1. The petitioners who are the legal representatives of the original tenant Balkrishna Jagtap, have approached this Court under Article 227 of the Constitution of India impugning the decree made by the learned District Judge, Sholapur., in Civil Appeal NO.380 of the 1969 on affirming that of the learned Civil Judge , Junior Division, Barasi, in Regular Civil Suit No.41 of 1968.
2. The few facts necessary for the disposal of the application could be briefly stated thus: The property in dispute is C.T.S. No.2514 situate on the Station Road at Barsi in District Sholapur. The original defendant No.1. since deceased had taken it on lease for a period of eleven months under a rent note Ex. 53 dated 17th December 1960. The rent agree upon was Rs.25 per month. Respondent No.1 landlord terminated the tenancy of the tenant by a notice dated 2nd August 1967 and claimed possession mainly on the ground of default in payment of rent from March 1966 to July 1967, change in the user of the premises leased out, erection of permanent structures which were about three in number and taking a water pipe connection without the landlord's consent, obtained in writing and unlawful sub-letting. The suit came to be filed on 23rd January, 1968. The short answer made by the defendant-tenant was a stout denial of the various grounds on which possession was claimed, accompanied by a further submission that the landlord had agreed to sell the suit property to him for a consideration of Rs.4,000 or Rs. 5,000. The terms of agreement were set out on a chit of paper but they were to be reduced on a stamped paper which was purchased on 17th April 1964. Under the terms of the agreement were set out on a chit of paper but they were to be reduced on a stamped paper which was purchased on 17th April 1964. Under the terms of the agreement the price was fixed at Rs. 5,000. Rs. 2,000 were paid by way of earnest and the balance was to be paid before the Sub-Registrar., The period prescribed for obtaining the sale-deed was eleven months., However, it contained an important clause that till the sale was completed, the tenant was go on paying the rent. The tamped paper was purchased in plaintiff's son's name, but before a regular deed could be drawn, defendant No.1 died and the matter rested there. It is needless to refer to the other defences taken by the tenant. The learned Civil Judge framed as many as eleven issued and found almost all of them in favour of the landlord. On the turning point regarding the agreement of sale, he was inclined to uphold the plea but felt that the tenant had failed to establish his readiness and willingness; therefore, the doctrine of part performance could not run to his rescue. The standard came to be fixed at Rs. 25 per month, probably on the concession made by the tenant during the trial. As all the points were answered against the tenant, a decree the petitioners preferred an appeal, but the learned District Judge in a refreshingly brief judgment performance and for that purpose he mainly relied upon the last clause mentioned in the chit that the tenant was to pay the rent till the execution of the sale-deed and as there was non-payment of rent, in his opinion, it could be said that the tenant were not ready and willing to perform their part of the contract. He proceeded to observe further that the tenants had disclaimed the ownership; of the plaintiff and therefore the protection under the Rent Act was not available to them. On such considerations he thought that the decree passed by the lower Court was pre-eminently correct and the appeal had no force. Consequently he confirmed the decree and against this decree the tenants have approached this Court.
3. Mr. Sali for the petitioners has raised a preliminary objection not only to the approach made by the learned District Judge but to the form of his judgment and failure to comply with the requisitions of an appellate judgment mentioned in Order 41, Rule 31 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The next point taken by him was that the landlord had approached the Court in a suit for ejectment founded on various grounds covered by Section 12 and 13 of the Bombay Rent Act. Evidence was adduced by both the sides in the lower Court and all the points were canvassed at great length, but the learned District Judge had not made even a passing reference either to findings on the various issues or otherwise. The theory of disclaimer on reading out the relevant portion of the written statement pointed out Mr. Sali, was introduced by the learned District Judge for the first time without any whisper on the part of the tenants. What the tenants contended was that in view of the agreement of sale in their favour on which they relied, they had a right to retain possession and virtually they were claiming under the landlord and not against him. The question of disclaimer, under such circumstances, cannot arise, but it has been misunderstood by the learned District Judge. While winding up his argument he submitted that even if he were to fail under S.53-A of the Transfer of Property Act, on the doctrine of part performance it could not be said that it is his only shield of defence. But there are other grounds of attacks put forth by way of answer to the points on which possession is claimed and they are not decided by the learned District Judge. The first appellate Court is a final Court on the questions of fact and when it has failed in its duty, the judgment would be patently erroneous on the face of it. In Support of such a line of argument he brought to my notice the authority in Nagayya v. Chayappa, : AIR1956Bom560 . While meeting his argument Mr. Naik for the respondents landlords tried to persuade this Court that ignoring all aspects, if the landlords were to convince the Court on a single point of default, the decree deserves to be maintained. Although the dispute about standard rent was raised in the written statement, it was abandoned during the course of the trial. The finding of the lower Court that the tenant was in arrears of rent to the tune of Rs. 550 i.e. for a period of more than six months, stands unassailed. The case may be covered by Section 12(3)(b) of the Bombay Rent Act, but the tenant has not qualified to the protection thereof and it the landlord can on the record as it established, there is no necessity to set aside the judgment of the learned District Judge or make an order of remand as pressed into service by Mr. Sali.
