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Firm of S. Mohd. Ali and Sons and ors. Vs. V. Madhavarao and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberTransfer C.M.P. No. 9085 of 1962
Judge
Reported inAIR1964AP132
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 24; Andhra Pradesh (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act, 1960 - Sections 3, 10, 20(4) and 30; Andhra Pradesh (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Rules, 1961 - Rules 9 and 12
AppellantFirm of S. Mohd. Ali and Sons and ors.
RespondentV. Madhavarao and ors.
Appellant AdvocateY. Sivarama Sastry and ;A. Rajacharyulu, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateA. Ramaswamy Ayengar, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
tenancy - jurisdiction - section 24 of code of civil procedure, 1908 and sections 3, 10, 20 (4) and 30 of andhra pradesh (lease, rent and eviction) control act, 1960 and rules 9 and 12 of andhra pradesh (lease, rent and eviction) control rules, 1961 - petitioner a tenant filed petition for transfer of case from file of rent controller to civil court - high court described term 'court' - rent controller not encompassed within definition of court - high court has no jurisdiction to transfer case when it is not pending in court subordinate to it. - - 386 and 387.) 11. the best definition of the phrase 'judicial power' is the one given by griffith, c. it is difficult to draw a clearly dividing line between administrative tribunals and courts of civil judicature. the term 'quasi-judicial'.....ordergopal rao ekbote, j.1. this is an application under section 24, civil p. c. requesting the transfer of an eviction petition 96/ev/62 on the file of the rent controller, secunderabad, to the court of the iind asst. judge, city civil court, hyderabad, to be tried along with o. s. no. 179/62. it is alleged that the petitioners are the tenants of the premises bear-ing no. 111 situate at sarojini devi road, secunderabad, belonging to the edulji sohrabji chenoy trust, the peti-tioners-firm has been in possession of the said premises as tenants from 1899. the trustees of the abovesaid trust without having authority sold the premises to the respondents. on the basis of that sale deed the respondents filed the eviction petition before the rent controller, secun-derabad, seeking eviction of.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Gopal Rao Ekbote, J.

1. This is an application under Section 24, Civil P. C. requesting the transfer of an Eviction Petition 96/EV/62 on the file of the Rent Controller, secunderabad, to the Court of the IInd Asst. Judge, City Civil Court, Hyderabad, to be tried along with O. S. No. 179/62. It is alleged that the petitioners are the tenants of the premises bear-ing No. 111 situate at Sarojini Devi Road, Secunderabad, belonging to the Edulji Sohrabji Chenoy Trust, the peti-tioners-firm has been in possession of the said premises as tenants from 1899. The trustees of the abovesaid trust without having authority sold the premises to the respondents. On the basis of that sale deed the respondents filed the Eviction petition before the Rent controller, secun-derabad, seeking eviction of the petitioners. The petitioners raised an objection before the Rent Controller that inasmuch as the trustees were not competent to self the trust pro-perty the respondents did not derive any title, that the sale was void and ineffective and that the respondents therefore cannot ask for eviction of the petitioners, the respondents challenged the correctness of the objections raised by the petitioners. The Rent Controller thereupon rejected the objections of the petitioners through his order dated 18-6-1962. The petitioners appeared to have subsequently filed an application to get clarification or the abovesaid order. The Rent Controller however did not allow the petitioners to raise the questions already decided. The petitioners therefore filed O.S. 179/62 before the 2nd Asst. Judge, City Civil Court, Hyderabad praying for a declaration that the petitioners are not liable for evic-tion and that the Rent Controller had no jurisdiction. They challenged in the said suit the sale deed effected by the trustees in favour of the respondents. This application now seeks to transfer the petition for eviction pending before the Rent controller to the llnd Assist. Judge, City Civil Court, Hyderabad in order to avoid duplication of work and conflicting decisions. The respondents in their counter raised various objections regarding the maintainability of this petition. The main contention however has been that the Rent Controller is not a Court subor-dinate to the High court and that therefore the High Court is not competent to transfer the eviction proceedings to the City Civil Court, Hyderabad. They also disputed the correctness of the plea that there are grounds suffi-cient for the purposes of transferring the petition. In view of the submissions made by the learned Advocates the essential, question which requires to be answered in the present enquiry is whether or not the Rent Controller is a Court subordinate to the High Court.

