IRENE Vs. V S VENKATARAMAN
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
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(1.)The suit premises are situated in Chennai and are admittedly governed by the provisions of-the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control Act) , 1960 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act', for short). The landlord - respondents initiated proceedings for eviction of the tenant - appellant on the grounds available under sections 10 (2) (ii) (a) and (b) , and 10 (3) (c) of the Act alleging that the tenant had sub-let the tenancy premises although the lease did not confer on the tenant any right to do so, that the tenant had used the building for the purpose other than that for which it was leased and that the landlords, occupying only a part of the building, required additional accommodation for their activities. The rent controller and the appellate authority negatived all the three grounds and therefore, directed the eviction petition to be dismissed. The landlords preferred a revision under section 25 of the Act to the high Court which has been allowed and holding the availability of grounds of eviction on all the three counts, the High Court has directed the tenant to be evicted.
(2.)It appears that the building, at one time, was owned by professor T. M. P. Mahadevan. He created a trust and appointed the landlord - respondents as trustees. The ownership of the building vests in the trust. The tenant-appellant is a disciple of late Prof. Mahadevan. The first floor of the premises is in occupation of the trust and its trustees, while the ground floor is held by the tenant on lease from the trust. It appears that the tenant is a foreigner and for a major part of the year keeps travelling outside the country and stays in India only for a few months in a year. According to the trustee-landlords, the tenant has sublet the premises and although the premises were let out for the residence of herself, she has permitted them to be used by persons other than herself and therefore, there is a change of user of the premises. It was also alleged that trustees were performing pooja and ceremonies according to the tenets of late Prof. Mahadevan and arranging discourses in the hall situated on the first floor but looking at the number of participants and visitors, the hall on first floor was proving to be inadequate accommodation and therefore, the ground floor, in occupation of the tenant-appellant, was needed by the landlords.
(3.)According to the tenant, the tenant has a watchman, a caretaker, a driver and a representative in her employment, who stay in the premises with herself and while she goes out of the country, the premises are left under the care of her employees who stay there only to take care of the premises. Neither the possession of the premises has been parted with by the tenant nor such employees are in occupation of the premises on their own. The premises continue to be used for the purpose of residence of the tenant and therefore, there is no change of user. As to the need for additional accommodation as pleaded by the landlord-respondents, the same was denied.
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