SYED YOUSUF ALI Vs. ABBAS ALI JOOMA BHAI SAHEB
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
SYED YOUSUF ALI
ABBAS ALI JOOMA BHAI SAHEB
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(1.) This Revision Petition raises a short but important point under the Rent Act. It arises in the following circumstances. The landlord, who is the petitioner before me, filed an application on 3rd July, 1953, for the fixation of fair rent for the suit malgi bearing Municipal No. B-2-398 situated at Troop Bazaar, Hyderabad, alleging inter alia that the contracted rent of that malgi was O.S. Rs. 60. This rent was fixed in 1344-F and is very much less than the fair rent. The tenant disputed the correctness of the allegation and alleged that in fact the rent ought to be reduced to Rs. 50. After recording the evidence of the parties, the Rent Controller, Hyderabad, fixed a fair rent at I.G. Rs, 70 per month. He also directed that the fair rent thus fixed will take effect from 3rd July, 1953, the date of the application filed by the landlord for fixation of fair rent. The tenant dissatisfied with that order of the Rent Controller, went in appeal before the Chief Judge, City Small Caus'es Court, who is the Appellate Authority. His appeal was partly allowed. While the Appellate Authority confirmed the fair rent fixed at Rs. 70 per month, it decided that the fixation of fair rent cannot be given effect to from the date of the petition as decided by the Rent Controller. It is this view of the Appellate Authority which is challenged before me by the landlord.
(2.) The principal contention of Mr. Sastry, the learned counsel for the petitioner is that the lower Court had not erred in directing that the fair rent fixed would come into effect from the date of the application. In order to appreciate this contention, it becomes necessary to consider the relevant sections of the Hyderabad Houses (Rent, Eviction and Lease) Control Act, 1954, hereinafter called the Act. The Act is a short one. Its purpose is clear from the Preamble of the Act. It makes provision for the better control of the rent of houses and provides for the prevention of unreasonable eviction of tenants and regulates the leasing of houses in certain areas of the State. While I am not concerned with the other two purposes of the Act, the Act proivides through a group of sections for fixation of fair rent and other allied matters. Section 9 authorises the Controller on application either by the tenant or the landlord to fix a fair rent for a house after summary enquiry. That section also provides as to what factors the Controller should take into account while fixing the fair rent. Section 10 mentions the reasons which will entitle the landlord to increase the rent. Section 11 similarly provides for the increase of rent when tax or cess payable by the landlord in respect of the house is increased. It is section 12 which provides for the consequences after fair rent is determined by the Controller. It prohibits the landlord from claiming or receiving anything in excess of fair or agreed rent. It also stipulates that the tenant shall not claim or receive anything as a condition of relinquishing his tenancy. Section 13 provides that the tenant has a right to receive a receipt while he pays the rent. The last section in this group, that is, section 14 provides that the tenant will be entitled to deposit rent in certain cases mentioned in the said section. A reading of these provisions make it abundantly clear that the Act creates a machinery to determine the fair rent and authorises both the landlord and the tenant to apply for such fixation of fair rent. It also provides as to what factors could be taken into consideration while fixing the fair rent. Finally, it provides the consequences of such a fixation of fair rent. The consequence of fixation of fair rent as far as the tenant is concerned, is provided in section 7. The relevant portion of that section is in the following terms:
"(1)Where the Controller has determined the fair rent of a house (a)...................................... (4)save as provided in clause (a), any premium or other like sum or any rent paid in addition to such fair rent whether before orlafter the commencement of this Act in consideration of the grant continuance or renewal of the tenancy of the house after such commencement shall be refunded by the landlord to the person by whom it was paid or at the option of such person otherwise adjusted by the landlord : Provided that where before the determination of the fair rent, rent has been paid in excess thereof, the refund or adjustment shall be limited to the amount paid in excess for a period of six months prior to the date of the application for fixation of the fair rent."
(3.) While section 7 provides that any excess paid by the tenant before the fair rent was determined that shall be refunded or adjusted towards the rent, but puts a limit that such an excess can be refunded or adjusted only for a period of six months prior to the date of the application for fixing the fair rent, it is conceded that the Act does not provide any such thing when on an application filed by the landlord the fair rent fixed by the Controller is more than the agreed rent. The question, therefore, which naturally arises is as to from what date the landlord is entitled to get the fair rent thus fixed by the Rent Controller. There can be no dispute that from the date of such determination of fair rent the landlord will be entitled to get the fair rent fixed and the tenant cannot insist that the agreed rent which is less ought to be received by the landlord. While it is contended by the landlord before me that the Rent Controller was justified in giving effect to the fixation of fair rent from the date of the application, it is contended by the tenant that the Rent Controller is not competent under the Act to so fix the date from which his order fixing the fair rent can come into operation.;
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