1. The landlord applied for fair rent of the two premises. According to him, they were constructed in the year 1971-72 and fair rent works out at Rs. 400/- per month for each shop.
2. The tenant resisted the claim. The Rent Controller has relied on the rental value of the premises as entered in the property tax register of the local authority for the year in which the building was constructed. That was for the year 1971-72. The landlord has produced the rental value of each shop, which was fixed by the local authority according to which, the rental value has been fixed at Rs. 2,800/- per annum from 1971-72 onwards. The Rent Controller, instead of fixing the rent at Rs. 280/per month has fixed it at Rs. 400/- per month making observation that the prevailing rent in that locality is around Rs. 500/- to Rs. 600/-per month for even similar accommodation. This order is challenged in these revision petitions by the tenant.
3. S. 14(6) of the Karnataka Rent Control Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) speaks about fixation of fair rent which reads thus :
'14. Fixation of fair rent, etc.
(6) In fixing fair rent of a building which has been constructed after first day of April 1947, the Controller may take into consideration the rental value of the building as entered in the property tax assessment book of the local authority for the year in which the building was constructed :
Provided that where no records are available, the Controller may fix the fair rent calculated on the basis of six per cent per annum of the aggregate amount of the reasonable cost of construction and the market price of the land comprised in the building on the date of the commencement of the construction.'
In these cases, the landlord has not provided the Court with any estimated cost of the construction. That was not necessary because the extract of property tax assessment book of local authority was got produced. Therefore, the only criterion on which the fair rent to be fixed is on the basis of the rental value of the building as entered in the property tax assessment book. That works out at Rs. 280/per month. The Rent Controller was not justified in taking extraneous consideration to fix it at Rs. 400/- per month.
4. Learned Counsel appearing for the revision petitioner no doubt further submitted that even this rental value for the building is not just and proper as the rental value for similar buildings is fixed at a lower rate, as could be seen from the evidence of the clerk who brought the register. He further relied on a decision of this Court in the case of D. R. Puttanna v. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (1971) 1 Mys LJ 56 wherein it is stated thus:
'Where the landlord allowed enhancement of assessment with a view to create evidence for enhancing the fair rent, that assessment cannot be the basis for enhancing the fair rent.'
There cannot be any quarrel with the proposition of law so laid down. If the fair rent is already fixed and with a view to get it enhanced, the landlord accedes to pay higher rental value, on that basis fair rent would be enhanced again. That proposition is based on the proposition laid down by the Supreme Court of India in the case of The Corporation of Calcutta v. Sm. Padma Debi : 3SCR49 . But the facts in the present cases are entirely different. The building was reconstructed in the year 1971 and fair rent was to be yet fixed for the first time and in so fixing, rental value has to be looked into as contemplated under S. 14(6) of the Act. That is followed by the Rent Controller. Ina summary proceeding like fixing the fair rent, the Rent Controller cannot challenge the rental value fixed by the local authority. All official acts done are presumed to be correct and in a summary proceeding, the Rent Controller cannot act on any assumptions that the rental value so fixed is not correct. He has to simply rely on the rental value. The evidence of the clerk is of no consequence. He has come only to produce the assessment book and he is not the author in fixing the rental value. Hence no importance could be given to the evidence of the Clerk. Hence the rental value for the premises is reduced to Rs. 280/- per month in each case.
5. In the result, the revision petitions are partly allowed. Rental fixed at Rs. 400/- per month is reduced Rs. 280/- per month in each case. No costs.
6. Petitions partly allowed.