1. The petnrs. who obtained this Rule are owners of a house in Ekbalpore Road which is in the possession of the State of West Bengal on the strength of a requisition order under the Defence of India Rules. The petnrs. applied for the grant of a certificate stating the standard rent & also for fixing the standard rent under the provisions of the West Bengal Premises Rent Control (Temporary Provisions) Act of 1948. The petnrs.' appln. was rejected by the Rent Controller by an order dated 6-12-1949, on the ground that as the house was in the possession of the State under a requisition order, there was no relationship of landlord & tenant & as such the appln. was not maintainable. An appeal against the order was dismissed by the Subordinate Judge, 1st Ct. Alipore, by an order dated 20-7-1950, & against that order the petnrs. have obtained the present Rule.
2. On behalf of the petnrs. Mr. Mallik has argued that although the State of West Bengal is rot a tenant under the petnrs., the petnrs. are entitled to have the standard rent fixed in respect of the premises. Mr. Mallik has made it clear that any order that may be made by the Rent Controller fixing the standard rent will not be binding on the State, but, nevertheless, the petnrs. are entitled to have the rent fixed in respect of the premises in dispute, even though it is not in the possession of any tenant. This argument raises the question whether the owner of a housa is entitled to have the standard rent fixed even if the house is not actually let out to a tenant. The definition of the word 'landlord' as given in the Act of 1948 is certainly wide enough to include an owner whose house is not actually let out to a tenant. The appln. for a certificate of standard rent or for fixing the standard rent could be filed Under Sections 8 & 9 of the Act of 1948. Under both these sections, however, the Rent Controller was given jurisdiction to certify or fix the standard rent in respect of 'any premises'. The word 'premises' was defined by Section 2 (8) of the said Act to mean any building or part of a building or any hut or part of a hut 'let separately'. It is therefore clear that under the Act of 1948 the Rent Controller could certify or fix the standard rent only in respect of a building or part of a building which was separately let & therefore the Rent Controller had no authority to fix the standard rent in respect of a house which was not let out to a tenant at all. It seems to us that the appln. which was filed by the petnrs. was not maintainable under the Act of 1948. In the present case, the appellate Ct. had held that the definition of the word 'landlord' as given in the West Bengal Premises Rent Control (Temporary Provisions) Act of 1950 applies & under the definition of the word in 'landlord' as given in the 1950 Act the owner of a house which is not let out cannot be regarded as a landlord. It appears that the Act of 1950 came into operation during the pendency of the appeal in the lower appellate Ct. Under Section 17 (3) of the Act of 1950 the provisions of that Act shall apply to the fixation of standard rent by the appellate officer. By the operation of this section the definition of the word 'landlord' as given in the Act of 1950 may be made applicable to the present case & as the petnrs. would not be landlords within the meaning of the definition as given in the 1950 Act they would not be entitled to file an appln. for fixation of standard rent under the provisions of Section 9 of the Act of 1950. Therefore, our conclusion is that the appln. filed by the petnrs. is not maintainable either under the Act of 1948 or under the Act of 1950. That being the position, it is not necessary for us to decide which of the two Acts would apply to the present case.
3. In the above view of the matter the decision arrived at by the Ct. below must be affd. & this Rule must be discharged but without cost.