1. These are civil revision petitions against the order of the Rent Tribunal, Sirkali, dismissing the appeals filed by the landlady against the order of the Rent Court, Kumbakonam, granting remission of 33-1/3 per cent, of rent in favour of the tenants under the Madras Cultivating Tenants (Payment of Fair Rent) Act. The remission was granted in pursuance of Section 5(2) of the Act, which prescribes that whenever adverse seasonal conditions result in the reduction of the gross produce from any particular crop to the extent of more than 25 per cent the land owner shall be bound to remit a proportionate part of the fair rent due to him from his cultivating tenant in respect of that land for that period. It goes without saying that the burden of proving that the reduction of the gross produce to the extent of more than 25 per cent is due to adverse seasonal conditions is upon the tenant. It is also clear that any reduction in the gross produce due not to adverse seasonal conditions, but to other circumstances such as the negligence of the tenant ought not to be taken into account while granting remission in favour of the tenant under S. 5(2) of the Act. A perusal of the order of the Rent Court and that of the appellate authority makes it manifest that both of them have ignored both burden of proof and the circumstances under which remission could be granted. The Rent Court says in its order as follows:--
'The contention of R. W. 1 (the agent of the landlady) is that the yield was poor due to belated harvest and the petitioners were negligent in cultivation. This is proved to some extent by the reports of the Commissioner. It is also in the evidence of R. W. 1 that by the time of harvest of suit lands all the adjacent lands had already been harvested. There is therefore some force in the argument of the learned counsel for the respondent that delayed harvest would actually have resulted in poor yield due to damage caused by rats and spillage of grains in the fields and the respondent cannot be held responsible for such harvest of samba and ottadan crops'.
2. If as a result of the negligent delay in the harvesting of the crops, damage has been caused by rats as well as by spillage of grains in the fields, it would be wrong to attribute that portion of the damage to any adverse seasonal conditions. But the Rent Court has wrongly taken this damage into account while assessing the total damages at 33-1/3 per cent. Likewise, the appellate authority has been guilty of a misinterpretation of the nature of damages which qualify for remission. In paragraph 4 of its order the appellate authority observes as follows:
'The evidence of R.W. 1 and the report of the Commissioner appointed to harvest the lands would go to show that there was late harvest. The harvest should have been made by about 15th or 20th of Thai. But the harvest was completed in March. Further, there was no continuous harvest. Naturally there is force in the contention of the landlady that there was low yield on account of this late harvest. On account of this R.W. would estimate the loss at 5 or 6 kalams per mah'
3. After making these observations, the appellate authority takes into account the loss due to the negligence of the tenants while computing the damages due to adverse seasonal conditions. This is clearly wrong. Neither of the lower Tribunals has given any finding upon the evidence on record as to whether there was any reduction in the gross produce as a result of adverse seasonal conditions, which, as I have said must exclude any reduction due to the negligence of the tenants in delaying the harvest. I therefore set aside the orders of both the courts below and remand the matters to the Rent Court for fresh disposal in accordance with law and in the light of the observations made in this order. Costs in the civil revision petitions will abide the result.
4. Case remanded.