1. This is a petition to revise the order of the Rent Controller, Tiruchirapalli holding that he was competent to act under Section 476, Cri. P. C. and lay a complaint against the petitioner for offences under Sections 465 and 471, I. P. C.
2. It should be made clear that the Rent Controller was only deciding the question of his competency to lay a complaint and he had not decided whether it was necessary in the interests of justice to lay such a complaint. That question still remains open.
3. On behalf of the petitioner it is contended that the Rent Controller is not a civil, criminal or revenue Court, which under Section 476, Cr. P. C. is competent to lay a complaint in respect of any offences referred to in Section 195 (1) (b) or (c), Criminal P. C. The criteria for deciding what is 'a Court' has been succinctly set forth in the decision of the Supreme Court in Virindar Kumar v. State of Punjab : 1956CriLJ326
'..................It may be stated broadly that what distinguishes a Court from a quasi-judicial tribunal is that it is charged with a duty to decide disputes in a judicial manner and declare the rights of parties in a definite judgment. To decide in a judicial manner involves that the parties are entitled as a matter of right to be heard in support of their claim and to adduce evidence in proof of it.
And it also imports an obligation on the part of the authority to decide the matter on a consideration of the evidence adduced and in accordance with law. When a question therefore, arises as to whether an authority created by an Act is a Court as distinguished from a quasi-judicial tribunal, what has to be decided is whether having regard to the provisions of the Act it possesses all the attributes of a Court.' Applying these principles there is no doubt that the Rent Controller would be a 'Court'. He decides disputes in a judicial manner and declares rights of parties in a definitive judgment. Parties are entitled as a matter of right to be heard in respect of their claim and adduce evidence in proof of it. He has to decide the matter on a consideration of the evidence adduced and in accordance with law. In all matters before the Rent Controller there is a 'lis' in which persons with opposing claims are entitled to have their rights adjudicated in a judicial manner.
The enquiry is not entrusted to an ad hoc tribunal. Applying all these tests it would appear that the Rent Controller is a 'Court'. But it may still be argued that the Rent Controller is not a civil, criminal or revenue Court.
A learned single Judge of the East Punjab High Court in Tarachand v. State held that neither the Rent Controller nor the appellate authority under the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act is a Court and therefore, they cannot be held to be civil Courts within the meaning of Section 476, Criminal P. C. For this purpose the learned Judge relied upon the decision of the Supreme Court referred to earlier. The learned Judge mentions that the Supreme Court placed reliance principally on a decision of a Full Bench of the East Punjab High Court in Pitman's Shorthand Academy v. Lila Ram and Sons, AIR 1950 EP 181 . But in the Supreme Court decision there is no reference to this decision of the Full Bench of the East Punjab High Court. The decision of the Full Bench of the East Punjab High Court in AIR 1950 EP 181 held that the Rent Controller and appellate authority appointed under the East Punjab Rent Restriction Act of 1947 do not constitute Civil Courts subordinate to the appellate jurisdiction of the High Court and therefore, their orders are not subject to revision by the High Court under Section 115, Civil P. C. While there may be room for argument as to whether the Rent Controller is or is not a Court there can be no doubt that the Rent Controller is not a Civil Court, subordinate to the appellate jurisdiction of the High Court. The Full Bench of the East Punjab High Court did not decide the question whether the Rent Controller was a Court; it only held that he was not a Civil Court. With respect, that decision is undoubtedly correct. In this case the decision of the Rent Controller is not subject to revision by this Court under Section 115, Civil P. C. as the Rent Controller is not a Civil Court. This is enough to dispose of this revision petition. It has got to be simply dismissed on the ground that the decision of the Rent Controller not being one by a Civil Court is not open to revision under Section 115, Civil P. C. by this Court. The C. R. P. is accordingly dismissed.
4. The dismissal of the revision petition does not of course dispose of the question which the Magistrate might have to decide i.e., whether the offences complained of before him are offences in relation to a Court as required under Section 476, Criminal P. C.