Sunday, 25 August 2019

Whether multinational company having paid up share capital of less than one crore is entitled to get protection of rent law?

In these circumstances, it is not possible to agree with Mr. Dani that only such multinational companies having a paid up share capital of Rs. 1 Crore or more are excluded from the purview of the Act. The Act is inapplicable to foreign missions, international agencies and multinational companies and they are grouped together only because of the foreign or international element in them. There presence being at global or international level, their presence in more than one country being undisputed, it is but natural to hold that they have the financial capacity and capability to procure and purchase or afford the rates of immovable property prevailing in the market. They are not required to be protected from rack renting, exploitation and the alleged greed of landlords as urged by Mr. Dani. They cannot complain of economic exploitation because of their financial and other resources. In such circumstances, the Legislature deemed it fit that such entities together with banks, public sector undertakings or statutory Corporations and others are not required to be brought within the purview of rent control legislation. They can stand out and compete and equally they can on their own buy properties at prevailing market rates. The presumption that the protection of beneficial and social legislation meant to protect tenants who cannot afford to pay market price, holds good and there is no question of any discrimination much less classification having no nexus with the object sought to be achieved. If the object sought to be achieved is to exclude such entities, who are financially sound and cash rich because they were misusing the protection of rent control act, then, that cannot be said to be vitiated by any arbitrariness or unreasonableness. In such circumstances and when the vires of the provision has also been upheld by the Supreme Court in Pansare's case (supra), then, all the more, this is not a fit case for holding that the applicant continues to enjoy the protection of the rent control legislation and it is not excluded from its purview.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY

Civil Revision Application No. 184 of 2010

Decided On: 13.03.2013

Paramount Films of India Limited  Vs.  S.F. Chemicals Industries Pvt. Ltd.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
S.C. Dharmadhikari, J.

Citation: 2013(3) MHLJ 239,2013(3) AllMR 660


1. Rule. Respondents waive service. By consent, rule is made returnable forthwith. By this Civil Revision application, the applicant-original defendant is challenging the judgment and order in Appeal No. 561 of 2006 dated 21st July 2009 reversing that of the trial court in T.E.& R. Suit No. 274/329 of 2000. That suit was filed by the respondents herein. It was dismissed by the trial court on 24th and 25th July 2006. Aggrieved thereby the appeal came to be filed and which appeal has since been allowed.

2. The suit was filed for possession. In the plaint, it was alleged that the applicant was a monthly tenant in respect of the office premises admeasuring 4117 sft on the ground floor and 1855 sft on the mezzanine floor bearing No. G-1 in Building known as Hague, 9, Sprott Road, Ballard Estate, Mumbai 400 001 (for short suit premises). The monthly rent in respect of the suit premises was Rs. 7307.59. Though it is stated that the suit premises were acquired for the respondents' own use and occupation, that is hardly relevant because, through out the case was that the tenancy is not protected by the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999 (for short MRC Act) or its predecessor Enactment the Bombay Rent Act, 1947.

3. By relying upon section 3(1)(b) of the MRC Act, it was urged that by a notice dated 24th April 2000, addressed to the applicant, the respondent terminated their tenancy rights and called upon them to vacate, quit and hand over vacant and peaceful possession of the suit premises. The error in the notice was rectified by further respondent's Advocate's further letter dated 8th May 2000. It is stated that both these notices were duly served and received as is evident by the reply given thereto by the applicant's solicitors letter dated 8th May 2000. It was urged therein that the applicant is not covered by section 3(1) (b) of the MRC Act. They are, therefore, entitled to the protection of MRC Act and it is a common ground that the correspondence continued on such pleas but eventually finding that the premises are not being handed over, a suit came to be instituted in the Court of Small Causes at Mumbai for possession and for mesne profits. This suit was filed on 1st December 2000.

