SUMITRABEN RATILAL SHAH Vs. MEGHRAJ TRIKAMDAS
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
SUMITRABEN RATILAL SHAH
MEGHRAJ TRIKAMDAS AND COMPANY
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(1.) One of the questions and which is the main question which arises in this revisional application is what is the period of limitation for an application in revision under sec. 29(3) of the Bombay Rents Hotel and Lodging House Rates Control Act 1947 (the Act). For this purpose only a few facts may be stated. The petitioner is the landlord and opposite party is the tenant. The tenant filed -an application for fixation of standard rent of the suit premises. That application was dismissed for default on July 17 1971 It appears that on the same day it was restored. However the case of the landlord is that he was not aware of this restoration because it was restored at his back and without intimstion to him or his advocate. That restored application for fixation of standard rent proceeded to hearing in the absence of the present petitioner i.e. the landlord; and on November 6 1971 the trial Court fixed the standard rent in respect to the two suit premises at a lower figure. Against that order the landlord filed a revisional application before the appellate bench of Small Causes Court at Ahmedabad under sec. 29(3) of the Act on November 19 1973 The case pleaded by him was that he was not aware of fixation of standard rent on November 6 1971 and that he came to know about it only on March 30 1972 On the very next day i.e. April 1 1972 he applied for certified copies; and he got the certified copies on November 17 1973 On November 19 1973 he filed the revisional application before the appellate Bench of Small Causes. He therefore urged in the first instance that the time begins to run from March 30 1972 and excluding the period spent in obtaining certified copies the revisional application was within time. He also in the alternative urged for condonation of delay as can be seen from the order passed by the revisional Court. The learned Judges of the appellate Bench refused to condone delay and held the revision application to be time barred on the basis that the period of limitation prescribed was 90 days. They therefore dismissed the revisional application. Hence the present revisional application.
(2.) The first contention urged on behalf of the petitioner was that the revisional application before the appellate Bench of Small Causes was within time because Art. 137 of the Limitation Act applied. That article prescribed a period of three years for any other application for which no period of limitation is provided elsewhere in the third division of the Schedule to the Limitation Act. As against this on behalf of the opposite party-tenant it was contended that the Article applicable was Art. 131 arid the period prescribed was 90 days. Now Art. 131 is applicable in a case of an application to any Court for the exercise of its powers of revision under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 or the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 It is clear that the said Article is applicable where powers of revision are sought to be exercised under either of the two Codes by the concerned court. In the present case the power of revision is in terms conferred upon the Rent Court under sec. 29(3) of the Act. Therefore this is not a case wherein the appellate Bench was exercising its powers of revision under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 or the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 In fact if we go by the Code of Civil Procedures powers of revision can be exercised only by the High Court under sec. 115 of that Code. There is no other provision in that Code for exercise of revisional powers. Therefore to the revisional application before an appellate Bench of Small Causes Court Art. 131 evidently did not apply because it had no power of revision under the Code of Civil Procedure. If this is the correct position of law it is clear that the only Article which would govern the present case would be the residuary Art. 137 of the Limitation Act. The scope of Art. 137 was examined by the Supreme Court in Kerala State Electricity Board v. T. P. Kunhaliumma (1976) 4 Supreme Court Cases 634. The Court inter alia stated that Art. 137 of the Limitation Act will apply to any petition or application filed under any Act to a Civil Court. It is thus clear that the revision application before the appellate Bench of Small Causes Court was within time and the appellate Bench on a mistaken notion of law refused to exercise jurisdiction vested in it on the only ground that the application was barred by limitation.
(3.) Even otherwise the appellate Bench of Small Causes Court did not consider the fact that it had suo motu power of revision; and in case of exercise of that power no period of limitation was prescribed. It could have resorted to that power if it thought fit in the facts of this case because the party coming before it was complaining that the standard rent fixed earlier was fixed ex parte without his knowing that the application for standard rent once having been dismissed for default was restored to file. In any case when the revisional application before the appellate Bench of Small Causes Court was within time it is in fitness of things that it should examine the case on merits.;
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