P.V. Rajamannar, Officiating C.J.
1. In this application, the petitioner seeks from this Court a writ of certiorari to quash the order of the Chief Judge of the Court of, Small Causes, passed in House Rent Control Appeal No. 852 of 1947 on the 18th February, 1948. The petitioner is the tenant of a shop in Devaraja Mudali Street, in George Town, Madras, and it is common ground that the respondents should be treated as his landlord for the material period. The respondents applied before the Rent Controller for an order evicting the petitioner on the ground that the shop occupied by him was wanted for their own use. On the 2nd December, 1946, the Rent Controller passed an order directing the petitioner to put the respondents in possession of the premises on or before 1st March, 1947. The petitioner filed an appeal against the order to the Chief Judge of the Court of Small Causes, who allowed the appeal and dismissed the application of the respondents on 12th March,. 1947. On the 17th March, 1947, the respondents again applied to the Rent Controller for eviction of the petitioner, but this time on the ground that the petitioner did not pay or tender the rent for January and February, 1947, within the time allowed by law and on the ground that the petitioner had sub-let the premises without their consent. It is not disputed that the latter ground as well as the ground that the petitioner had not paid or tendered the rent for February, 1947, are not tenable grounds. The only ground, therefore, which found acceptance with the Rent Controller as well as the Chief Judge of the Court of Small Causes was that the petitioner did not pay or tender the rent for January 1947? The petitioner put forward a plea that he had made a valid tender of the rent for January within time, but his case was disbelieved by both the Rent Controller and the appellate tribunal. Both of them concurrently found that the petitioner had committed a default in respect of the rent due for January, 1947.
2. It is contended by Mr. G. Ramakrishna Aiyar, the learned advocate for the petitioner, that this conclusion is erroneous because the relationship of landlord and tenant ceased as between the respondents and the petitioner on and from the date of the order of the Rent Controller in the prior application, that is, on the 2nd December, 1946, and when the application for eviction was finally dismissed on 12th March, 1947, by the appellate authority, the tenancy must be deemed to have been revived only on and from that date. It was contended that, therefore, during the interval which would also cover January, 1947, no rent as such was due by the petitioner to the respondents. If the Rent Controller had directed eviction of the petitioner on the date of his order in question, namely, on 2nd December, 1946, but nevertheless if the petitioner had continued to remain in possession, it may be argued with some force that there was no obligation in law on the petitioner to pay rent as such to the respondents for the period subsequent to the passing of the order for eviction. We refrain, however, from giving our final opinion on this question because it does not directly arise and because the scheme of the Act is such that something may be said even for a contrary position. In this case, the order of the Controller dated the 2nd December, 1946, did not order immediate eviction. The petitioner was directed to put the respondents in possession on or before the 1st March, 1947. Till that date the petitioner was entitled to be in possession of the premises lawfully and the respondents could not lawfully seek to eject him. In these circumstances it is impossible to hold that merely by the passing of the order on the 2nd December, 1946, the position of the petitioner has ceased to be the position of a tenant within the meaning of the Act and that the amount which the petitioner would have to pay to the respondents in consideration of his occupation of the premises is not rent within the meaning of that word in Section 7(2)(i) of the Act. In construing this Act, it is not permissible to import conceptions which belong to the only law of landlord and tenant obtaining either in England or under the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act. The short question in this case is whether when the Controller has made an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the premises on a particular date, for the period before that date the tenant is not bound to pay the rent as rent. We are of opinion that the petitioner was liable for rent as such for the period before the 1st March 1947, subject, of course, to the contingency of his surrendering possession before that date. As the case put forward by the petitioner of a tender within time has been disbelieved, it must be held that the petitioner has not paid or tendered the rent due by him for January, 1947, within the time specified in Section 7(2)(i) of the Act.
3. It was next contended by Mr. Ramakrishna Aiyar that in spite of this finding it was within the discretion of the Controller to reject the application of the landlord if the petitioner satisfied him that there was sufficient cause for non-payment or non-tender of the rent due. We do not find anything in Section 7(2) which enables the Controller to reject the application of the landlord even when he is satisfied that one or more of the conditions laid down in Section 7(2) have been fulfilled. No doubt the tenant is to be given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the application, but that can only be on grounds open to him in law, namely, in this case, that he has paid or tendered the rent due by him within the time allowed. We cannot accept the contention of the petitioner.
4. In our opinion, the order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Small Causes is right and this application is therefore dismissed with costs of the respondents.