10 June 2024


Supreme Court

Addissery Raghavan Vs. Cheruvalath Krishnadasan




High Court cannot interfere with finding of fact in revisional jurisdiction unless there is perversity or misappreciation of evidence

In the facts of present case, the Appellant is the tenant of two shop rooms-one on the ground floor and the other on the first floor. The tenant is doing textile business in the room situated on the ground floor, using the first floor as a godown. The Respondent-landlord filed eviction petitions in respect of the two rooms in question. The said petitions were filed on three grounds, namely, arrears of rent, bonafide requirement for additional accommodation for the landlord's business, and material damage to the premises, under Sections 11(2)(b), 11(8) and 11(4)(ii), respectively, of the Kerala Building (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965 [Kerala Rent Control Act].

The trial court in its judgment held against the landlord. The eviction petitions were decreed under Section 11(8) of the Kerala Rent Control Act. The Rent Control Appellate Authority, by its judgment reversed the judgment of the trial Court. In a revision petition filed by the Respondent-landlord under Section 20 of the Kerala Rent Control Act, the High Court interfered with the findings of fact by the Appellate Authority.

The learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the Appellant pointed out that Under Section 20 of the Kerala Rent Control Act, the High Court, in its revisional jurisdiction, cannot act as if it is a second court of first appeal by setting aside findings of fact by the Appellate Authority on reappreciation of the same. He also argued that there being no perversity on the detailed findings given by the Appellate Authority, the High Court exceeded its revisional jurisdiction in interfering with the same and wrongly substituting the findings of the trial court for those of the Appellate Authority. Learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the Respondent, however, relied strongly upon the trial court's judgment and stated that the Appellate Authority perversely dealt with material facts on the record and its judgment was, therefore, correctly set aside within the revisional jurisdiction by the High Court.

In the facts of the present case, when the Appellate Authority relied upon the Commissioner's Report stating that, there are 36 rooms in the building and that the majority of the rooms are let out, showing that some of the rooms in the occupation of the landlord are lying vacant, it cannot be said that there is any perversity in this finding of fact.

The reliance upon the Building Tax Assessment Register by the Appellate Authority, showing that some of the rooms belonging to the landlord were lying vacant, again, is a finding of fact which cannot be interfered with in the manner done by the High Court. Interfering with this finding of fact, again, without any perversity or misappreciation of evidence by the Appellate Authority would clearly be outside the High Court's ken in its revisional jurisdiction. Equally, the finding of comparative hardship, which is a finding of fact not otherwise found to be perverse, cannot be upset in the manner done in the present case by the High Court.

This issue was answered by the trial Court by merely stating that the landlord will be able to run his establishment in a better manner if he gets the Schedule petition rooms, which will help to lead his establishment to prosperity, as compared with the tenant, who is not able to "establish much hardship to him". This vague finding was rightly set aside by the Appellate Authority. Without finding this to be perverse, the High Court acted outside its revisional jurisdiction. The High Court's judgment is set aside, restoring the judgment of the Appellate Authority. Appeals allowed.

Tags : Eviction Revisional jurisdiction Legality

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