Anamma & Anr Vs. Jonnalagada Malleswara Rao  INSC 202 (28 March 1995)
Sujata V. (J) Manohar Sujata V. (J) Agrawal, S.C.
(J) Mrs. Sujata V. Manohar, Jj.
1995 AIR 1401 1995 SCC (3) 347 JT 1995 (3) 329 1995 SCALE (2)445
appellants. had filed a suit being G.S.No.159/83 before the Additional Munsiff,
Guntur to evict the respondent from their property consisting of vacant site,
zinc sheet shed and Saw mill machinery which had been leased in the year 1967
to the respondent under an oral lease. The property is situated in Guntur Town, Nagarmelem Old Ward No. 17, New ward No. 23, Block No. 14,
TS No.411. The respondent contended, inter alia, that the Civil Court had no Jurisdiction to entertain
and try the suit-, the Rent Controller alone had jurisdiction in the matter
under, the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Buildings(Lease, Rent and Eviction)
Control Act, 1960. The respondent also contended that there was no valid quit
notice, that he was entitled to continue in the suit premises till April, 1986
and that the appellants did not require the premises for their personal use as
was contended by them. The Additional Munsiff, Guntur decreed the suit of the appellants. He held that the
tenancy was from month to month and the quit notice was valid. He also held
that the lease in question was in relation to land and machinery. The zinc
sheet shed being only an accessory to the main lease hold premises, being meant
for covering the machinery, the lease in question did not come within the
purview of the Andhra Pradesh Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act,
aggrieved by this judgments and order, the respondent preferred an appeal
before the District Court at Guntur. The
District Judge, however, confirmed the findings of the Munsiff's Court and
dismissed the appeal.
respondent preferred a second appeal before the High Court of Andhra Pradesh
challenging the concurrent findings of the two courts below. The High Court
came to the conclusion that the lease was in respect of a building as defined
in the Andhra Pradesh(Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act, 1960 and hence the
Civil Court had no jurisdiction to entertain
the suit. On this ground, the appeal of the respondent was allowed by the High
Court. The present appeal is from this judgment and order of the High Court of
narrow question before us is whether the lease in question is of a building as
defined in the Andhra Pradesh Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act,
1961 Section 2 (iii) of the said Act defines a building thus:
(iii): 'building, means any house or hut or part of a house or hut, let or to
be let separately for residential or non-residential purpose and includes- (a)
the gardens, grounds, garages and out- houses, if any, appurtenant to such
house, hut or part of such house or hut and let or to be let along with such
house or hut or part of such house or hut;
furniture supplied or any fittings affixed by the landlord for use in such
house or hut or part of a house or hut, but does not include a room in a hotel
or boarding house;"
is contended by the respondent that the zinc sheet shed which covers the
machinery was leased out to him by the appellants. The shed falls within the defini-
331 tion of building under Section 2 (iii). This contention requires
is no written lease in the present case. The case of the appellants throughout
has been that what was leased out to the respondent was their Saw mill machinery
and land consisting of approximately 10,000 square yards. The Saw mill
machinery was covered by a zinc sheet shed to protect the machinery. The lease
was essentially a lease of the Saw mill machinery. It was not a lease of a
house or a hut. In the plaint in paragraph 111, the property which has been
leased out is described thus:
property mentioned in the schedule annexed consists of vacant site, zinc sheet
shed and machinery belonging to the first plaintiff herein.............
