Decided on July 01,1970

T.A. Rathinam Pillai And Anr. Appellant
Sri Sankaraswami Mutt And Anr. Respondents


K.VEERASWAMI, J. - (1.) THE appeals arise from an order of Kailasam, J., quashing a notification of Government G. O. Ms. No. 2622, Revenue, dated 7th November, 1964, by which the Governor in exercise of the powers under Section 2(1)(i) of the Madras City Tenants Protection Act, 1921, specified the Thanjavur Municipal Town as coming under that section with effect from the date of the notification, to wit, 11th November, 1964. The original Act was confined in its operation to the City of Madras. By Act (XIX of 1955) power was conferred on the State Government to extend the provisions of the Act it to any other municipal town, among other places, by notification. A notification was made on 28th March, 1956 under the amended provisions extending the scope of the Act to Thanjavur. Taking advantage of the notification, the lessees of the premises in question who are the appellants in Writ Appeal No. 265 of 1956, applied under Section 9. But Madras Act (XIII of 1960) excluded non -residential buildings in certain places from the purview of the Act, Thanjavur was one of the municipalities so excluded. The validity of this Act was challenged in this Court, but unsuccessfully Later in 1964 Act XVI of that year was made restoring the position which obtained under Madras Act (XIX of 1955). The impugned notification was made, as mentioned by us, under the Act as amended by Madras Act (XVI of 1964). The validity of this amending Act was challenged by the first respondent. The learned Judge was not persuaded that the Act was void. But he considered that there was no material to come to the conclusion that the provisions of the Act should be extended to Thanjavur and, on that view, quashed the notification.
(2.) A perusal of the judgment clearly shows that the learned Judge confined himself to the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the State and the statements made therein. There was a reference to the report of the Collector to the effect that the town was fast becoming a commercial centre and that building sites had very much appreciated in value due to acute demand and that a large number of tenants had constructed costly buildings in the hope that they could not evicted. The learned Judge then proceeded to say: These statements in the counter affidavit do not disclose that tenancies in non -residential buildings were threatened to be adversely affected. We have perused the records and find that the Collector had made an elaborate report dated 29th September, 1964. The occasion for the report was certain petitions received by the Government requesting for extension of the Act to Thanjavur town. The petitions have been listed in the report of the Collector. He has also mentioned therein that, in addition to these petitions to the Government he had himself received many other petitions and representations not merely from' individuals but also from organisations like Town Congress Committee, East Gate Mandala Congress Committee, Youth Congress Committee, Music Association,. Manager, Service Centre and Ex -Presidents of the Rotary Club and Lions. Club asking for extension. There was also a mahazar petition from the residents of Thanjavur signed by the Chairman of the Municipal Council. The Collector referred to a report he had already made to the Board in his office R. C. No. 60/64, dated 6th February, 1964 and stated that it was desirable that the protection from eviction was given for non -residential buildings in Thanjavur town, as there had been cases where buildings had been put up by individuals who did not have absolute ownership rights over the town sites. He mentioned that the Tahsildar found that the owners of the buildings were taking advantage of the amended Act (XIII of 1960) and were pressing the tenants for removing the buildings without any compensation. In view of this, according to the Collector, the position of the tenants had become still worse because of the enactment of the amended Act (XVI of 1964) and naturally, therefore, the site owners were anxious to get back their sites before the benefits of the Act were extended to the municipal town to Thanjavur. That it was fast becoming a commercial centre and that building sites had very much appreciated in value due to acute demand was also mentioned in the report. He went on to say: It is true that the tenants of Thanjavur town have put up costly permanent structures over the sites which do not belong to them and are in effective occupation for the past so many decades. It will be a great hardship if protection is not given to them. There are, therefore, strong grounds for extension of the provisions of the amended Act (XVI of 1964) to the non -residential buildings in Thanjavur town. I therefore recommend that the Government may be pleased to extend the provisions of Act (XVI of 1964) to the non -residential buildings in Thanjavur Town. It will be clear from this report that it related to non -residential buildings and the necessity of extending the provisions to such buildings in Thanjavur Town. Apparently this report itself was not prominently placed before the learned Judge who for that reason, had no occasion to look into it himself. The learned Judge has referred to the policy of the Act and it is hardly necessary to reiterate it. In our view, this report undoubtedly furnished the material on the basis of which the Government could reasonably come to the conclusion that the provisions of the amended Act should be extended to Thanjavur.
(3.) IT is contended for the first respondent that the notification had not been placed before the Legislative Assembly as required by Section 1(6) of the Act. This point has not been taken anywhere in the counter affidavit. The learned Judge himself had not dealt with it. In the circumstances, we do not propose to allow this point to be taken at this stage. We hold that the notification has not been shown to be invalid. We may mention that learned Counsel for the respondent does not take his stand on Article 14. He recognises that to come to the conclusion that the provisions of the Act should be extended to Thanjavur, it would be impracticable to study the position in the other municipalities with a view to avoid an attack based on Article 14.;

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