1. This Revision Petition is directed against the order dated 30th April, 1959, made by the Court of Small Causes, Madras, which appears to have been passed under Section 7-A (4) of the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act. There was a petition filed before the Rent Controller for the eviction of the petitioner-tenant on the ground of default in the payment of rent and also on the ground of material alteration of premises. The petititon seems to have been allowed and the matter was taken up in appeal to the Court of Small Causes at Madras. In the meantime, the petitioner appears to have filed an application for the fixation of fair rent. The Controller fixed this fair rent at Rs. 225 per month as against the previous rent of Rs. 300 and this order was passed on 15th April, 1959. It is said that a revision is pending before this Court against that order. I am not at present concerned with it.
2. During the pendency of the appeal before the lower appellate Court, it seems to have been brought to the notice of the Court that the tenant who is under an obligation under Section 7-A (1) of the Act to continue to make payments of the rent as they fell due had not so made any payment,in respect of the-months of December, 1958 and January and February, 1959. Thereupon an order was passed by the learned Judge on 23rd March, 1959, directing the payment of such arrears by 30th of April. On that date, when the case was called, it was found that the arrears had not been paid as directed. Accordingly the lower Court proceeded to stop the proceedings under Section 7 -A (4) and confirmed the order of the Rent Controller directing the eviction of the petitioner-tenant.
3. The principal argument that has been advanced before me is that while it is no doubt true that the tenant is under a liability to keep up the payment of the rents as they fell due, during the pendency of the proceedings, before the appellate authority makes an order stopping further proceedings and directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the building, due notice should be given to the tenant to show sufficient cause why such an order should not be made. Normally, I would have accepted that position, but for certain peculiar features which appear in this case. Had the matter been brought to the notice of the Court for the first time that the tenant was in arrears and had not complied with Sub-clause (1) of Section 7-A and if the Court thoughtthat he could no longer be allowed to continue the proceedings and desired to make an order stopping the proceeding under Sub-section (4), the appellate authority should normally call upon the party before it to shbw cause why such an order should not be passed. That will be in keeping with the principles of natural justice. But where it is seen that on an earlier occasion this tenant had been directed to pay the arrears, which were already overdue on that date, but die order of the Court was not complied with, it lay upon the tenant, if he desired to avoid any consequential order of stoppage of proceedings, to appear before Court and explain why such an order should not be made. The tenant did really have a notice of a proposed order under Sub-section (4) by reason of the Court's direction made on 23rd March, 1959, directing the deposit of the arrears.
4. The case decided by Basheer Ahmed Sayeed,J., in Abdul Waheb v. G. Dorairaj (1957) 1 M.L.J. (N.R.C.) 33 (C.R.P. No. 451 of 1956) has been cited before me. The learned Judge therein observed thus in connection with a matter where the scope of Sub-section (4) of Section 7-A was in. question.
There is nothing on record to show that the tenant has been given any opportunity to show cause as to why he was not able to deposit the arrears of rent. There is no enquiry on that point. The order of eviction is therefore vitiated and there is failure of justice.
I have been at some pains to show that the present case differed from the facts of the one dealt with by Basheer Ahmed Sayeed, J., in that there was an opportunity given to the tenant. I would therefore hold that this decision has no application to the facts.
5. In the view that 1 have taken it is clear that the revision petition fails and it is dismissed with costs. Time to vacate 4 months.