SOERTSZ S.P.J.—Mohamed and Kuruppu.
MOHAMED, Appellant, and KURUPPU, Respondent.
209—C. R. Colombo, 84,664.
Landlord and tenants—Quitting premises without notice—Vis Majpr—Fear ofenemy invasion.
Where a tenant who quits premises held by him on a monthly tenancywithout a month’s notice asks for remission of that month’s rent on theground of Vis Major caused by fear of enemy invasion.
Held, that the fear of enemy invasion must be reasonable fear, .asurgent as if the enemy was at the city’s gates.
PEAL from a judgment of the Commissioner of Requests, Colombo.H. Wanigatiing'e,..for plaintiff, appellant.
S. W: Jayasuriya, for defendant, respondent.
March 23, 1943. Soertsz S.P.J.—
Cur. adv. vult.
The question for decision in this case is whether a tenant who quittedthe premises he held on a monthly tenancy without giving his landlorda month's notice is entitled to a remission of that month’s rent because,he says, he quitted the premises in view of the fact that in his opinion, atthe time he quitted “ ttie war conditions were unsatisfactory and I wantedto evacuate ”, again “ about the 7.th of December Japan entered thewar. About the end of December things were bad and I left thepremises ”.
> I. L. P. 26 Bom. 396.
SOERTSZ J.—The King v. R. A. Edwin.
The Commissioner found himself able to entertain this plea and holdthe defendant entitled to the remission of rent, although he held that,in the ordinary course, the landlord would have been entitled to a month'snotice. This is what the Commissioner says : —
“ It is clear from the facts of this case that the defendant quittedthe house because he had reasonable fear of vis major . . . . DuringDecember itself Japan had secured such quick and startling successthat defendant’s fear of any early extension of enemy operations inCeylon itself cannot be said to be without foundationIn my opinion, this kind of writing from a place of authority can onlyserve as an incentive to persons, who really do.not appear to stand inneed of any incentive, to bring the civil life of a country into such astate of deplorable confusion as prevailed in April last year.
The only excusing circumstance so far as the tenant’s obligation topay rent is concerned is “ reasonable fear ” of vis major, not the vain fearof a pessimist, not the fear of the man that “ fleeth when no man pursueth ’’.
It is impossible, in the circumstances of this case, to say that, at thetime in question, there was reasonable fear of vis major. Indeed theRoman-Dutch Law authorities indicate that the fear must be almost asurgent as if the enemy was at the gates of the city.
I allow the appeal and enter judgment for the plaintiff with costs inboth Courts.