S.S. Sandhawalia, C.J.
1. Whether any and every order of the Rent Controller appointed under the Haryana Urban (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1973, against which a party may claim to be aggrieved, would now become appealable under S. 15(2) of the said Act by virtue of Notification No. S. O./71/HA-11/73/S. 15/78. Dated 8th May, 1978, is the somewhat significant question which falls for determination in this case by the Full Bench.
2. Though the question aforesaid is primarily legal, yet the facts highlighting the issue deserve a somewhat detailed notice. The respondent-landlord herein had preferred a petition for ejectment under S. 13 of the Act against his tenant from a shop situated on Dev Samaj College Road. Ambala City on the ground of non-payment of rent from 1st of Sept., 1973, to the 31st of Jan., 1979 at a rate of Rs. 800 p. m. amounting to Rupees 52,000. In response thereto whilst contesting the same, the tenant admitted his liability to pa the arrears to the extent to Rs. 9,000 only at the rate of Rs. 250 p. m. The Rent Controller by his impugned order of rent claimed by the landlord at Rs. 800 p. m. and computing the same for a period of three years from January 1, 1976 to December 31, 1978, directed the payment of Rs. 28,800 at the time of the next hearing. Besides the aforesaid arrears the tenant was also directed to pay an amount of Rs. 3,456 as interest thereon and Rs. 25 as costs of the litigation.
3. Aggrieved by the aforesaid order of the Rent Controller, the petitioner-tenant herein preferred an appeal the before the Appellate Authority, i. e. the Additional District Judge Ambala. Before him a preliminary objection was raised on behalf of the landlord that no appeal was competent against a mere interlocutory order of the Rent Controller computing the rent and directing the payment of the arrears thereof on the first hearing. The stand of the petitioner-tenant before the Appellate Authority was that by virtue of the aforesaid notification dated 8th of May, 1978, any and ever order of the Rent Controller and now become appealable under S. 15 of the Act. This contention, however did not find favour with the Appellate Authority, who is a considered judgment held that no appeal by against the aforesaid order of the Rent Controller and the only remedy available to the petitioner was by way of revision.
4. This Civil Revision originally came up before I. S. Tiwana, J. sitting singly. Before him, the view expressed in Delhi Cloth & General Mills Co. Ltd. v. Om Prakash, 1981 Cur LJ (Civil) 430 was assiduously assailed as incorrect, and further noticing the significance of the issue and the frequence with which it was likely to arise the matter was referred to a larger Bench. The Division Bench equally took the view that the question herein and wide ranging ramifications not only with regard to the law applicable in Haryana but perhaps equally to the analogous provisions in the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949. The case was, therefore, referred for an authoritative decision by the Full Bench and that is how it is before us now.
5. In view of the reasons which appear hereafter and in particular because the notifications falling for construction are inter-related with those issued under the East Punjab Rent Restriction Act, 1947 it is not only apt but indeed imperative that this issue must be viewed unnecessary to delve any further than the Punjab Rent Restriction Act of 1941 which was enacted by the State of Punjab before even the partition of the country. Six years later, the Punjab Rent Restriction Act, 1947 was promulgated on the 14th April, 1947 and meaningful changes were introduced in the law and the earlier statute was subsequently re-cast. This Act applied to all urban areas in the undivided Punjab and, further, set up an altogether new machinery for determining fair rent and performing other functions under the said Act. This statute apparently continued to hold the filed in the wake of the partition in East Punjab, and minor changes therein were later introduced by the East Punjab Act 21 of 1948 which was promulgated on the 10th of April, 1948. To complete the history, it maybe mentioned that the Punjab Rent Restriction Act, 1947 which was a Governor's Act, was to lapse after a period of two years on the 14th of August, 1948. Therefore, as a permanent measure, the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949 was enacted with necessary modifications. This statute continued to be in force in erstwhile Punjab till its reorganisation in the present State of Punjab and Haryana on the 1st of November, 1966. Thereafter, it equally remained in force both in Punjab as also in Haryana for more than seven years when it was substituted by the Haryana Urban (Control of Rent & Eviction) Act 1973, with effect from 27th April, 1973.
