1. This Rule was issued on the Chief Presidency Magistrate of Calcutta to show cause why the proceedings pending against the petitioners under Section 41, West Bengal Premises Rent Control Act, 1950, should not be quashed.
2. According to the petition of complaint on which these proceedings were started a flat in Premises No. 20, Baranashi Ghose Street, Calcutta, which was let out to the petitioner belongs to the accused No. 1 Jhabarmal Dudhwalla and that he had stopped the essential supply of filtered water supplied from the electric pump and when certain persons went to fetch water from the tap from the ground floor they were assaulted by Sukdeb and Kaloo Singh at the instigation of Jhabarmal Dudhwalla. All the accused persons were summoned by the Magistrate under Section 41, West Bengal Premises Rent Control Act, 1950.
3. It is contended on behalf of the petitioners that the accused No. 1 Jhabarmal Dudhwalla is not the landlord within the meaning of Section 41, West Bengal Rent Control Act, 1950. The learned Advocate wanted to convince us that he was not the person who received rent and so he was not the landlord. We are not impressed by this argument; but in any case we do not propose to express any final opinion on this question, because that would be a matter for the decision of the Magistrate. It may be that the prosecution may fail to prove that Jhabarmal Dudhwalla is the landlord within the meaning of Section 41, Bengal Premises Rent Control Act, 1950. If the prosecution fails the accused will be entitled to an acquittal, but at this stage it would not be proper for us to decide the question whether accused No. 1 Jhabarmal Dudhwalla is the landlord or not. It may be noted that no evidence has still been taken in the case.
4. As regards Sukdeb and Kaloo Singh, the learned Advocate argued that they cannot be said to have committed any offence under Section 41, West Bengal Premises Rent Control Act, 1950. The allegation in the petition of complaint as regards these persons indicates that they assaulted Sitaram and Inderchand when they went to fetch water from the tap. The prosecution case obviously is that by this act these persons abetted the landlord in withholding the essential supply enjoyed by the tenant. It is not necessary for us to decide for the purpose of this rule whether the acts of these persons, if proved, would make out an offence under Section 41, West Bengal Premises Rent Control Act or whether on proof of the act they might be liable to offences under the Penal Code. The mere fact that processes had been issued at this stage under Section 41, Rent Control Act is not, in our opinion, sufficient to quash the proceedings Pending against them.
5. A further ground urged by the learned Advocate was that as proceedings under Section 34 of the said Act had been taken with regard to the self same matter before the Rent Controller the present proceedings in the Criminal Court are not maintainable. The learned Advocate, however, informs us that the proceedings under Section 34 have been concluded and are no longer pending. We are unable to see how the fact that certain proceedings under Section 34 were taken before the Rent Controller and have been concluded can stand in the way of these proceedings in the Criminal Court. Clearly Section 403, Criminal P. C., has no application.
6. We do not see any ground that would justify us in quashing these proceedings. The Rule is discharged.