2. Mr. Ramaswami lyenger, the learned advocate appearing for the respondents, conceded that in view of Section 22 of the Andhra Pradesh (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act, 1960, hereinafter caned the Act, the Rent Controller is subordinate to the High Court inasmuch as revision lies to the High Court whose deci-son in such matters is considered to be final. He however lays emphasis on his submission that the Rent Controller is not a Court within the meaning of Section 24 of the Civil Procedure Code. On the other hand, it is the contention of Mr. Sivarama Sastry that Section 24 C.P.C. is applicable and that the Rent Controller is a court subordinate to the High Court. It is plain from a reading of Section 24 that before any suit or proceeding is transferred from one Court to the other it must be pointed out that the suit or proceeding which Is being transferred is pending before a Court subordinate to the High Court. It is only then that the High Court will have jurisdiction to entertain petitions under Section 24 of the Civil Proce-dure Code.

3. Now the word 'Court' is not a word of art having a fixed or rigid meaning. It is not defined in the Civil Procedure Code. The Indian Evidence Act however contains a definition in Section 3 which is in the follow-ing terms:

''Court' includes all judges, magistrates and all persons except arbitrators legally authorised to take evidence.' Similarly we find definition of the words 'Court of justice in Section 20 of the Indian Penal Code. The words 'judicial proceeding' also are defined in Section 4(m) of the Criminal Procedure Code. These definitions are not exhaus-tive but merely indicate what is included. It must also be remembered that these definitions are meant for the purposes of their respective Acts only and cannot be taken to apply generally in all contexts. I also find definition of this word 'Court' in some English statutes, out those definitions also are neither helpful nor exhaustive. The dictionary meaning of the word 'Court' may possibly give a general idea of the 'Court', but it will not certainly assist us in interpreting Section 24, C. P. C.

4. The Preamble to the Civil Prccedure Code:

'Whereas it is expedient to consolidate and amend the laws relating to the procedure of the Courts of Civil judicature etc.'

shows that the provisions are meant to apply to ordinary civil Courts. According to Section 9 of the Code these Courts have (subject to the provisions of the Code) jurisdiction to try all suits of civil nature, excepting suits of which their cognizance is expressly or impliedly barred. For the purposes of suits of civil nature the States maintain regular Courts the powers of which are determined by Acts generally designated 'Civil Courts Act'.

5. As stated in Halsbury's Laws of England, Hait-sham Edition, Vol. VIII, P. 525,

'The term 'Court' has inter alia the original mean-ing of King's palace and has acquired the meaning or the place where justice is administered, and thence again the meaning of the persons who exercise judicial functions under the authority derived either immediately or mediately from the King. All Tribunals, however, are not Courts in the sense in which the term is here employed viz., to denote such Tribunals as exercise jurisdiction over persons by reason of the sanction of the law, and not merely by reason of voluntary submission to such jurisdiction.'

6. The tests for determining whether or not a tribunal is a judicial body have been stated in Halsbury's Laws thus:

'The distinction appears to be not so much whether the particular Tribunal is a Court of justice, but whether it is a Court in law. In determining whether or not a Tribunal is a judicial body the facts that it has been appointed by a non-judicial authority, that it has no power to administer on oath, that the Chairman has a casting vote and that third parties have power to intervene, are material, especially if the statute setting it up prescribes a penalty for making false statements; elements to consider are (1) the requirement for a public nearing subject to a power to exclude the public in a proper case, and (2) a provision that a member of the Tribunal shall not take part in any decision in which he is personally interested nor unless he has been present throughout me proceedings.'

It is thus clear that in England although the word 'Court' originally meant the King's palace, but subsequently acquired the meaning of (1) a place where justice was administered, and (2) the person or persons who administer it.

7. There can be no doubt that to be a court the person or persons who constitute it must be entrusted with judicial functions, that is of deciding litigated questions according to law. However, by agreement between parties, arbitrators may be called upon to exercise judicial powers to decide the dispute according to law but that would not make the arbitrators a Court. It appears to me that before the person or persons can be said to constitute a Court, it must be held that they derive their powers from the State and are exercising the judicial powers of the State. In R. v. London County Council, (1931) 2 KB 215, Saville, L.J., gave the following meaning to 'Court' or 'judicial authority':

'It is not necessary that it should be a Court in the sense that this Court is a Court; it is enough if it is exercising, alter hearing evidence, judicial functions in the sense that it has to decide on evidence between a proposal and an opposition; and it is not necessary to be strictly a Court; if it is a tribunal which has to decide rightly after hearing evidence and opposition.'