4. A written statement was filed by the applicants on being served with the suit summons, denying the contents of the plaint and urging that the protection of the MRC Act is available. If at all it is stated to be not available, then, the provisions contained in Section 3(1)(b) insofar as they exclude the companies like the petitioners from MRC Act are ultra vires Articles 14 and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India and ought to be struck down. All other allegations in the plaint have been denied and it is urged that the suit is thus false, frivolous and vexatious.

5. The evidence was led by parties after the issues were framed and I am concerned with Issue Nos. 5 and 6, which are as under:-


6. Respondents plaintiffs examined the witness Rajesh Sachdev. He deposes that the applicants before me is Multinational Company. It has been stated that it is a company incorporated in the United States of America. The main object of incorporation was to deal in feature length motion pictures and photographic films. For this purpose, the applicants was to acquire property in any and all foreign countries. However, the applicant is registered with Registrar of Companies in India as a Foreign Company under Registration No. F-340. It is having its head office in U.S.A. It is having its branches in India, Myanmar (Burma) and also in Belgium. The P.W.-1, Rajesh Sachdev, therefore, deposed that once the applicant is part of the Paramount Group, which is leading producer of motion pictures and it is located in USA and doing business through the applicant, then, it is a multinational company. The trial court has in paras 3 to 6 of its judgment analysed the oral and documentary evidence and arrived at a conclusion that the respondent plaintiff has not proved that the applicant is a multinational company within the meaning of section 3(1)(b). Therefore, the issues were answered accordingly. In other words, the applicant was held to be protected by MRC Act, consistent with this finding. Since the suit is filed by issuing a notice under section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (for short T.P. Act), the respondents could not have taken recourse to that enactment once the MRC Act was applicable. Holding that the respondents-original plaintiff is not entitled to recover possession of the suit premises from the applicant-defendant that the suit was dismissed.

7. It is this judgment and decree of dismissal which has been reversed by the lower appellate court. The lower appellate court held that the respondents before me have proved that the applicant is a multinational company and, therefore, the trial court was in error in dismissing the suit. If the applicant is a multinational company, then, the suit was rightly filed after issuing notice of termination under section 106 of T.P. Act. It was maintainable and should have been decreed. Consistent with this finding, the appeal was allowed.

8. That lower appellate court has in para 39 of its judgment held that a multinational company means a company registered in India or outside, doing business in India or outside India or many other countries or doing business in India as a holding company or a subsidiary company and the word Multinational Company will have to be interpreted accordingly. A narrow and restricted meaning cannot be placed on this term and that will be not in accordance with the object and purpose of the MRC Act. It is this conclusion which is seriously disputed before me.

9. Mr. Dani, learned Counsel appearing on behalf of applicant invited my attention to the averments in the plaint, the stand in the written statement, issues framed by the trial court and the findings of the trial court. He submits that the applicant is not a multinational company. Alternatively and assuming that it can be termed as a Multinational Company, its paid up share capital is not Rs. 1 Crore and above but less. Therefore, it would still be covered by the MRC Act. The MRC Act would apply to applicant. Mr. Dani submits that the applicant is registered as a foreign company in India under the Companies Act, 1956. The Legislature has made a distinction inasmuch as the Companies having a paid up share capital of Rs. 1 Crore or more alone are brought within the purview of section 3(1)(b) of the MRC Act. Even if a company has a presence in India because it is a foreign company and could be having business activities in countries other than India, still, its paid up share capital being less than Rs. 1 Crore, it will not be covered by section 3(1)(b) of the MRC Act, is the assertion of Mr. Dani. Mr. Dani submits that on facts it has been found that the applicant has business only in India. He invited my attention to the pages 65 and 66 of the paperbook which are paras of the trial court's judgments on this point and in which the oral and documentary evidence has been discussed. Mr. Dani submits that the application of section 3(1)(b) has to be reckoned on the date of filing of the suit. That is the relevant date. If on that date, the company is a multinational company or a company which is either private limited or public limited and all of them having a paid up share capital of Rs. 1 Crore and more, then alone the MRC Act shall not apply to them.