schedule to the plaint describes the property as:
town, Nagaramelem old ward No. 17, ward No.23, Block No. 14, TS No.411, total
area 10156 square feet municipal assessment No. 22214 bounded by- West :
Compound Wall in this site; and Rakulu of ILTD Co., 105'.08' South : Road and
gate and compound wall 70' West : Compound Wall in this Rakulu of ILTD Co.,
106' North : Compound Wall and Rakulu zinc sheet shed 60' - 06" within the
above boundaries wherein there zinc doria rakulu shed, with saw mill with all
accessories attached to the mill, 10 Hp Electric motor, current connection metre
case of the appellants throughout has, therefore, been that the land together
with Saw mill and accessories attached to the Saw mill covered by zinc doria rakulu
shed was leased out to the respondent. The trial court came to the conclusion
that it was the Saw mill with machinery covered with zinc sheet which was taken
on lease by the respondent in 1967. It came to the conclusion that the mere
fact the machinery of the Saw mill was housed in a zinc sheet shed will not
make the lease that of a non -residential building within the meaning of
Section 2 of the said Act. The same view has bean upheld by the Appellate
Court. The appellate Court has also observed that there is no dispute with
regard to the description of the property leased out as made out in the plaint
and the schedule to it, It has also held that the respondent had taken the Saw
mill machinery and the schedule property on lease for doing Saw mill business.
counsel for the appellants also produced before us the deposition of witnesses
examined between the trial court. The second plaintiff in his examination - in
chief has said that the property leased out is a vacant site along with Saw
mill shed. In his cross-examination he has reiterated that only the machines
and shed were leased out.
defendant had constructed an office in the premises later on. The defendant in
his examination -in- chief has also deposed that he took the schedule site on
lease in 1967 for doing timber business. He has said that when he took the
premises on lease, there was a saw mill machine and shed. He has further stated
that he constructed an office room in the, premises after he took the premises
on 332 lease. In his cross examination, the defendant had stated that die shed
is erected to house the machinery.
Looking to this evidence, it is clear that the shed, which has a zinc sheet
roof, was erected only to protect the Saw mill machinery. What was leased out
to the respondent was substantially the Saw mill machinery for the purpose of
carrying on timber/ Saw mill business. The shed was merely erected to shelter
the machinery. The dominant purpose of the lease was to lease out the Saw mill
machinery. In order that the lease should be covered by the Andhra Pradesh
Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act, 1960, the lease should be of
a building as defined in Section 2 (iii).
should, therefore, be lease of any house or a hut or a part of a house or a hut
let for residential or nonresidential purposes. It would include gardens,
grounds, garages and out-houses appurtenant to such a house or a hut.
present case, however, the lease is not of any house or a hut or part of a
house or a hut. The lease is of saw mill machinery which is covered by a zinc
sheet shed. The dominant purpose of die lease is to lease (mat the machinery.
The shed is only an adjunct It is also pointed out that a covering over the
machinery in the shape of a structure consisting of zinc shows supported on
poles can hardly be called a house or even a hut In any case, looking to the
dominant purpose of the lease, the two courts below have rightly come to the
conclusion that the lease is not covered by the provisions of the Andhra
Pradesh Buildings (Lease Rent and Eviction Control Act, 1960.
The respondent relied upon a decision of a Full Bench of the Andhra Pradesh
High Court in the case of Mohammad Jaffar Ali v. S. Rajeswara Rao (1971) 1
Andhra Pradesh Weekly Reports 194). In that case, there was a lease of die
cinema theatre. The Court held that the lease was essentially a demise of the
building with accessories like furniture and machinery, the dominant purpose of
the demise was to lease the cinema theatre building and hence, the provisions
of the Andhra Pradesh Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act, 1960
apply to such a lease. In the present case, the dominant purpose is clearly to
lease out the Saw mill machinery. A zinc sheet shed which has been erected
merely to cover the machinery, cannot be a pre- dominant reason for the lease.
The High Court, therefore, was not right in coming to the conclusion that the
lease was governed by the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Buildings (Lease, Rent,
and Eviction) Control Act, 1960.
appeal is therefore, allowed. The impugned judgment and order of the Andhra
Pradesh High Court dated 20.2.1992 is set aside and the judgment and the order
dated 2.4.1990 of the third Additional District Judge, Guntur is confirmed.
respondent shall pay to the appellants costs of the appeal.