KURUVILLA Vs. ACCOMMODATION CONTROLLER AND THASILDAR
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
ACCOMMODATION CONTROLLER AND THASILDAR
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(1.) The petitioner is the owner of a building situate on the side of the T. D. Road, Ernakulam, consisting of two flats. The ground floor flat fell vacant and the petitioner gave notice of the vacancy to the 1st respondent, the Accommodation Controller, on 15-8-1968 by the original of Ext. P-3. The 1st respondent passed Ext. P-1 order on 28-8-1968 allotting the flat to the 2nd respondent and directing the petitioner to hand over the key of the building to the 2nd respondent "on terms and conditions to be agreed to between the parties." On 31-8-1968, after receipt of Ext. P-1 order the petitioner went to the office of the 2nd respondent. As the 2nd respondent was not in his office, he left a letter in the office addressed to the 2nd respondent stating that he (the petitioner) is prepared to let the building to the 2nd respondent on a monthly rent of Rs. 450/- and requesting him for an advance of Rs. 450/-. Ext. P4 is a copy of that letter. The petitioner also met the 2nd respondent in the Air Port that evening and told him that he was ready to hand over the key and receive the advance The petitioner says that the 2nd respondent refused to accept the key or give the advance. On 5-9-1968 petitioner received a letter dated 2-9-1968 from the Personal Assistant to the 2nd respondent requesting the petitioner to make available the relevant records showing the rent paid by the previous tenant. Ext. P-5 is a copy of that letter. In reply to Ext. P-5 the petitioner sent a communication stating that since the 2nd respondent had not evinced his willingness to take the building on rent by accepting the key on 31-8-1968, there is nothing more to be done in the matter. On 14-9-1968 petitioner received a letter from the Accommodation Controller dated 10-9-1968 stating that if the petitioner fails to put the 2nd respondent in possession of the building, and let the building to some other person, such person would be dispossessed under S.4(7) of the Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965 and that the rent of the building is provisionally fixed at Rs. 350/-. Ext. P-6 is a copy of that letter. Petitioner says that even before the receipt of Ext. P6 he had let the building to the 3rd respondent and that she is living there with her children and informed the Accommodation Controller about it in his reply to Ext. P6. The Accommodation Controller thereafter issued Ext. P-2 notice dated 23-9-1968 to the 3rd respondent, informing her that if she fails to give possession of the building to the Revenue Inspector, action would be taken under S.4(7) of the Kerala Buildings (Lease & Rent Control) Act and that she would be summarily evicted from the building. A copy of this notice was also sent to the petitioner by the 1st respondent.
(2.) The petitioner seeks to quash Exts. P-1 and P-6 proceedings as well as Ext. P-2 notice by an appropriate writ or order.
(3.) The main contention of the petitioner before me was that Ext. P1 order is bad for the reason that the 1st respondent had no authority under S.4(3) of the Kerala Buildings (Lease & Rent Control) Act to allot the building to the 2nd respondent, and therefore, the petitioner was competent to let the building to the 3rd respondent. S.4(3) reads:
"If, within fifteen days of the receipt by the Accommodation Controller of a notice under sub-s.(1) or sub-s.(2) the Accommodation Controller does not intimate to the land lord in writing that the building is required for the purpose of the State or Central Government or of any local authority or of any public institution or for the occupation of any officer of such Government, or local authority or for the occupation of such class of non officials as may be prescribed having regard to the importance of their service to society, the landlord shall be at liberty to let the building to any tenant or to occupy it himself."
It is clear from the sub-section that if the Accommodation Controller did not intimate within fifteen days of the receipt of the notice of vacancy that the building was required for the purposes of the State or Central Government or of any local authority of or any public institution or for the occupation of any officer of such government or local authority or for the occupation of such class of non officials as may be prescribed, the landlord was at liberty to let the building to any tenant or occupy it himself. It is not disputed that the government have not passed any rules prescribing the class of non officials to whom the Accommodation Controller may allot a building. So, the question for consideration is whether the 2nd respondent is an officer of the Central or State Government or of a local authority. The 2nd respondent is the Chairman of the Cardamom Board. The Cardamom Board is established under S.4 of the Cardamom Act (Act 42 of 1965) by the Central Government. S.4 provides that the Board shall be a body corporate, that it will have perpetual succession and a common seal, with power to acquire, hold and dispose of property, both movable and immovable, and to contract, and shall by the said name sue and be sued. The Board shall consist of a Chairman to be appointed by the Central Government. The other members of the Board shall consist of:
"(b) the Director of Cardamom Development, ex officio;
(c) three Members of Parliament of whom two shall be elected by the House of the People and one by the Council of States;
(d) three members to represent respectively the Ministries of the Central Government dealing with -
(i) commerce, (ii) agriculture, and (iii) finance;
(e) such number of other members not exceeding fifteen as the Central Government may think expedient, to be appointed by that Government by notification in the Official Gazette from among persons who are in its opinion capable of representing -
(i) the Governments of the principal cardamom growing States; (ii) the cardamom growing interests; (iii) the cardamom trade interests; (iv) the interests of labour; (v) the consumers; and (vi) such other persons or class of persons who, in the opinion of the Central Government, ought to be represented on the Board.";
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