HIGH COURT OF KERALA
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(1.)The question arising for decision in this writ application depends on the interpretation to be placed on S.11(17) of the Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1959. That section is in these terms:
"11(17) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section a tenant who has been in continuous occupation of a building from Ist April, 1940 as a tenant, shall not be liable to be evicted for bona fide occupation of the landlord or of the occupation by any member of his family dependent on him provided that a landlord of a residential building shall be entitled to evict such a tenant of that building if the landlord has been living in a place outside the city, town or village in which the building is situated for a period of not less than five years before he makes an application to the Rent Control Court for being put in possession of building and requires the building bona fide for his own permanent residence or of the permanent residence of any member of his family or the landlord is in dire need of a place for residence and has none of his own.
Explanation. In computing the period of continuous occupation from 1st April, 1940, the period, if any, during which the landlord was residing outside the city, town or village in which the building is situate shall be excluded."
(2.)The landlord, the petitioner before me, who was away in Africa for more than ten years, returned to this country and applied to the Rent Control Court for evicting the tenants, Respondents 1 and 2. These tenants were initiated into the property before the 1st of April, 1940 by the Karanavan of the petitioner's tarwad. The property belongs to the tarwad of the petitioner. When the petitioner returned to her native place, she obtained a Kuzhikanam lease from the karanavan of the tarwad and it was specifically proved in that lease deed that the petitioner may take steps to evict the tenants. It was pursuant to this document that the eviction proceedings commenced.
(3.)The Rent Control Court found that the petitioner and her children required the house for their bona fide need and notwithstanding S.11(17) came to the conclusion that the petitioner is entitled to eviction of the tenants and ordered eviction. In appeal the appellate authority, as well as the revisional authority in further revision, respondents 3 and 4 respectively, took the view that the petitioner was not the landlord at the time of the lease and that the petitioner though she had stayed outside the city, town or village for the requisite period cannot claim the benefit of the proviso to sub-s.(17). Accordingly the eviction petition was dismissed.
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