HIGH COURT OF KERALA
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Balakrishna Eradi, J. -
(1.) THIS Civil Revision petition has been placed before a full Bench pursuant to an order of reference made by one of us (Madhavan Nair, J) since it was felt that the decision of a Division Bench of this court in Kurien v, Chacko,, 1960 K.L.T. 1248, required reconsideration. In the ruling above cited the Division Bench has expressed the view that the revisional powers of this court under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure cannot be invoked or exercised in respect of an order passed by a District Court in the exercise of the jurisdiction conferred on it under Section 20(1) of the Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1959. Section 20(1) of the aforesaid Act of 1959 was identical in terms with Section 20(1) of the current Act, namely the Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965. The correctness of this view is under challenge in this Civil Revision petition and has to be examined by us.
(2.) THUS the question to be considered is whether a decision rendered by a District Court in the exercise of the revisional powers conferred on it by Section 20 (1) of the Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965 is not liable to be revised by this court under Section 115 of the Code of Civil procedure. The Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965, hereinafter referred to as the Act, is a statute enacted for the avowed purpose of regulating the leasing of buildings and for controlling the rents of such buildings in this State. For adjudication of all disputes arising between landlords and tenants of buildings in regard to the matters specified in the Act, provision is made in Section 3(1) for constitution of Rent Control Courts and jurisdiction is conferred on such courts by Sections 5, 10, 11, 13 etc. for determining fair rent, for making direction regarding deposit of rent in cases of doubt or dispute as to the person who is entitled to receive the rent, for passing orders of eviction of tenants on grounds specified in the Act., for directing the landlord to restore amenities previously enjoyed by the tenant but subsequently illegally cut off or withheld by the landlord without just and sufficient cause etc. Section 18 provides for the constitution of appellate authorities to whom appeals shall lie from all orders passed by the Rent Control Courts at the instance of any person aggrieved. It is clear from an examination of the relevant provisions of the Act that the Rent Control Courts as well as the appellate authorities are special tribunals created by the statute and do not form part of the hierarchy of the established civil courts of the State. Although the person appointed to function as the Rent Control Court or as the appellate authority may be a Munsiff or a District Judge in the judicial service of the State, his appointment to such post under this Act is as a persona designata and he will be functioning only as such and not as a court while exercising jurisdiction as Rent Control Court or as an appellate authority under the Act. But the position is different when we come to Section 20 of the Act because it is seen that the remedy by way of revision from the decision of the appellate authority provided for by this section is to be sought from the District Court in cases where the appellate authority is a Subordinate judge and in other cases, the High Court.
(3.) SECTION 20 (1) is in the following terms: -
In cases where the appellate authority under Section 18 is a Subordinate Judge, the district Court, and in other cases the High Court may, at any time, on the application of any aggrieved party, call for and examine the records relating to any order passed or proceedings taken under this Act by such authority for the purpose of satisfying itself as to the legality, regularity or propriety of such order or proceedings, and may pass such order in reference thereto as it thinks fit.
It is seen from the aforesaid Section that the revisional power is conferred not upon any special tribunal or authority constituted under this statute but on an established court, viz., the District Court or the High Court, as the case may be. In exercising the revisional power under this Section the revisional authority functions as a court and not as a persona designata in as much as the jurisdiction has been conferred under the Act on the court itself.;
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