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Hari Rowji Gore Sastri Vs. the Malabar District Board by Its Special Officer - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 1586 of 1948
Judge
Reported inAIR1951Mad493; (1950)2MLJ810
ActsMadras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1946 - Sections 4
AppellantHari Rowji Gore Sastri
RespondentThe Malabar District Board by Its Special Officer
Appellant AdvocateK.P. Ramakrishna Iyer, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateAdv.-General
DispositionDecree modified
Cases ReferredRao v. Deviji Govindji
Excerpt:
- .....not of their own accord agree to pay enhanced rate, but that if he so chose, he could move the rent controller for fixing the fair rent. thereupon the plaintiff filed an application before the rent controller for fixing fair rents at the rate claimed by him, namely, rs. 20 and rs. 34 from 1-10-1946, the date on which the act came into force. the answer given to that claim by the defendant was that they were agreeable to pay any enhanced rent that the rent controller might fix. the rent controller passed an order on 8-7-1947 fixing the fair rent as claimed by the plaintiff.2. subsequent to this order, the plaintiff-petitioner called upon the respondent district board by notice dated 6-9-1947 to pay the rent at the enhanced rate from 1-10-1946 to which the district board's reply was.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Chandra Reddi, J.

1. The plaintiff in S. C. S. No. 138 of 1947 has filed this petition in revision against the decree and judgment of the District Munsiff of Calicut. This petition arises out of a suit filed by the plaintiff for recovery of a sum of Rs. 129-8-0, being the arrears of rent at enhanced rate from 1-10-1946 to 2-7-1947. The plaintiff, who is the owner of two buildings in Calicut, let them out to the District Board at a rental of RS. 15 and Rs. 25 each. After the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act XV [15] of 1946 came into force, he claimed enhanced rent at the rate of Rs. 20 and Rs. 34 respectively from the District Board. The respondent District Board replied that they could not of their own accord agree to pay enhanced rate, but that if he so chose, he could move the Rent Controller for fixing the fair rent. Thereupon the plaintiff filed an application before the Rent Controller for fixing fair rents at the rate claimed by him, namely, Rs. 20 and Rs. 34 from 1-10-1946, the date on which the Act came into force. The answer given to that claim by the defendant was that they were agreeable to pay any enhanced rent that the Rent Controller might fix. The Rent Controller passed an order on 8-7-1947 fixing the fair rent as claimed by the plaintiff.

2. Subsequent to this order, the plaintiff-petitioner called upon the respondent District Board by notice dated 6-9-1947 to pay the rent at the enhanced rate from 1-10-1946 to which the District Board's reply was that the plaintiff was not entitled to the enhanced rate from 1-10-1946, but only from the date on which the order was passed by the Rent Controller fixing the fair rent. Thereupon the plaintiff filed the present suit which has given rise to this petition claiming enhanced rent from 1-10-1946 to 8-7-1947. The suit was contested by the District Board on the ground that the plaintiff was not entitled to enhanced rent from the date on which the Act came into force, but only from the date of the order fixing the fair rent. The trial Court, upholding the contention raised by the defendant, dismissed the suit. Hence the present revision petition.

3. In this petition it is contended by Mr. Ramakrishna Aiyar, the learned counsel forthe petitioner, that the landlord is entitled to rent at the enhanced rate from the date of this petition. On the other hand, it is urged for the respondent, that the rent, fixed under the contract, should be deemed to be in force until it is varied by an order of the Court and, therefore, the plaintiff-petitioner would be entitled to enhanced rent only from the date on which the existing rent was varied by the order of the Rent Controller. I think the contention of the petitioner must prevail.

4. It was laid down in George Oakes Ltd. v. Chief Judge, Small Cause Court, Madras, C. M. P. No. 8658 of 1949 : : AIR1951Mad222 , by the learned Chief Justice and Viswanatha Sastri J. that :

'Where the fair rent fixed under Section 4, Madras Act XV [15] of 1946 is in excess of the rent which was being paid before such date, the landlord cannot claim the difference from any date anterior to the date of filing the application under Section 4, which, in this case, was 9-10-1947.'

(See also the decision in Rajammal v. The Chief Judge, Court of Small Causes, Madras, : AIR1950Mad185 . The effect of these decisions is that a landlord who files an application for fixing a fair rent is entitled to an enhanced rent from the date of his filing the application under Section 4, Madras Act XV [15] of 1946.

5. It was next contended by the learned counsel for the respondent that, in any event, the plaintiff cannot claim a higher rate of rent from a date anterior to 8-7-1947 for the reason that though the plaint contained a prayer that the enhanced rent should be granted from 1-10-1946, the order fixing the fair rent did not indicate the date from which the plaintiff, was entitled to the enhanced rate and, therefore, the prayer for enhanced rent from 1-10-1946 must be deemed to have been rejected. I find great difficulty in accepting this argument. Under Section 4, Madras Act XV [15] of 1946, the Rent Controller could only fix the fair rent and he has no jurisdiction to fix the date from which his order could have effect. To this effect is the decision of the learned Chief Justice and Somasundaram J, in Subba, Rao v. Deviji Govindji, : AIR1950Mad555 . It is observed by the learned Judges that :

'On an application under Section 4 of the Act, the only jurisdiction which the appellate authority and the Rent Controller have is to fix the fair rent. What rights accrue to the landlord and the tenant is not within their province on an application under Section 4.'

It follows from this decision that the jurisdiction of the Rent Controller or the appellate authority being only to declare the fair rent in respect of a particular building, the landlord could claim the fair rent on the basis of thatorder from a date to which he is entitled under the Act, i. e., from the date of his filing the application.

6. On the decisions referred to above, I must hold that the order of the Rent Controller takes effect from the date on which the application was presented. Consequently, plaintiff will have a decree for enhanced rent from 20-3-1947 to 8-7-1947 at the rate fixed by the Controller by his order dated 8-7-1947. The decree of the trial Court is accordingly modified and the petition is accepted to that extent. In the circumstances of the case I make no order as to costs. Each party will bear his own costs throughout.


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