WUkxniWABBENE S.P.J.—Nathurmal Oianchand v. Makaty.
1946Present : Wljeyewardene S.P.J.
NATHURMAL GIANCHAND ef al., Appellants, andMAKATY, Respondent.
112—C. R. Colombo, 99,765.
Landlord and tenant—Premises let to firm of partners—Notice to quit addressedto name of firm—Validity of notice.
Where a landlord lets premises to partners carrying on business undera firm name a notice to quit addressed to the name of the firm and notto the individual partners would be valid and sufficient notice.
PPEAL from a judgment of the Commissioner of Requests,Colombo.
Iff. I. M.. Haniffa (with him M. Abdulla), for the defendants, appellants.No appearance for the plaintiff-respondent.
Cur. adv. vult.
July 23, 1946. Wijeybwabdbne S.P.J.—
The three defendants are carrying on business in partnership as dealersin textiles under the name of G. Khanchand & Bros., at No. 213a, SecondCross street, Pettah, from which the plaintiff, their landlord, seeks toeject them in this action.
The Commissioner of Requests entered judgment for the plaintiff butdirected that the writ of ejectment should not issue till August 31, 1946.The defendants have appealed from that judgment.
Two questions arise for determination on this appeal:—
(1) Is the notice to quit (D1 of July 16, 1945) given by the plaintiffa valid and sufficient notice ?
(2) Is the plaintiff barred by the provisions of the Rent RestrictionOrdinance, No. 60 of 1942, from obtaining a decree of ejectment ?The notice D1 was addressed to “ G. Khandchand Brothers ” askingthem to quit the premises on August 31, 1945. It was delivered atNo. 213a, Second Cross street, Pettah. A copy of the notice was alsosent to the Proctor for the defendants. It was contended for thedefendants-appellants that the notice was bad as it was not addressed tothe individual partners. I am unable to uphold that contention. Theevidence led by the defence shows that all the defendants were aware ofthe notice and, in fact, that they all asked their Proctor to send a replyto that notice on July 20, 1945. Moreover, under our law a firm is not aseparate and distinct legal persona. The firm name is a conventionalname applicable to the persons who are partners of the firm at the timewhen the name is used. As Underhill puts it (vide Principles of theLaw of Partnership, Fifth Edition, page 58) the firm name is recognised,as a convenient symbol for collectively designating all the partners justas one uses “ a ” and “ b ” in algebraic computations to designate knownquantities which it would be inconvenient to specify at length. I mayalso refer in this connection to the observations made in Hawtrey v.Beaufront, Ltd.1 where the Court had to consider the sufficiency of a*■ (1946) 1 Kings Bench 280.
WIJEYE WARDENE S.P..J.—Naihurmal Olanehand v. Mnkaiy.
notice to quit addressed to the directors of the Corporation and not tothe Corporation itself, which was the tenant of the premises in question.
I shall proceed now to consider the second point raised by the appellants’Counsel.
The plaintiff is a lessee of the four bout ques Nos. 207,209, 213a and 213,Second Cross street, Pettah. He carried on his trade as a dealer incoriander, chillies, &c., at Nos. 207, 209 and 213a from about 1941 andgave No. 213 on rent to a third party. In January, 1943, he left for Indiahaving sold all his stock in trade, and remained there till about July,1945. In the meantime an agent of his took charge of the boutiques andgave them on rent to various persons.
The defendants themselves have been carrying on business as dealers intextiles from 1941. The first place of business was No. 213, Main street,which they had to *vacate in 1944 on receiving twenty-four hours’ noticefrom the Government Agent, Western Province, who wanted the premisesfor the Textile Control Department. Compelled to make arrangementsat such short notice the defendants removed their stock to a place inSecond Cross street which was not at all suitable for their business.After a few months they took the premises in question—No. 213a,Second Cross street—from an agent of the plaintiff at a rental of Rs. 50a month as from March 1, 1946. They paid three months’ rent inadvance before they went into occupation and further gave two chequesfor Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 3,000 on an undertaking by the plaintiff’s agentto give a notarial lease of the boutique. The cheque for Rs. 1,000 hasbeen cashed but the defendants stopped payment of the cheque forRs. 3,000 when they found the plaintiff’s agent was delaying to give alease of the boutique. When the plaintiff returned to Ceylon in July,1945, he sent D1 to the defendants asking them to quit the premises atthe end of the following month and demanding payment of the arrearsof rent, ignoring all the payments made by the defendants. Fearingthat the plaintiff may question the validity of the payments already made,and unwilling to risk an ejectment from the premises on the ground thatthey had committed default in payment of the rent, the defendantsforwarded cheques to the plaintiff for rent from March 1, 1946.
Giving evidence in Court the plaintiff stated as follows his reasons forwanting possession of the boutique :—“ Whatever articles are availablein the market I propose to purchase and sell in these premises ”. Headmitted that he had no stock at present. On the other hand it is notdisputed that the defendants are actively engaged in the textile trade andthat they have stock worth about Rs. 20,000. The defendants havestated further in their evidence that they failed to find any other placefor their business though they made many efforts to find one after theyreceived the notice Dl.
Taking all the relevant facts into consideration I am not satisfied thatthe premises are reasonably required by the plaintiff for the purposes ofhis trade.
I allow the appeal and dismiss the plaintiff’s action with costs hereand in the Court below.
NATHURMAL GIANCHAND et al , Appellants , and MAKATY, Respondent