(1.)This appeal from the judgment of the High Court of Judicature, Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad in C.R.P. No. 2236 of 1997 dated July 19, 1999 is by the tenant. The respondents are the landlords of a non-residential building bearing No. 4-6-244 (old No. 1883) Subhas Road, Subrie Street, Secunderabad which was earlier owned by one Smt. Pola Rajamaniamma who entered into an agreement of lease in regard to the ground floor of that building (for short, 'the premises') with the appellant. She sold the premises in favour of respondent No. 1 and one late Babu Lal Patel whose legal representatives are respondents Nos. 2 to 7. After the sale Smt. Pola Rajamaniamma sent a letter attorning the tenancy of M/s. Brij Mohan Chokkani and Sons (for short, 'the firm') in favour of respondents Nos. 2 to 7. Thereafter the rent was being paid by the firm to the said respondents and receipts therefor were being issued in favour of the firm. While so the respondents filed eviction petition in the Court of the Principal Rent Controller at Secunderabad against the appellant on various grounds under S. 10 of the A. P. Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act, 1960 (for short, 'the Act'). The appellant contested the eviction petition, inter alia, on the plea that he was not the tenant but the firm was the tenant of the premises, therefore, the eviction petition of the appellant was not maintainable. The learned Principal Rent Controller held that the firm was the tenant and dismissed the eviction petition on December 31, 1992. The respondent challenged the order of the learned Principal Rent Controller in the Court of the Chief Judge, City Small Causes Court at Hyderabad (the Appellate Authority under the Act). That finding of the learned Principal Rent Controller was confirmed by the Appellate Authority and the appeal was dismissed on February 26, 1997. Dissatisfied with the said judgment of the Appellate Authority the respondents filed C.R.P. No. 2236 of 1997 in the High Court. A learned single Judge of the High Court allowed the civil revision petition by order dated July 19, 1999. It is against that order that the appellant is before us in appeal by special leave.
(2.)Mr. Dhruv Mehta, the learned counsel appearing for the appellant contends that even before the attornment of the tenancy of the premises in favour of the respondents, the firm alone was the tenant; the firm was paying the rent and the erstwhile landlady was accepting the same and passing receipts in its favour. It was the tenancy of the firm but not the appellant that was attorned in favour of the respondents, therefore, the High Court has erred in holding that the appellant is the tenant of the premises. Mr. L. N. Rao, the learned Senior Counsel appearing for the respondents, has argued that merely by paying the rent the firm cannot become the tenant of the premises and that the letter of attornment does not carry the matter any further, because the firm was carrying on the business in the premises, the letter of attornment was addressed to the firm and that would not make the firm a tenant.
(3.)The short question that arises for consideration is : whether the High Court is right in interfering with the findings of fact recorded by the statutory authorities and holding that the appellant is the tenant of the premises.