6. Having noticed the history and the broad identity of the rent legislation in the two sister State of Punjab and Haryana, I would first wish to examine the matter in the light of the provisions of the Acts themselves before adverting to the import of the notifications notifications issued thereunder. Herein what calls for pointed notice is virtually the total identity of the provisions of S. 15 which prescribed the appellate and the revisional authorities under both the statutes. This is best highlighted by juxtaposing the material parts of the two provisions :--
East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949. Haryana Urban (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1973. S. 15(1)(a). The State Government may, by a general or special order, by notification confer on such officers and authorities as they think fit, the powers of appellate authorities for the pur poses of this Act, in such area or in such classes as may be specified in the order. S. 15(1). The State Government may, by a general or special order by notification confer on such officers and authorities as it may think fit, the powers of appellate, authorities for the purposes of this Act, in such area or in such classes of cases as may be specified in the order.
S. 15(a)(b). Any person aggrieved by an order passed by the Controller may within fifteen days from the date of such order or such longer period as the appellate authority may allow for reasons to be recorded in writing prefer an appeal in writing to the appellate authority having jurisdiction. In computing the period of fifteen days the time taken to obtain a certified copy of the order appealed against shall be excluded. S. 15(2). Any person aggrieved by an order passed by the Controller may within thirty days from the date of such order or such longer period as the appellate authority may allow for reasons to be recorded in writing, prefer an appeal in writing to the appellate authority having jurisdiction. In computing the period of thirty days the time taken to obtain a certified copy of the appealed against shall be excluded.
S. 15(2). On such appeal being preferred, the appellate authority may order stay of further proceedings in the matter pending decision on the appeal. S. 15(3). On such appeal being preferred, the appellate authority may order stay of further proceedings in the matter pending decision on the appeal.
An analysis of the first sub-section of section 15 of both the statutes makes it manifest that the State Government has been vested with the power to confer the appellate jurisdiction on such officers and authorities and in such classes of cases as may be specified in the order. Therefore, both the classes of cases in which the appeal is to be provided and the forum in which it would be filed are determined u/s. 15(1) or 15(1)(a) of the respective statutes. Clearly this is the dominant provision. Obviously till the State Government issue any general or special over by notification thereunder the succeeding provisions cannot even come into play. Therefore, the words, 'an order' employed in the succeeding provision of Ss. 15(1)(b) and 15(2) of the respective statutes have and can have reference only to an order which has been made appealable and with regard to which the forum for appeal has been already prescribed. 'An order' in the following provisions cannot possibly be construed as 'any order' of the Controller against which an appeal may be filed even though it is not so prescribed in the opening part of S. 15. This appears to be its plain grammatical construction, and in any case the provisions of the same section have to be read harmoniously. When so done, the words 'an order' used in the later part have obvious reference to the order with regard to the classes of cases of which appeals have been specifically provided and the forum for their hearing particularly designated in the earlier part. The distinct terminology used and the deliberate avoidance of the words 'an order' in sub-section (2) and clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 15 of the respective statues is most meaningful and significant.
7. The aforesaid view which I am inclined to take is forcibly buttressed when reference is made to sister statutes in the rent jurisdiction. Section 38 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, in terms provided that an appeal shall lie from every order of the Controller made under the said Act. Similarly, S. 31 of the Madhya Pradesh Accommodation Control (Amendment) Act, 1965 and Section 22 of the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1950 in express terms provide an appeal from every order or decree passed by the Court respectively. It would thus be plain that wherever the Legislature wishes to make any and every order of the Rent Controller or of the Rent Court as appealable then it employs clear cut terminology to the same effect. The Punjab Act of 1949 as also the Haryana Act of 1973 deliberately used distinct terminology and have designedly avoided making any and every order of the Controller appealable. Therefore, the cases under the Delhi Rent Controller Act, the Madhya Pradesh Accommodation Control Act and the Rajasthan Premises of Rent Control Act have no relevance in the present situation and do not call for individual notice and indeed would highlight the distinction betwixt those statutes and the ones which we are called upon to construe.
