PUBLIC PROSECUTOR Vs. A J GLADSTONE
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
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Krishna Rao, J. -
(1.) This is an appeal under section 417, Criminal Procedure Code, by the Public Prosecutor against the acquittal of the respondent, who was charged with having contravened the provisions of sub-sections (1) (a) and (5) of section 3 and thereby having committed an offence punishable under section 29 of the Andhra Pradesh Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act (XV of 1960), hereinafter called the Act. The principal question that arises for decision in the appeal is whether a tenant who sublets a building is deemed to be a landlord for the purpose of section 3 of the Act. As there is no ruling of our High Court on this question, our learned brother Mohamed Mirza, J., has referred the case to a Division Bench. The facts are briefly these. In or about 1945, the respondent took the building bearing door No. 7/69 of Maharanipet at Visakhapatnam on rent from its owner Appalanarasayya (D.W. 1). He was paying a rent of Rs. 80 for the entire building.
(2.) In 1955 he sublet the western portion of the ground floor of the building to Williams (P.W.1) on a monthly rent of Rs. 35 exclusive of electricity charges. He similarly sublet the eastern portion of the ground floor and himself occupied only the upstairs of the building. The last sub-tenant of the eastern portion was one Shanmukham, who was the sub-tenant from January, 1959 on a monthly rent of Rs. 27 exclusive of electricity charges. Shanmukham vacated the eastern portion on 29th October, 1960, but the respondent did not give notice of the vacancy under section 3 (1) (a) of the Act. On 3rd November, 1960 he gave a statement (Exhibit P-7) to the Rent Control Revenue Inspector admitting that he did not give notice of the vacancy and alleging that he was using this portion vacated by Shanmukham as his office room. On 5th November, 1960 he sent a reply (Exhibit P-9) to the notice issued by the Officer authorised under section 3 (1) (a) of the Act, currently known as the Accommodation Controller, informing him that the portion was not vacant and was under his own occupation. Consequently, the Accommodation Controller filed a charge-sheet against the respondent under section 29 of the Act for violating sections 3 (1) (a) and 3 (5) of the Act.
(3.) In his statement before the Munsif-Magistrate at the trial, the respondent admitted that Shanmukham vacated the portion on 29th October, 1960, and that he occupied the portion ; but denied that he had committed any offence. He also alleged that the rent stipulated with Shanmukham was only Rs. 25 per month and that he had charged in addition Rs. 2 as hire of furniture supplied by him. The owner of the building, Appalanarasayya, gave evidence as D.W. 1 that the respondent did not obtain any permission from him to induct sub-tenants.;
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