Abdulla v. Buhari
1952 Present: Gratiaen J., Pulle J. and L. M. D. de Silva J.
MOHAMED ABDULLA, Appellant, and SEYDISMAIL BUHARI, Respondent
8. C. 152—C. R. Colombo, 24,493
Rent Restriction Act, No. 29 of 1948—Section 13 (1) (c)—Premises required for trade
or business—Landlord has other partners in business—Sis right to eject tenant.
Where a partner in a certain business sought to recover from his tenantpossession of certain premises on the ground that he required them for thepurpose of the partnership business—
Held, that it was not necessary for a landlord, in order to avail himself of theprovisions of section 13 (1) (c) of the Rent Restriction Act, to show that thebusiness was carried on by him as sole proprietor. The words “ businessof …. the landlord ” covered the interest of a landlord in a partner-
Hass anally o. Jayaratne 1 overruled.
/^. PPL AT. from a judgment of the Court of Requests, Colombo. Itwas referred to a Bench of three Judges at the instance of Swan J. beforewhom it came up for hearing.
Thiagalingam, Q.C., with M. Rafeek and C. Shanmuganayagam,for the 1st defendant appellant.—This matter relates to the constructionof section 13 (1) (c) of the Rent Restriction Act, No. 29 of 1948. The1 (1948) 50 N. L. R. 140.
L. M. D. DE SILVA J.—Abd>Ma v. Buhari
plaintiff in the present case seeks to recover possession of the propertyfrom his tenant on the ground that he requires it for the purposes of abusiness in which he has a partnership interest. In Hassanally v.Jayaratne x, the Court, in interpreting the corresponding section, namely,section 8 (c), of the earlier Rent Restriction Ordinance, No. 60 of 1942,held that what partnership interest a landlord may have in a partner-ship business would not amount to “ a business of the landlord ”. Thisview, it is submitted, is correct. In order to interpret section 13 (1) (c)it is useful to look at the framework of the Act. The present Actchanged the earlier Ordinance in material respects—de Alwis v. Perera 1 2 3.The effect of this change is to give a more restrictive interpretation tothe word “ landlord ”. The Court must give the same meaning to theword “ landlord ” at the end of section 13 (1) (c) as in the rest of the Act.“ Occupation ” means physical occupation for purpose of individualuser. " Partnership interest ” is not “ business As to what ismeant by “ owning a business ” see Mohamed v. Warind 8. A partnershipbusiness does not belong to the co-partners. The object of the Actis the security of the tenant and as restrictive an interpretation aspossible must be given to section 13 (1) (c). See Baker v. Lewis4 ;Reigate Rural District Council v. Sutton District Council5 ; ShannonRealities Ltd. v. Ville De St. Michel6 ; Sangaralingam Pillaiv. Mohamadu 7 ;Hassanally v. Jayaratne (supra).
H. V. Perera, Q.C., with C. Renganathan, for the plaintiff respondent.—•Hassanally v. Jayaratne (supra) is wrong if the authority for the decisionis the English ease Baker v. Lewis (supra). The fact that anotherperson owns the business is a matter which only affects the question of“ reasonableness ”. See Hawke v. Frampton8. A restrictive interpre-tation should not be placed on the proviso which relaxes the restrictionin the section itself. Baker v. Lewis (supra) has not been correctlyapplied in Hassanally v. Jayaratne (supra). See McIntyre v. Hardcastle 9.
Thiagalingam, Q.C., in reply.—If two interpretations are possible“the Court should adopt that interpretation which has reference to theobjects of the Act.
Cur. adv. vult.
December 11, 1952. L. M. D. de Silva J.—•
In this case the correctness of the decision of this Court in Hassanallyv. Jayaratne 1 is disputed. It has been referred by My Lord the ChiefJustice to a Rench of three Judges at the instance of Swan J. beforewhom it came up for hearing.
1 (1948) 50 N. L. R. 140.
– (1951) 52 N. L. R. 433, at p. 443.
3 (1919) 21 N. L. R. 225, at p. 230.
* (1946) 2 A. E. R. 592.
9(1948) 1 A.
5 (1908) 99 L. T. 168.
8(1924) A. C. 185.
(1950) 51 N. L. R. 297.
(1947) 2 A. E. R. 604, at p. 606.E. R. 696.
L. M. D. DE SILVA J.—Abdulla v. BuhaH
In this case a partner in a certain business is seeking without theauthorisation of the Board to recover from his tenant possession ofcertain premises on .the ground that he needs them for the purpose ofthe partnership business. A condition for such a recovery is laid downin clause (c) in the proviso to sub-section 13 (1) of the Bent RestrictionAct No. 29 of 1948 thus :—
“ The premises are, in the opinion of the Court, reasonably requiredfor occupation as a residence for the landlord or any member of thefamily of the landlord, or for the purposes of the trade, business,profession, vocation or employment of the landlord. ”
The question which arises in this ease is whether this condition has beensatisfied.
It was argued that this clause should be interpreted narrowly againsta landlord as the general object of the Ordinance is to restrict the rightsof a landlord. We cannot agree. The clause seeks to relax'the dis-abilities elsewhere placed upon landlords by the Ordinance and thereis no reason to interpret it in the manner suggested.
Then it was said that the interest of the landlord in the business mustbe full and unqualified proprietorship and that he must be the soleproprietor. It was contended that the rights and interests of a partnerin a partnership business fall short of such proprietorship. We do notfeel able to agree. It was necessary, for counsel for appellant, in orderto maintain this point, to go so far as to contend that where there ismore than one landlord and all the landlords are partners in a businessthey cannot seek the aid of the clause to regain possession of the premiseslet. We think that in the context in which they appear the words“ business of …. the landlord ” cover the interest of a landlord
in a partnership business.
On the question whether the landlord must require the premises forliimself alone we are of the opinion that so long as it is established thatthe landlord requires the premises for himself the condition is satisfied,-and that it is immaterial whether he requires the premises for himselfalone or for himself and others. It may be that the interest of theplaintiff in a business when compared with the interest of others forwhom along with himself he wants the premises is relatively small.This is a consideration which would weigh in deciding whether therequest of the landlord is “ reasonable ” or not, but it does not in ourview affect the conclusion that the premises are “ required ” by thelandlord within the meaning of the clause. In this case he requiresthe premises for himself and his partners and we do not think that thisfact avoids the claim. The question of reasonableness has not beenraised on this appeal and we need not consider it.
It follows from what we have said that if there are several landlordswho with others are partners in a partnership business it is sufficientif all the landlords require the premises and that it is immaterial thatthey require the premises not only for themselves but for themselves
PKef is v. Savunhanijf
and the other partners. A contrary view was taken in the case ofHass anally v. Jayaratne (supra) which was based upon the decision inthe case of Baker r. Lewis 1. With all respect we think the latter casecan and should be distinguished. That case supports the propositionthat where there are more landlords than one it must be shown thateach of them has an interest in the business but it leaves unaffectedthe view that it is immaterial that persons other than the landlordshave also such an interest.
For the reasons we have given the appeal is dismissed with costs.
Gratiae^ J.—I agree.
Pottle J.—I agree.
MOHOMED ABDULLA , Appellant ,and SEYD ISMAIL BUHARI Respondent