1. The landlord in the revision petitioner. The landlord filed an application under S. 4 of Act 18 of 1960 for the fixation of fair rent in respect of a non-residential building. The respondent tenant is the State of Madras, represented by the Accommodation Controllers.
2. The landlord in his petition wanted a rent of Rs. 32,500 to be fixed as the fair rent for the building. This application was resisted by the respondent and after recording evidence the Rent Controller fixed the fair rent at Rs.28,000 per month. Aggrieved by this order, both parties preferred appeals, the landlord filing an appeal in H.R.A. No. 483 of 1978. Unfortunately, both the appeals were lying before different Courts and this was not brought to the notice of the Appellate Authority by either party. Therefore, the two appeals were heard separately by different authorities and judgments were rendered. In the appeal filed by the tenant in H.R.A. No. 483 of 1978, the fair rent was confirmed at Rs. 28,000 per month and consequently the appeal was dismissed on 5-12-1978. Subsequently on 12-12-1978, the appeal filed by the landlord was taken up by a different Judge and in that H.R.A. No. 521 of 1978 the Appellate Authority has passed the order thus-
'The appeal is accordingly allowed........ Fair rent is fixed at Rs. 21,945 per month'. This operative portion of the order reducing the quantum is understandable and is not in conformity with reason or propriety. Be that as it may, there are now conflicting decisions with regard to the fair rent in respect of the same premises between the same parties.
3. As pointed out already, the Appellate Authority in H.R.A. No. 483 of 1978 confirmed the finding of the Rent Controller and fixed the fair rent at Rupees 28,000 per month. This has become final. While so, in other appellate authority in H.R.A. No. 521 of 1978 has fixed the fair rent at Rs. 21,943 per month for the same premises and passed the order on 12-12-1978, subsequent to the decision in H.R.A. No. 483 of 1978. These two orders are mutually contradictory and irreconcilable. This is also an act of impropriety and also illegality warranting interference of this Court under S. 25 of Act 18 of 1960.
4. The landlord was not satisfied with the quantum of rent fixed by the Rent Controller and therefore preferred an appeal. The Appellate Authority could either have dismissed the appeal or granted enhancement. In fact, the Appellate Authority has no other option under law, but curiously, it has allowed the appeal by the landlord and reduced the fair rent, more so when the appeal by the tenant was already dismissed. This is clearly illegal. When a landlord files an appeal on the ground that the quantum of fair rent fixed by the Rent controller is low, the Appellate Authority can only dismiss the appeal of grant enhancement, but cannot reduce the amount unless the tenant has also filed an appeal or cross-appeal questioning the quantum. The landlord should not be made worse off for having filed the appeal and he has been penalised in this case for preferring the appeal.
5. Accordingly, it is ordered that the fair rent for the premises is fixed at Rupees 28,000 per month as already confirmed by the Appellate Authority in H.R.A. No. 483 of 1978. In this view of the matter the order in H.R.A. No. 521 of 1978 is set aside and the revision petition is allowed and the order of the Rent Controller is restored. Each party to bear his own costs.
6. Petition allowed.