1. On 28th April, 1978 the landlord filed an application for the ejectment of the tenant on the ground of non-payment or arrears of rent from 1-10-1977 to 30-4-1978 at the rate of Rs. 80.50 per month. Notice of the ejectment application was issued for 27th July, 1978, on which date the tenant appeared and the case was adjourned to 8-8-1978 for tendering rent. On 8th August, 1978 the following order was passed:
'To come up on 10-8-1978 for tender. Date is given on the request of the counsel for the respondent.'
On 10-8-1978 the tenant made a statement on oath that he has already paid rent for the month of October, 1977 and produced receipt Exhibit. D1. He also stated that he has paid rent for the month of November, 1977 but he was not issued any receipt by the landlord or by the governing body of the institution. Despite that he deposited Rs. 724.50 as rent and Rs. 24.50 as interest, and total Rs. 749/- in the Court of Rent Controller, Bhiwani, payment to the landlord. It was clarified that Rs. 749/- included the rent for the months of November, 1977 to July, 1978. He stated that he was ready to pay the costs of the application and the deficiency of the interest, if any. He reiterated that he had tendered the claimed arrears because the landlord had refused to receive the same out of the Court. Since counsel for the tenant was not present, the case was adjourned to 11th August, 1978,. On 11th August, 1978, the Court assessed the interest at Rs. 24.50 up to 31st July, 1978 and costs of the application at Rs. 25/-. Then the statement of the counsel for the tenant was recorded in which it was stated that the rent up to 31st July 1978 along with interest had already been deposited and there was no arrears and Rs. 25/- as costs were tendered. Then the statement of the landlord was recorded and he stated that the tenant had never given him any notice that he was ready to pay the rent. He never gave notice before coming to the court for deposit. Tenant came to him for paying rent and he never refused to issue receipt and that even on asking the tenant did not pay rent. If the tenant has deposited the rent in the Court that is illegal and the landlord is not bound by it and for that reason the assessed costs at Rs. 25/- are not being accepted.
2. The additional facts which took place in between are that on 8th August, 1978 the tenant filed an application under section 6A of the Haryana Urban (Control of Rent and Eviction), At, 1973, (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act'), which was not presented to the court in which the ejectment proceedings were pending but were presented to the Senior Sub-Judge, who is also the Rent Controller. The Senior Sub-Judge as Rent Controller considered that application on 8th August, 1978 and after he was satisfied that the landlord was not issuing receipt he ordered that the arrears of rent and costs be deposited. In pursuance of that order the tenant made the deposit of Rs. 749/-, on 10th August, 1978, Rs. 724.50 as rent from November, 1977 to July, 1978 and Rs. 24.50 as interest. Since the tender was not accepted to be valid, an issue was struck to that effect, the Rent controller found that the deposit under Section 6A of the Act was valid and the costs assessed were tendered. He, therefore, dismissed the ejectment application.
3. The landlord went up in appeal and the Appellate Authority reversed the decision of the Rent Controller and ordered ejectment after recording findings that the landlord had been issuing receipts and there was no sufficient proof on record about the landlord's not issuing receipts and, therefore, section 6A of the Act was not applicable. It also came to, the conclusion that after the tenant had appeared in the ejectment proceedings it was not understood as to why did he choose to deposit the arrears and interest before another Rent Controller. whereas section 6A contemplates the deposit before the Rent Controller. On these facts it was held that the deposit and the tender were not valid and he ordered the eviction of the tenant. This is tenant's revision.
4. After hearing the learned counsel for the parties and on consideration of the entire matter I am of the view that the Appellate Authority seriously erred in law in ordering the ejectment of the tenant and in reversing the well considered decision of the Rent Controller. The controversy between the parties is not only covered by the cases reported as Duli Chand v. Mohan chand, AIR 1979 SC 1307, Sheo Narain v. Sheri Singh AIR SC 138, and Managt Rai v. Kidar Nath, AIR 1980 SC 1709 but is also covered by the provisions of section 6A of the Act. In the first two decisions i.e. Duli Chald's case (supra) and Sheo Narain's case (supra) some of the decisions of this court were overruled and the earlier decision of the Supreme court in Shree Vidya Prachar Trust v, Basant Ram Duli Chand, AIR 1969 SC 1273 was distinguished but in Mangat Rai's case (supra) shree Vidya Prachar Trust's case (supra) was specifically overruled.
