NAGAX.INOAM J.—Jones v. Senaratne.
1948Present: Nagalingam J.
JONES, Appellant, and SENARATNE, Respondent.
S. C. 97—C. R. Colombo, 10,178.
Rent Restriction—Premises required by landlord—Purposes of employment—Meaningof word employment—Ordinance No. 60 of 1942—Section 8 (c).
Plaintiff, the Superintendent of the Boys’ Industrial Home, Wellawatta,belonging to the Methodist Church sued the defendant in ejectment on theground that the premises were required as a residence for the Works Managerof the institution.
Held, that it could not be said that the premises were required for the purposesof the plaintiff’s employment within the meaning of section 8 (c) of theBent Restriction Ordinance.
^PPEAL from a judgment of the Commissioner of Requests, Colombo.
A. M. Charavanamuttu, for the defendant, appellant.
E. B. Wikramanayake, for the plaintiff, respondent.
Cur. adv. wit.
June 29, 1948. Nagalingam J.—
This appeal involves the construction of an oft interpreted provisionof the Rent Restriction Ordinance against the background of a newsetting presented by fresh circumstances. The facts which give rise tothis piece of litigation are not in dispute. The plaintiff, who is theSuperintendent of the Boys’ Industrial Home and Orphanage, Wellawatta,sues the defendant in ejectment from certain premises of which thedefendant has been and is a monthly tenant. The premises belong to
N AG ALIN GAM J.—Jones v. Senaralne.
the Methodist Church and the title is vested in the trustees thereof. Oneof the predecessors in office of the plaintiff let the premises in questionto the defendant about six or seven years ago and the defendant hascontinued to occupy the premises, paying rent to successivesuperintendents in office. The premises stand on the ground on whichthe Boys’ Industrial Home and Orphanage is established and are statedto have been constructed as a residence for the Works Manager of theinstitution, but as the previous works manager was a bachelor and did notrequire the premises in question, they were let to the defendant. Thepresent works manager, however, is said to be a married man who nowfinds it necessary to have housing accommodation close to the insti-tution. In these circumstances the plaintiff deemed it necessary toterminate the tenancy of the defendant, which he did by notice dulygiven in that behalf.
The defence is that in view of the provision of section 8 (c) of the KentRestriction Ordinance, the plaintiff's claim for ejectment cannot bemaintained in law. This sub-section declares that a tenant can be suedfor ejectment where
“ the premises are, in the opinion of the Court, reasonably required
for occupation as a residence for the landlord or any member of the
family of the landlord or for the purposes of his trade, business,
profession, vocation or employment.”
On the facts as set out above, it may be doubted whether the plaintiff isin fact the landlord of the defendant for it is not every receipt of rentthat induces the relationship of landlord and tenant. It is elementary tostate that an agent employed by the owner of premises to receive rent onthe latter’s behalf does not thereby constitute himself the landlord of thetenant, much less can it be said that the contract of tenancy subsistingbetween the owner and the tenant is severed thereby. Besides, theSuperintendent of the Boys’ Industrial Home and Orphanage is not acorporation sole. As this aspect of the matter has not been put in issuebetween the parties in the lower court and has not been made the subjecteven of a ground of appeal, I do not think I need take any further noticeof it.
Assuming, therefore, that the plaintiff is the landlord of the defendant,obviously the premises are not required for occupation as a residencefor the plaintiff or for any member of his family. It is, however, saidthat the second limb of the sub-section applies, and though not everymember of that limb, the last of them. It is conceded that it cannot becontended that the premises are required for the purposes of the trade,business, profession or vocation of the plaintiff himself because he carrieson no trade, business, profession or vocation on his own for the purposesof which the premises can be said to be required by him. The Boys’Industrial Home and Orphanage is not an institution belonging to theplaintiff and conducted and managed by him for his own benefit. Theinstitution in truth is one the ownership of which is vested in the trusteesof the Methodist Church and is managed for their benefit and profit.The works manager for whom the premises are said to be required must
NAGAJLINGAM J.—Jones v. Senaratne.
indeed himself have to look for his remuneration not to the plaintiff, thesuperintendent, but to the Methodist Church, and in the event of a breachof contract relating to his services he •would have to look for redress not tothe plaintiff but to the trustees of the church.
It is argued, however, that while all this may be so, the last memberof the limb, namely, the term “ employment ”, is one which is a word oflarger import which would entitle the plaintiff to maintain this action.The possessive p>ronoun “ his ”, it is admitted, must qualify the word“ employment ”, so that the plaintiff must show that the premises arereasonably requir ed for the purposes of his employment. See the case ofAbeyewardena v. Amaradasa l. The word “ employment ” is capable ofmore than one meaning. One of such meanings is, as given by Webster,“ occupation, profession or trade ”, and by the Shorter Oxford Dictionary,“ business or occupation.” In this sense the word is fully synonymouswith the term “ tirade ”, “ business ” and “ profession ” used earlierin the limb. A second sense is, both according to Webster and theShorter Oxford Dictionary, “ the state of being employed”. Thisdefinition, again, approximates to the meaning attached to the word inthe first sense referred to above. A third sense in which the word isused is “the act or laction of employing”. Counsel for the respondenturges that the word “ employment ” in the sub -section does duty in allthe three senses above referred to and that, if regard is had to the thirdof the senses aforesaid, ibhen the provision that the premises are reasonablyrequired for the purposes of his (landlord’s) employment would, in itsapplication to the facts of the present case, signify that the premises arerequired for the purposes'- of the plaintiff’s act or action of or in employingthe works manager. The question is whether this construction shouldprevail. If this construction is upheld, the rule of eiusdem generis willbe violated, for while every other word in the context, namely, “ trade”“ business ”, “ profession ” and “ vocation ” all relate to the state ofemployment of the landlord himself, the specific construction contendedfor in regard to the term “ employment ” would result in that term beinggiven not the meaning of “ the state of being employed ” but of “ the actor action of employing ”, an idea not involved in any other word in thecontext. Furthermore, the act or action of or in employing the worksmanager cannot be regarded as that of the plaintiff himself. Theplaintiff in employing the works manager acts for and on behalf of thetrustees of the church, and the employment must properly be consideredto be the employment by the trustees of the works manager ; in otherwords, it would be correct to say that what the submission amounts to isthat the premises are required for the purposes of the trustees’ employ-ment of the works manager and not of the plaintiff’s employment of theworks manager. On this ground, too, the contention must fail.
In this view of the matter it must follow that the plaintiff has failed toestablish his claim to terminate the tenancy of the defendant. Theappeal is therefore allowed and the plaintiff’s action dismissed with costsboth in this Court and the Court below.
> (1945) 46 N. L. R. 309.