Ramya Goonewardane v. Peiris
COURT OF APPEALWEERASEKERA, J.
DR. GRERO, J.
A. 33/84 (F)
C. PANADURA 17380.
APRIL 28, 1994, NOVEMBER 18.1994,
NOVEMBER 25,1994, DECEMBER 13,1994.
Landlord and Tenant – Rent Act No. 7 of 1972, S.48 – Regulation 3 – Applicabilityto Urban Councils – Consolidation of Premises – Physical alterations – ExceptedPremises – Standard Rent – S.233, S.242, S.243 and S.236 to S.241 of theMunicipal Councils Ordinance – Annual Value.
Three units were let to the Respondent-Tenant. These three units wereconsolidated and a single assessment Number 318 was assigned to thepremises in October 1980. The premises No. 318 was assessed for the first timeat an annual value of Rs. 3,750/-, thus falling within the ambit of Excepted
The Landlord sued the Respondent-Tenant for ejectment. The Appellant-Landlordrelied upon the entries in the relevant Assessment Register. The Learned DistrictJudge relied on certain letters written by the Actg. Chief Assessor to theChairman U.C. Panadura and dismissed the action.
To ascertain whether premises No. 318 are excepted premises recourseshould be made not only to the Rent Act No. 7 of 1972 but also to the provisionsof S.233, S.235 and S.237 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance.
Annual value of a premises is entered in the Assessment Book, in terms ofS.235 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance. This is relevant to decide the questionof excepted premises.
If the annual value shown in the Assessment Register exceeds the annualvalue shown in column 11 of Regulation 3 in the schedule to the Rent Act, thensuch premises are excepted premises.
Per Dr. Ananda Grero, J.
“I am of the view that a consolidation affected under S. 233(1) to any ExistingHouse, buildings etc., need not have physical alterations as contemplated inS.237(1) of the Municipal Councils Ordinance. Once such assessment is made in
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respect of consolidated premises and the annual value is entered in the Register,unless it is amended according to the procedure laid down in S.235 of theMunicipal Councils Ordinance, the annual value remains in force. On the basis ofsuch annual value rates are calculated and entered in the Assessment Book(Register)."
S.235(1) of the Municipal Councils Ordinance requires no such physicalalterations be affected to separate premises in order to consolidate them, underthis section consolidated premises should be assessed at the aggregate annualvalue of such premises.
There is a significant difference between S.233(1) and S.237(1) of theMunicipal Councils Ordinance.
AN APPEAL from the judgment of the District Court of Panadura.
Cases referred to:
Hewavitharana v. Rathnapala-1988 S.L.R. 240.
Ansar v. Hussain 1986 1 Colombo Appellate Law Reports 365.
A. K. Premadasa, P.C., with P A. D. Samarasekera, PC., and Y. JayasekeralotPlaintiff-Appellant.
H. L. de Silva, P.C., with Faiz Musthapha, PC., for Defendant – Respondent.
Cur. adv. vult.
DR. ANANDA GRERO, J.
The plaintiff-appellant (hereinafter referred to as the appellant)sued the defendant-respondent (hereinafter referred to asrespondent) for ejectment from the premises bearing AssessmentNo. 318, Main Street, Panadura on the ground that these premisesare “excepted premises" within the meaning of Regulation 3 of theSchedule to the Rent Act No. 7 of 1972. The premises in question arebusiness premises.
The respondent filed his answer and denied that a cause of actionhas accrued to the appellant to sue him and asked for the dismissalof her action.
After trial, the Learned District Judge of Panadura, dismissed theappellant's action with costs. It is against this judgment that theappellant preferred an appeal to this Court.
Ramya Goonewardane v. Peiris (Dr. Ananda Grero, J.)
