SUDHAKARAN Vs. CORP. OF TRIVANDRUM & ANR.
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: KERALA)
Corp. Of Trivandrum And Anr.
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(1.) This appeal has been preferred against the judgment and order passed by the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam in W.A. No.356 of 2013 in C.W.P. No.9843 of 2011 dated 06.03.2013 whereby the High Court has held that the consent of the owner of the premises is necessary for renewal of tenant's licence for running a hardware shop.
(2.) Short question involved in this appeal is the interpretation of Section 492 (3) of the Kerala Municipality Act, 1994, which reads as under :
"(3) Where any person intending to obtain a licence or permission for the first time and where the applicant is a person other than the owner of the premises in question, he shall, along with the application produce the written consent of the owner of the premises and the period of the licence shall not exceed the period, if any, specified in the consent."
(3.) Facts of the case are not in dispute. Appellant is the tenant of suit premises in Trivandrum District of Kerala since 01.06.2001. He was issued a licence with the consent of the landlord to run hardware business on 22.10.2001 by the village panchayat in question. His application for renewal was rejected on the ground that he did not produce consent of the landlord. But the Tribunal for Local Self Government Institutions, Thiruvananthapuram vide order dated 21st March, 2011 upheld the plea of the appellant that the consent of the landlord was required when applying for the first time. Renewal cannot be refused only on the ground that the fresh consent was not produced by the statutory tenant. A person once inducted as tenant continued as statutory tenant by virtue of statutory provisions of Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965 till the tenancy is terminated in accordance with law. The operative order of the Tribunal is as follows :
"15. It is to be noted in this context that the Revision Petitioner has not applied for a licence for the first time, I already said that the petitioner has been running the trade on the basis of a valid licence at least up to 31.3.2008.
Under Section 492(3) of the Kerala Municipality Act, a consent of the owner is needed only for obtaining licence for the first time. Since the petitioner has not applied for licence for the first time the Corporation cannot impose a condition for obtaining a consent from the landlord. The ground for rejection does not appeal to me.
16. It is to be noted that on expiry of the original lease period the petitioner continues as a statutory tenant or tenant holding over. The Corporation cannot insist upon such a tenant for production of a written consent from the landlord for the purpose of issuing of the licence. A statutory tenant can be evicted from the leased premises only in accordance with the various provisions contained in the Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act 1965.
It appears that the Corporation is dancing to the tunes of the landlord or has become a puppet in the hands of the landlord in insisting for a consent. It is quite evident and clear that landlord will never give consent. The idea of the landlord is to see that the trade being conducted by the petitioner is stopped forever and he vacates the premises.
With such a wicked idea the landlord is attempting to evict the petitioner not in accordance with the provisions of law but through indirect illegal means and unfortunately the Corporation has acted in a way actively aiding the said attempt.";
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