10. Mr. Dani relies upon the settled principles of Statutory Interpretation that a provision like section 3 which is entitled "Exemption" has to be construed restrictively and particularly because in this case, it is appearing in a beneficial and social legislation like the Rent Control Act. Mr. Dani submits that the Rent Control Act is a beneficial and social legislation and is thus restrictive in nature. It has been held to be so because while providing protection to the tenants who under, common law, including the Transfer of Property Act, could be evicted from the premises let out to them at any time by the landlord on the termination of their tenancy, it restricts the right of the landlords to evict the tenants at their will. Mr. Dani, therefore, submits that if such a beneficial provision requires balancing of the rights of the Landlords and obligations of the tenants towards each other and the object was to curb the tenancy of greedy landlords to throw the tenants paying a lower rent, then, a interpretation which rules out the applicability of MRC Act to parties like applicant, should not be placed on its provisions. Rather the interpretation which sub-serves the object of enacting such a statute has to be placed on the provision. Mr. Dani submits that the three classes of entities viz., the Banks, Public Sector Undertakings, Statutory Corporations are grouped together and, thereafter, there are foreign missions, international agencies which is a distinct class and lastly, the provisions refer to and includes companies. Merely because the term used is "multinational company" does not mean that within companies another sub-classification is contemplated leave alone intended by the Legislature. Therefore, a multinational company which is having a paid up share capital of less than Rs. 1 Crore is not covered by the provisions of MRC Act. Mr. Dani submits that there is no Legislative or Legal definition of the term "multinational company". However, it is still a company. Mr. Dani submits that the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Leelabai Pansare Vs. Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. & Ors. reported in MANU/SC/3535/2008 : (2008) 9 S.C.C. 720, may be holding that a golden thread flows through this provision and namely such of the entities which are termed as "cash rich" by the Supreme Court and can afford to pay market rate as rent/compensation are excluded from the Rent Control Act. Then, all the more the section or the clause should be construed accordingly. Mr. Dani then, in further alternative, submits that an Indian arm or Indian partner of a multinational company need not be clubbed with the multinational company because it is registered in India and governed by Indian Company Law. Therefore, the stipulation with regard to paid up share capital must apply to it. For all these reasons, Mr. Dani submits that the lower appellate court was in complete error in reversing the judgment of the trial court. Its view suffers from an error apparent on the face of the record and perversity because it ignores the oral and documentary evidence on record. For all these reasons, the judgment and order of the lower appellate court be set aside and that of the trial court be restored

11. On the other hand, Ms. Parikh learned Counsel for the respondents supported the impugned judgment and submitted that the term "foreign company" is defined in Section 591(2) of the Companies Act. If it has business in more than one country, then, it is nothing but a foreign company and equally a multinational company. In the instant case, the certificate of incorporation of the applicant itself denotes that it is incorporated under the laws of Delaware in U.S.A. It has a global presence. In such circumstances, the criteria of Rs. 1 Crore paid up share capital can never be made applicable to a multinational company. It is an entity by itself and cannot be equated or held to be on par with a private limited company or a public limited company as understood and defined in the Indian Companies Act, 1956. Those companies with a paid up share capital and falling in this category are distinctly covered by the clause in question. However, as far as multinational company is concerned, there is no scope for any narrow interpretation or restricted view because a multinational company irrespective of whether it is having a paid up share capital or not is a class by itself and the Act does not apply to it just as it does not apply to foreign missions and international agencies. That a multinational company is international is undisputed. Therefore, there is no merit in this civil revision application and it deserves to be dismissed.

12. Ms. Parikh, then, submits that the oral and documentary evidence unmistakably points out that the applicant is a multinational company and the finding of fact rendered by the lower appellate court binds this court as it is not vitiated by any error of jurisdiction or perversity. Resultantly, the civil revision application be dismissed.

13. With the assistance of both learned Counsel, I have perused the revision application and all annexures thereto, including the impugned judgment. I have also perused with their assistance the legal provisions.

