K.C. Chunder, J.
1. This Rule was issued at the instance of a tenant who has been ordered by the Munsif to deposit rent under Section 14(4), West Bengal Premises Rent Control (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1950.
2. The point urged before me is that in the written statement there was an allegation that there was no relationship of landlord and tenant. Therefore, no deposit should have been ordered. It appears that in a previous proceeding between the same parties the question whether there was a relationship of landlord and tenant between these two parties themselves was raised and was decided against the petitioner. That case was dismissed on another ground. Over and above this, when Section 14(4) application came to be heard, the petitioner himself was examined. His deposition was that there was an adjustment of some dues over the value of betel purchased from him against the cost awarded in the previous suit and the rent due to the plaintiff. He himself, therefore, accepted that he was a tenant and that rent was due. He pleaded a story of adjustment which the Munsif rightly disbelieved, the reasons having been given in his judgment.
3. Under the circumstances, it is futile now to say that no order under Section 14(4) should have been passed on the ground of the defence mentioned in the written statement but not persisted in at the hearing. The order was, therefore, proper.
4. My attention has been drawn to a decision in the case of -- 'D. R. Gellatly v. J.R. W. Gannon', : AIR1953Cal409 (A) in which an observation has been made that the defence against ejectment on the ground that there is no relationship of landlord and tenant should be first decided before a decision to deposit the rent claimed and last paid under Section 14(4) is made. No doubt the use of the word 'tenant' may lend some justification to an observation of this kind. But at the same time, the section must be given a workable meaning. The intention of the Legislature is quite clear that anything which is a defence against ejectment will not be gone into before compliance with an order under Section 14(4).
Therefore, the Legislature perhaps intended that questions which are defences to ejectment should not be taken up at the stage when an order under Section 14(4) is passed to safeguard the interest of the plaintiff against harassment and subsequent pecuniary loss. If a defence against ejectment can be gone into prior to Section 14(4), it would appear that there would be no meaning in the provision that on failure to deposit the amount the defence against ejectment will be struck off. It is not necessary for me to give a final decision in this matter or to refer the question to the Division Bench so that a larger Bench may decide the question because, in the present case, as I have pointed out, the materials from record sufficiency justify the order passed by the Munsif and negative the defence of absence of relationship of landlord and tenant. In a suitable case, it may become necessary to make an attempt to find out what really was the intention of the Legislature as expressed through the wordings of the section itself.
5. The Rule is, accordingly, discharged withcosts.