(Prayer: Second Appeal filed under Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure against the Judgment and Decree dated 19.04.2005 passed in O.S.No.2630 of 1999 on the file of the II Assistant Judge, City Civil Court, Chennai, and as confirmed by a Judgment and Decree dated 22.09.2006 passed in A.S.No.587 of 2005 on the file of the VI Additional Judge, City Civil Court, Chennai.)
1. The defendant is the appellant before this Court seeking to question the concurrent Judgment and Decree of both the Courts below. The respondent / plaintiff filed a suit for recovery of possession and damages in respect of a property measuring 29 Grounds, situate in a prime locality, namely, a Greenways Road, Adyar, Chennai. The brief facts which has to be alluded to in order to more fully appreciate the Judgment and Decree under challenge is as follows. The parties are referred to in the same array as in the suit.
2. The plaintiff is the owner of over 97 Grounds and 1419 Sq.ft at Greenways Road, Adyar, Chennai. On 27.06.1973 this property was leased out to the defendant under a lease agreement. The lease was for a period of 25 years commencing from 01.07.1972 to 30.06.1996. The rent per month was fixed at a sum of Rs.40/-. The defendant was permitted to put up construction to the tune of Rs.20,000/- and at the end of the lease, unless the lease is renewed, the defendant was liable to surrender possession of the land and the buildings. The compensation that is payable to the defendant with reference to the superstructure put up by them was to be decided by the Commissioner, HR & CE.
3. The plaintiff would submit that if there is a default for three months then the lease was liable to be terminated. It is their case that on 14.04.1995, the defendant had requested for renewal of the lease to the Commissioner, HR & CE. On 26.05.1995 the Board of Trustees of the plaintiff temple had decided to reject the request. On 08.12.1995, the decision of the HR & CE department and the Board of Trustees of the plaintiff temple was communicated to the defendant and they were called upon to handover vacant possession of the property.
4. The defendant did not come forward to surrender possession. Thereafter, they had got in touch with the HR & CE department with a request that the lease be extended. On 26.07.1996, pursuant to the request for renewal the District Revenue Officer inspected the premises and found that there is no old age home functioning in the suit premises, but, on the contrary the same has been sublet to various persons and the defendant was collecting rents to the tune of over Rs.73,200/- per year. The lease had also expired on 30.06.1996.
5. Thereafter, the Commissioner, HR & CE department by order dated 30.08.1996, turned down the request of the defendant. On 16.10.1996, since the defendant had not vacated the premises, the plaintiff had issued a notice calling upon them to vacate and handover the vacant possession of the property.
6. The defendant had filed a written statement inter alia contending that they were Social Service organisation with a national base. The Tamil Nadu Branch was engaged in rendering service to aged people over and above the age of 65. They had also accepted the fact that property was taken on lease for 25 years at a rate of Rs.40/- per month. The defendant would come forward with a contention that the organisation is run on the donations collected from the public. The defendant would further submit that they had spent considerable amount of money for developing their lands, fortifying it and put up construction.
7. The grievance of the defendant was that despite their request to extend the lease, the plaintiff had without application of the mind rejected their request and this contention is highly arbitrary and capricious. They had also taken out a defense that though the lease had come to an end the defendant was permitted to continue in the property and therefore there is a deemed renewal.
8. They would further allege that the Section 106 notice under the Transfer of Property had not been issued in conformity with the provisions of the Act. The defendant had also expressed their willingness to pay market value of the rent to the plaintiff. Therefore, they sought for the dismissal of the suit.
9. The learned II Assistant City Civil Judge, Chennai had framed the following issues:
10. The learned Judge had returned a finding that the plaintiff was well within their rights to terminate the contract and that by committing default the defendant had violated the terms of the lease. The learned Judge had also decreed the suit with reference to the damages. The said order was taken up on appeal by the defendant to the VI Additional City Civil Judge, Chennai. The learned VI Additional City Civil Judge, framed the following points for consideration:
“1.Whether the appellant / defendant is entitled for extension of lease?
2. Whether the respondent / plaintiff is entitled for recovery of possession of land with superstructure thereon?
3. Whether the respondent / plaintiff is entitled for past and future mesne profits?”
11. The learned VI Additional City Civil Judge, Chennai held that the defendant had not made out any case for interference and since the period of lease had come to an end even as early as on 30.06.1996, the occupation of the premises was without any authority. The learned Judge had also considered Ex.A.4 inspection letter which would show that the property was being used for a different purpose and was utilised for making monetary benefits, which was against the purpose for which the lease was granted.
The lease was granted for the purpose of a social cause. Ultimately, the learned VI Additional City Civil Judge, Chennai, dismissed the appeal and confirmed the Judgment and Decree of the II Assistant City Civil Judge, Chennai. Aggrieved by the concurrent Judgment and Decree, the defendant is before this Court.
12. The above Second Appeal is yet to be admitted. However, both the parties have concluded their arguments in the main Second Appeal itself.
13. Mr.T.S.Baskaran, learned counsel appearing for the appellant would contend that the lease had to be extended on its termination. He would contend that the property was taken on lease for housing destitute women and for a old age home. He would further submit that the defendant have been very regular in the payment of the lease rentals and that there was no question of there being any default. He would further submit that in keeping with the terms of the lease deed, Ex.A.1 much prior to the period of the lease coming to an end, the defendant had made a request for renewal which request was turned down by the plaintiff temple. He would further argue that once the defendant has exercised the right of renewal by intimating the plaintiff the same could not be rejected. He would further submit that the allegation that the properties were let out to third parties and rents collected is absolutely false. He therefore prayed this Court to allow the Second Appeal by setting aside the Judgment and Decree of the Courts below.
14. Per contra, Ms.Usha Tholgappian, learned counsel appearing for the plaintiff herein would submit that the Courts below have extensively considered the evidence on record and come to the conclusion that there is a breach of the terms of the lease by the defendant. That apart, the reason for not renewing the lease was on account of the inspection carried out by the District Revenue Officer, during which they had found that the property was being sublet to the third parties and rents were being collected by the defendant. She would further contend that the lease had come to an end and even as per the terms of the lease, it is only if the parties have mutually agreed then the lease should be extended. In the instant case, the conduct of the defendant was not in keeping with the terms of the lease. She would further submit that since evidence has been extensively considered and findings recorded therein there, is no necessity for re-examining it by this Court sitting in the Second Appeal under Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
15. Heard the learned counsels and perused the records.
16. Admittedly, the lease came to an end on 30.06.1996 and it has not been extended. Thereafter, on the instructions of the Commissioner, HR & CE, the inspection has been done and the inspection report, Ex.A.4 has been marked by the plaintiff, wherein it is stated that the property is let out to third parties and the defendant are receiving the rents for the same. A reading of the documents would show that the lease agreement does not give an automatic right of renewal to the defendant.
17. The fact that the defendant has sublet t
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he properties, which is reflected in the inspection report of the District Revenue Officer, would clearly indicate that there has been a breach of the terms and conditions of the lease agreement by the defendant. For these reasons, it is well open to the land lord, namely, the plaintiff temple to refuse to renew the lease for a further period. The rent which has been received is also a pittance. Considering the fact that the property in question is situate in a prime locality, where, the present rental values are over six figures the decision of the plaintiff in not renewing the lease cannot be called in question. The Courts below have rightly dismissed the claim of the defendant. 18. The appellant has not made out any Substantial Question of law warranting interference of this Court under Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The Second Appeal therefore stands dismissed. Consequently, connected Miscellaneous Petition is also closed. There shall be no order as to costs.