8. The issue can also be viewed from another angle. As would appear from the above, the clear and firm intention in S. 15 seems to be that it does not make any and every order of the Controller as appealable. The powers to determine the classes of cases in which an appeal may lie and the forum is which they are to be filed have been vested in the State Government. If the words 'an order' used in the later part of S. 15 are to be construed as 'any order' then it would plainly conflict with the opening part of S. 15 whereby the State Government alone prescribes classes of cases in which the appeals are to be provided. It would be farcical and contradictory to assume that S. 15 makes any and every order appealable, but nevertheless an authority subordinate to the Legislature namely, the State Government may take away that right and prescribe that an appeal would lie only with regard to a limited classes to cases and not in others.
9. Having construed the basic provisions of S. 15 itself, one may now turn to the notifications issued thereunder on which primarily the argument on behalf of the tenant was sought to be rested. Herein it is common ground that the fountain head of the notifications is again the opening part of S. 15 itself. This visualises three distinct matters which may be prescribed by general or special orders by notification by the State Government. These are:--
(i) the classes of cases in which appeals would lie.
(ii) the forum for filing such appeals i. e. before such officers and authorities as may be prescribed, and
(iii) the geographical area with regard to each such forum.
As these three things are distinct and separate and plainly so prescribed, the matter is too plain to call for any further elaboration. Once that is so, it would follow that the State Government having authority to prescribe by a notification, the area, the forum and classes of cases, may do so earlier separately or by a composite notification to the same effect.
10. It is in the aforesaid context that the issuance of the first notification has to be viewed. It is common ground that Notification No. 1562/CR 47/9228 dated 14-4-1947 was published in the Punjab Gazette in the following terms:--
In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-clause (a) of clause (1) of S. 15 of the Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1947, the Governor of Punjab is present to confer on all Distt. And Sessions Judges in the Punjab in respect of the Urban Areas in their respective existing jurisdiction, the powers of Appellate Authorities for the purpose of the said Act, with regard to orders made by Rent Controller under Ss. 4, 10, 12 and 13 of the said Act.'
I would notice straightway that there is not a hint to challenge to the validity and enforceability of the aforesaid notification and the fact that thereby the were made appealable were the ones issued under Ss. 4, 10, 12 and 13 of the said Act. Nor is there any dispute that the aforesaid notification continued to have force and validity under the later provisions of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949, and indeed this is the case of the petitioner-tenant himself in the grounds of revision. This apart, Lakhi Ram v. Sagar Chand, (1963) 65 Pun LR 691 is clear authority that the aforesaid notification continued to hold the filed under the subsequent statute in view of S. 22 of the Punjab General Clauses Act, 1898--
'Now Section 4 deals with the determination of fair rent. Section 10 lays an embargo on the landlord to interfere with the amenities enjoyed by the tenant. Section 12 empowers the Controller to make an order, for necessary repairs on the failure of the landlord to do so, while Section 13 deals with the eviction of tenants. Appeals apparently are provided only in these four contingencies. The notification no doubt was passed under the Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1947, which was repealed by S. 21 of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949. It is, however, well to observe the Sections 4, 10, 12 and 13 of the repealed Act dealt with identical situations in the corresponding provisions of the Act which is now in force.............'
The aforesaid judgment undoubtedly has held the filed within this jurisdiction and was followed and reiterated later in Bikramajit Singh Pal v. Jaswant Singh, (1978) 78 Pun LR 16. Consequently, there is no manner of doubt that the 1947 notification remained applicable in terms both in the State of Punjab and in the State of Haryana is well.
