A.N. Surti, J.
1. The defendant was aggrieved by the impugned judgment and decree passed by the learned 2nd Extra Assistant Judge, Baroda, in Civil Appeal No. 275 of 1971, whereby the lower appellate Court allowed the appeal filed by the plaintiff and set aside the judgment and decree passed by the learned Civil Judge, J.D., Sankbeda, in Regular Civil Suit No. 146 of 1970. It may be mentioned at this stage that the learned trial Judge dismissed the plaintiffs suit for possession of the suit house, whereas the lower appellate court had decreed the suit of the plaintiff with costs throughout.
2. It is under these circumstances that the present appeal is filed in this Court.
3. At the time of hearing of this second appeal Mr. Shah, the learned advocate has raised a point of considerable importance touching the jurisdiction of the Civil Court, where the suit has been filed by the landlord in the Civil Court to evict an artisan-tenant.
4. In order to appreciate the contention raised by Mr. Shah, a few relevant facts may be stated.
5. The suit house which is a dwelling house is situated in village Vasna, Taluka Sankheda, district Baroda. It is an admitted position that the Rent Act is not applicable to village Vasna. It is also an admitted position that the plaintiff has leased out the suit house to the defendant as his tenant.
6. The plaintiff filed the aforesaid suit to recover possession of the suit house on the ground that he required the same for his personal use and had legally terminated the tenancy of the defendant. Having thus terminated the tenancy, the plaintiff had filed the aforesaid suit to obtain an eviction decree against the defendant in respect of the suit house.
7. In the aforesaid suit, the defendant filed his Written Statement, Ex. 8. For the disposal of the present appeal, suffice it to state that in substance, the defence of the defendant was that he was maintaining himself having manufactured agricultural implements. He also stated that having regard to Section 18 of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948, (hereinafter referred to as 'the Tenancy Act'), the plaintiff had no right to terminate the lease granted by (he plaintiff in his favour.
8. The learned trial Judge on the pleadings of the parties raised various issues at Ex. 40, and the same are set out in para 3 of the judgment of the trial Court.
9. The learned trial Judge took the view that the plaintiff did not prove the terms of tenancy. He also took the view that the suit notice is 'not legal and valid. He also took the view that he had no jurisdiction to hear (be suit. The learned trial Judge did take into consideration the provisions of Sections 16, 17, 17A and 17B of the Tenancy Act and came to the conclusion that he had no jurisdiction to try the suit in question. As a result of his aforesaid findings, the learned trial Judge dismissed the suit with costs.
10. The plaintiff was aggrieved by the judgment and decree passed by the trial Court and preferred Civil Appeal NCT. 275 of 1971 in the Court of the learned District Judge, Baroda. The learned 2nd Extra Assistant Judge, Baroda, who heard the appeal, allowed the appeal filed by (he plaintiff and decreed the suit with costs all throughout.
11. Mr. Shah, the learned advocate, who appeared for the defendant, submitted that the defendant, at all relevant time, was doing the work of an artisan in village Vasna. In order to justify his submission, Mr. Shah invited my attention to the contents of para 6 of the written statement, Ex. 8, which in terms provides, that the defendant as maintaining himself having manufactured agricultural implements. He also invited my attention to the specific contention raised by the defendant in the written statement that having regard to Section 18 of the Bombay Tenancy Act, it was not open for the plaintiff to terminate his tenancy.
12. Mr. Shah also invited my attention to Section 2(8) of the Tenancy Act. which defines the word 'Land' in the following terms.
2(8) 'land' means
(a) land which is used for agricultural purposes or which is so used but is left fallow, and includes the sites of farm buildings appurtenant to such land; and
(b) for the purpose of Sections 11, 16, 17, 17A, 17B, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 29, 29A, 30. 41, 63 64, 64A. 84A, 84B and 84C.
(i) the sites of dwelling houses occupied by agriculturists, agricultural labourers or artisans and land appurtenant to such dwelling houses.
(ii) the sites of structures used by agriculturists for allied pursuits.