Briefly the appellant’s case is That the respondent is inoccupation of the premises in suit as a tenant and prior to October1980, there were three assessed units bearing Nos. 318, 320 and322. Even prior to that, there were three separate units bearing Nos.304, 306 and 308. These three units had been let to one tenant, therespondent in this case, and premises No. 304 were used as a hoteland bakery, premises No. 306, as a shop for the sale of ceramics,and premises No. 308 as a shop for the sale of plantains. These threeunits (premises) were consolidated and single assessment number,318 was assigned to this premises. This was done according to theappellant in October 1980. The premises No. 318 was for the firsttime assessed at an annual value of Rs. 3750/-. As premises No. 318fall within the ambit of “excepted premises” according to the 3rdRegulation on the Schedule to the Rent Act of No. 7 of 1972, she(appellant) asked for the ejectment of the respondent tenant from,such premises.
The plaint of the appellant was filed on 22.7.1981. At the time shefiled her plaint, and instituted this case there was only oneassessment number given to the premises in suit, and that No. was318. The annual value given to premises No. 318 was Rs. 3750/-.Then the rate per quarter was Rs. 187/50. The documents marked51, and oz1 (V1 and P1) bear ample testimony to the above statedfacts.
There is no evidence to show, that the aforesaid entries entered inthe “Assessment Book" (Register) have been altered or amended interms of Section 235 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance, and at thetime of filing this action, those entries were in the said AssessmentBook without any change.
It should be noted that according to Section 166 of the UrbanCouncils Ordinance, for the assessment of any immovable propertyfor the purpose of rates and taxes the manner prescribed by Section235 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance shall apply with necessarymodifications. Further all the provisions of Sections, 233, 242, 243and 236 to 241 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance shall also applywith necessary modifications with respect to every such assessmentmade for the purposes of the Urban Councils Ordinance.
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In dealing with the questions of consolidation, assessment ofpremises, Assessment Book (Register), objections to assessment,inquiry into such objection etc., the provisions of Sections 233 and235 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance are relevant. Even withregard to physical alterations affecting annual value of any house,building etc., Section 237 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance isrelevant.
The only question that arises to decide in this case is whetherpremises No. 318 are “excepted premises” or not. In deciding thisvital question recourse should be made not only to the Rent Act ofNo. 7 of 1972, but also to the provisions of Sections 233, 235 and 237of the Municipal Councils Ordinance.
No doubt Regulation 3 in the Schedule to the Rent Act directlydeals with the question of "excepted premises”. Under Regulation 3in the Schedule to the Rent Act, “Annual Value” in respect ofpremises situated in various areas is given. In so far as the annualvalue of the premises in the present case is concerned, what isapplicable under the 3rd Regulation is Rs. 2000/- limit. If the annualvalue of the premises No. 318 exceeds the relevant annual value ofRs. 2000/- then the said premises fall within the ambit of “exceptedpremises” as contemplated in the Rent Act.
According to Section 48 of the Rent Act, “Annual value” of anypremises means, “the annual value of such premises assessed asresidential or business premises, as the case may be, for thepurposes of any rates levied by any local authority under any writtenlaw and as specified in the assessment under such written law, andwhere used in relation to the relevant amount, means the annualvalue of the premises as specified in the assessment in force…”
Thus it is apparent that the annual value of any premises comingwithin the purview of the Rent Act depends on the Assessment madeby the relevant local authority as authorized by law applicable tosuch local authority.
Section 233(1) of the Municipal Councils Ordinance deals withassessment of houses, buildings, land and tenaments. For such
Ramya Goonewardarte v. Peiris (Dr. Artanda Grero, J.)
purpose buildings, tenaments, etc. may be divided, and consolidateany separate houses, buildings etc. In the present case as statedearlier, units bearing Nos. 318, 320 and 322 were consolidated intoone unit or premises bearing assessment No. 318 and the annualvalue of Rs. 3750/- has been entered in the 'Assessment Book’ asstated in Section 235 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance. Not onlythe annual value is entered in the said book, rate per quarter, viz.,Rs. 167/- is also inserted in it. Thus, the importance and relevance ofSection 233, more particularly subsection 1 of Section 233 of theMunicipal Councils Ordinance can be clearly seen. Not only that, theassessment so made has a bearing on the annual value of apremises. In the present case after consolidation of premises theannual value was fixed at Rs. 3750/-.
