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Hameedia Hardware Stores, Represented by its Partner S. Peer Versus B. Mohan Lal Sowcar

1988 (3) TMI 449 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Civil Appeal No. 1014 of 1988 - Dated:- 29-3-1988 - E. S. Venkataramiah And N. D. Ojha, JJ. For the Appellant : Nalini Chidambaram, Setia Vaidalingam, N. Thiagarajan and Radha For the Respondent : S. Srinivasan JUDGMENT E. S. Venkataramiah, J. The question which arises for consideration in this case is whether a landlord who seeks eviction of a tenant from a non-residential building (other than a non-residential building which is used for keeping a vehicle or adapted for such use) under section .....

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emises bearing No. 157, Kutcheri Road, Mylapore, Madras-4. The appellant purchased the said running business from the brother of the respon-dent on 5.7.1974. The said building, however, belonged to the father of the respondent. After purchasing the business, the appellant became a tenant under the father of the respondent by paying an advance of ₹ 1,500 and agreeing to pay a rent at the rate of ₹ 450 per month for the portion in which it commenced to carry on the business. In the rea .....

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a notice from an advocate, who was acting on behalf of the father of the respondent terminating the tenancy of the appellant in respect of both the portions with effect from 31.12.1980 and requiring the appellant to deliver possession of the two portions of the ground floor of the premises in question to the father of the respondent on the ground that he needed the premises for the occupation of his son. The appellant sent a reply denying the right of the respondent's father to evict the app .....

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in respect of both the portions specifying that the lease should remain in force till 8.5.1983. After the expiry of the said period, it is stated, the respondent again demanded enhanced rent. On the appellant not complying with the said demand the respondent instituted a petition for eviction of the appellant in the Court of the Controller at Madras under section 10(3)(a)(iii) of the Act on the ground that the premises in question were needed by his wife for carrying on pawn broker business whi .....

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of residential character. Aggrieved by the decision of the Controller the respondent preferred an appeal before the Appellate Authority. The Appellate Authority dismissed the appeal. Thereupon the respondent preferred a revision petition before the High Court of Madras inCivil Revision Petition No. 215 of 1986. That petition was allowed by the High Court holding that it was not necessary for the respondent to establish that his requirement was bona fide as the question of bona fides of a landlor .....

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ase is whether it is necessary for a landlord, who institutes a petition under section 10(3)(a)(iii) of the Act, to establish that his requirement is bona fide or not. As can be seen from the long title of the Act it was enacted by the State Legislature to amend and consolidate the law relating to the regulation of the letting of residential and non-residential buildings and the control of rents of such buildings and the prevention of unreasonable eviction of tenants therefrom in the State of Ta .....

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the building. (i) in case it is a residential building, if the landlord required it for his own occupation or for the occupation of any member of his family and if he or any member of his family is not occupying a residential building of his own in the city, town or village concerned; (ii) in case it is a non-residential building which is used for the purpose of keeping a vehicle or adapted for such use, if the landlord required it for his own use or for the use of any member of his family and .....

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at the claim of the landlord is bona fide, make an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building on such date as may be specified by the Controller and if the Controller is not so satisfied he shall make an order rejecting the application." For purposes of sub-section (3) of section 10 of the Act the buildings are classified into two categories by the Act, namely, residential buildings and non-residential buildings. Sub-clause (i) of clause (a) of sub-section .....

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section 10 of the Act relates to eviction from a non-residential building which is used for the purpose of keeping a vehicle or adapted for such use. If the landlord required such a building for his own use or for the use of any member of his family and if he or any member of his family is not occupying any such building in the city, town or village concerned which is his own he can apply for the eviction of the tenant therefrom. Sub-clause (iii) of clause (a) of sub- section (3) of section 10 o .....

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if the landlord required it for his own use or for the use of any member of his family' are not to be found in sub-clause (iii) of section 10(3)(a) of the Act. Clause (e) of section 10(3) of the Act, however, provides that the Controller shall, if he is satisfied that the claim of the landlord is bona fide make an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building on such date as may be specified by the Controller and if the Controller is not so satisfied he shall m .....

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e to the eviction from non- residential buildings, the words 'if the landlord required it for his own use or for the use of any member of his family' which are found in sub-clause (ii) of section 10(3)(a) should be read into sub-clause (iii) of section 10(3)(a) also and that a landlord should establish in order to succeed in a petition for eviction filed under section 10(3)(a)(iii) of the Act that his requirement or the requirement of a member of his family is bona fide. It is also argue .....

