ROAD DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY AND OTHERSCOURT OF APPEAL
SALEEM MARSOOF P. C., J (P/CA).
C. A. 532/2003SEPTEMBER 1,2004
Writ of Certiorari – Government Quarters (Resocvery of Possession) Act 7 of1969 as amended by Act 8 of 1981 – Section 3, 9 – Is the power to serve a quitnotice limited to a case where the person in occupation is an employee of theState? Can an independent contractor be evicted? Locus standii?
The Petitioner who was a private sub-contractor for the Road ConstructionDevelopment Company (RCDC), In 1988, the house in dispute had beenhanded over to him by the RCDC and occupied by him from 1988 while he wasworking for the R. C. D. C. The R. C. D. C. requested the Petitioner to hand overpossession of the said premises to the Road Development Authority (R. D. A.)and as these premises were not handed over as required a quit notice underthe provisions of the Government Quarters Recovery of Possession Act wasissued by the R. D. A.
The Petitioner contends that the premises were not handed over to him by theR. D. A. and therefore the Respondents are not entitled to issue a Notice toquit.
The premises belong to the R. D. A. The R. C. D. C. had requested theR. D. A. to hand over the premises for a stated purpose and it washanded over to the R. C. D. C. by the R. D. A.
The R. C. D. C. is the construction arm of the R. D. A., when the RCDChanded over the premises to the Petitioner it was given on behalf ofthe R. D. A. Therefore the Respondent R. D. A. is entitled to issue aquit Notice.
Sri Lanka Law Reports
(2005) 2 Sri L. R.
The power to serve a quit Notice is not limited to a case which theperson in occupation is an employee of the State, Quarters provided"to anyperson” by a Public Corporation can be recovered under theAct.
APPLICATION for a Writ of Certiorari.
Cases referred to :
1. Balasundaram vs Chairman, Janatha Estate Development Board and others1977- 1SLR 84 at 85
Sunil F. Cooray with Livanage for Petitioner.
M. N. Idroos State Counsel for Respondent.
October 15, 2004
cur. adv. vult.
Marsoof, P. C., J (P/CA) – I agree.
S.SRISKANDARAJAH, JThe Petitioner after retirement from the Department of Highways in 1986had been functioning as a private sub contractor for the Road ConstructionDevelopment Company from 1988. The house in dispute had been occupiedby the petitioner from 1988 while he was working as a contractor for theRoad Construction and Development Company Private Limited. By a letterdated 16.12.1998 (X9) the District Manager of the Road Construction andDevelopment Company had requested the petitioner to hand overpossession of the said premises to the Road Development Authority therespondent. It is common ground that the premises had been originallyhanded over to the petitioner by the Road Construction and DevelopmentCompany.
The respondent by his letter dated 27.1.2003 had issued a quit noticeunder Section 3 of the Government Quarters (Recovery of Possession)
Thame! Vs Road Development Authority And Others!
Act No. 7 of 1969 as amended by Act No. 8 of 1981, notifying the petitionerto vacate the premises in dispute on or before 10.4.2003. The petitionersubmits that the premises in dispute on which the aforesaid quit noticehad been issued is not given to the petitioner by the respondent. But itwas handed over to the petitioner by the Road Construction and DevelopmentCompany and therefore the respondents is not entitled to issue a quitnotice under Government Quarters (Recovery of Possession) Act for thesaid premises as a competent authority under the said Act. Therefore hesubmitted the quit notice is ultra vires and it has to be quashed.
The counsel for the respondents submitted that'on the request madeby the Road Construction and Development Company Limited which isthe construction arm of the respondent by its letter dated 19.10.1990 (Y1)handed over the said premises to the Road Construction and DevelopmentCompany Limited (Y2). Thereafter On the 4th November 98 (X8) therespondent requested the possession to be restored and consequence tothis request the Road Construction and Development Company Limitedrequested the petitioner who was in occupation of the said premises tohand over possession to the respondent by it's letter dated 3rd February
(X9). In the mean time the respondent also by its letter dated 25thJuly 2000 requested the petitioner to hand over possession of the saidpremises within fourteen days. The petitioner by his letter of 9th August
(Y7) requested respondent to grant him time to vacate the premisesand the respondent acceded to this request and permitted the petitionerto occupy the said premises for a period of two years from 9.8.2000. Andat the expiration of the two years the respondent by its letter dated 24thDecember 2002 requested the petitioner to hand over vacant possessionof the said premises. The petitioner had sought further six months time tovacate the said premises by his letter of 26th August, 2002 (Y9). Therespondent after considering this request had given him further period offour months until the 9th of December, 2002 by its letter dated 29.8.2002(Y10). As the petitioners failed and neglected to hand over possession ofthe said premises to the respondent a notice of quit was sent to thepetitioners by the respondent a notice of quit was sent to the petitionersby the respondent on 13th December, 2002 (Y11) in terms of GovernmentQuarters (Recovery of Possession) Act.