14. If one makes a reference to the affidavit in lieu of examination in chief which is filed in the trial court, what the trial court noted therefrom is that the respondents alleged that the applicant is a multinational company. It is incorporated in U.S.A. and having its principal office in Delaware, U.S.A. Its main object, its registration as foreign company is within the meaning of that term as defined in Indian Companies Act, 1956. Its nature of business and being spread over more than one country is referred to by the trial Judge. There is no basis for his finding that pleadings are lacking in this behalf. In the plaint, it is alleged that the applicant is not protected by rent control Act and I have referred to that allegation in the plaint, which is clear. The respondents need not plead evidence and, therefore, the trial court was not justified in holding that there is no pleading. Then it is stated that the applicant is remitting profit of Paramount Films of India Limited, Belgium and ultimately to the principal/head office at U.S.A. In the cross examination, the document Exh. 'C' which was received from the Registrar of Companies was produced but the learned Judge holds that this is denoting principal place of business as that of the suit premises. The learned trial Judge overlooks the fact that the witness has also answered that the applicant has kept its place of business at America, Belgium and Burma. Though he stated in the cross examination that he is not personally aware of the office of the applicant in Belgium or Burma or applicant having any branch or head office in that country, but the question with regard to the office at Belgium has also been answered.

15. What is material thereafter is the deposition of the witness Sarabjeet, examined by the applicant. He states that the applicant is a Corporation incorporated in Delaware and has its registered office at Delaware. The witness states that the applicant does not carry on any business or trading activity in U.S.A. or anywhere else in the world, other than India. But, what is then material to note is that the applicant was having a bank account in Belgium. It was elicited in his cross examination that the applicant is involved in manufacturing and distribution of films. The balance sheets which were shown to the witness and equally the finance statements, were accepted as correct. The Directors of the applicant are not of Indian origin is also accepted by the witness. The registration as a Foreign Company is also accepted. The policy decisions are taken by the Directors of the applicant located in U.S.A. The admission is that the suit premises are used by the applicant as branch office. The accounts of the applicant are sent to USA where the head office is situate. Even the income tax papers are shown in the USA. The certificate of incorporation is also admitted. However, the trial court then, refers to the statements that the applicant is doing business only in India and it has no business in Belgium. It may be that no amount is remitted in Paramount Pictures International Belgium. There may not be any branch office at Belgium but there is an admission that the profits are remitted to the applicant's USA office through Belgium bank account. The trial court finds that it is very material that the business in other countries has been stopped but what appears from this deposition is that there is an agreement with United International Pictures to distribute their pictures in India. There is an establishment of the applicant in USA. There is, then, admission that the dividend of the company is declared by Board of Directors from USA. It is stated that the applicant also distributes pictures made by Universal Studios. The Viacom group is doing business of distributing pictures and it holds 30% stake in United International Pictures. The witness Sarabjeet confirms in the cross examination that the applicant is also doing business in USA and outside. It is pursuant to the certificate of incorporation that the applicant is doing business in India and it was earlier doing business in Burma as well. It is admitted that United International are having licence for exhibition and there is an agreement between the applicant and United International in respect of their business in India. A copy of that agreement is also produced on recorded. There is, therefore, a clear case made out that the distribution of pictures manufactured by United International, Paramount Pictures, Metro Goldwin Mayer and Universal are supplied to the applicant by United International for distribution. The witness says that he is not aware as to whether Viacom is holding substantial shares in Paramount. It is admitted that Paramount Pictures is the sole shareholder of the applicant company. The Paramount Pictures International is having their business in USA.