Annual value of a premises is entered in the 'Assessment Book’ or‘Register’. It is done in terms of Section 235 of the Municipal CouncilsOrdinance. This Section also deals with the manner with whichobjection to annual value could be raised and how such objection isto be dealt with. The annual value so entered in the AssessmentRegister has relevance in deciding the question of “exceptedpremises”. Both these Sections (233 and 235 of the MunicipalCouncils Ordinance) in my view are relevant in deciding whether apremises comes within the definition of “excepted premises” underthe Rent Act.
The Learned President’s Counsel for the appellant stronglycontended, that entries in the ‘Assessment Register' are very relevantin this case, as the appellant relied upon such entries at the time sheinstituted this action. He referred to entries in e^l (P1) a certifiedextract from the Assessment Register maintained by the PanaduraUrban Council with regard to premises bearing No. 318 from the year1962 to 1982. On the basis of the annual value for the year 1981 (theyear action was filed) he contended that the annual value, Rs. 3750/-exceeded the annual value (i.e. Rs. 200/-) given under the 3rdRegulation, in the Schedule to the Rent Act, and therefore theappellant is entitled to get judgment in her favour as the premisesNo. 318 fall within the definition of “excepted premises" in terms ofthe provisions of the Rent Act.
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The Learned President’s Counsel for the defendant-respondentcontended that the submission of the Learned President’s Counsel forthe appellant that entries in the Assessment Register must prevail isnot a correct statement of law in so far as the question whetherpremises are "excepted premises” or not. They (entries) areconclusive in so far as the payment of rates is concerned.
The annual value shown under Regulation 3, in the Schedule to theRent Act has a bearing on “the assessment made as businesspremises for the purposes of rates levied by any local authority underany written law and in force, (e.g. the Municipal Councils Ordinance).Once an assessment is made under Section 233(1) of the MunicipalCouncils Ordinance, such assessment is entered in the “AssessmentRegister” as stated in Section 235 of the said Ordinance.
A landlord or a tenant if he wishes to find out the annual value ofthe premises he is interested, has to look into the AssessmentRegister kept with the relevant local body. In the said Register, ratesare also included. If the annual value shown in the AssessmentRegister exceeds the annual value shown in Column II of Regulation 3in the Schedule to the Rent Act, then such premises are "exceptedpremises” within the provisions of the Rent Act. Thus it is seen thatthe annual value stated in Column II of Regulation 3 in the Rent Act,has a bearing on the annual value entered in the AssessmentRegister maintained by a local body. No doubt regarding rates, suchentries in the Register are relevant.
The appellant in this case could not have instituted this action ifthe annual value in the Assessment Register kept by the PanaduraUrban Council did not exceed Rs. 2000/- as required in Regulation 3,in the Schedule to the Rent Act. It is because the annual value foundin the Assessment Register exceeded Rs. 2000/-, she was able to filethis action on the basis that the premises are “excepted premises".
There is evidence to show that the Urban Council, Panadura hasconsolidated the premises bearing assessment numbers 318, 320and 322 (earlier Nos. 304, 306 and 308) and given the assessmentNo. 318, to the premises in suit in 1981. Of course the respondenthad sent a letter to the Chairman U.C. Panadura objecting to theallocation of one assessment No. 318 to the premises in suit.
Ramya Goonewardane v. Peiris (Dr. Ananda Grero, J.)
Regarding this matter I will deal with it later. There is also evidencethat at the time action was instituted, no change in the annual value(i.e. Rs. 3750/-) has been effected in the Assessment Register.
In order to find out whether the annual value of Business premisesstated in Regulation 3, in the Schedule to the Rent Act exceeds theannual value shown in Column II, as at 1.1.68 or after 1.1.68, theAssessment Register maintained by a local body becomes veryrelevant. The entries in such Register, more particularly the entry withregard to annual value is indispensable for the purposes of rates andto find out whether premises are “excepted premises” within themeaning of Regulation 3.