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Khan Mohammed v. P. Narayanan Nambiar & Others, 99 Law Weekly 966 that there was no need for a landlord to establish the bona fides of his requirement or the requirement of a member of his family when a petition is filed under section 10(3)(a)(iii) of the Act and it is enough if his claim is proved to be bona fide. The High Court has upheld the said plea of the respondent relying upon the said three decisions. The correctness of these three decisions is questioned before us by the appellant .....

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1949 which at the relevant time provided that a landlord might apply to the Controller for directing a tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building in question if he required it for the re-construction of that building or for its replacement by another building or for the erection of other buildings. In that case the Rent Controller and the Appellate Authority had rejected the claim of the landlord on the ground that the landlord had not established that the premises in question were .....

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tion. Thus it is seen that in the context of a law enacted for preventing unreasonable evictions this Court read into a ground on which a landlord could seek the eviction of his tenant that the landlord should establish that his requirement was bona fide. A mere desire on the part of the landlord to re-construct a building was not sufficient to evict a tenant from the premises. He had to establish that he needed the premises bona fide for re-construction it. In a later case, i.e., Neta Ram v. Ji .....

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g whether the tenant should be ordered to hand over the possession to the landlord the Courts must have regard to the bona fide requirement of the landlord which meant that the desire to rebuild the premises should be honestly held by the landlord but that the condition of the building also played an important part in determining whether the landlord had the intention genuinely and the landlord was not using the said excuse as a device to get rid of the tenants. In that connection the Rent Contr .....

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e revision petition filed before it holding that upon the evidence on record it had been established beyond doubt that the landlord genuinely and bona fide required the premises for re-building. On appeal by special leave to this Court, this Court observed that the very purpose of the Rent Restriction Act would be defeated if the landlords were to come forward and to get tenants turned out, on the bare plea that they wanted to reconstruct the house without first establishing, that the plea was b .....

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(Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960, provides for eviction of tenants in certain circumstances. Sub-section 3(a)(iii) of the section allows a landlord to apply to the Controller for an order directing a tenant to put him in possession of the building if the landlord is not occupying for purposes of business which he is carrying on, a non- residential building in the city, town or village concerned which is his own. The second proviso to this clause is to the effect that where a landlord has alre .....

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ngle Judge of the High Court disagreed with the views expressed by another single Judge in Abdul Rahman's case (supra) and observed thus: "The question now is whether an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession should be made. It is pointed out by the learned counsel for the respondent landlord following a ruling of this Court in Abdul Rahman v. S. Sadasivam, that there is no jurisdiction for the Rent Controller to go into the question of bona fide requirement in a c .....

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der of eviction in case the landlord is not occupying for the purpose of business which he is carrying on, any non-residential building in the city which is his own. The learned Judge further pointed out that when the provisions of s. 10(3)(a)(i) and s. 10(3)(a)(iii) use different expressions, it should be taken that the Legislature intended these provisions to have different operations. With respect to the learned Judge, I may point out that the mere absence of the word 'require' in s. .....

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10. The landlord may have a right to evict the tenant under the general law. S. 10(3)(a) says that the landlord may, subject to the provisions of Cl. (d), apply to the Controller for an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the buildings. S. 10(3)(a)(i) deals with residential buildings. S. 10(3)(a)(ii) deals with non-residential buildings used for purpose of keeping vehicles. S. 10(3)(a)(iii) is in respect of non-residential buildings. S. 10(3)(b) gives a right to reli .....

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a fide make an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building on such date as may be specified by the Controller and if the Controller is not so satisfied he shall make an order rejecting the application.' I find in the judgment of Ramanujam, J. this S. 10(3)(e) has not been adverted to. S. 10(3)(e) applies to Ss. 10(3)(a)(i), 10(3)(a)(ii) and 10(3)(a)(iii) and also to Ss. 10(3)(b) and 10(3)(c). If the Legislature intended that the provisions of S. 10(3)(a)(i) a .....

