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S. Ganesan vs The Commissioner And Secretary To … on 23 June, 1986

Madras High Court
S. Ganesan vs The Commissioner And Secretary To … on 23 June, 1986
Equivalent citations: (1987) 1 MLJ 128
Author: M Chandurkar


JUDGMENT

M.N. Chandurkar, C.J.

1. The appellant, who is admittedly in the employment of the railway administration was allotted premises bearing door No. 92, Bazar Road, Mylapore, Madras 4, as residential accommodation on a rent of Ra. 50. The present respondent No. 3 who is the landlady, purchased the premises in the occupation of the appellant as well as another adjacent premises bearing door No. 93, Bazar Road, Madras k, on 1st June, 1981.

2. Within six months, on 30th December, 1981, the landlady applied to the Authorised Officer under Section 3A of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960 (hereinafter referred to as the Rent Control Act) that she bona fide required the premises in question for her own occupation. It is not very clear as to whether the copy of this application which is required to be made under Rule 6 of the Rules giving the details prescribed therein, was issued to the allottee. But the record discloses that he had addressed a copy of the representation which he had made to the Minister for Housing through the Collector of Madras, who is the Accommodation Controller, for his consideration. In this representation, the allottee has stated that he understood that the new landlady had applied for release of the premises in his occupation from the Accommodation Controller. His, case in the said representation was that’ with a view to create an artificial case for release of the premises, the landlady got one sale deed in respect of the two houses and that she was free to occupy the upstairs portion of the premises No. 92, Bazar Road, which was then vacant because the tenant of that upstairs portion had vacated. His case was that if he was asked to vacate the premises in question, it would be impossible for him to pay exhorbitant rent and therefore, the premises, in question should not be released. This representation came to be made on 9th March, 1982. The record discloses that the landlady also later on furnished to the Authorised Officer Xerox copies of the order of the Rent Controller and the Appellare Authority, which showed that the premises in which she was staying along with her husband, were the subject matter of petitions under Section 10(3)(a)(i) and Section 10(2)(ii)(b) of the Rent Control Act, and that the landlady’s husband was ordered to be evicted from the premises.

3. In the course of the enquiry made by the Authorised Officer, a statement of the landlady was recorded. Details of the accommodation available at present and accommodation available in the new premises purchased by the landlady were given by the Revenue Inspector and a report came to be made After considering all this material, the Authorised Officer came to the conclusion that the need of the landlady was just and, therefore, an order came to be made by the Authorised Officer, that the allottee had to be evicted and the allottee should either secure separate accommodation of his own or should apply for allotment of another house. It is however, extremely, doubtful whether a Central Government servant would be entitled to the accommodation under the Rent Control Act.

4. The allottee then filed an appeal, as contemplated by Section 3A(3) of the Rent Control Act. This appeal lies to the Government. When the appeal came to be filed, the Government once again made enquiries. The statement of the allottee himself came to be recorded and the Government later on dismissed the appeal. In the order dismissing the appeal the Government set out the contention of the landlady and found that her request for release was bona fide. The order notices the fact that the allottee has already been allotted quarters as a railway employee. This order of the State Government was challenged by the allottee in the writ petition. Along with the writ petition he filed a certificate from the railway authorities that no accommodation had been allotted to him. However, the learned single Judge proceeding on the footing that the appellant had let out the premises, allotted to him by the railway, dismissed the writ petition. This appeal is filed against that order of dismissal of the writ petition.

5. Mr. N. Varadarajan, appearing on behalf of the allottee has vehemently contended before us -that the appellant had filed along with the writ petition a letter from the railway authorities that no accommodation was allotted to him and yet, the learned Judge proceeded on the footing that he had let out the premises which was allotted by the railways. A grievance was also made before us that the allottee has not been given any opportunity whatsoever before the authorised officer to show that the need of the landlady was not bona fide. In support of the contention that the allottee was entitled to an opportunity before the Authorised Officer reliance has been placed on a decision of Ramanujam, J. in Swaminathan v. State of Tamil Nadu (1985) 1 M.L.J. 318 : 98 L.W. 346. The learned Judge while construing the provisions of Section 3A of the Act, held that Section 3A and the rules appear to proceed on the basis that even though the Government is a statutory tenant and the allottee is merely a licensee in occupation of the premises, he has a right of representation before the Accommodation Controller while deciding the question as to whether building is to be released or not and he is also entitled to file an appeal if the order of release is made overlooking his representation. The learned Judge referred to two earlier single Bench decisions of this Court in Viswanathan v. The Collector of Madras (W.P. 9559 of 1982) and Durai v. Government of Tamil Nadu (1976) 89 L.W. 558. In the first decision, Sathiadev, j. has held that where an order of release is passed by the State Government under Section 3(3) of the Act the allottee was not entitled to challenge that order. In the second case, Mohan, 3, has held that the release of the premises allotted to a Government servant amounts to a revocation of the licence granted in favour of the allottee and such allottee is not entitled to any notice. But the learned Judge had differred from those two decisions on the footing that in view of the enactment of Section 3A in the Act and the fact that the provision of appeal was widely worded in Section 3A(3) of the Act, an allottee must be held to have been given a right of representation and also a right of appeal.

6. It is not necessary for us to go into the correctness of this view of Ramanujam, D. or the correctness of the view in the other two decisions, because it appears to us that assuming that the allottee had a right of representation before the appropriate authority he had in fact made that representation. We have already referred to the contents of that representation which was in the form of a copy of the representation made to the Minister for Housing. But apart from that, what is more substantial is that when the matter was pending in appeal before the State Government the State Government heard the appellant is clear from the statement of the appellant recorded on 20th November, 1982. This statement is signed by the appellant. The State Government had, therefore, before it a statement of the appellant himself. If the Authorised Officer had declined to give an opportunity to the allottee, then the State Government who also have the same powers as those of the appellate authority is also competent, to make the necessary enquiry. The statement was before the appellate authority. The statement of the landlady was also before the appellate authority and if on a consideration of the respective statements, the State Government has reached a conclusion that the order of the appropriate authority was proper, it is difficult to see how this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India could re-appreciate the evidence taken into account by the Subordinate authorities.

7. It is undoubtedly true that the order of the State Government is not very happily, worded. But it is obvious that the State Government was satisfied that the need of the landlady was bona fide. Even if we reconsider the matter it is diffficult to see how it is open to the allottee to challenge the bona fides of the need of the landlady. She has purchased two properties for personal occupation and nothing prevented her from waiting for the appellant-tenant to vacate the premises so that she could occupy both the premises together. Merely because she has succeeded in persuading one tenant to leave the premises, that would not create any infirmity in the basic need with reference to which she had puchased both the premises. If there is bona fide need on a comparison of the extent of the accommodation required and that in possession of the landlady at the moment and if on the materials on record it is not possible to sa that the landlady’s claim is mala fide, then the orders of the Authorised Officer and the State Government will have to be upheld.

8. In the result, the appeal fails and it is dismissed. Originally, the Authorised Officer had granted three months time to vacate the premises in question. Accordingly, the allottee is granted three months time from today to vacate the premises, in question. He is at liberty to approach the appropriate authorities for allotment of accommodation, if it is permissible. There will, however, be no order as to costs.

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