In this instance case the respondent has sought the provisions of theGovernment Quarters (Recover/ of Possession) Act to recover possessionof a premises belonging to them. This was given to the respondent by the
1 7 S
Sri Lanka Law Reports
(2005) 2 Sn L. R.
Road Construction and Development Company Limited which is thecosntruction arm of respondent. The position of the petitioner is that hewas neither an employee of the respondent nor an employee of the RoadConstruction and Development Company Limited but he is only a subcontractor to the said company when he went into occupation and now heis an independent contractor. In addition he takes up the position that therespondent has not given this quarters to him for occupation, for thesereasons the respondent has no authority to invoke the provisions of theGovernment Quarters (Recovery of Possession) Act to recover possessionof the said quarters.
Kulathunga, J in Balasundaram The Chairman, Janatha EstateDevelopment Board and Others at 85 observed ;
"Section 3 of the Act empowers a competent authority to serve a quitnotice “on the occupier of a Government quarters" Under section 9 asamended by Act No. 8 of 1981 –
"Government quarters" means any building, room or otheraccommodation occupied for the use of resident which is providedby or on behalf of the Government or any public corporation to anyperson and includes any land or premises in which such building orroom or other accomadation is situated, but does not include anyhouse provided by the, Commissioner for National Houseing to whichPart V of the National Housing Act applies.
It is thus clear that the power to serve a quit note is not limited to acase where the person in occupation is an employee of the estate. Quartersprovided "to any person" by a public corporation can be recovered underthe Act."
Therefore the respondent is entitled to invoke the provisions of theGovernment Quarters (Recovery of Possession) Act to recover possessionof the quarters provided to the petitioner even though the petitioner wasnot an employee of the respondent.
The next question that has to be determined is whether the said premisesbelongs to the respondent and if it so was it given on behalf of therespondent. The fact that the said premises belongs to the respondent isnot disputed. The petitioners also by his letter of 9th August 2000 (Y7)and of 26th August, 2002 (Y9) accepted this position and had sought
Thame! Vs Road Development Authority And Others!
extensions of time from the respondent to occupy the send premises.Even though the petioner has not disclosed these facts in the petition,when these communications were brought to the notice of this court bythe respondents the petitioner admited this fact in his counter affidavit. Itis also evident from the pleadings of the petitioner that after his retirementin 1988. He was functioning as a private sub contractor to the RoadConstruction and Dvelopment Company Limited and he has submittedbills of payments issued by the said company for September 96 (X4) andMay 97 (X5). The petitioner also submitted that he came into occupationof the said premises when he was functioning as the sub contractor to theRoad Construction and Development Company Limited. But the petitionerhas no document to substantiate the date or the year on which he wentinto occupation.
The respondents submitted when the Road Construction andDevelopment Company Limited by its letter dated 19th October 1990 (Y1)requested the respondents to hand over the said premises for their purposeand accordingly it was handed over on the 5th November 1990 (Y2) to thesaid company. By these letters it is established that the premises inquestion belongs to the respondent. The Road Construction andDevelopment Company Limited which was the construction arm of therespondent has requested this premises from the respondent for storageand distribution purpose and it was given to the petitioner. In thesecircumstances it can be construed that the said premises was given onbehalf of the respondent. Therefore the respondent is entitled to invoke theprovisions of the Government Quarters (Recovery of Possession) Act, asit provides to recover possession of Quarters provided to any person by apublic corporation. For the foregoing reasons I hold that the impugned quitnotice is valid and that there is no grounds for quashing it by way ofcertiorari. Accordingly I dismiss this application without cost.
Judge of the Court of Appeal.Saleem Marsoof P. C., J. (P., C/A) – / agree.
President of the Court of Appeal.
THAMEL vs ROAD DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY AND OTHERS