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fide of the claim, or else he should dismiss it." The main ground on which the learned Judge who decided the above case disagreed with the decision in Abdul Rahman's case (supra) is that in Abdul Rahman's case (supra) section 10(3)(e) of the Act, which applied to all the three sub- clauses, namely (i), (ii) and (iii) in section 10(3)(a) of the Act had not been adverted to. The learned Judge also held that the mere absence of the word 'require' in section 10(3)(a)(iii) of the .....

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ority has not adverted to these features at all and in one place he observes that the bona fide of the claim of the landlord is extraneous and it should not be tested too severely. This exposes his wrong approach to the question of bona fide which is a relevant one. The very ingredient of section 10(3)(e) of the Act requires that the question of bona fide has got to be tested and it has got a due place while adjudicating a petition for eviction by the landlord under the concerned provisions. It .....

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ts, and it is for the Appellate Authority to advert to them and adjudicate upon the question afresh one way or the other. The discussions above oblige me to interfere in revision and accordingly the revision is allowed and the matter stands remitted to the Appellate Authority for him to consider it afresh taking note of all the relevant features and factors of the case on the question of bona fides, and pass appropriate orders. Both the counsel represent that for the purpose of comprehensive adj .....

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86] Mad. L.J. 115 another learned Judge of the High Court of Madras has construed section 10(3)(e) of the Act thus: "It is not disputed that section 10(3)(e) of Act 18 of 1960 is applicable to the case of residential building as well as non-residential building and it is provided therein that if the Controller is satisfied that the claim of the landlord is bona fide, he shall make an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building; otherwise, he has to reject th .....

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's case (supra) held that it was not necessary to establish the bona fide equipment of the landlord when he made an application for eviction under section 13(3)(a)(iii) of the Act was that, the word 'require' was not to be found in section 10(3)(a)(iii) of the Act. We are of the view that having regard to the pattern in which clause (a) of sub- section (3) of section 10 of the Act is enacted and also the context, the words 'if the landlord required it for his own use or for the u .....

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eping a vehicle or adapted for such use, if the landlord required it for his own use or for the use of any member of his family and if he or any member of his family is not occupying any such building in the city, town or village concerned which is his own; and in case it is any other non-residential building, if the landlord or any member of his family is not occupying for purposes of a business which he or any member of his family is carrying on, a non-residential building in the city, town or .....

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eed also when a landlord is seeking eviction of a tenant from a garage than in the case of a non-residential building which is occupied by large commercial house for carrying on business. The learned counsel for the respondent was not able to explain as to why the State Legislature gave greater protection to tenants occupying premises used for keeping vehicles or adapted for such use than to tenants occupying other types of non- residential buildings. It is no doubt true that the Court while con .....

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ork on the constructive task of finding the intention of Parliament ..... and then he must supplement the written word so as to give 'force and life' to the intention of the legislature ..... A judge should ask himself the question how, if the makers of the Act had themselves come across this ruck in the texture of it, they should have straightened it out? He must then do as they would have done. A judge must not alter the material of which the Act is woven but he can and should iron out .....

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n. The Court is only construing the words of the statute in a reasonable way having regard to the context. We are of the view that by merely proving that the premises in question is a non-residential building and that the landlord or any member of his family is not occupying for the purpose of a business which he or any member of his family is carrying on any residential building in the city, town or village concerned which is his own, the landlord cannot in the context in which section 10(3)(a) .....

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to prove that his claim is bona fide a landlord should establish that he deserves to be put in possession of the premises which is in the occupation of a tenant. Any decision on the question whether a landlord deserves to be put in possession of a premises in the occupation of a tenant should naturally depend upon the bona fides of the landlord's requirement or need. The word 'claim' in clause (e) of section 10(3) of the Act should, therefore, he construed as 'the requirement .....

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t. Take a case where a landlord for some oblique reason wishes to get rid of his tenant from a non-residential building of the category mentioned in section 10(3)(a)(iii) and to achieve his aim fakes to start money-lending business (for which indeed no specified separate portion in a building may be needed) in a building not belonging to him and to create evidence even actually lends money to some of his friends or relatives and a week thereafter applies for eviction of the tenant on the ground .....

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of making the application is factually carrying on business and has no non-residential building of his own in his occupation in the city, town or village concerned is to be construed sufficient to make his claim bona fide, the tenancy of no non-residential building will be secure. It will be preposterous to attribute such an intention to the legislature. Such a contingency should be avoided as it would be against the very object of the Act itself. The need of the landlord should be genuine. Tha .....

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