the petitioner to carry on the necessary repairs is not true, but was intended only to vacate the respondent. It was also the further case of the respondent that there was no necessity to vacate the post office for the purpose of doing the repairs as such repairs could be done without the post office being removed out of the premises.

3. The learned District Munsif, Dindigul who heard the application, after referring to the report of the Commissioner, held that the building in question is in urgent need of repairs and that such repairs could not be effected, unless the post office as well as the residence of the Post Master are shifted elsewhere. In this view, the Rent Controller (District Munsif) allowed the application granting three months to the respondent to vacate the premises. Aggrived by this, the respondent herein preferred an appeal in C.M.A. No. 37 of 1973 before the Appellate Authority (Sub-Court, Dindigul). The Appellate Authority felt that the appropriate provision applicable to the instant case would be Section 12 as the Central Government should be deemed to be the tenant of the building and therefore, the application under Section 14(1) would not be maintainable. By a process of reasoning, which is indeed curious, the Appellate Authority stated that the Commissioner appointed was only an advocate and not a technical man with knowledge of building engineering and therefore, his report cannot be accepted at its face value.

4. On these findings, the Appellate Authority dismissed the application filed by the petitioner.

5. In this Civil Revision Petition, the learned Counsel for the petitioner contends that the view taken by the Appellate Authority with reference to the applicability of Section 12 of the Act is incorrect. It is pointed out that under Section 2(5) of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, the Government is defined as meaning the 'State Government and reading this definition into Section 12(1) of the Act, that provision can be made applicable only in respect of building of which the State Government is a tenant and will not cover cases, whereas in the instant case, the Central Government is the tenant. It is also further pointed out by him that the mode by which the Government can become a tenant is indicated under Section 3(5) and in the absence of the Government having become a tenant thereunder, it is not possible to accept that the Government can be deemed to be a tenant of the petitioner. It may be immediately stated that Section 3(5) is not exhaustive of the modes by which the Government can become a tenant. There could well be a contractual tenancy between a landlord and the Government and it is not possible therefore to accept this contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner. But under Section 2(5) referred to already, the Government is defined as the State Government and it is not specifically stated that it includes the Central Government as well. In the instant case, the word 'Government' occurring in Section 12 has to be given the same meaning as found in Section 2(5) and if so read, Section 12(1) would apply only in respect of buildings of which the 'State Government' is a tenant and not the 'Central Government'. Even on that the finding of the lower appellate Court the Central Government should be deemed to be the tenant of the building in question, Section 12(I) may not apply. The dismissal therefore, of the application on the ground that the appropriate section that would be applicable in the instant case would only be Section 12 and not Section 14(1)(a) is unsustainable. In this view, it has to be held that the application filed by the petitioner under Section 14(1)(a) is unexceptionable.

6. The report of the Commissioner, which has been brushed aside by the Appellate Authority, as having been given by an advocate indicates that there are five cracks in the ceiling. Besides, it is also pointed out that there is evidence of leakage of rain water on the eastern wall of one of the rooms The plastering on the southern wall had completely worn out and the bricks are also visible outside. In addition, it is also pointed out that there are pits in the room requiring immediate repair. It is further pointed out that in the room 'E' there are 8 cracks in the ceiling and that in another room 'F' the wooden beam is bent and two joists have been eaten away by white ants. Even in this room 'F' there is a crack in the ceiling and the entire ceiling according to the Commissioner, requires total renewal.

7. Taking into consideration these features noted by the Commissioner, irrespective of the fact whether he is an advocate or qualified Building Engineer, it is evident that the building requires immediate attention as well as repairs, if it should be continued to be used as a Post Office, which is frequented by members of the public and therefore, should be a place which is safe for every one. The report of the Commissioner marked as Exhibit C. 1 clearly indicates the need for urgent and immediate repairs of the nature mentioned therein and the Appellate Authority had absolutely no justification whatever to brush aside the same on the ground that the Commissioner did not have any technical or engineering knowledge of the building construction. In addition, it must also be observed that the post office is going to be housed there again after the completion of the repairs within the period of three months and indeed, the petitioner has given an undertaking as well to this effect. The interests of the respondent are thus protected and there need not be any apprehension on the part of the respondent that it is likely to be thrown out of the building once and for all. The order of the Appellate Authority is therefore set aside and that of the Rent Controller is restored.

8. The learned Counsel for the respondent states that six months time may be granted to enable the Post Office now housed in the premises in question to be shifted elsewhere and the learned Counsel for the petitioner has no objection whatever to this course. Accordingly, the respondent is granted six months from today time to vacate the premises in question and the petitioner is directed to carry out the repairs to the building in question within three months of his taking possession of the premises. The Civil Revision Petition is allowed but there will be no order as to costs.


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