8. It was observed by Lopes, L.J., in Royal Aquarium and Summer and Winter Garden Society v. Parkinson, (1892) 1 QB 431 at p. 452 that:

'The word 'judicial' has two meanings. It may refer to the discharge of duties exercisable by a Judge or by justices in court, or to administrative duties which need not be performed in Court, but in respect of which it is necessary to bring to bear a judicial mind -- that is, a mind to determine what is fair and just in respect of the matters under consideration.'

That an officer is required to decide a case 'judicially' does not necessarily constitute him a 'Court' because the word 'judicially' in this context means merely a standard of conduct and freedom from bias or interest which are the true attributes of a Judge.

9. Every civilised State recognises and tries to maintain and uphold 'rights' of the citizens and Courts are meant to restore the vinculum juris which is disturbed when there is an infringement or invasion of a legal right. This power which the State exercises is called 'judicial power' which finds a specific mention in the Constitution.

10. 'Judicial Power' may be defined as the power to examine questions submitted for determination with a view to the pronouncement of an authoritative decision as to rights and liabilities of one or more parties. No inclu-sive and exclusive definition of this concept has been formulated and under the changing conditions of modern Government it is doubtful whether a complete definition is possible, in the words of Taylor, J.,

'The difficulty (of definition) is particularly apparent upon an examination of the many cases in which it has been necessary for this court to pronounce upon particular activities unrelated in themselves and presenting such diverse aspects as to make it abundantly clear that the vital question cannot be resolved in the case of what may be called borderline activities by the application of any one simple or comprehensive formula'. (See The Queen v. Davison, 90 CLR 353 at pp. 386 and 387.)

11. The best definition of the phrase 'Judicial power' is the one given by Griffith, C. J., in Huddart, Parker and to Proprietary Ltd. v. Moore Head, (1909) 8 CLR 330 at 357 where the learned Chief Justice said:

'The words 'judicial power' as used In Section 71 of the Constitution mean the power which every sovereign must of necessity have to decide controversies between its subjects, or between itself and its subjects, whether the rights relate to life, liberty or property. The exercise of this power does not begin until some Tribunal which has power to give a binding and authoritative decision (whether subject to appeal or not) is called upon to take action.' This definition has been approved by the Privy council on more than one occasion.

12. With the adoption of socialist society as an aim and the parliamentary form of democracy as a means to achieve the said aim inevitably complex system of Govern-ment has come into existence. With the vast expansion or social legislation of all sorts that has taken place within the last few years of tree India and with the growth of administrative institutions a large number of administra-tive Tribunals of Judicial or quasi-judicial or domestic nature has come into existence which perform functions analogous to those of Courts. These administrative and quasi-judicial Tribunals have come to be a permanent fea-ture of our social or political system. They function as adjudicating bodies in disputes concerning a large number of economic and social affairs. Nevertheless all these Tribunals are not Courts in the strict sense. Some of them may pronounce upon valuable rights, act in a judicial manner and even take evidence on oath but they are not 'civil Courts' because their decisions implement some administrative policy or determine controversies not related to matters present generally before the ordinary civil Courts. In a sense they are governmental bodies appertaining to the Executive and not to the judicial branch of the State, though in various matters they armed with judicial powers analogous to those normally exercised by Courts of law. It is difficult to draw a clearly dividing line between administrative Tribunals and Courts of civil judicature. The point was elaborately dealt with by Lord Sankey, L.D., who delivered the judgment of the Privy Council in shell Co. of Australia v. Federal Commissioner of taxation 1931 AC 275. Lord Sankey remarked in the course of the judgment that:

'The decided cases show that there are Tribunals which possess many of the trappings of a Court, but which nevertheless are not Courts in the strict sense of exer-cising judicial power. Mere externals do not make a direction by an ad hoc Tribunal to an administrative Officer an exercise by a Court of Judicial power'. The Lord Chancellor enumerated a series of negative propositions. He observes:

