The nature of the trust should be examined, the Bench observed.
The Supreme Court, in Senathi Na. Venkitasalapathi Ayyer & Sons Private Trust vs. Indhumathi, has observed that mere description or the name of a trust could not be taken as determinative of the character of the trust without examining the nature of the trust.
A bench comprising Justice AK Goel and Justice UU Lalit made this observation while setting aside a Madras High Court judgment, which had held a trust named Senathi Na. Venkitasalapathi Ayyer & Sons Private Trust as a private trust. The Madras High Court had allowed a civil revision petition preferred by tenants who had contended that exemption from the Rent Act in favour of public trusts was not applicable since the trust is ‘private’.
A building owned by a public trust is exempted under Section 29 of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960.
If the trust in question is for the benefit of general public, then it can be called a public trust, the bench said upholding the decree passed by the trial court. The court however, granted one-year time to the tenants to vacate and hand over peaceful possession of the suit premises to the trust.
Read the Order here.