1. This is a revision filed by the landlord against an order passed by the Rent Tribunal and District Munsif in F.R.C.M.A. No. 36 of 1957 on his file. The respondent herein filed an application before the Rent Controller for fixation of fair rent. It was numbered as F.R. No. 438 of 1957. The petitioner herein filed a counter on 22nd May, 1957, in which he admitted the respondent to be a tenant and pleaded an agreement for higher rent. When the petition came on for hearing on 29th May, 1957, it was dismissed for non-appearance. The suit was then restored and renumbered as F.R. No. 457 of 1957, and it was posted to some date in June, 1957. The case was adjourned at the request of both the parties to 9th July, 1957. On 9th July, 1957, the respondent herein was examined as P.W. 1. The trial was adjourned to 30th July, 1957. On 30th July, 1957, P.Ws. 2 and 3 were examined, and the respondent is said to have closed his case. Then the petitioner herein filed an additional counter dated 9th July, 1957. In the meantime one Natesa filed F.R. No. 498 of 1957 dated 29th May, 1957 before the same Rent Controller in respect of the same lands for fixation of fair rent. In that the present petitioner and Natesa compromised. An order in terms of compromise was passed. The trial Court refused to receive the additional counter filed on 30th July, 1957, the additional counter bbeing dated 9th July, 1957, and stated that that counter was presented long after the two witnesses were examined and that that counter could not be considered as amendment of pleadings, as in that counter the contents of the earlier counter were totally denied. The trial Court further observed that in the original counter filed by the respondent herein it was admitted by the respondent that the petitioner herein was a cultivating tenant whereas in the present additional counter it was denied. The trial Court, therefore, treated this as a fresh counter and refused to admit the same in the present case.
2. Against the said order of refusal to admit the second counter filed on 30th July, 1957 an appeal was preferred before the District Munsiff, who was the Rent Tribunal Officer. Before the lower appellate Court a preliminary objection was taken that no appeal lies against the order of the trial Court refusing to receive the counter. The preliminary objection was upheld and the appeal was dismissed. It is against this order of the lower appellate Court which dismissed the appeal summarily on the ground that no appeal lies the present revision has been filed.
3. The only point for decision in this revision is whether the expression ' From every decision of a Rent Court, an appeal shall, within such time as may be prescribed, lie to the Rent Tribunal ' found in Sub-clause (2) of Section 9 of Madras Act XXIV of 1956 includes an order refusing to accept the petition as in this case. In short, the question is whether every decision of a Rent Court means and includes decisions on interlocutory applications as well.
4. There is no definition of the expression ' decision ' in the Act. In Tassaduq Basul Khan v. Kashi Ram (1903) L.R. 30 IndAp 35 : I.L.R. All. 109 the expression ' decision ' in Section 596 of the Code of Civil Procedure which is equivalent to Section 110 of the present Code, came up for consideration before their Lordships of the Privy Council. In that case the appellate Court confirmed the decree and judgment of the trial Court, but for reasons different from those given by the trial Court. Nevertheless it gave leave to appeal to the Privy Council under section No. A preliminary objection was taken before the Privy Council that the leave granted was irregular, as it was not in accordance with the provisions of section No. The contention was that decision means the reason given by the Court for the decree. In short it was contended as equivalent to judgment. Their Lordships of the Privy Council held as follows:
They think that the natural, obvious and prima facie meaning of the word 'decision' is a decision of the suit by the Court, and that that meaning should be given to it in the section.
According to the decision in the above case ' decision ' is not equivalent to judgment in the Civil Procedure Code. In Tuljaram Row v. Alagappa Chettiar (1910) 21 M.L.J. 1 : I.L.R. Mad. I the question that came up for consideration was as to whether an order refusing to raise an additional issue would be a judgment within the meaning of that expression in clause 15 of the Letters Patent Act. A Full Bench of this Court held that no appeal lay, meaning thereby that it was not a judgment.
5. The expression used in this Act is not 'judgment' but 'decision.' It is fairly conceded by Mr. Jagadisa Ayyar appearing for the petitioner that Clause (2) must be read with reference to Clause (1), that is to say, every decision of a Rent Controller must be in connection with an application to the Rent Court for fixation of fair rent or for deciding any dispute arising under this Act, the only two classes of cases which are referred to in Clause (1) of Section 9. The question is whether the decision is on an application made to the Court for fixation of fair rent or for deciding a dispute under the Act or any application inclusive of all ancillary applications filed in that application for decision to the Rent Court for one of the two objects mentioned therein.
6. It is well-known that unless a right of appeal is provided by statute there is no inherent right of appeal by any party in any matter which comes up for judicial adjudication before any Tribunal constituted under the Act. Should, therefore, the expression ' decision ' be considered as one giving a right of appeal against all orders passed in or on an application to the Rent Court for one of the two objects mentioned in Clause (1)? Stress is laid upon the expression 'every decision'. After giving my careful and anxious consideration to this question it seems to me that the expression 'every decision' used in Clause (2) refers only to the final determination of the rights of parties in the two classes of cases mentioned in Clause (1). I do not think that, however wide the interpretation of the expression ' every decision ' may be, that will include any order passed on an interlocutory application. It seems to me that it has reference only to the final determination of the rights of parties on the applications made before the Rent Controller either for fixation of fair rent or for deciding any dispute arising under this Act. In this view it seems to me that the appellate Court was justified in holding that no appeal lies against an order, and therefore this revision petition fails.
7. In view of the fact that the question is not altogether free from difficulty I hold that the petition should be dismissed without costs to the other side.