1. The tenant is the petitioner. The landlord (respondent herein) filed R. C. O. P. 200 of 1966 before the Rent Controller, Coimbatore, on 6-6-1966 for eviction of the tenant on the ground of his willful default in the payment of rent. The landlord contended that the respondent became his tenant from 2-9-1964 on a monthly rent of Rs. 85, that he did not pay the rent from 2-9-1964 till the date of the application namely 6-6-1966, that on 16-4-1966 the tenant sent by M. O. Rs. 50 which was refused because it was not correct amount, and that, therefore, the respondent is liable to be evicted. The plea of tenant is that the rent fixed was Rs. 50 per month, that he and the landlord are brothers, that he filed a suit against the landlord in Sub Court in respect of a mortgage executed by him in his favour and that the landlord refused to receive the rent for the months of March and April sent by him by M. O. The Rent Controller, found that willful default on the part of the tenant in payment of the rent has not been made out and dismissed petition. On appeal the Principal Subordinate Judge (Appellate Authority) Coimbatore, confirmed the decision of the Rent Controller holding that the landlord failed to establish that the tenant committed willful default in payment of the rent and dismissed the appeal. The landlord filed C. R. P. 3264 of 1968 in the court of the District Judge (revisional authority), Coimbatore. The learned Judge held that the rent payable for the building us Rupees 85 and not Rupees 50 and found by the appellate authority and the Rent Controller and that the tenant committed willful default in the payment of rent. In the result he allowed the civil revision petition and ordered eviction of the tenant. The tenant has filed the above civil revision petition against the order of the revisional authority.
2. I am of opinion that the Revisional authority (District Judge) has re-assessed the evidence on record and disturbed the finding of fact of the appellate authority which he is not entitled to do under Section 25 of the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act. The appellate authority has held that the tenant is a lecturer in the Tiruchi Tutorial College, Coimbatore, of which the landlord is the Secretary, that the tenant is brother of the landlord, and that the tenant filed a suit on a mortgage against his brother (landlord). The landlord as a consequence filed the above application to evict the tenant. There is a controversy regarding the rate of rent. The appellant authority held that the rent for the premises was only Rs. 50, that the tenant sent the rent to the landlord by M. O. and that there was no default in payment of rent. In the result the appellate authority dismissed the application of the landlord for eviction. The revisional authority considered that it is competent for him to re-appraise the evidence, that the fact that the tenant filed a suit improbabilised the tender of rent by the tenant to the landlord, and that the tenant committed default in the payment of rent. The Revisional Authority held that, as the prior tenant admittedly paid Rs. 50 the probability was that the rent payable by the present tenant should be higher and that the rent of Rs. 85 claimed by the landlord is the correct one. The Revisional Authority came to the conclusion that the March rent was not paid and therefore there was default on the part of the tenant in payment of rent.
3. The jurisdiction of the District Judge in revision is considered in a number of decisions of this court, particularly the decision in Sasivarna Thevar v. Ponnu, 1957 1 Mad LJ 158 where Rajamanner, J. (as he then was) followed the decision of Rajagopala Ayyangar, J. in C. R. P. No. 1420 of 1954 (Mad) (unreported). The passage extracted by the learned Judge from the judgment of Rajagopala Ayyangar, J. is as follows:--
'The only proper way of defining the relative jurisdiction of the appellate and revisional authorities constituted under the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act is to hold that while appellate authority is entitled to examine every question of fact and law dealt with in, or raising out of, an order of the Rent Controller, a revisional authority, while undoubtedly can interfere with question of law, where the Rent Control Act or any provision has been misconstrued cannot normally interfere with findings of fact unless (a) a finding could be based or (b) the finding has been reached by a consideration of irrelevant or inadmissible matter or (c) it is so perverse that no reasonable person could have reached that conclusion or (d) the finding had been reached by an erroneous understanding of the law applicable to the matter. To hold that a revisional authority could interfere with findings of fact of an appellate authority without regard to these limitations would be to convert a revision into a regular appeal and to obliterate the distinction between appeals and revisions which the Act has taken care to provide.'
Veeraswami, J. (as he then was) held in R. Durairaju v. S. Palaniappa Goundar, : AIR1967Mad421 that the above fourfold conditions under which an order of appellate authority could be interfered with by a revisional court are not exhaustive and the learned Judge added a further conditional, namely that it is open to the District Judge to interfere where on the proved facts the conclusion arrived at by the appellate authority does not follow. To the same effect are the decisions in Khivraj v. Maniklal, : AIR1966Mad67 and Sivanandam v. T. Vendravan Bros., : (1969)1MLJ644 . The decision of the Supreme Court in Motiram v. Suraj Bhan, : 2SCR896 was followed in : AIR1967Mad421 and : AIR1966Mad67 , in Ranganayaki Ammal v. Krishnan, (1969) 81 MLW 577, MSMail, J. with out referring to the decisions observed:--
'Again, at the same time, it must be pointed out that in view of the power conferred on the revisional court under Section 25 to examine the legality, regularity or propriety of an order or proceeding made under the Act, the extent and scope of the power of the revisional court under Section 25 cannot be so restricted as only to matters relating to jurisdiction as provided for by Section 115, Civil P. C. Apart from stating this obvious, it is very difficult to say that where exactly the jurisdiction of the revisional court under Section 25 is limited or restricted except to state it lies somewhere between the revisional jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 115, Civil P. C. and the normal appellate power of an appellate authority.'
On the other hand, Alagiriswami, J. held in Ching Chong Sine v. Putay Gowder, : AIR1968Mad152 that it is open to the District Judge to come to his own conclusion on the facts proved. In view of the preponderance of authorities in favour of the scope of Section 25 of the Act as enunciated by Rajagopala Ayyangar, J. in C. R. P. No. 1420 of 1954 (Mad) and followed by Rajamannar, J. (as he then was) in 1957 1 MLJ 158 and that of Veeraswami, J. (as he then was) in : AIR1967Mad421 and the later decision of this court, I do not consider it necessary to refer the matter to a Division Bench.
4. In the present case, the rate of rent fixed by the Rent Controller and also by the appellate authority was not Rs. 85 for which there is no evidence but only Rs. 50 as per rent paid by the prior tenant. The default, if any, in payment of the rent was only for the month of March 1966 and admittedly a M. O. for Rs. 50 was sent to the landlord. The revisional court has no jurisdiction to hold that Rs. 85 was the rent and the tenant by sending Rs. 50 has committed default. In the circumstances of the case, I hold that the finding of the appellate authority that Rs. 50 is the rent for the premises is correct and there is no question of default or wilful default.
5. The order of the District Judge in allowing the revision cannot be supported. Even otherwise, the finding of the District Judge that the rent of the building is Rs. 85 cannot be supported on evidence. I therefore set aside the order of the learned District Judge and restore the judgment of the Rent Controller as confirmed by the appellate authority.
6. The civil revision petition is allowed. There will be no order as to costs.
7. Petition allowed.