1. This revision petition arises out of a rather unusual suit filed by the petitioner, the widow of one Moidu Haji, who died on 1st January, 1946, to recover from the two defendants a sum of Rs. 172-15-0, expenses' incurred by her in defending a petition, R.C.P. No. 304 of 1946 before the House Rent Controller, instituted by the defendants. The defendants are Moidu Haji's grandmother and her son. They sought to evict the widow in those proceedings from a block of three shops. The learned Rent Controller Mr. K. K. Mathews dismissed their petition finding it to be both frivolous and vexatious, but he expressed himself unable to grant any compensation to the petitioner and other respondents impleaded before him as, by denying the title of the petitioner before him as landlord, they had removed themselves from the purview of Section 7(5) of the Madras; Act XV of 1946. Instead of filing any appeal against the refusal to grant any compensation under this section, a remedy open to the petitioner under Section 12(1)(b) of the Act, the petitioner filed a regular suit to recover as damages the actual expenditure she incurred in her defence before the Rent Controller. In her plaint she alleged that she paid Rs. 160 to her advocate for eight appearances; before the Rent Controller. The learned District Munsif, quite rightly, held that the suit to recover these costs was not maintainable and he dismissed it without any order as to costs.
2. Section 35(a) of the Civil Procedure Code makes provision for compensatory costs in respect of false or vexatious claims or defences in suits or other proceedings not being an appeal. Section 7(5) of Act XV of 1946 reproduces the principle of this section in Rent Control proceedings but limits compensation to Rs. 50 I should like here to correct an obvious error in the view of the learned Rent Controller who seemed to think that this compensation under Section 7(5) could only be awarded in an application made by a landlord for the eviction of a tenant and presumably that if the appellant's position as landlord was in dispute or not established, the award of such compensation was not permissible. The phrase ' application made by a landlord 'in Section 7(5) obviously means an application made by a landlord or any one claiming to be a landlord. Similarly, the words ' a tenant ' can only mean ' a tenant, or any one alleged to be a tenant '. If the view taken by the learned Rent Controller is to be accepted, a large category of cases all the more frivolous and vexatious because they are instituted under the Rent Control Act by persons who have no title as landlord against persons impleaded as tenants who set up paramount title will be quite excluded from the scope of compensation. This is a clear case in which the Rent Controller would have been fully justified on a finding that the petition was both false and vexatious in granting the petitioner the full amount of Rs. 50 as compensation.
3. I do not desire to make any further comment on the merits as between the parties in view of no less than three suits as is not disputed, pending as between the heirs of Moidu Haji. The learned advocate for the petitioner asks that at any rate a compensation of Rs. 50 may now be awarded to the petitioner to defray part of her legal expenses in the Rent Control proceedings. There is no legal principle on which this relief can be given to the petitioner by way of a separate suit. The view taken by the learned District Munsif is correct; the law does not unfortunately provide for damages incurred by defendants impleaded in civil proceedings found to be false or vexatious by way of separate suits. One can only sympathise with the petitioner whose petition is dismissed in the circumstances but without any order as to costs.