G. Ramanujam, J.
1. The petitioner is the tenant against whom an eviction petition was filed by the first respondent claiming to be the landlord.
2. The grounds on which eviction was sought are threefold : (1) that the petitioner has wilfully defaulted in the payment of the rent due by him; (2) that the first respondent as owner requires the premises for his own occupation; and (3) that the petitioner has sublet the premises unauthorisedly to respondents 2 and 3 herein without the written consent of the landlord.
3. The eviction petition was resisted by the petitioner on various grounds. The petitioner's case is that there is no relationship of landlord and tenant between him and the first respondent in respect of the property in his occupation and, therefore, he is not liable to pay any rent for such occupation. He also contended that he has lent a substantial sum of Rs. 3,100 to the first respondent on the specific understanding that he will be allowed to-occupy the building till the said debt is discharged, and, therefore, there is no question' of his paying any rent to the first respondent. He also denied that the first respondent requires the premises bona fide for his own-occupation. As regards the question of subletting also, the petitioner denied the factum of subletting.
3. The Rent Controller as well as the Appellate Authority have however upheld the case of the first respondent and held that the three grounds of eviction put forward by him had been established. In that view, the eviction order has been passed against the petitioner.
5. The petitioner now contends before this Court that when the tenant specifically pleads that there is no relationship of landlord and tenant, the Rent Controller has no jurisdiction to decide that question and the matter should have been referred to the civil Court. The provisions of the Rent Control Act provide that whenever there is a bona fide dispute as to title, the parties have to be referred to a civil Court and the Rent Controller cannot decide the dispute as to title to the property. But in this case, the dispute is as regards the relationship of landlord and tenant between the petitioner and the first respondent and such a dispute can be decided only by the Rent Controller. That is an incidental question to be decided by the Rent Controller while deciding the question as to whether the grounds for eviction had been established. It is not as if in every case where the tenant merely alleges that he is not a tenant, the matter should end there and the Rent Controller has no jurisdiction to decide the question. I am of the view that such an incidental question has to be decided by the Rent Controller before he passes an order of eviction against the tenant and, therefore, on such a question the parties cannot be referred to a civil Court. The other contention by the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that so long as the amount lent by him to the landlord is outstanding, he cannot be evicted from the premises as the understanding at the time of the lending was that he will be allowed to continue till the amount is repaid. But in this case, no document has been produced to prove that the lending was on condition of the petitioner being allowed to continue in the premises till the money is repaid by the landlord. Even assuming that the petitioner has lent the sum of Rs. 3,100 to the first respondent as alleged, still that will not stand in the way of the first respondent getting an order of eviction. If really the petitioner had lent a sum of Rs. 3,100 as alleged by him it is open to him to recover the same by taking appropriate Court proceedings. But that is not a ground for refusing an order of eviction especially when there is no evidence worth acceptance to the effect that the petitioner lent the said sum to the first respondent on condition that he should be allowed to continue in the premises till the amount is returned. In this view of the matter, I see no reason to interfere with the findings rendered by the authorities below.
6. The revision petition is, therefore, dismissed.
7. The petitioner is, however, granted three months' time from this date for vacating on condition of his depositing with the Rent Controller or paying directly to the first respondent of sum of Rs. 150 representing three months' rent within two weeks from this date.