5. The dictum laid down in the aforesaid judgment has been codified by the Haryana Legislature by inserting section 6A in the Haryana Act of 1973 by Harayana Act No. 16 of 1978, which reads thus:
'6A Deposit of rent:
(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law for the time being in force, if a landlord refuses to receive, or grant a receipt for, any rent payable in respect of the building or rented land when tendered to him to a tenant, the tenant may apply to the Controller for leave to deposit the rent in his office, and the Controller shall receive the deposit, if, after examining the applicant, he is satisfied that there is sufficient ground for the application and if the applicant pays the fee, if any, chargeable for the issue of the notice hereinafter provided.
(2) when a deposit has been received under sub-section(1), it shall be deemed to be a payment made by the tenant to his landlord in respect of the rent due.
(3) On receiving the deposit, the Controller shall give notice of the receipt thereof to the landlord and shall pay the amount thereof to him.'
A reading of the aforesaid provision shows that an enabling provision has been added to safeguard the interest of tenants regarding deposit of rent with the Rent Controller whenever a tenant is able to satisfy the Rent Controller that the landlord has refused to received the rent or to issue receipt. The procedure prescribed under sub-section (1) is a summary one and it is to be decided by a Rent Controller in the absence of the landlord. The moment, the Rent Controller is satisfied that sufficient ground is made out for ordering the deposit in his court and if the tenant pays the fees, if any, payable for the issue of the notice provided in the succeeding sub-section, then the deposit is received by the Rent controller, and under sub-section (2) such a deposit is deemed to be payment to the landlord and under sub-section(3) it becomes the duty of the Rent Controller to give notice to the landlord to receive the rent. The aforesaid section would be applicable even if no ejectment proceeding is initiated by a landlord on the ground of arrears of rent. It would equally be applicable if landlord has started proceedings but when tenant goes to pay rent to him either before the first date of hearing or within fortnight of the first date of hearing and the landlord refuses to receive the rent or issue receipt.
6. In the state of Haryana, the Senior Sub-Judges, Additional Senior Sub-Judges and Subordinate Judges have been invested with the powers of Rent Controller. Each one has the jurisdiction to try applications under the Act. But all such applications have to be filed before the senior Sub-Judge as he has been designated to receive the application. He may keep all applications with him or make then over to other Subordinate Judges. The ejectment petition, with which we are concerned, was endorsed by Shri Gorakh Nath Senior Sub-Judge as Rent Controller, to the court of Shri J.B. Sharma Rent Controller which was later on decided by Shri Babu Ram Gupta as successor Rent Controller. It would have been better for the tenant to have filed application under section 6A of the Act before the Rent controller where the case was pending. However, the application was presented to the Senior sub-Judge as Rent Controller, who decided the same instead of making it over to the Rent Controller who was seized of the case. On considering the application he was satisfied and on deposit of the fees etc. he received the arrears of rent and interest within the requisite period of 15 days from the first date of hearing. Hence the court below was in error in not considering the deposit to be valid because it was made before the other Rent Controller. The word 'The' preceding Rent controller has been strictly construed by the Appellate Authority. The word 'the' has to be 'a' because if no ejectment proceedings are pending, then question of 'The' has to be read as 'a' because if no ejectment proceeding are pending, then question of 'The' Rent controller will not arise. If the Rent controller will not arise. If the Rent Controller is to be construed strictly then it will be the Rent Controller, who has been authorised to entertain the applications under the Act and that would be the Senior sub-Judge, and in the present case the application under section 6A of the Act was made before the Senior Sub-Judge as Rent Controller. Therefore, the case may be viewed from any angle, the deposit made by the tenant under-section 6A amounts to payment of arrears of rent and interest to the landlord which was well within the statutory period of 15days from the first date of hearing. Moreover, the view of Mangat Rai's case (AIR 1980 SC 1709) (supra), the deposit made before the Senior Sub-Judge/Rent Controller has be considered as valid even if it was not made under Section 6A of the Act.
7. The rent controller assessed the costs of Rs. 25/- on 11th August, 1978 and at that very moment, the tenant tendered the costs. The landlord refused to accept the same considering the tender to be invalid. The Appellate Authority erroneously held that the costs were tendered beyond statutory period of 15days from the first date of hearing. In this case, the first date of hearing was 27th July 1978 and 11th August, 1978 would be the 15th day. Under the provisions of the Act, duty has been placed on the court to assessed the costs and after costs are assessed, whether within 15days or beyond 15days of the first date of hearing, only then the question of tendering costs will arises. Therefore, tendering of costs on 11th August, 1978 was valid.
8. For the reasons recorded above, this revision is allowed and the order of the Appellate Authority is set aside and that of the Rent Controller is restored with costs throughout.
9. Revision allowed.