In the aforesaid circumstances, I am inclined to accept thesubmissions of the Learned President’s Counsel for the appellant,that entries in the Assessment Register are most relevant even for thepurpose of deciding whether premises are “excepted premises”within the ambit of the Rent Act. Such entries are not only conclusivewith regard to the payment of rates (as submitted by the LearnedCounsel for the respondent), but they have a bearing insofar as thedetermination of annual value of business premises, as contemplatedin Regulation 3, in the Schedule to the Rent Act.
In the present case, the appellant quite rightly relied upon theentries in the relevant Assessment Register and instituted this actionto eject the respondent from the premises in suit.
The Learned District Judge has relied upon S 6, the letter dated21.7.83 sent by the Acting Chief Assessor to the Chairman U.C.Panadura, stating that the consolidation of premises, (i.e. premisesNos. 318, 320 and 322) was done by an error, and the numbers andthe annual values should be in terms of his letter dated 1.6.81. Thisletter dated 1.6.81 is produced, marked 04. According to 04, threeseparate numbers viz. 318, 320 and 322 were given with the annualvalue of Rs. 1750/-, Rs. 1000/- and Rs. 1000/- respectively.
The Learned District Judge was of the view, that the Chairmaneven after receiving these letters 04, and 06, had not taken any stepsto effect alterations accordingly in the Assessment Register. He wasof the view that assessment numbers and annual values should havebeen changed in accordance with these two documents. It appears
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that the Learned District Judge had formed the view, that S6,empowers the local authority (Chairman U.C. Panadura) to amendthe entries, particularly the annual value, of the premises in suitentered in the Assessment Register.
The Learned President’s Counsel for the appellant contended thata tenant is entitled to object to the annual value entered in theAssessment Register, and such objection shall be investigated in thepresence of the parties and the decision after investigation shall benoted in the book of objections and necessary amendment shall bemade in the Assessment Register, as contemplated in Section 235 ofthe Municipal Councils Ordinance. He contended that noinvestigation as contemplated in Section 235 of the said Ordinancewas done, and no amendment was effected to the entries alreadyentered in the Assessment Register.
The evidence of Karunasena, Chief Rates Clerk of the U.C.Panadura reveals that there was an inquiry regarding theconsolidation of these premises. But there is no evidence that theobjection of the respondent was investigated as contemplated inSection 235 of the Municipal Councils Ordinances; and steps weretaken to amend the’entries in the Assessment Register. Therespondent admits in his evidence that the Urban Council informedhim about the consolidation of the premises. No doubt by letter S3,he has objected to the allocation of one assessment number to theexisting three premises.
On the strength of 86, the Chairman of the U.C. cannot makeamendments to the entries entered in the Assessment Register. Theprocedure is laid down in Section 235 of the Municipal CouncilsOrdinance. Learned District Judge seems to hold the view that onreceipt of 8 6, the Chairman should have amended the AssessmentRegister as stated in 8 4. These two documents 4 and 6 do notempower the Chairman U.C. Panadura to make necessaryamendments with regard to entries already made in the AssessmentRegister, unless he strictly follows the procedure laid down in Section235 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance.
It appears that the Learned District Judge has not considered theaforesaid Section at all when he arrived at the conclusion that the
Ramya Goonewardane v, Peiris (Dr. Ananda Grero, J.)
Chairman U.C. Panadura should have acted upon S 6 and amendedthe entries in the Assessment Register.