'The authorities are clear to show that mere are tribunals with many of the trappings of a Court which, nevertheless, are not Courts in the strict sense of exercising judicial power .....In that connection it may be useful to enumerate some negative propositions on the subject:

(1) A tribunal is not necessarily a court in this strict sense because it gives a final decision. (2) Nor because it hears witnesses on oath. (3) Nor because two or more con-tending parties appear before it between whom it has to decide. (4) Nor because it gives decisions which affect the rights of subjects. (5) Nor because there is an appeal to a court. (6) Nor because it is a body to which a matter is referred by another body.' What the real or positive test is the Privy Council did not care to formulate though the judgment quoted with approval certain observations of Grittith C.J., given in (1909) 8 CLR 330 referred to above, which to some extent neutralise the effect of negative tests enumerated in the judgment.

13. From the abovesaid discussion it becomes clear that it is usual to find many common features between a Court and an administrative or quasi-judicial tribunal. The presence or absence of these features therefore does not furnish any conclusive test to determine whether the particular body is a judicial body or not. The question however which still remains to be answered is as to what are the tests of distinguishing features, if any, which distinguish an administrative Tribunal from a court of law. Once we are able to formulate these tests we would be in a position to determine whether the Rent Controller in the present case is a Tribunal or a Court for the purposes of Section 24 of the Civil Procedure Code.

14. The majority of Governmental powers are today derived from statutes. Governmental powers may be classified in accordance with the three functions of the Govern-ment i.e., legislative, administrative and judicial, though it is often impracticable to distinguish between legislative and administrative, or between administrative and judicial power.

15. The exercise of judicial functions involves investigations, deliberations and the making of findings and other pronouncements on the rights and liabilities of the parties. These rights and liabilities are determined by settled procedure and their content is governed by a fixed objective standard. The extent of the discretion which the Court can exercise is thus usually strictly limited. But the Administrator, even when he is engaged in settling a dispute will not be so circumscribed, unless he is expressly empowered by statute to give decisions on a point of law. His discretion enables him to take what he thinks is the right course in all the circumstances i.e., to decide according to policy which may have more regard to public interest than private rights. The term 'quasi-judicial' had been used by Courts to describe a process which is partly judicial as well as administrative. That part of the process which has a judicial element may be described as 'Quasi-judicial' or whole power may be described as a 'quasi-judicial' power. (See Constitutional Law by Wade and Phillips, page 291). This distinction which the learned authors point out between the two terms may be profitably kept in view, in Bharat Bank Ltd v. Employees of Bharat Bank Ltd., : (1950)NULLLLJ921SC certain tests are laid down which distinguish a judicial body from an administrative Tribunal exercising quasi-judicial functions. Alter discussing the various features the learned Judge quoted with approval a passage from Cooper v. Wilson, (1937) 2 KB 309 wherein Scot, L. J., quoted with approval and adopted as the basis of his judgment the following passage from the report of the Com-mittee on Administrative Powers appointed by the English Parliament in 1929.

'At true judicial decision pre-supposes an existing dis-pute between two or more parties and then involves four requisites: (1) The presentation (not necessarily orally) or their case by the parties to the dispute; (2) if the dispute between them is a question of fact, the ascertainment of the fact by means of evidence adduced by the parties to the dispute and often with the assistance of argument by or on behalf of the parties on the evidence; (3) if the dispute between them is a question of law, the submission of legal argument by the parties, and (4) a decision which disposes of the whole matter by a finding upon the facts in dispute and application of the law of the land to the facts so found, including where required a ruling upon any disputed question of law. A quasi-judicial decision equally presupposes an existing dispute between two or more parties and involves (1) and (2), but does not necessarily involve (3) and never involves. (4). The place of (4) is in fact taken by administrative action, the character of which is determined by the Minister's free choice.'

The learned Judge after quoting the said passage said:

'In our opinion these statements particularly bring out the distinction between a judicial tribunal and an administrative body which exercises quasi-judicial functions.'