16. It is this very material which has been referred to by the lower appellate court and the contentions before the lower appellate court, then, revolve around what is a multinational company. Prior thereto, the lower appellate court also referred to the admitted facts of registration of the applicant in State of Delaware, USA. Its principal place of business at No. 11 West, 10th Street, City of Willington County of New Castle. Thus, the company is established in USA doing business in USA as well as in India from the suit premises. The certificate of incorporation which is registered with the authorities in the USA clearly refers to the fact that the object is to have one or more office to carry on its operations of business and without restrictions or limitations and in any and all foreign countries. In such circumstances and by referring to the oral and documentary evidence adduced by the applicant and respondents what has been held by the lower appellate court is as under:-

52. Then, plaintiffs evidence do show that the plaintiff has produced the form No. 45, certificate of incorporation dated 26th August 1932, 14th August 1946, financial statement of the year 1955 including letter dated 1st June 1956, Form No. 46, certificate of Secretary in respect of the defendant dated 7th may 1956, Form No. 47, 48 balance sheet of the defendant dated 31st December 1932, by-laws of the defendant addressed by the defendant auditors to the defendant and Form No. 49. If, we peruse all these documents on record, it is crystal clear that the defendant company was dealing with the production, distribution of production, distribution of motion films at USA, India and Burma. The nature of the defendant company seems to be the multinational company by perusing the evidence of the plaintiff and all these documents produced along with the list at Exh. B."

53. Then, plaintiff's further evidence on record do show that he filed the letter of Registrar of Company of Delhi dated 10th September 1998, form No. 52, report dated 4th September 1998 of Kabra Associate, Chartered accountant along with the balance sheet dated 4th September 1998 of Indian branch and also dated 31st March, 1998. All these documents are produced along with the list at Exh. C. These documents also do show that how the defendant is doing the business at USA and India and how the financial affairs of the defendant was going on considering its connection with its main company. In the document of balance sheet of Indian branch dated 31st March 1998, it is shown that Rs. 31,245,607/- and Rs. 28,083,000/- were remitted to Paramount Films of India, Belgium. This amount seems to be sent to Paramount Film, Belgium.

54. Plaintiff's further evidence on record do show that plaintiff sent notice to defendant dated 7th December 2002 vide Exh. E and called upon the defendant to accept the document and admit it. But, defendant have not admitted the document nor given reply. Those letters are at Exh. E.

55. Further evidence of the plaintiff on record to show that defendant is dealing with the business of motion pictures, photographic film and for that purpose, defendant has to acquire property in any of the foreign countries. It is the say of the plaintiff that defendant is a registered company in India as foreign country having registration No. F-340. The Head Office of the defendant at USA and defendant has branch office at India, Burma and Belgium."

56. It is further evidence of the plaintiff that defendant is part of Paramount Film group. The paramount film group is one of the leading producers and distributors of motion pictures and is located in USA. The motion pictures produced by it are exhibited through out the world. In India, Paramount group does business through the defendants.

57. Further evidence of the plaintiff do show that the Form No. 49 filed by the defendant with the Registrar of Companies mentions the names, addresses, nationality and business/occupation of the directors of the defendants as on 19th December 1980. The majority of the directors of the defendants are of foreign origin and foreign nationals and are residing outside India. All shareholders of the defendant are foreigners.

17. Thus, the applicant could not demonstrate from the deposition of the respondent's witness and of its own that the facts as emerging from the documents are in any way incorrect. If the cross examination of their witness shows that all major players in the business of motion pictures are carrying on their business activities in some way or the other through the applicant and that no work of manufacturing of films of the applicant is going on in India but it is going on in USA and other parts of the world, then, it is clear that the applicant has presence in India by virtue of its nature of activities and on account of the stipulations in the certificate of incorporation. This fact together with the remittance of funds in foreign country viz., USA being also admitted that the lower appellate court rightly holds that the trial court has erred in holding that the applicant is not a multinational company. There are adverse inferences drawn because of the balance sheets Exh. C and equally the explanation that was sought with regard to remittance of funds from 1998 to 2001 and which remittances are clearly through the Bank account at Belgium. The merger of Paramount Group with Viacom and the evidence in that behalf is referred to in paras 75 to 77 of the impugned judgment and reference has been made extensively to the cross examination of Mr. Sarabjeet.

18. If the applicant is having business through it or with its sister companies or amalgamated companies and which business is spread over several countries, then, the applicant is a multinational company and Mr. Dani was unable to show anything to the contrary in that behalf.