4. The arguments advanced by Mr. Naik for the respondent landlord do possess the merit of plausibility and to a certain extent may sound attractive on first impressions. But the question is, when this Court is sitting in exercise of its power of superintendence and when it is shown that the judgment of the first it is shown that the judgment of the first appellate Court has failed to comply with the legal requirements whether it should be sustained by this Court looking into the facts and arrogating to itself the role of a fact-finding Court. The provisions of Order 41,. Rule 31 of the Code of Civil Procedure are mandatory. The Judgment of the first appellate Court has to set out points for determination, record the decision thereon and give its own reasons for the said decision. The expression used throughout is shall state' Looking to the plain language of this rule, it cannot be said that failure to comply with these provisions is a mere irregularity. The Legislature has laid down these rules so that either the second appellate Court or the Court exercising such extraordinary jurisdiction should be in a position to find out the track traversed by the appellate Court. It cannot run away from its onerous duties of recording the finding of fact and/or discussing the evidence. Strictly speaking and with due respect to the learned District Judge, as one reads the judgment it cannot be said to be a judgment of the first appellate court at all within the meaning of Order, 41 Rule 31 of the Code of Civil of Procedure: otherwise these imperative provisions would be reduced to empty formalities. There may be cases where in a given set of circumstances the Court may ignore a point here and there but if there is an application of mind to the issues involved, then certainly such a judgment could be sustained. However, as I read the judgment of the learned District Judge, nowhere he has ventured to consider the various grounds covered by either Section 12 or 13 of the Bombay Rent Act., The landlord relied upon numerous grounds for getting the relief of possession and none of these grounds have been given even a semblance of a touch. Therefore, the objection taken by Mr. Sali, I think is sound and must prevail.
5. This takes me on to the pertinent observations made by this Court in Nagayya's case : AIR1956Bom560 referred to above. It was also a petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India where the High Court was called upon to exercise its superintending powers. No doubt the matter before their Lordships arose out of certain proceedings under the Bombay Tenancy Act. The learned Mamlatdar was called upon to decide whether the lands were required by the landlord for bona fide personal cultivation and he recorded his own finding of fact. This finding of fact was not examined nor considered, nor was its correctness tested in any manner or determined by the Assistant Collector adopted a short-cut ignoring his duties as a final fact-finding Tribunal and disposed of the appeal in favour of the tenant. His decision was reversed by the Tribunal. This resulted in the restoration of the Mamlatdar's order on discussing the relevant provisions of the Bombay Tenancy Act, the functions attributed to the Mamlatdar as well as to the learned Assistant Collector and the ambit of the Revenue Tribunal, it was pointed out that it was incumbent upon the Assistant Collector to his own conclusions with reference to the evidence placed by the parties. Under these circumstances the matter was remanded to the Assistant Collector for a finding on the important questions of fact involved in the said petition. These principles are applicable mutatis mutant is to the case before me. As a matter of fact the learned District Judge has missed the target and his reasoning seems to run at tangent. As I am not deciding the matter finally, assuming that the tenant had filed to establish his defence of the doctrine of part performance, he should have given his own finding on the various issues involved which go to the root of the litigation and equalities if any, either in favour of the landlord or the tenant in the short-cut adopted by him, there is no alternative but to remand the matter.
6. While winding up his argument Mr. Naik for the respondent submitted that the present civil application be kept pending and the learned District Judge be directed to rehear the arguments and to record his finding by formulating the points for determination as required by Order 41, Rule 31 of the Code of Civil Procedure and to certify the said finding I would have been inclined to adopt such a procedure if the learned District Judge a procedure if the learned District Judge had missed one or two points, put in the short-cut adopted by him, that is a case of a miss in the mine. Under these singular circumstances. I have no other alternative but to remand the matter with a direction to the learned District Judge to hear the appeal on merits and to decide the same according to law by riveting his attention not only on the points of controversy introduced but by scrutinizing the evidence led thereon.
7. Before I conclude I must appreciate the difficulty put forth by Mr. Naik who said that the matter is pretty old and certain time limit be put, otherwise this already protracted litigation will have a further chequered career with the result of giving a long rope to the tenant and no relief to the landlord in good time. As I peruse the record, there seems to be considerable force in this submission. Therefore, I am disposed to direct the learned District Judge not only to expedite the appeal, but to dispose it of within four months from the receipt of the record and proceedings. Under these peculiar circumstances there would be no order as to costs.
8. In the result, the application, is allowed. The rule is made absolute. The matter is remain to the District Court for rehearing the appeal on merits according to law in the light of the observations made above.
9. Application allowed.