D.B. Lal, J.
1. This Rule in revision has been obtained by Smt. Satya Devi landlord of the premises known as Ramesh Cottage, Sunny Side, Solan. Shri V. S. Malik was the tenant in these premises and his agreed rent was Rs. 100 per month. He moved an application under Section 4 of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949 for determination of fair rent. However, both the tenant and the landlord failed to adduce sufficient evidence so that the Controller could determine the fair rent. The Controller then made an order of appointment of Commissioner to hold enquiry and determine fair rent after taking regard to the prevalent rate of rent with reference to specific dates and with reference to the rental value mentioned in the property assessment register of the Municipality. Against this order the landlord has come in revision and it is submitted that the judicial function entrusted under the Act to the Controller has been delegated to a local Commissioner and to that extent the impugned order was defective.
2. Under Section 4 as evident, the Controller has to hold such enquiry as he thinks fit for determination of fair rent. What is the nature and extent of such an enquiry depends on facts and circumstances of each case. To say that the Controller cannot appoint a local Commissioner to report on specific points referred to him by the Controller, will be too wide a proposition to get a legal support. There may be a case where the report by a local Commissioner will be necessary. But that report by itself will not be evidence unless the Commissioner is produced end examined in Court. Similarly the witnesses recorded by the Commissioner will also be produced and examined in Court. Only thereafter the evidence can be considered legal evidence to be availed of at the time of enquiry by the Controller.
3. In V. Seethalakshmi Ammal v. P. R. Rajarnmal, (1965) 1 Mad LJ 287 it was observed that the Rent Controller is not a Court and the Civil Procedure Code is not applicable. As such he has no power to appoint a Commissioner to inspect the premises and make a report for fixing fair rent. The report of the Commissioner by itself cannot be evidence. It may be if the Commissioner is examined as a witness he may rely on his report to substantiate his evidence. With respects to the observation made by the learned Judge it is difficult to hold that the Controller has no power to appoint a Commissioner--may be the provision in the Civil Procedure Code is not applicable. In order to hold enquiry assistance can be sought for from the report of the Commissioner but the facts alleged in the report will be required to be proved by legal evidence and for that the Commissioner as well as the witnesses will have to be examined in Court.
4. It was then contended by the petitioner that the burden of proof lay upon the tenant who set the law into motion and wanted the rent to be reduced. In case the tenant failed to adduce any evidence the petition should have been dismissed. For this assistance is sought for from Vurjee Vandass Moolji v. R. H. Singha and Co. (AIR 1952 Cal 290) and Kamala Bala Audhya v. Amulya Kumar Sen (AIR 1953 Cal 714). Nevertheless if the Controller had thought it fit to get the report of the local Commissioner and he wanted to hold the enquiry in as best a manner as he could evolve for such enquiry, there was a defect in the procedure. He could still hold enquiry but since the burden of proof lay upon the tenant the costs of the commission were to be borne by the tenant and not by the landlord. To that extent the order of the Rent Controller is defective.
5. The revision is, therefore, dismissed with this modification that whatever costs shall be incurred for the appointment of the local Commissioner, shall be borne by the tenant V. S. Malik. The Controller will then consider the report of the Commissioner in accordance with law and determine the fair rent. There is no order as to costs.