1. This is a petition under Section 115. Civil P. C. to revise an order made by the Prl. Civil Judee. Bangalore City. in which he held that the Court has no jurisdiction to pass a decree for possession of certain premises.
2. B. Narayana Reddv. the petitioner instituted O. S. 161/71 for possession and for arrears of rent. Vasudeva Bhatta -- the respondent -- is his tenant in occupation of the premises. The tenancy commenced in 1967 on a monthly rent of 730. The landlord has stated in his plaint that the tenant has entered into a subsequent agreement dated 21-1-1971 by which he agreed to surrender a portion of the premises and as per that agreement the rent for the remaining portion would be Rs. 450 per month, but the tenant refused to surrender that portion and hence the said agreement did not come into force.
3. The tenant resisted the suit inter alia contending that he had surrendered the portion of the premises as per the agreement dated 21-1-1971 and consequently the rent stood abated to Rs. 450 per month and the Civil Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the suit for possession since the monthly rent of the building is less than Rs. 500 per month.
4. During the pendency of the suit, the parties however, agreed for the Court passing a consent order. On 28-10-1972 the Court made a consent order in the following terms:
'The plaintiff and the defendant present. By agreement of both of them the following order is passed without prejudice to their contentions as to the factum of surrender. The plaintiff will put up a wall for separating the two portions as per the agreement filed in the Court dated 21-1-1971 at his cost within four weeks from now and report the matter to the Court. The defendant will afford all facilities for execution of the above said work. I. A. 4 is accordingly closed.'
I. A. IV referred to above was an application filed by the tenant for an order to direct the landlord to put up a wall separating the portion of premises which he surrendered to the landlord pursuant to the agreement dated 21-1-1971. The consent order was to give effect to the terms of the agreement dated 21-1-1971, one of the terms of the said agreement was that the tenant would be liable to pay rent of Rs. 450 per month. On these subsequent events, the trial Court held that it has no jurisdiction to pass a decree for possession in view of the prohibition contained in Section 21 of the Karnataka Rent Control Act (called shortly 'the Act'). The landlord challenges the correctness of the decision of the trial Court.
6. In order to appreciate the contention urged, it is better to recall the facts. The premises in question is a non-residential building. The rent originally payable by the tenant was more than Rs. 500. The building was exempted from the provisions of Part V of the Act, as provided by Section 31 of the Act. The landlord therefore instituted the suit for recovery of possession before the Court of general jurisdiction. During the pendency of the suit, the parties entered into a compromise by which a portion of the building was surrendered by the tenant to the landlord. Consequently, the rent stood abated to Rs. 450/- per month.
7. Before me, learned Counsel for the landlord contended that the subsequent event by which the rent was reduced could not divest the jurisdiction of the trial Court to make a decree for possession as the suit originally instituted was maintainable before the Court. In support of his contention, he relied upon the Full Bench decision of the Madras High Court in Putta Kannayva Chetti v. Venkatanarasayya. 39 Ind Cas 439 = (AIR 1918 Mad 998 (21) (FB) and in particular on the following observations of the Court at page 443:
'.....We are, therefore, of opinion that in every case when the Court is seized of jurisdiction, it cannot and does not lose it by any change in the value of the subject-matter of the suit after the institution of the suit or by the precise ascertainment of its value in cases which do not admit of such ascertainment at the time of institution, except when the plaint is allowed to be amended and that is not really an exception.'
In my view, there cannot be dispute about the above proposition of law. Any change in the valuation of the suit happening subsequent to the institution of the suit, cannot and does not divest the jurisdiction of the Court which is seized of jurisdiction to try the suit. But the dispute in the present case is not relating to any change in the valuation of the subject-matter of the suit. It is a dispute which concerns with the competency of the Court to make a decree for possession when in a pending suit, the provisions of Part V of the Act are attracted to the subject-matter of the suit.
8. Section 21 which is in Part V of the Act imposes a bar on any Court to make an order or decree for recovery of possession of any premises falling under the provisions of the Act. If a landlord wants to recover possession of any premises; including a non-residential building fetching a rent of less than Rs. 500 per month, he has to file an application on one or the other grounds set out in clauses (a) to (p) of Section 21 (1). It is that Court exercising jurisdiction under the Rent Control Act that can pass an order for possession of the premises. This principle has to be borne in mind, by the Courts while trying original suits for recovery of possession of any premises. The Court of general jurisdiction may be competent to make an order or decree for possession so long as Part V of the Act is not applicable to the subject-matter of the suit. If during the pendency of the suit, due to act of parties or by operation of law, if Part V of the Act is attracted to the subject-matter of the suit, the Court of general jurisdiction would lose its jurisdiction to proceed with the suit and the provisions of Section 21 with all its limitations would govern the relationship of landlord and tenant.
In the present case when the rent of the non-residential building was reduced to Rs. 450 per month, the provisions of Part V of the Act were immediately attracted to the premises and the learned Judge was therefore right in holding that he has no jurisdiction to pass a decree for possession.
9. In the result, this revision petition fails and is dismissed, but no costs.
10. Petition dismissed.