KUNHI ABDULLA Vs. GOVINDAN NAIR
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
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(1.) The dispute in this case is confined to the price of two trees belonging to the landlord, a jack tree and a teak tree, alleged to have been cut and removed by the appellant, the tenant of the property. The Trial Court held that the evidence was not sufficient to hold that the appellant cut and removed the trees; and therefore, it dismissed the claim. The lower appellate court took a different view: it held that the evidence was sufficient to hold that the appellant cut and removed the trees: it decreed the claim.
(2.) The question whether the appellant cut and removed the trees is not relevant in this case. This Court has held in Lakshmi Amma v. Kalyanl Amma ( 1967 KLT 589 ) that so long as a tenant is willing and ready to pay the rent agreed upon, he can enjoy the property in any manner he likes without causing permanent damage to the holding; that the right of the landlord to claim damages or to claim that the holding should be restored to its original condition arises only at the time of the surrender of the lease; and that for cutting and removing fruit bearing trees, the landlord cannot claim damages during the subsistence of the lease, because such trees contribute to the rent, which the tenant pays. The position is different where the tree cut is a timber tree, which does not contribute to the rent.
(3.) In this case, there are two trees, one a fruit bearing tree and the other a timber tree. The jack tree contributes to the rent; and so, until the lease is surrendered, or, as long as the tenant pays the rent, the landlord is not entitled to claim damages for the removal of the jack tree. On the other hand, the timber tree does not contribute to the rent; and the landlord has a right to cut and remove it himself, so that, if at any time during the subsistence of the lease, he claims the tree itself or the value of the tree, the tenant then in possession is bound to give the same. As I have already stated, the question whether it is that particular tenant that cut and removed the tree is immaterial. If the tenant claims under the lease, he is bound to account for the tree.;
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