Decided on April 17,1970

C.S. Rajavelan And Others Appellant
A.N. Parasurama Iyer Respondents


Tayi Ramaprasada Rao, J. - (1.) In this civil revision petition an interesting but a curious point is raised. It is common ground that the petitioners -landlords let out premises No. 24 Halls Road, Egmore, Madras -8 together with bungalow and other structures then raised on it by the petitioners as landlords. The total extent of the property demised is 32 grounds. But the bungalow and other superstructures stand on an area of 6 -5 grounds. It is conceded that the (sic), pursuant to Ex R. 7 and R. 8, which enabled him to put up strictures within the compound, did raise some more structures for convenient enjoyment of the demised property. The lease deed expressly authorised the respondent -tenant to put up at his own cost any superstructure or building in the vacant ground of the leased premises without in any way affecting or touching the non -residential building let out by the petitioners to the respondent. On the termination of the tenancy the condition as aforesaid provided that the tenant has the option to remove such constructions put up by him and if they are not removed within six months from the termination of the tenancy the said structures or buildings shall become the property of the lessor. In these circumstances an application for fixation of fair rent was filed. It had a chequered career and ultimately it had to be remitted back to the courts below for re -assessment of the fair rent in accordance with S. 4 of the Act and in the light of the judgment of the Supreme Court in C. A. No. 2226 of 1966. But in this civil revision petition which has been filed by the landlords and independent question but arising out of the order of the court below which has already been considered and set aside by this Court in C. R. P. No. 2070 and 2071 of 1968, has been raised. The present contention arises out of a finding by the court below that the land over which the structure created by the tenant in the demised premises cannot be taken into account for purpose of fixing the market value of the site as provided for in S. 4 (3) (b) (ii) of the Act 18 of 1960. The court below refused to include the value of such site for purpose of being considered for the fixation of fair rent under the Act. It is against this aspect which arises from out of the order of the court below that this civil revision petition has bees filed, Mr. Lakshminarayana Reddi, Learned Counsel for the petitioners urges that the word "non -residential building" appearing in S. 4 (3) (b) (ii) includes the buildings or structures raised by the tenant and thus interpreted, the market value of the portion of the site on which the non -residential buildings were erected by the tenant; ought also to be considered for purposes of arriving at the fair rent for the non -residential building in question. Reliance is also placed on rule 13 of the rules framed under the Act to support the contention.
(2.) Courts can only interpret law but cannot declare it. S. 4 (3) (b) (ii) is one of the limbs of the Sec. enabling the Controller to fix the fair rent of properties under Act 18 of 1960. It provides for such fixation of fair rent for any non -residential building let out by the landlord to a tenant. A building under S. 2 (2) means "any building let or to be let separately for residential or non -residential purposes and includes the garden, grounds and out -houses, if any, appurtenant to such building to let along with the building". It cannot be said therefore, that the article "the" appearing in S. 4 (4)(b) (ii) is referable to 'any' building other than the building let out by the landlord to the tenant. Whereas sub -clause 3(a) to Sec. 4 refers to any non -residential building, S. 4 (3) (b) (ii) refers to 'the' nonresidential building. The use of the article 'the' in the sub -clause has a special significance The market value for purpose of arriving at the total cost of the non -residential building in question shall consist of the market value of that site an which 'the non -residential building is constructed.' The word 'building' and the ward 'constructed' obviously refers to the building constructed by the landlord and not the superstructures to be constructed by the tenant after letting. I am unable to agree with the contention of the Learned Counsel for the petitioners that the land on which the tenant has raised superstructures for his convenient enjoyment or otherwise ought also to be reckoned and evaluated for purpose of fixing the total cast referred to in S. 4 (3) (a) of the Act. If this were to be the intention, it should have been made clear by the legislature. In the absence of any indication whatsoever this Court is unable to lay down a new formula for fixation of fair rent other than that specifically indicated by the statute. Even rule 13 referred to by the Learned Counsel for the petitioners does not assist him in any manner whatsoever. That is only a rule which provides for the assessment of various amenities which the non -residential building enjoys so that the Controller might add to the total cost a percentage of such cost as fixed by the Act, having regard to the availability of such enumerated amenities in rule 13. This has therefore no bearing on the question in issue. The civil revision petition is, therefore, dismissed but there will be no order as to costs.;

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