1. This arises out of a petition for eviction on the ground of arrears of payment of rent. Under Sub-section (4)(b) of Section 3 of Madras Act XXV of 1955 the Revenue Court granted time to the petitioner until 31st July, 1960, for depositing all arrears. Before the expiry of the time, however, the petitioner applied to the Revenue Divisional Officer for extension of time. At the same time and on the same day, he deposited a sum of Rs. 200 and on 2nd September, 1960, he deposited the entire balance. The Revenue Court took the view that it had no option but to dismiss the petition. In its opinion there was no enabling power under Sub-section (4)(b) of Section 3 to extend the time. The question is whether this view of the statutory provision is correct.
2. Sub-section (4)(b) of Section 3 reads:
(b) On receipt of such application, the Revenue Divisional Officer shall, after giving a reasonable opportunity to the landlord and the cultivating tenant to make their representations, hold a summary enquiry into the matter and pass an order either allowing the application or dismissing it and in a case falling under Clause (a) or Clause (aa) of Sub-section (2) in which the tenant had not availed of the provisions contained in Sub-section (3), the Revenue Divisional Officer may allow the cultivating tenant such time as he considers just and reasonable having regard to the relative circumstances of the landlord and the cultivating tenant for depositing the arrears of rent payable under this Act inclusive of such costs as he may direct. If the cultivating tenant deposits the sum as directed, he shall be deemed to have paid the rent under Sub-section (3)(A). If the cultivating tenant fails to deposit the sum as directed, the Revenue Divisional Officer shall pass an order for eviction.
It seems to be manifest that, where there is a default by non-compliance with a direction to deposit the arrears within the time fixed by the Revenue Court, it would be beyond the power of the Revenue Court to extend time. The Sub-section clearly states that in such an event, namely, failure on the part of the tenant to deposit the arrears within the time fixed, the Revenue Divisional Officer should pass an order for eviction. This is the view I took in C.R.P. No. 2525 of 1960. But the question arises whether where the tenant applies, before the expiry of the time fixed, for extension of time, the extension could be granted. Rajagopalan, J. in W.P. No. 1496 of 1956 considered that it was within the power of the Revenue Court. I find myself in respectful agreement with this view of the provision. Where a power is granted for fixing a time, in my opinion, it necessarily means and implies also a power to extend the time provided the time granted already has not expired and the applicant for extension applies before expiry of the time.
3. On this view of the scope of Sub-section (4)(b) of Section 3, this petition should be allowed. The order of the Revenue Court is set aside. The deposit of arrears made in two instalments will be considered to have been made in time. The result is the petition for eviction will stand dismissed.
4. Petition is allowed. No costs.