11. The Haryana Urban (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1973, was enforced on April 27, 1973. Thereby the State Government made significant and radical changes with regard to the forums of the rent jurisdiction. This was first done by appointing Sub-Divisional Officers (Civil) as Controllers under Section 2(b) thereof and thus divesting the Subordinate Judge who has been earlier designated as Controller under the pre-existing law. The relevant notification No. 9037-2C(1)-73/26756 dated the 7th Sept., 1973 published in the Haryana Government Gazette (Extraordinary) dated 10th Sept., 1973, is in the following terms:--
'In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (b) of Section 2 of the Haryana Urban (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 10973, and in suppression of all previous Notifications issued in this behalf, the Governor of Haryana hereby appoints the Sub-Divisional Officers (Civil) to perform the functions of a Controller under the said Act, within the limits of their respective jurisdiction : Provided that the persons performing the functions of a Controller immediately before the issue of this notification shall continue to perform functions of a Controller in respect of the cases pending with them.'
In line with the above, the appellate forum was also shifted from the District Judges of the Deputy Commissioner in Haryana by the undermentioned terms of Notification No. 9037-2c(1)-73/26753 dated Sept. 7, 1973:--
'......... In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of S. 15 of the Haryana Urban (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1973, and in suppression of all previous notifications issued in this behalf, the Governor of Haryana hereby confers on all the Deputy Commissioners in the State the powers of appellate authorities for the purposes of the said Act in the areas of their respective jurisdiction : Provided that the persons exercising the powers of appellate authorities immediately before the issue of this notification shall continue to exercise the said powers in respect of the cases pending with them.'
To complete this aspect it may be recalled that by virtue of sub-section (6) of S. 15, the revisional powers them conferred on the Financial Commissioner in substitution of the High Court in which they stood vested by the previous statute.
12. Now the core question is whether the aforesaid 1973 notification abolished the well-settled classes of cases in which alone an appeal was provided earlier by the 1947 notification or left the same intact. In this context what first calls for notice is that though S. 24 of the Haryana Act, 1973 repealed the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949 as applicable in Haryana, yet it in terms provided as follows by sub-section (2) thereof:--
'Notwithstanding such repeal, anything done or any action taken under the Act so repealed (including any rule, notification or order made which is not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, be deemed to have been done of taken under the corresponding provisions of the Act as if this Act were in force at the time such thing was done or action was taken, and shall continue to be in force, unless and until superseded by anything done or any action taken under this Act.'
It is plain from the above that this would sanctify the continuation of the earlier 1947 notification unless there is clear indication that the State Government intended to abrogate or supersede the same. I am unable to read any such clear intent from the mere promulgation of 1973 notification and indeed in the background, in which it is read every thing points to the contrary. It seems to be plain that by virtue of the notification issued on Sept. 7, 1973, it was only the forum of the rent jurisdiction which was sought to be changed. In all the three hierarchies this was done by making the Sub-Divisional Officers (Civil) as Controllers in place of the Subordinate Judge, the appellate jurisdiction was shifted from the District Judges to the Deputy Commissioner, and the revisional jurisdiction was similarly changed from the High Court to the Financial Commissioner by a change in S. 15 itself. The sole intent and visible object herein is thus with regard tot he change of forum alone. The other significant matter under S. 15(1), namely, the classes of cases which were alone appealable was not even remotely touched. It is in this context that the designed use of the words 'previous notifications issued in this behalf', is to be construed. Obviously it refers and can refer only to previous notifications with regard to the particular subject matter for which the notification was being issued. If the notification was being issued with regard to the forum of the rent jurisdiction it would superseded the relevant provisions of the notification with regard to the said forum only. It was not intended to and in fact cannot affect the notification pertaining to an altogether different matter of the classes of cases. To say that the 1973 notification which was concerned solely with the conferment of appellate power on Dr. Commissioners and thus determined the forum of the appeals, would in any way affect the classes of cases which were earlier appealable or vice versa, would in my view be a contradiction in terms. To read the notification as a blank suppression of the previous notifications would be ignoring the significant words 'issued in this behalf', as also the larger and the basic object of the change which followed the enactment of 1973 Act.
