Chitty and Teunon, JJ.
1. In this case the landlord petitioners made an application under Section 27 of the Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act (Bengal Act VI of 1908) for the enhancement of the rent paid by the tenants opposite-parties in respect of their holding.
2. The application was heard by a Deputy Collector empowered to discharge the functions of a Deputy Commissioner under Section 27 and the following sections of the Act. After a prolonged enquiry the Deputy Collector on the 12th February, 1912, made an order enhancing the rent of the tenants from Rs. 2-8 to Rs. 32-10-5 per annum. Against this order the tenants preferred an appeal under the provisions of Section 215 (1) (iv) to the Deputy Commissioner who, after commenting on the proceedings of the Deputy Collector in terms which should not find a place in the judgment, of any Court, dismissed the landlords application on the ground that in his opinion the questions at issue should be decided only 'after a fall and fair trial' or 'by the Settlement Department in the village.'
3. It is not suggested that, in the area with which we are here concerned any order for the preparation of a record-of-rights had been issued, and obviously if in the opinion of the Deputy Commissioner the case had not been fully and fairly tried his proper course was to make or direct such further inquiry as might be necessary.
4. It therefore cannot, be and has not been disputed before us that in omitting to deal with the appeal before him on the merits the Deputy Commissioner has failed to exercise a jurisdiction vested in him by law. But on behalf of the tenants opposite-parties it has been contended that the Courts of Deputy Commissioner when dealing with applications for the enhancement of rent under the provisions of Sections 27 to 30 of the Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act are not Courts subject to the appellate jurisdiction of this Court within the meaning of Section 15 of the Indian High Courts Act 1861, that superintendence over Deputy Commissioners in the performance of their duties under the Act is by its express provisions vested in the Commissioner and the Board of Revenue and that, therefore, this Court, has no jurisdiction, or at least should not interfere.
5. These contentions are based on the provisions of Section 215 (2) (which in terms relates to suits only), Section 217 and Section 270 of the Act.
6. From the very nature of the proceedings themselves, and also from the provisions of the Act as contained, for instance, in Chapter XVI it is clear that proceedings on applications for enhancement of rent are judicial proceedings, and in view of the express provisions of Section 224 (2) which allows in certain cases a second appeal to this Court, it cannot in our opinion be contended that Deputy Commissioners in the performance of their judicial duties under the Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act are not Courts subject to the appellate jurisdiction of this Court.
7. No doubt, by the provisions of the sections we have already cited, powers of revision direction and control are vested in the Commissioner and the Board of Revenue. But these sections merely reproduce in practically identical terms the provisions of Sections 151 and 152 of Act X of 1859, and notwithstanding the existence of these provisions in that Act, this Court in a long series of decisions we need here refer only to the case of Chaitan Patgosi Mahapatra v. Kunja Behari Painaik (1911) I.L.R. 38 Calc 832 has held that it has jurisdiction and has interfered in cases where the Courts of Collectors have either exceeded the jurisdiction or failed or refused to exercise the jurisdiction vested in them by the said Act.
8. We are therefore of opinion that in the present case we have jurisdiction and should interfere.
9. We accordingly make this Rule absolute, pet aside the order of the Deputy Commissioner dated the 7th June, 1912, and direct him to proceed with and determine the appeal before him on the merits.
10. We make no order as to costs.