A.K. Das, J.
1. This application in revision is directed against an order imposing a fine of Rs. 25 by the Rent Controller, Calcutta under Section 31 of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 1956.
2. The opposite party is a tenant residing in premises No. 93 Baithakhana Road, Calcutta under the petitioner who is the landlord. The tenant filed a complaint before the Rent Controller on three grounds, (1) the landlord obstructed installation of separate letter box in his name at the main entrance of the premises, (2) the landlord was wilfully interfering in the supply of water and (3) the landlord obstructed the passage to his flat. The Rent Controller rejected the first two grounds but held that the applicant had the right of passage through the passage room and that it was a right of easement annexed to the tenancy. This right of easement was wilfully obstructed by the landlord and the Rent Controller therefore fined him Rs. 25 under the provisions of Section 31 of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act.
3. There was an appeal against this order before the Chief Judge, Small Cause Court Calcutta and a cross-appeal by the tenant too. The learned Judge of the Small Cause Court who heard the appeal and the cross-appeal, dismissed both and upheld the order of the Rent Controller. The landlord has now appealed against the order imposing the penalty for obstructing of easement of passage under Section 31 of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act.
4. The learned Advocate for the opposite party raised a preliminary objection and contended that an application under Section 439, Cr. P. C. did not lie as neither the Rent Controller nor the Judge, Small Cause Court hearing the appeal is an inferior criminal court. There is some force in the contention. Section 439, Cr. P. C. gives power of revision in respect of record of any proceeding before an inferior criminal court as referred to in Section 435 of the Code and it is now well settled that the Bent Controller is not an inferior criminal court. This Court, therefore, sitting in revision cannot interfere with the order of the Rent Controller and the objection therefore is upheld.
5. This however is a composite application under Section 439, Cr. P. C. & Article 227 of the Constitution and Mr. Prasun Ch. Ghosh, learned Advocate for the Petitioner has invoked the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 227 of the Constitution. This Court has undoubtedly power of superintendence under Article 227 but this power is in relation to criminal matters and Mr. Nalin C. Banerjee, learned Advocate for the opposite party has argued that the decision in any case being a civil decision this Court cannot exercise the power of superintendence under Article 227 of the Constitution. His argument in effect is that even if Article 227 of the Constitution can be invoked, this power can be exercised only by the Civil Bench exercising jurisdiction under Article 227. This question cropped up earlier and in an un-reported decision in Revn Case No. 1162 of 1960 (Since reported in 1962 (1) Cri LJ 809 (Cal.) Nathmal Kajaria v. Ram Narain Rathi Justice Debabrata Mookerjee held that the Kent Controller in such a case exercises criminal jurisdiction when it deals with the application under Section 31 of the Act. The learned Judge referred to an earlier decision by Chief Justice Harries in the case reported in : AIR1953Cal85 , Pulin Krishna Paul v. Sishupati Chakravarty, where it was pointed out that 'the words 'prosecution' and 'offence' as used in the Constitution are not defined and they must be given their ordinary meaning. Going to the Rent Controller and asking him to fine a man for an act is really a prosecution of that man and the act is an offence against the statute and is a criminal offence because it is punishable by a fine which is a punishment of criminal nature'. Following that decision Debabrata Mookerjee, J. held in the unreported decision that the Controller exercised the criminal jurisdiction when he dealt with the application under Section 31 of the Act. I respectfully agree with that view and I therefore hold that although this Court has no jurisdiction under Section 439 of the Cr. P. C. as the Rent Controller is not an inferior criminal court, if has still power of superintendence over all courts or tribunals throughout the territories in relation to which this Court exercises jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution, as the Rent Controller exercises criminal jurisdiction when he deals with the application under Section 31 of the Act.
6. The next question that arises is whether there was any infringement of the right of easement by obstructing the common passage. This however is a question of fact and the learned Judge, Small Cause Court hearing the appeal has agreed with the finding of fact by the Rent Controller, namely, that right of passage was obstructed. The Rent Controller dealt with the question exhaustively and he came to this conclusion after reviewing the evidence as also the connected matters including the decision by the Additional Chief Presidency Magistrate and the finding seems reasonable. There is therefore no reason to interfere.
7. This application therefore is rejected and the Rule is discharged.