13. Once the aforesaid view of 1973 notification is taken, the later one issued on May 8, 1978 straightway falls into its proper place and perspective. This notification is again not to be construed in isolation or in a vacuum. It is not for us to comment, but it seems manifest that the experiment of the State Government after the enforcement of the Haryana Urban (Control of Rent & Eviction) Act, 1973, w. e. f. April 27, 1973 to shift the rent jurisdiction from judicial forums of the Subordinate Judges: the District Judges and the High Court to those of the Sub-Divisional Officers (Civil): Deputy Commissioner, and the Financial Commissioner, proved a dismal failure and indeed boomeranged somewhat disastrously. The Statesman like decision was taken by the government and implemented by enacting the Haryana Urban (Control of Rent and Eviction) Amendment Act, 1978, which whilst making other amendments in the statute put the clock completely back in this respect. This is evident from the following relevant part of the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill:--
'...... The power of the Controller as well as that of the appellate and revision authority are proposed to be restored to the judiciary.......'
To effectuate this purpose, sub-section (6) of S. 15 was amended to restore the revisional power from the Financial Commissioner to the High Court. Similarly, in sub-section (1) of S. 20, the power to transfer proceedings was shifted from the Financial Commissioner to the High Court. To reverse the earlier change from the judicial forum of that of the executive. S. 20-A was substituted by the following provisions:---
' (a) all proceedings pending before Sub-Divisional Officers (Civil) appointed to perform the functions of the Controllers shall stand transferred to the Sub-ordinate Judges from the date of their appointment under clause (b) of Section 2 to perform the functions of the Controller:
(b) an appeal from the order of the Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil) appointed to perform the functions of the Controller shall lie to the District Judge conferred with the powers of the appellate authority and a revision from the order of such appellate authority shall lie to the High Court; and
(c) if any appeal from the order of the Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil) appointed to perform the functions of the Controller has been filed with the Deputy Commissioner conferred with the powers of the appellate authority or if any revision from the order of the Deputy Commissioner conferred with the powers of the appellate authority has been filed with the Financial Commissioner the same shall stand transferred to the District Judge and the High Court, respectively.'
Apart from the changes made in the Act itself, notifications were issued on May 8,1978 appointing all the Subordinate Judges as Controllers and the District Judges as the appellate authorities in the undermentioned terms:--
'No. S.O. O/H.A.-11/73/S. 2/78.--in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (b) of Section 2 of the Haryana Urban (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1973 and in supersession of all previous notifications issued in this behalf, the Governor of Haryana hereby appoints all the Subordinate Judges as Controllers within the limits of their respective jurisdiction.'
'No. S.O. O/H.A.-11/73/S. 2/78---in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 15 of the Haryana Urban (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1973, and in supersession of all previous notifications issued in this behalf, the Governor of Haryana hereby confers on all the District Judges in the areas of their respective jurisdiction, the powers of Appellate Authorities.'
It is against this background that the aforequoted second notification has to be viewed. All that has been said earlier with regard to the preceding 1973 notification is applicable to this one equally as well and indeed with greater force. To repeat, this notification again was singularly confined to determine the forum of the appellate jurisdiction alone. It was intended merely to reverse what had been done earlier by the 1973 notification is shifting the appellate forum to all the Deputy Commissioners. It is significant that the aforequoted first notification of May 8,1978 as well had used identical terminology and in my view the designation of Controllers cannot possibly be read as a blanket supersession of all earlier notification under the Act. This would be equally true of the later notification of May, 8, 1978. The scope of this notification is meaningfully confined by the words 'issued in this behalf' which in express terms refer to the special purposes for which they were promulgated. These notifications have to be seen in the larger mosaic of abandoning the experiment of shifting the rent jurisdiction from the judicial to the executive forums. These had little and indeed nothing to do with the classes of cases which alone had been earlier made appealable and with regard to making any change therein, there was neither any hint nor cause at all. I am unable to read any alteration or supersession of the notification with regard to the appealable classes of cases here.
