Decided on January 03,1970

P. Vairamani Ammal Appellant
K.N.K.R.M. Kannappa Respondents


P.S.KAILASAM, J. - (1.) THIS petition arises under the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960 ; the tenant is the petitioner herein. The landlord applied for eviction before the Rent Controller from the building which was in the occupation of the petitioner and used as a rice and flour mill. Eviction was sought on the ground of requirement of the leased premises for his own use. The landlord was conducting a charity which consisted of distribution of water - -thanneerpandal - -at Tirupparankundram, in a rented building in the same street. The petition was opposed, on various grounds. It was submitted that the landlord lacked bona fides, that no proper notice was given and that in any event the activity of carrying on thanneerpandal charity would not be " business which would entitle the landlord to claim vacant possession." The eviction petition was dismissed by the Rent Controller. But on appeal the Sub -Court, Madurai, granted an order of eviction. The tenant took the matter up the to District Court. The District Court dismissed the petition accepting the contention put forward by the landlord. Hence this further revision.
(2.) IN this petition, Mr. O.V. Baluswami, learned Counsel for the petitioner, raised various contentions. He submitted that the landlord has not established that he required the building bona fide. The learned District Judge has dealt with this contention and has found that the landlord, who was occupying a rented building, where he was carrying on the thanneerpandal activity bona fide required his own building. I do not see anything erroneous in this finding. This contention is, therefore, rejected. It was also contended that no proper notice was given under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act. It was also submitted that what was carried on by the tenant was a rice mill business which was a manufacturing process and that six months' notice is necessary. On an examination of the contract between the parties Exhibit A -1, it is seen that the tenancy is terminable on a month's notice on either side. This being a contract to the contrary the learned Counsel is not entitled to insist on six months' notice. This point also fails.
(3.) MR . O.V. Baluswami, learned Counsel submitted that in any event the thanneerpandal activity cannot be termed as " carrying on business ". This raises a very important question, and arguments were advanced at considerable length. Section 10(3)(a)(iii) of the Act provides that a landlord may apply to the Controller for an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building in case it is a non -residential building, if the landlord or his son is not occupying for purpose of a business which he or his son is carrying on ,a non -residential building in the city, town or village concerned which is his own. Section 10(3)(a)(i) relates to a residential building, while Section 10(3)(a)(ii) relates to a non -residential building which is used for the purpose of keeping a vehicle while Sub -section (iii) relates to any other non -residential building. According to this sub -section, the landlord is entitled to an order directing the tenant to put him in possession if he satisfies the conditions laid down in the sub -section. The conditions are that the landlord or his son should not be occupying for the purpose of business which he or his son is carrying on in a non -residential building in the town which is his own and that apart from himself or his son not occupying a building it is necessary that such requirement must be for the purpose of business. What is contended by the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that carrying on thanneerpandal activity will not be for the purpose of a business. What is " carrying on business " depends upon the context and the purpose of the enactments concerned. A number of decisions arising out of the Income Tax and other legislations were cited before me. I do not think that those cases should be referred to, as the word "business" has got a very wide meaning and as to what exactly the meaning that should be given to that word under a particular enactment will depend upon the context and intendment of the enactment. The Oxford Dictionary gives the meaning of the word " business " as " being busy, task, duty..habitual occupation, profession, trade, serious work". It is, therefore, to be seen that the word has a very wide import and would cover every activity where men keep themselves busy. In Halsbury's Laws of England, 3rd Edition, Volume 38, the word ' business ' is stated as a wider term than and not synonymous with, trade and means practically anything which is an occupation as distinguished from a pleasure. Examining the scheme of the Act it will be seen that the purpose of the enactment is to consolidate the law relating to the regulation of the letting of residential and non -residential buildings and the control of rents of such buildings. In this context the meaning of the word "business" will have to be determined. The main object of the enactment being to regulate the letting of residential and non -residential buildings, the Act provides under what circumstances the landlord is entitled to get possession of the premises for his own occupation. It may be stated that the Act does not define " residential " or " non -residential " building. "Building" is defined in the Act. While the tenants are granted certain rights of occupancy the landlord also is entitled to get possession under certain circumstances. As already stated, Section 10 is a provision which enables the landlord to get an order directing the tenant to put him in possession. It provides that in case of a residential building he is entitled to such an order if he or his son requires it for his own occupation and if he or his son is not occupying a residential building. Apart from the clause relating to residential buildings, there are two clauses regulating the right of the landlord to get possession of non -residential buildings. There is no prohibition in the Act to the landlord carrying on any kind of activity in his own building. But if he wants possession of his own building in the occupation of others he must fulfil the conditions that are set out in Section 10(3). In this context the term " for purposes of a business " will have to be construed. There can be no objection to the landlord carrying on a business which is not strictly commercial as for instance, using the building as a place of worship or Bajana Mandapam or thanneerpandal. These are absolutely legitimate objects to which the landlord can put to use his building. The object of the enactment being one to regulate the occupation of residential and non -residential buildings, I can see no prohibition against the landlord putting the building to any legitimate use and also requiring the building bona fide for any legitimate use. So long as the object is a legitimate one and so long as the requirements of the sub -section are fulfilled, I see no reason for restricting the meaning of the term " for purposes of a business". If the legitimate activity by the landlord will be his business the ordinary meaning of the word ' business ' applies, and there is no warrant for construing the word " business " in the very restricted way and to confine it to commercial activities or activities of trade alone. Mr. Baluswami, the learned Counsel, drew my attention to Section 10(3)(b) and submitted that special provision is made for a case of religious, charitable, education or other public institution and if the word ' business' is given such a wide construction, there is no necessity for providing for a separate provision for religious, charitable and educational institutions. The contention cannot be accepted as Section 10(3)(b) is wider in its scope and the institution can get possession even though if it is in occupation of another building in the same town. Further the religious institution is entitled to possession even though the purpose may not be one that falls under Section 10(3)(a)(i), (ii) and (iii). Sub -section 10 (3) (c) would also support the construction which I am putting on it, as the landlord, who is occupying only a part of the building may apply to the Controller for an order directing a tenant occupying a portion of the building to put the landlord in possession if he requires additional accommodation for residential purposes or for purposes of a business which he is carrying on. The purport of this sub -section would be that if the landlord is in occupation of a portion of a residential or non -residential building, he would be entitled to the other portion, and I see no warrant in the section for restricting his right to activities which are commercial in nature.;

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