1. The facts are as follows:--The petitioner is the owner of premises No. 123, Bagmari Road, and he was sued in the Small Cause Court at Sealdah by the Chairman of the Municipality of Manicktolla for the Municipal taxes of the holding in question. His contention is that he is not liable for the taxes for lighting and water but that the occupiers of the holding are liable. His case is that the holding has been leased out jointly to two persons, Kuch Behary Bag and Haripada Bag, and that under Section 279, Section 310 and Section 312 of the Municipal Act, they are liable for the lighting and water rates.
2. The Municipality contend that the petitioner has not proved that the holding is in the joint occupation of these two tenants.
3. They contend that it is for the petitioner to show that there are tenants in joint occupation of the whole holding.
4. The petitioner would seem to contend, on the other hand, that it is for the Municipality to show that the two tenants are not in joint occupation of the whole holding. He contends that prima facie the tenants are liable for the water and lighting rate and hence the burden of proof is on the Municipality. The Act provides that where there is more than one tenant, the owner shall be liable, unless these tenants jointly hold the holding.
5. Obviously the status of the tenants and their relationship to each other and the extent of their holding are facts peculiarly within the knowledge of the petitioner, for he is their landlord. It was for him to produce evidence on the point and the burden of proving it must be on him. He produced no evidence on this point in the Small Cause Court. The decision of the Small Cause Court Judge appears to be right. The Rule must be discharged with costs. Hearing fee one gold mohur.