16. In this connection reference may be made to the statement of law contained in the judgment of Venkatarama lyer, J., in Virindar Kumar Satyawadi v. State of Punjab, : 1956CriLJ326 . The distinction between a quasi-judicial tribunal and a Court is given as follows:

'It may be stated broadly that what distinguishes a Court from a quasi-judicial tribunal is that it is charged with a duty to decide disputes in a judicial manner and declare the rights of parties in a definitive judgment. To decide in a judicial manner involves that the parties are entitled as a matter of right to be heard in support of their claim and to adduce, evidence in proof of it. And it also imports an obligation on the part of the authority to decide the matter on a consideration of the evidence adduced and in accordance with law. When a question there-fore arises as to whether an authority created by an ACT is a Court as distinguished from a quasi-judicial tribunal, what has to be decided is whether having regard to the provisions of the act it possesses all the attributes of a Court.'

Dealing with 'quasi-judicial Tribunals' it was observed in G. Nageswara Rao v. Andhra Pradesh State Road transport Corporation, : AIR1959SC308 :

'The concept of a quasi-judicial act implies that the act is not wholly judicial.....in the exercise of its executive power.'

17. in general it may be said that a power involves a judicial element whenever it involves the decision of a dispute. When the decision primarily involves the application of law to fads, it is a judicial process. When the final decision primarily involves an exercise of discretion based on policy, it is a quasi-judicial process. Another view is that a Tribunal which bases its decision on policy, or expediency is legislating and suggests that the true dis-tinction is between a judicial tribunal which looks to law to guide it and an administrative one which is a law into itself. To draw the line is not easy, and as a result it has been suggested that a judicial decision is merely a decision which is in fact exercised by the Courts in accordance with strict legal procedure, whereas a quasi-judicial deci-sion is given by an administrator or an administrative Court entitled to follow its own procedure proved only that the rules of natural justice are observed. Frequently it is determined only as a matter of expediency whether a decision shall be entrusted to a judge or to an administrator, but it is submitted that when the law is being applied to facts (e.g., does a citizen fall within the definition of an injured person under a particular statute?) a strictly judicial function is exercised, whether it is in fact exercised by judge or administrator. It is important to use terms accurately, if classification is by function or substance, we use the terms 'Judicial' and 'quasi-judicial' as showing the nature of the decision to be given. If classification is by procedure, we use the term 'judicial' when a decision is given by a judge following ordinary legal procedure, and the term 'quasi-judicial' when a decision is given by an administrator alter hearing the opposing parties. (Vide Constitutional Law by Wade and Phillips, Vth Edition, pages 292 and 293).

18. From the abovesaid discussion and keeping in view the meaning attributed to the 'Court', ''judicial power' and 'quasi-judicial power' we may broadly say that a 'Court of law' is a tribunal dealing with and adjudicat-ing upon civil disputes by the operation ot taw in a judicial manner untroubled by ulterior considerations or matters of executive policy and observing certain definite rules and procedure which are either denned by statute or recognised by practice. It may be that a Tribunal failing under this definition may yet not be a Court of law but from the above discussion it will be clear that if any or these attributes is missing, the Tribunal tails snort or a bearing on a court of law.

19. In the background of the abovesaid discussion and applying as closely as possible the tests mentioned above I have to, see whether the Rent controller is a Court with-in the meaning of Section 24 C.P.C. In order to find out a correct answer for this proposition it becomes necessary to look into some provisions of the Act. According to the Preamble of the Act it is meant for the purposes of regulating the leasing of buildings, controlling the rent thereof, and preventing unreasonable eviction of tenants therefrom. Out of the three purposes mentioned in the Preamble Section 3 confers powers on 'authorised officer' designated by the State Government for that purpose, to whom notice of vacancy is to be given. It is the authorised officer who deals under that Section for the purpose of allotment of houses to those who are in need of them. It is the two other functions with which the Rent Controller concerns himself for the purposes of determination of fair rent and for the purposes of regulating eviction of tenants. As far as the position of the authorised officer is concerned, there can be little doubt that his functions are of a quasi-judicial nature. The difficulty arises only in regard to the functions discharged by the Rent Controller. It is no doubt true that the Act and the Rules made thereunder provided that a Special procedure evolved for the purpose of trying cases will be followed by the Rent Controller and the appellate authority. But the significant aspect of it is that neither the Act nor the Rules made thereunder apply any provisions of the Civil Procedure Code. The Civil Procedure Code also in view of Section 5 of the Code is not applicable to the Rent Controller. Section 4 relates to the determination of fair rent, whereas Section 10 relates to the eviction of tenants. Section 20 provides for an appeal before an appellate authority which is named in the Act itself, Sub-section (4) of Section 20 is of a materiality. It says that the decision of the appellate authority and subject to such decision, an order of the Controller shall be final and shall not be liable to be called in question in any Court of law, except as provided in Section 22. Section 22 confers revisional jurisdiction on the High Court. Section 25 of the Act authorises the Controller to issue summons to witnesses for their attendance or production of documents, section 30 confers rule-making power on the Government, the Rules to be made amongst other things for the procedure to be followed by controllers and appellate authorities in the performance of their functions under the Act. Rule 9 made under the Act provides that an appellate authority may transfer a case from the file of one Controller to that of another Controller within its jurisdiction. Rule 12 which is of some significance for our enquiry provides that the Government may transfer an appeal from the file of the appellate authority to that of any other appellate authority. Rule 22(7) and (8) provides for the powers of the Controller to administer oaths to require the attendance of all parties concerned as witnesses and require the production of books and documents and direct that the controller or the appellate authority deciding the dispute shall record a brief note of the evidence of the parties and witnesses and upon the evidence so recorded decision shall be given.