By £ 6, the Acting Chief Assessor wanted the Chairman U.C.Panadura to regard the assessment numbers and the annual valuesof the premises as stated not in S 4. That is to say, that premisesbearing assessment No. 318 should not be regarded asconsolidated premises having one assessment number, but toconsider having three separate Nos. viz. 318, 320 and 322 andseparate annual value of Rs. 1750/-, Rs. 1000/- respectively. Actingon 06, if the Chairman of the U.C. treated the premises as threeseparate units having three separate annual values, yet he wasacting contrary to subsections 6 and 7 of Section 235 of theMunicipal Councils Ordinance. Even if he just amended the entries inthe Assessment Register on the basis of S 6, such an amendmentwas also contrary to the above stated subsection of Section 235.Unless he followed the procedure laid down in the said Section andamended the entries in the Assessment Register, there cannot be anyvalid amendment to the entries in the Register in respect of the year1981.
One cannot blame the appellant; or even the tenant (respondent)for the Chairman, U.C. Panadura, not taking appropriate action underthe provisions of Section 235 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance toamend the entries entered in the Assessment Register. At the date offiling this action the entries in the Assessment Register amplydemonstrated that the annual value of premises bearing No. 318 wasRs. 3750/-, excess of the annual value shown in Column II inRegulation 3, in the schedule to the Rent Act. Thus the appellant isentitled to file action to eject the respondent on the ground that thepremises No. 318 are "excepted premises" in terms of the Rent Act.The Learned District Judge relying on 5 6 finally came to theconclusion that assessment of the annual value with regard to thepremises should be that of 1.1.68, and on that basis the premises arenot “excepted premises". Had the Learned Judge, consideredRegulation 3 in the Schedule to the Rent Act along with the provisionsof Sections 233 (1) and 235 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance, Iam of the view he could not have reached the conclusion that thepremises are not “excepted premises”. This conclusion in my view iserroneous.
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The Learned President’s Counsel for the respondent relied heavilyon the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Hewavitharanav. Rathnapala (1). Relying on this decision he contended that nosubstantial structural alterations were done to the existing premisesi.e. premises Nos. 318, 320 and 322 in order to give birth to a “newpremises" to make an assessment of the annual value for the firsttime after 1.1.68 as contemplated in Regulation 3, in the Schedule tothe Rent Act. Therefore he contended the assessment as at 1968should prevail, and the premises are not “excepted premises" butthey remain, to continue as premises governed by the Rent Act.
The Learned President's Counsel for the appellant submitted toCourt the case of Hewavitharana v. Rathnapala (Supra) must berestricted to the facts of that case and in any event authorized rentsof the original premises (i.e. premises Nos. 318, 320, and 322)cannot be calculated if consolidation is ignored, and thereforewhether there are physical alterations or not the entries in theAssessment Register should prevail.
In the Hewavitharana’s case, (supra) Dheeraratne J considered anumber of authorities which have interpreted certain statutoryprovisions analogous to Regulation 3 in the Schedule to the Rent Actbefore arriving at the decision reported in the said case.
In the aforesaid case, the Court of Appeal held that the nature ofthe physical alterations done to the premises is such, the assessmentof October 1975 did not give birth to new premises attracting anassessment for the first time and therefore the January 1968 annualvalue should be applied to determine whether the premises areexcepted premises or not.
A perusal of the judgment in the Hewavitharana’s case (supra)reveals that Dheeraratne, J. considered Sections 233 (1) and 237 (1)of the Municipal Councils Ordinance.
In his judgment he observed as follows:-
“From the evidence led at the trial it appears that the Municipalauthorities considered it as a consolidation in terms of Section 233(1)
Ramya Goonewardane v. Peiris (Dr. Anartda Grero, J.)
and made the assessment of the premises by taking the aggregateannual values of the two existing premises increasing it by fiverupees for mere convenience. The facts of the present case do notwarrant me to conclude, that the assessment was made in terms ofSection 237(1). An assessment made under Section 237 (1) mayperhaps, in certain circumstances, give birth to entirely newpremises, attracting such assessment as its first” (vide page 247).