Mr, Shah submitted that for the purposes of Sections 11,16, 17,17 A, 17B, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 29, 29A, 30, 41, 63, 64, 64A, 84A, 84B and 84C, the legislature has assigned a special meaning to the word 'land' and the same means 'the sites of dwelling houses occupied by agriculturists, agricultural labourers or artisans and the land appurtenant to such dwelling houses.'
13. Having thus invited my attention to the statutory definition of the word 'land' as provided in Section 2(8) of the Tenancy Act; Mr. Shah invited my attention to the statutory meaning of the word 'tenant' as provided in Section 21(18) which is in the following words:
(18) 'tenant' means a person who holds land on lease and includes-
(a) a person who is deemed to be a tenant under Section 4.
(b) a person who is a protected tenant: and
(c) a person who is a permanent tenant; and
(d) a person who, after the surrender of his tenancy in respect of any land at any time after the appointed day but before the specified date has continued, or is deemed to have continued, to remain in actual possession, with or without the consent of the landlord, of such land till the specified date, and the word 'landlord' shall be construed accordingly.
14. Having regard to the definitions of the words land' and 'tenant', Mr. Shah submitted that in the instant case, the defendant who is an artisan is the tenant of the dwelling house, and as such is entitled to the statutory protection conferred on him under Section 18 of the Tenancy Act, which is in the following terms.
18. The provisions of Sections 16, 17, 17A and 17B shall apply
(a) to the dwelling houses and sites thereof occupied by agricultural labourers and artisans in any village; and
(b) to the lands held on lease in any village by persons carrying on an allied pursuit for the purpose of such pursuit.
Mr. Shah also invited my attentions to the provisions of Sections 16, 17, 17A and 17B of the Tenancy Act, and submitted, that if the defendant artisan-tenant was occupying the dwelling house, the Civil Court has no jurisdiction to decide or deal with the matter which should have been dealt with by the Mamlatdar having regard to Section 70 of the Bombay Tenancy Act. I also asked Mr. Shah to point out to me from the evidence as to how the defendant has established that he was an artisan occupying the dwelling house particularly when the defendant did not give any evidence in the Civil Court. To the question put by the Court, Mr. Shah invited my attention to the evidence of the plaintiff, who in terms deposed, that the defendant was manufacturing the agricultural implements and was occupying the suit house Mr. Shah submitted, that if the plaintiff had accepted the defendant's case in regard to his plea, that he was an artisan, then there was no necessity for the defendant to enter the box and to give further evidence.
15. There is lot of substance and force in the submission made by Mr. Shah. In the instant case, prima fade, I am satisfied that the defendant was an artisan. A specific plea in that behalf was taken in the written statement. In this view of the matter, Mr. Shah is right when he urged before me, that the Civil Court will have no jurisdiction to decide as to whether the defendant as an artisan-tenant in respect of the dwelling house. That issue must necessarily be decided by the Mamlatdar.
16. But Mr. Patel, the learned advocate appearing for the respondent plaintiff very vehemently urged, that in the instant case, the defendant did not give any evidence in the court, that he was an artisan-tenant in respect of the dwelling house. With respect, it is not possible for me to agree or accept Mr. Patel's submission for the simple reason, that in the instant case, the plaintiff did assist the cause of justice by deposing in the Civil Court that the defendant was manufacturing agricultural implements, and that being so, it is not possible for me to agree or accept the submission of Mr. Patel.
16.1 As a result of the aforesaid discussion, I direct the learned Civil Judge to raise the following issue and to send the same to the Mamlatdar for his decision in accordance with law.
Whether the defendant proves that he is an artisan-tenant in respect of the dwelling house occupied by him?
The learned Civil Judge is directed to refer the aforesaid issue to the Mamlatdar and should wait till he gets the final decision from all revenue forums, and after he gets the final decision from the revenue forums, be should decide the suit in accordance with law.
17. As a result of the aforesaid discussion, the appeal is allowed aid the impugned judgment and decree passed by the lower appellate Court are set aside, and the learned trial Judge is directed to deal with the matter in light of the directions given by me in course of this judgment. Having regard to the facts and the circumstances of the case, there will be no order as to costs.