20. A reading of the abovesaid provisions of the Act and the Rules clearly shows that the Government has the authority to appoint Rent Controllers who would be persons not below the rank of Tahsildar. Although Subordinate Judge and Small Causes Court Judge had been authorised to hear appeals from the decisions of the Rent Controller, they are persona designata. The power to transfer cases from one Controller to the other controller vests in the appellate authority which is a creature of the Act. Similar power to transfer cases from one appellate authority to the other vests in the Government. In both those cases there being special provision under the Rules, Section 24 of the Civil Procedure Code is manifestly kept out. When the power to withdraw and transfer rests with the appellate authority or the State Government, it is idle to contend that Section 24 C.P.C. is applicable or that the High Court has got powers to withdraw or transfer the cases from one Rent Controller to the other or from one appellate authority to the other. The Rules evolve a special procedure to be followed by Rent Controllers and the appellate authorities. The decisions given by these bodies are final. The Civil Courts are barred from questioning the legality of such orders. Section 20(4) is emphatic in this respect, the language of which clearly brings out that the decision of the appellate authority or an order of the Controller is not liable to be called in question in any Court of law. The Act therefore clearly makes a distinction between a civil Court and a Rent Controller or an appellate authority, and in view of the distinction it was thought necessary to bar the jurisdiction of the Civil Court in that regard. Although, therefore, these Tribunals may have some or many trappings of a Court, they are not 'Courts'. It is apparent that the Act and the Rules made thereunder read together provide a self-contained legislation. The Act evolves a scheme in regard to the regulation of the leasing of buildings, control of rent and prevention of unreasonable eviction of tenants. In view of the acute shortage of houses it became necessary to see that rent racketing is not allowed and suitable accommodation is found to those who are in need of the same. The Act read as a whole provides some provisions which cannot Be caned as purely of judicial nature. It provides for a hierarchy of authorities of its own and tne Government has been entrusted with the powers of transfer of the appeals. All these aspects of the Act and the Rules unmistakably point to the conclusion that the Rent Controller is not a Court within the meaning of Section 24 C.P.C., but is a Tribunal, who, in the exercise of its power acts judicially. It therefore follows that Section 24 C.P.C. is not applicable and the High Court is not competent to transfer any case pending before the Rent Controller or the appellate authority to any other Rent Controller or appellate authority.

21. Mr. Shivram Sastri invites my attention to Rules 20 (2) and 25(1) where the word 'Court' is used to mean Rent Controller, it is obviously an indiscretion made by the draftsman. These provisions appear to have been bodily shifted to these rules without effecting the necessary changes to suit the present Rules. In my judgment this attempt to take advantage of what may have been an indiscretion in drafting the rules fails because it is not a matter of substance. These rules do not make the controller a Court.

22. Let me now examine the cases on this question. In Waryam Singh v. Amarnath, : [1954]1SCR565 the Supreme Court has observed:

'The Rent Controller and the District Judge exercising jurisdiction under the Act are certainly tribunals if not Courts.'