From the above quoted passage it is abundantly clear thatDheeraratne, J. considered Sections 233 (a) and 237 (1) of theMunicipal Councils Ordinance and was of the view that the facts ofthat case do not warrant him to come to a finding that theassessment was made in terms of Section 237 (1). He was of theview, if assessment was done under Section 237 (1), it may give birthto entirely “new premises” depending on certain circumstances,attracting such assessment to be its first. As consolidation was doneby taking the annual values of the existing two premises andincreasing it by five rupees for mere convenience sake, he held thatthe assessment of 1968 should be applicable. On the basis of theassessment, the premises in that case were not considered as“excepted premises”.
According to Section 233 (1) A Municipal Council for purpose ofassessment, can divide a house or building etc. The Council can alsoconsolidate any separate houses or buildings etc. If consolidation isdone the consolidation premises shall be assessed at the aggregateannual value of several houses, buildings etc., of which premises arecomposed.
Section 237 (1) empowers a Council to prepare a new assessmenton the alteration of any house or buildings etc., affecting the annualvalue. In fact this Section begins as follows:
“Where physical alterations affecting the annual value of any
Insofar as “consolidation under Section 233 (1) is concerned, thisSection does not speak of any physical alterations as in Section 237(1).It says: “Consolidate any separate house, buildings etc.”
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Assessment under section 233(1) is done to levy rate or rates. Butthat too depends on the annual value of the premises.
There is a significant difference between these two Sections.Section 233(1) speaks of consolidation of any separate houses,buildings etc., without mentioning any physical alterations to suchhouses, buildings etc., whereas Section 237(1) specifically speaks of“physical alteration” any house, building etc.
If the intention of the Legislature was, that houses, buildings etc.,should have undergone physical alterations prior to consolidation ofsuch houses, buildings etc., then it should have stated so in Section233(1).
Under Section 233(1) discretion, is given to a Municipal Council forpurpose of assessment from time to time to divide any house,building and also to consolidate such separate houses, buildings etc.There is also provision in the Municipal Councils Ordinance for anyproprietor or any occupier of such house, building etc., to object tosuch assessment based on consolidation. Section 235(8) says thatevery assessment against which no objection is taken shall be finalfor the year. So if consolidation was done improperly objections canbe taken, they are investigated, and if necessary amendments areeffected in the Assessment Book (Register). Needless to say that aCouncil should exercise its discretion reasonably and properly, whenconsolidation is carried out.
I am of the view that a consolidation effected under Section 233(1)to any existing houses, buildings etc., need not have physicalalterations as contemplated in Section 237(1) of the MunicipalCouncils Ordinance. Once such assessment is made in respect ofconsolidated premises, and the annual value is entered in theRegister, unless it is amended according to the procedure laid downin Section 235 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance, the normal valueremains in force. On the basis of such annual value rates arecalculated and entered in the Assessment Book (Register).
In order to find out whether the annual value as stated in Regulation 3,in the schedule to the Rent Act exceeds the amount specified inColumn II of the Regulation, one has to rely on the annual value
Ramya Goonewardane v Peiris (Dr. Ananda Grero, J.)
entered in the Assessment Book (Register). Therefore entries enteredin the aforesaid Register have a bearing on the question of decidingwhether premises are “excepted premises” or not.
The Learned President’s Counsel for the appellant strongly urgedbefore us that in the present case, once the assessment of Rs. 3750/-was made in October 1980, it is not possible to hark back to theassessment of three units Nos. 318, 320 and 322 prior to October1980.
He further contended that this submission is mathematicallycorrect due to the following reasons:-
The Authorized Rent has to be calculated according to Section 4of the Rent Act Namely:-
Annual value in the year 1955 plus
Rates for the particular year.
Therefore if it is necessary to calculate the separate authorisedrent for January 1981 of premises No. 318, or 320, or 322 it is notpossible to do so as there is no separate rate for premises No. 318 or320 or 322, as all three have been consolidated.
According to his argument once consolidation of a separatepremises (Units) is carried out there is no possibility to calculate theauthorised rent in respect of each premises or unit, (in this casepremises No. 318, 320 and 322). If authorised rent is to be calculatedin respect of each unit No. 318, 320 and 322 that existed prior toconsolidation, then consolidation affected must be altered oramended in the manner set out in Section 233 of the MunicipalCouncils Ordinance.
