C NATARAJA MUDALIAR Vs. MADRAS STATE
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
MADRAS STATE REPRESENTED BY THE ACCOMMODATION
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Subba Rao, J. -
(1.) This is an application for issuing a 'writ of certiorari' to quash the order of the Accommodation Controller, Madras, made in respect' of the ground floor of the house and premises No. 9 Krishnapuram Street, Royapettah. The petitioner is the owner of the said house. He and his wife with their two sons were living in the said house from the year 1935, For about nine years they occupied the entire building. In June 1944 he let out the ground floor to Miss E. T. Rajeswari M. A., Professor of Physics in Lady Wellingdon Training College, Triplicane, Madras. It is said that the ground floor was let to her to oblige his friends. In June 1945 the petitioner's son died. Professor Rajeswari vacated the ground floor of the house on 27th April 1951. The petitioner gave the notice of vacancy to the Accommodation Controller on 28th April 1951. He intimated to the officer his intention not to let it to any other tenants, as he required it for himself. Therein it was also stated that because of their old age and heart troubles, he and his wife were not in a position to get up and down the stair case of the house. The notice of vacancy was received by the Accommodation Controller on 1st May 1951. Thereupon on 7-5-1951 he issued a notice under Section 3(3) of the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1949, as amended by Act 8 of 1951, allotting the said premises to Sri K.G. Lakshmivenkataraman, Inspector of Police, Crime Branch. The contentions of the learned counsel for the petitioner may be stated thus: 1. The Accommodation Controller has no power under Section 3(3) of the Act to allot a house to a Government servant if the landlord does not intend to let out his house;
(2.) The allotment of the ground floor of the house in the circumstances of the case is not only arbitrary, but is an unreasonable restriction on the petitioner's fundamental right guaranteed to him under Article 19 (i)(i) of the Constitution of India. 2. The relevant provisions of the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1949 bearing on the first contention read as follows: Section 3(i) (a): Every landlord shall, within seven days after the building becomes vacant by his ceasing to occupy it, or by the termination of a tenancy, or by a release from requisition give notice of the vacancy in writing to the officer authorised in that behalf by the State Government (hereinafter in this section referred to as the 'Authorised officer.) Section 3(3): If within the ten days of the receipt by the authorised officer of a notice under Sub-section (i) or Sub-section (2), the State Government or the authorised officer does not intimate to the landlord in writing that the building is required for the purposes of the State or Central Government or any local authority or of any public institution under the control of any such Government or for the occupation of any officer of such Government, the landlord shall be at liberty to let the building to any tenant or to occupy it himself. Section 3(4): The landlord shall not let the building to a tenant or occupy it himself, before the expiry of the period of ten days specified in Sub-section (3), unless in the meantime he has received intimation that the building is not required for the purpose, or for occupation by any of the officers, specified in that Sub-section. Section 7(3)(a): A landlord may, subject to the provisions of Clause (d), apply to the controller for an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building-- (i) in case it is a residential building, if the landlord requires it for his own occupation if he is not occupying a residential building of his own in the City, town or village concerned............ Section 7(3)(c): A landlord who is occupying only a part of a building, whether residential or non-residential may, notwithstanding anything contained in Clause (a), apply to the Controller for an order directing any tenant occupying the whole or any portion of the remaining part of the building to put the landlord in possession thereof, if he requires additional accommodation for residential purposes or for the purposes of a business which he is carrying on, as the case may be."
(3.) The first argument is that unless the landlord intends to let out a house, the authorised officer has no power to requisition the same. To put in other words, the volition of the landlord is paramount and the jurisdiction of the authorised officer to allot houses for the purposes mentioned in Section 3(3) of the Act is confined only to those houses intended to be let by the landlords and voluntarily thrown out for allotment. If a landlord has a hundred houses and is rich enough not to care to get any income from them by letting them out, the authorised officer will not have any power to allot them, however convenient and necessary they may be for the purposes of the State. This construction would limit the field of selection and enable wealthy landlords to circumvent the provisions of Section 3 by subterfuges. The conception of a requisition implies compulsion. It is intended to meet an emergency. The emergency necessitated the enacting of the drastic provisions and the construction suggested would defeat the purpose to a large extent.;
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