P. SADASIVAM Vs. M.M. RATHINASABAPATHY CHETTLAR
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
M.M. Rathinasabapathy Chettlar
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G. Ramanujam, J. -
(1.) This is a revision filed by the tenant against the order of eviction passed against him by the Rent Controller and confirmed by the appellate and revisional authorities. Eviction was sought on two grounds : one that the landlord requires the premises bona fide for his own occupation and (2) that the Building has been used by the tenant for a purpose other than the one for which it was let. All the courts below have held that the tenant has not used the premises for a purpose other than the one for which it was let and as such that ground of eviction will not avail the landlord to get an order of eviction. On the question of the landlord's requirement of the premises for his own occupation, the Rent Controller held that the respondent herein as landlord required the premises bona fide for his own use for starting his business, after rejecting the contention of the tenant that the premises in question belonged to a trust and not to the respondent and therefore he could not require the same for his own business. The trial court took note of the fact that the tenant took the building on lease from the respondent and the receipts issued are only in his personal same and that there was no evidence that the building was a trust property. When the matter was takes in appeal by the tenant the appellate court called for a finding from the Rent Controller at to whether the premises in question was a trust property and the Rent Controller gave a finding that the property was the trust property. After the receipt of the finding the appellate Court disposed of the appeal holding that it is unnecessary to go into the question of title namely whether the property belongs to a trust or whether it belongs to the respondent exclusively, that it is not open to the tenant to deny the respondent's title to the property in question, that the definition of ' landlord ' will take in the respondent and that he can claim the premises in question for his own occupation under S. 10(3)(a)(iii) of the Act and in that view affirmed the eviction order passed by the Rent Controller. The District Court, Madurai, also confirmed the order of eviction holding that the respondent is entitled to file an application under S. 10(3)(a)(iii) of the Act. In this revision, the petitioner -tenant contends that once the property is found to be a trust property the respondent who is only a trustee, cannot apply for eviction on the ground that he requires the premises for his own occupation and that it is only for the purpose of the trust and not for his own purposes eviction can be sought under S. 10(3)(a)(iii) of the Act. It Is also contended that though the term 'landlord' can take in the respondent as a person who leased out the property to the petitioner and collected rents from him, he cannot be treated as a landlord for the purpose of seeking eviction on the ground of owner's occupation, for a petition under S. 10(3)(a)(iii) to be maintainable, the requirement should be that of the owner and not that of a trustee or agent who becomes a landlord under the definition for certain specified purposes. It is the contention of the Learned Counsel for the petitioner that it is only those persons who are owners who can seek an order of eviction on the ground of requirement for personal occupation under S. 10(3)(a)(iii) and not all persons who will come under the definition of 'landlord'.
(2.) The Learned Counsel for the respondent, however, states that the lease deed executed by the tenant petitioner is only in favor of the respondent as the owner and not as a trustee and that he has been issuing receipts only in his personal name and not on behalf of the trust. The respondent also disputes the claim of the tenant that the building is a trust property and states that the property is, in fact, the property of the respondent and set of the trust, and that in any event the property cannot be said to have been dedicated to the trust but it is made subject to a charge for the performance of certain charitable purposes.
(3.) As pointed out by the courts below the question of title is outside the scope of the rent control proceedings and when it is disputed that the property is a trust property, that question cannot be conclusively decided in these proceedings. S. 10(3)(a)(iii) of the Act enables the landlord to get an order of eviction of 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. The word his denotes the landlord and the landlord is defined at 'Inclusive of any person who is receiving or is entitled to receive the rent of a building whether on his own account or on behalf of another or on behalf of himself of others or as an agent, trustee, executor, administrator, receiver or guardian or who would so receive the rent or be entitled to receive the rent, if the building were let to a tenant". The acceptance of the contention of the Learned Counsel for the petitioner will mean that the words he or his in S. 10(3)(a)(iii) will denote the owner and the landlord as defined in the Act. It cannot be disputed and is not in fact, disputed that the respondent came within the definition of "landlord" set out in the Act. When S. 10(3)(a)(iii) specifically refers to "landlord", we cannot cut down the operation of that Sec. by construing the word "landlord" used in that Sec. as meaning only the owner and not all the persons enumerated within the definition of 'landlord'. The Learned Counsel's contention that the special right or privilege conferred under S. 10(3)(a)(iii) of the Act can be claimed only by the owner cannot by accepted in view of the fact that the Sec. uses the word "landlord" and not the word "owner". I cannot accept the argument put forward by the Learned Counsel for the petitioner that the word "landlord" used in S. 10(3)(a)(iii) should have a restricted meaning and not the meaning attributed to it under the definition in S. 2. Further Ex. A. 4 which is the lease executed by the petitioner proceeds on the footing that the property is the separate property of the respondent and the petitioner got possession only from the respondent. As lesser the respondent is entitled to re -enter the building at the determination of the lease under the Transfer of Property Act. Such a right of the respondent to re -possess the building after the determination of the lease is not affected by the provisions of the Rent Control Act which merely provides that the right of re -entry can be exercised only on stated grounds set out in the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act 1960. The petitioner having taken the building from the respondent, he cannot now turn round and say that he is not the person entitled to repossess the building. I am inclined to agree with the Learned Counsel for the respondent that it is not open to the petitioner to put forward the plea that the property is a trust property and that it is only the trust that can ask for the building for its own purposes.;
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