JIWAN LAL AND CO Vs. MENOT AND CO LTD
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
Jiwan Lal And Co
Menot And Co Ltd
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(1.) These appeals are after an order on remand by Mr. Justice Chunder. The appeals are on behalf of the tenants in suits for ejectment.
(2.) The buildings are partly one storied and partly two storied consisting mainly of two rows of godown type rooms with a cart passage running between them from east to west. There is a road on either side?the Strand Road on the one and the Clive Street on the other. The Respondents have got a plan sanctioned from the Corporation for building and re-building after demolition of the present structure. The judgment of Mr. Justice Chunder before remand is between T. 1). Nandi v. Messrs. Menon. Mr. Justice Chunder,1953 57 CalWN 802 by an order at p. 806 directed the Court to go in the questions of (i) comparative advantage and disadvantage, as raised in the evidence of the Defendants' Engineer on the evidence on record and such further evidence as may be adduced and (ii) for going into the question of time within which the work may be reasonably expected to be completed and, therefore, the two aforesaid questions are the only questions which can be gone into at the present stage. Mr. Justice Chunder has said, that the other points "except the question of comparative "advantage and disadvantage and the question of time," would be final between the parties. I have, therefore, to examine the matter with reference to them. The first question that comes is a question of time. With regard to that, we must remember that the West Bengal Premises Rent Control Act of 1950 was a temporary Act which came into force on March 30, 1950 and was expected to remain up to March 31, 1953. The judgmental Mr. Justice Chunder was delivered in June, 1953, but the Act did not expire at that time. The Act was extended front year to year till the new Act of 1956 came into force on a permanent basis. It must fee noted that the element of time did not stand then on the same basis as it stands today. Mr. Justice Chunder had at that time no idea as to what would be going to happen after the Act of 1950 ceased to operate. But we now know definitely that there has been a re-enactment substantially on the same line on a permanent basis. It was argued before Mr. Justice Chunder "a building may take un-"usually long time to be completed because of restrictions in "obtaining materials, difficulties of labour; these are questions "'which ought to be considered in order to consider whether the '''advantage alleged is a real advantage or an illusory one" At the time when the Act came into force there was undoubtedly shortage of accommodation and unless there was some real relief to the public there was no reason for ejecting the tenants, who had been holding, because by such ejectment the problem would become more acute far from being solved at all. Therefore, the question of time may be material, but the question is how much material it is. Mr. Roy says that the suit was instituted while the Act of 1950 was in force and during that time it was expected that the rebuilding itself should be completed within such a reasonable time as to be of some public benefit and the longest extent of that reasonable time is the life of the Act. According to Mr. Roy, there could be no conception of requirement within the meaning of the Act beyond the life time of the Act. Therefore necessarily any construction, which may be deferred or is apprehended to be deferred after the Act expires, cannot be said to be reasonably required within the meaning of the Act of 1950. Mr. Roy says whether that rebuilding is delayed for reasons within the control of the Plaintiff or beyond the control of the Plaintiff is immaterial. But if the court has good reasons to apprehend that it would be postponed till after the expiration of the Act, then the Court would refuse ejectment on the basis of the Act of 1950. He might have a better right under the Act of 1956. Mr. Roy has no objection if the landlord wants to proceed under the new Act of 1956, but the decree on the basis of the old Act cannot be justified. Mr. Roy further says that on this interpretation if is indeed quite clear that it is impossible for the landlord and it was impossible for the landlord to build within the life time of the Act of 1950. It has now been demonstrated that it could not be so built and therefore, it is now proved beyond doubt that the house intended to be built in the year 1950 was impossible to be built within the entire period, the Act of 1950 remained in force and hence the Plaintiff is not entitled to a decree for ejetment.
(3.) Mr. Kar on behalf of the Respondents refers to Section 40 of the, new Act of 1956. That Act says that the proceedings under the old Act of 1950 would continue as if that Act had not been repealed. The answer is that there is no objection to the proceedings would continue or not is thoroughly irrelevant. The question is whether he still has a right to get a decree after the Act has expired. On the interpretation of Section 40 of the Act I am afraid, I cannot accept Mr. Kar's argument that the Act of 1950 protects anything more than the proceedings itself. The Act does not say more about it. Mr. Boy has no objection to the continuity of the proceedings. His objection is to the passing of a decree under the old Act, and according to his interpretation, no decree can be passed. Mr. Kar then refers to the other part of Section 40 which refers to the "remedy" but that again refers to "remedies instituted". The Act of 1956 nowhere says that in considering the question of requirement on ground of building and rebuilding it should always be deemed as if the Act was a permanent Act on the same basis of 1956. I am afraid, therefore, this does not help Mr. Kar. Mr. Kar then P.N. Mookerjee in M/s Sharma v. Radha Devi, 1956 AIR(Cal) 45 wherein Mr. Justice P.N. Mookerjee presiding over a Division Bench held "There is no "limit on the statute and there should be none". Mr. Kar invites me to come to the same decision and to follow the decision of the Division Bench with respect to this matter. The reply of Mr. Roy is that the parties are bound, so far as this case is concerned, by the judgment of Mr. Justice Chunder and Mr. Justice Chunder has given definite directions on the matter. That is undoubtedly so. I, therefore, refer to the judgment of Mr. Justice Chunder on that point. Mr. Justice Chunder directed the Court "for going into the "question of time within which the work may be reasonably "expected to be completed" and then he says that the question of time of completion must be understood as explained by him in the judgment. From the judgment we get "according to "Mr. Sen, who appeared for the tenants, the building must be "completed within the life time of the Act." Mr. Sanyal on behalf of the landlord did not accept that. If the building is to be constructed within an unreasonably long time, then it might be considered to be an illusory advantage. But Mr. Sanyal was not willing to accept the contention that the construction must be wholly within, the life time of the Act. Mr. Justice Chunder stated the two views and finally stated, "It "is not necessary for me in the present case at this stage to "give any final decision on this point of law.";
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