As earlier mentioned, consolidation effected under Section 233(1)require no physical alterations; In other words consolidation ofseparate houses, buildings etc. is not done on the basis of physicalalteration.
In the case of consolidation, the consolidated premises shall beassessed at the aggregate annual value of several houses, buildingsetc. This aggregate annual value is entered in the Assessment Book
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(Register), As contended by the Learned President's Counsel for theappellant, the entries so made after consolidation remain in force untilthey are amended according to the procedure laid down, particularlyin Section 235 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance; and such entriesmust prevail. The entries so made, particularly the entry regarding“annual value" has a direct bearing with Regulation 3, in theSchedule to the Rent Act. This aspect has not been fully gone into inthe case of Hewavitharana v. Rathnapala (supra) mentioned earlier.
When authorized rents in respect of premises that existed prior toconsolidation has to be calculated, one cannot ignore theconsolidation that has been already made, whether suchconsolidation was done on the basis of physical alterations or not.This aspect too has not been considered in the Hewavitharana’scase, (supra)
The President’s Counsel for the respondent relied on the judgmentof the Supreme Court in the case of Ansar v. Hussain <2) tosubstantiate his argument, that the assessment of 1.1.68 shouldprevail and not the assessment of 1981.
In the said case the premises in suit were adjacent premisesbearing assessment Nos. 100 and 102. Against the decision of theCourt of Appeal the appellant appealed to the Supreme Court todecide two specific matters out of which one was –
Whether the computation of the standard rent should be based onthe annual value for 1941 or the annual value for 1966.
Wanasundera, J. after considering the facts of the case,arguments of both Counsel, finally held that the Court of Appeal wascorrect when it ruled that premises No. 100 and 102 in respect ofwhich the action was brought were in existence as separate entities,bearing separate assessment numbers from the year 1941 and thestandard rent should be computed on the annual value based on the1941 assessment.
In Ansar v. Hussain, (supra) the necessity did not arise for theSupreme Court to consider the computation of separate authorisedrents of premises or units after their consolidation. Thus the questionof such computation was left undecided. Such a computation
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becomes relevant in deciding whether consolidation of premises canbe ignored on the ground that there are no substantial physicalalteration to the premises in question. Section 233(1) of the MunicipalCouncils Ordinance requires no such physical alterations be effectedto separate premises in order to consolidate them. Under this Sectionconsolidated premises should be assessed at the aggregate annualvalue of such premises. This aggregate annual value which isentered in the Assessment Book (Register) has a bearing on the“annual value" stated in Regulation 3 of the Schedule to the Rent Act.If such annual value exceeds the annual value given in Column II ofthe Regulation, then such premises become “excepted premises”.Therefore the contention of the Learned President’s Counsel for theappellant, that whether there are physical alterations or not insofar asconsolidation of premises is concerned, the entries in theAssessment Register should prevail, holds good.
In the present case it is abundantly clear, that the annual value in1981 (at the time of filing this case) was Rs. 3750/- which exceedsthe annual value given in Regulation 3 of the Schedule to the RentAct.
Thus the premises in suit (bearing Assessment No. 318) are“excepted premises" within the provisions of the Rent Act andtherefore the appellant is entitled to succeed in his appeal.
For the above stated reasons, the judgment of the Learned DistrictJudge dated 6.1.84 is hereby set aside, the appeal is allowed and wemake order that judgment be entered in favour of the appellant asprayed for in the plaint.
Considering the fact that the respondent is using the premises insuit for business purposes, we direct that Writ of possession shouldnot be issued for a period of five months (5) from today (i.e.15.3.1995) so as to enable him to find alternative premises within thisperiod. The appellant is entitled to recover costs fixed at Rs. 750/-from the respondent.
WEERASEKERA, J. – I agree.
RAMAYA GOONEWARDENE V. PEIRIS