19. It is, therefore, his argument that the applicant will be covered only by clause (b) if its paid up share capital is more than Rs. 1 Crore. In that regard it is material to note Section 3(1)(b), which reads as under:-

3(1)(b): This Act shall not apply-

(a) ...

(b) to any premises let or sub-let to banks, or any public sector undertakings or any corporation established by or under any central or State Act, or foreign missions, international agencies, multinational companies, and private limited companies and public limited companies having a paid up share capital of rupees one crore or more.

20. True it is that the word "foreign mission", "International Agency" and "Multinational Company" are not defined in the Act. However, they will have to then be considered in terms of their ordinary and plain meaning. If the ordinary and plain meaning of the term "Multinational" is seen in Concise Oxford Dictionary, it means (1) including or involving several countries or nationalities (2) operating in several countries. The word "international" is also defined to mean existing or occurring between nations, used by people of many nations and the word "foreign" and "foreigner" is defined to mean a language or characteristic of a country other than ones own, the word "foreigner" means dealing with or relating to other countries. A foreigner is a person born or coming from a foreign country.

21. The term "Foreign Company" is defined in Indian Companies Act, 1956 as under:-

Foreign Companies (Meaning and Definition):-

(a) Companies incorporated outside India which, after the commencement of this Act, establish a place of business within India; and

(b) Companies incorporated outside India which have, before the commencement of this Act, established a place of business within India and continue to have an established place of business within India at the commencement of this Act.

22. If one, therefore, goes by the ordinary and plain meaning of this term and which is what has been referred to in the clause, then, it is not possible to agree with Mr. Dani that merely because "Multinational companies" is the word used that it has to be further established and proved that such multinational companies or may be foreign companies have a international presence, but yet, they being styled as a company, their paid up share capital has to exceed Rs. 1 Crore and only then, they are excluded from the Act or else a conclusion is inevitable that the Act applies to them.

23. In this context, Mr. Dani does not dispute that the words "Foreign Mission", "International Agencies", "Multinational Companies" do not appear in a sequence as read by him or do not follow in that order. After the word "multinational companies" there is (,) and the word "and" used between private limited company and public limited company and then the words "having paid up share capital ....." appear. In that regard, in the Principles of Statutory Interpretation by Hon'ble Justice G.P. Singh what has been held is that Punctuations have their own place in statutory interpretation.

24. In the case of Sambhu Nath Sarkar Vs. The State of West Bengal and Ors., reported in MANU/SC/0163/1973 : A.I.R. 1973 S.C. 1425, it has been held that if the Statute is found to be carefully punctuated, punctuation, though minor element, may be resorted to for the purpose of construction. In this regard the learned Author observed as under:-

...But it would appear, at any rate, with respect to modern statutes, that if the statute in question is found to be carefully punctuated, punctuation, though a minor element, may be resorted to for purposes of construction. An illustration of the aid derived from punctuation may be furnished from the case of Mohd. Shabbir Vs. State of Maharashtra, ( A.I.R. 1979 S.C. 564) where section 27 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 came up for construction. By this section whoever "manufactures for sale, sells, stocks or exhibits for sale or distributes" a drug without a licence is liable for punishment. In holding that mere stocking is not an offence within the section, the Supreme Court pointed out the presence of comma after "manufactures for sale" and "sells" and absence of any comma after "stocks". It was, therefore, held that only stocking for sale could amount to offence and not mere stocking. For another example of the use of punctuation, reference may be made to M.K. Salpekar (Dr) Vs. Sunil Kumar Shamsunder Choudhary, (MANU/SC/0148/1988 : A.I.R. 1988 S.C. 1841) where the court construed clause 13(3)(v) of the C.P. and Berar Letting of Houses and Rent Control Order. This provision permits ejectment of the tenant on the ground that "the tenant has secured alternate accommodation, or has left the area for continuous period of four months and does not reasonably need the house". In holding that the requirement that the tenant "does not reasonably need the house" has no application when he "has secured alternative accommodation" the court referred and relied upon the punctuation comma after the word alternative accommodation. However, if a Statute is revised and re-enacted but the section under construction in the revised Statute is brought in identical terms as in the old Statute except as to variation of some punctuation, that in itself will not be indicative of any intention on the part of the Legislature to change the law as understood under the old section.