13-A. Even otherwise on larger considerations I find myself unable to subscribe to the view that earlier the Legislature or the State Government by issuance of the aforesaid notifications had intended to effect a radical change of making any and every order of Rent Controller as appealable., The sole purpose and object of the rent laws in creating the special forum was to expedite the process and to take the matter away from the rather tedious speed in the ordinary civil courts. This was aptly highlighted by the Division Bench in Raghu Nath Jalota v. Ramesh Duggal, AIR 1980 Punj & Har 188, in the following terms:--
'....... That the underlying purpose was to rid the authorities under the Act from the shackles of technical procedure and to provide a summary and expeditious mode of disposal, is further evident from the fact that originally only one appeal was provided by the statute to the Appellate Authority and all further appeals or revisions were barred by Section 15(4) of the Act. It was not till 1956 that by the Punjab Act XXIX sub-section (5) was added to Section 15 of the Act vesting the High Court with special revisional jurisdiction thereunder.'
If any and every order of the Controller is to be made appealable and that in true may become either revisable under Section 15(6) or supervisable under Article 227 of the Constitution of India then by a process of interpretation we would not be subserving the cause of expeditious disposal of the rent matters but only creating further road blocks therein. I have already pin pointed in considering S. 15 that if the intention of the Legislature was that any and very order of the Controller is appealable, then Section 15(1) and (2) would not be cast and framed as they are. In any case, if the legislature intended to make a significant change of this kind the proper and indeed the only method was the amendment of S. 15 designedly to that effect. It could then follow the existing example of Delhi Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan States where the statute in terms provided for every order or decree to be appealable. One cannot easily assume that so meaningful a change was sought to be introduced by a mere side wind by issuing a notification and then by implication withdrawing the same.
14. It remains now to advert to precedents within this jurisdiction having a direct bearing on the point. In Delhi Cloth & General Mills Co. Ltd. v. Om Parkash, 1981 Cur LJ (Civil) 430, the matter seems to have been treated as one of first impression and was disposed of by a solitary observation that a plain reading of S. 15(2) revealed that the appellate authority can hear appeals against any order passed by the Rent Controller. It would appear that the learned counsel for the parties were sorely remiss in not binding to the notice to the Bench the correct perspective of the legislative history of the rent laws within the State or the sequence of the notifications issued in this regard. It is unnecessary to labour the point and because of the elaborate reasons in the earlier part of the greatest respect, that the solitary observation in the judgment is not good law and is hereby overruled.
15. In Janardhan v. Gian Chand, (1982) 1 Rent LR 410, the learned single Judge expressly relying on Delhi Cloth & General Mills' case (supra) followed the same with a brief elaboration of the matter. I would wish to record that another judgment referred to in Makhan Lal v. Ram Chand, 1978(2) Ren CJ 638 has no direct bearing on the point and in any case in view of the rule in Quinn v. Letham cannot be read as the ratio of the said judgment. For the identical reasons mentioned above, with respect Janardhan's case on this point is hereby overruled. In the brief order recorded in Girdhari Lal v. Smt. Rattan Mala Jain. (1982) 2 Rent LR 22, the learned single Judge has again considered the issue as one of first impression without adverting to either the history of the legislation of the detailed reasons considered in this Full Bench. With the greatest deference Girdhari Lal's case also therefore, is not sound law and is hereby overruled.
16. On a true perspective of the legislative background the language of the Act and in particular of the relevant notifications. I would hold that Notification No. S.O./71/HA-11/73/S-15/78. D/- May 8, 1978 is confined only to the forum for the appellate jurisdiction and in no way affects the classes of cases which alone had been earlier made appealable by Notification No. 1562-CR 47/9228 dated 14-4-1947, which continues to hold the field. Thereunder, the orders made by the Rent Controller under Sections 4, 10, 12 and 13 of the Act alone are appealable. The answer to the question posed at the outset has thus to be rendered in the negative.
17. The significant question aforesaid having been answered in these terms, we would affirm the order of the appellate authority holding to the same effect. The civil revision is consequently dismissed, but in view of the controversial issues raised, the parties are left to bear their own costs.
Prem Chand Jain, J.
S.C. Mital, J.
18. Revision dismissed.