Satyanarayana Raju, J., in Muragani Ram Lingam v. Kondapalli Gurumurthy Reddy, : AIR1955AP85 said:

'The learned counsel for the petitioner has conceded before me that the House Rent Controller is not a Court in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in : [1954]1SCR565 , wherein their Lordships of the supreme Court have laid down that the Rent controller and the District Judge exercising jurisdiction under the East Punjab Rent Restriction Act are not Courts.'

In Abdul Wahid v. Abdul Khader, AIR 1947 Mad 400 an application under Section 24 of the Civil Procedure Code was filed. Yahya Ali, J., held that the District Judges and the Subordinate Judges invested with the powers of appellate authority under Section 12 of the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent) Control, Act XV of 1946, by notification issued under that Section function as persona designate and not as a Court subordinate to the High Court and hence application for transfer of appeal before such authority cannot be maintained in the High Court. This case was followed in Chinniah Thevar v. F. M. Badsha, AIR 1948 Mad 439 and these cases were subsequently followed by Mack, J., in Rajam Ayyar v. Pavanambai, AIR 1949 Mad 787. This learned Judge also distinguished the case of Krishnan Nair v. Valliammal, AIR 1949 Mad 785. In that case Panchapakesa Ayyar, J., held that the Judge of the Small Causes Court did not act as a persona designata but as a Judge of the Small Causes Court and as a part of the Small Causes Court and the revision petition to the High Court was maintainable. It is clear from the judgment that the previous abovesaid cases of the Madras High Court were not brought to his Lordship's notice. The learned Judge based the conclusion on Kiron Chandra v. Kalidas Chatterjee, AIR 1943 Cal 247 and Municipal Corporation, Rangoon v. M. A. Shakur, AIR 1926 Rang 25 (FB). In AIR 1943 Cal 247 a Bench of that Court found that the District Judge in exercising the powers under Para 12 of the Calcutta Houses Rent Control Order does not act as a Court and consequently his orders are not revisable by the High Court under Section 115 of the Civil Procedure Code. This case was subsequently affirmed by another Bench of the same High Court in Suhashini Das v. Mahendra Kumar, AIR 1947 Cal 455. It is clear from that decision that the District Judge in exercise of the powers under Para 12 of the Calcutta House Rent Control Order acts as a persona designate and superior executive authority and not as a Court. The case of AIR 1926 Rang 25 (FB) did not relate to the Rent Act but concerned with an election matter under the Rangoon Municipal Act. In the same volume another Full Bench of the Rangoon High court had an occasion to consider the question whether the controller of Rents is a Civil Court. In Mohideen v. Bukshi Ram, AIR 1926 Rang 33 (FB) while Robinson, C. J., preferred to follow his opinion expressed in Mohamed Ebrahim Molla v. S. R. Jandass, AIR 1923 Rang 94 (FB), the other two learned Judges, Heard and Rutledge, JJ., laid down that the Controller of Rent is not a Court, nor a Civil court.

Consequently the ease of Mohamad Ebrahim Molla v. S. R. Jandas, AIR 1923 Rang 94 (FB) was not followed by them.

This ruling again came for consideration before another Full Bench of the same High Court. In Aziz v. Kiiyoboy,AIR 1927 Rang 1 (FB), this time expressly over-ruling AIR 1923 Rang 94 (FB) this Bench affirmed the majority view of AIR 1926 Rang 33 (FB) with the effect that the Rangoon High Court now holds that the Rent Controller or the Small Causes Court Judge who exercising the powers under the Rangoon Rent Act did not act as civil Courts. No authority to the contra was cited by the learned Advocate for the petitioner. As I have come to the conclusion that the Controller is not a Court, I consider it unnecessary to address myself to the other questions raised by Mr. Sivaram Sastry as to whether the Civil Court is competent to try the case or that there are common questions between the suit instituted before the Civil Court and the eviction proceedings pending before the Rent Controller which necessitate transfer of the eviction proceedings. In view of the reasons given above I have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that the Rent controller is not a court falling within the definition of Section 24 of the Civil Procedure Code. The High Court therefore is not competent to transfer any case from a Rent Controller to another Rent Controller or to any other Court. This peti-tion, therefore, is dismissed with costs.


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