(See Principles of Statutory Interpretation 13th Edition 2012 by Justice G.P. Singh-Page 174)

25. In these circumstances, it is not possible to agree with Mr. Dani that only such multinational companies having a paid up share capital of Rs. 1 Crore or more are excluded from the purview of the Act. The Act is inapplicable to foreign missions, international agencies and multinational companies and they are grouped together only because of the foreign or international element in them. There presence being at global or international level, their presence in more than one country being undisputed, it is but natural to hold that they have the financial capacity and capability to procure and purchase or afford the rates of immovable property prevailing in the market. They are not required to be protected from rack renting, exploitation and the alleged greed of landlords as urged by Mr. Dani. They cannot complain of economic exploitation because of their financial and other resources. In such circumstances, the Legislature deemed it fit that such entities together with banks, public sector undertakings or statutory Corporations and others are not required to be brought within the purview of rent control legislation. They can stand out and compete and equally they can on their own buy properties at prevailing market rates. The presumption that the protection of beneficial and social legislation meant to protect tenants who cannot afford to pay market price, holds good and there is no question of any discrimination much less classification having no nexus with the object sought to be achieved. If the object sought to be achieved is to exclude such entities, who are financially sound and cash rich because they were misusing the protection of rent control act, then, that cannot be said to be vitiated by any arbitrariness or unreasonableness. In such circumstances and when the vires of the provision has also been upheld by the Supreme Court in Pansare's case (supra), then, all the more, this is not a fit case for holding that the applicant continues to enjoy the protection of the rent control legislation and it is not excluded from its purview.

26. The argument that the Act does not define the term "Multinational Company" and, therefore, it cannot receive the ordinary and common parlance meaning is, in the context of above, untenable and cannot be accepted. Once the absence of any definition of the word "multinational Company" presents no difficulty, then, the other argument that this term being followed by the word "company", that it must receive restrictive interpretation cannot be accepted. The word multinational has been used deliberately so as not to confine the exemption to only those multinational companies having a shareholding. In that context, the word "company" also must carry the ordinary and plain meaning. It means a commercial business. It also means the fact or condition of being with another or others. It means a group of people gathered together. In these circumstances, it is not restricted to a company which is multinational but limited by shares. There is no scope for giving such restrictive meaning to the term multinational and particularly in the context in which the said words have been used. If they are given such a meaning and as suggested by Mr. Dani, that would mean further classifying or grouping multinational companies and this plainly and clearly is not the intent of the Legislature. If the multinational company means all such companies having presence in more than one country, being universal as far as business affairs are concerned, then, it is with a view to carry forward the intent of the Legislature that the word "multinational company" has to be interpreted and understood accordingly. There is no scope then for any restricted or narrow interpretation as suggested by Mr. Dani.

27. These are the only contentions which are raised before me and having found no substance in each of them, there is no alternative but to arrive at a conclusion that the order of the lower appellate court does not suffer from any illegality or material irregularity requiring interference in revisional jurisdiction. The revision application, therefore, fails and is, therefore, dismissed. Rule is discharged. No costs.

28. At this stage Mr. Dani, learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the Applicants, prays that the decree passed by the lower Appellate Court should not be executed for a period of twelve weeks to enable the Applicants to challenge this order in a higher Court.

29. None appears on behalf of the Respondents, though their names are duly shown on today's daily Board.

30. From the record it appears that this Civil Revision Application was to be heard finally at the stage of admission and in such circumstances, it is prayed that the decree should not be executed for a period of twelve weeks. If the decree is not already executed, the same shall not be executed and enforced for a period of twelve weeks from today to enable the Applicants to challenge this Judgment in a higher Court. However, the Applicants shall not transfer or alienate the premises in question in any manner, nor part with possession thereof and, equally, they should not carry out any additions or alterations therein.


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