(1.) This Rule raises an important question under the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 1956. The Rule is directed against an order of the learned Rent Controller, staying proceedings for fixation of rent under Section 16(3) after an earlier declaration as between the landlady and sub-tenants as to the latter's direct tenancy under the former.
(2.) The Rule is also directed against an order of the learned Appellate Authority dismissing the Petitioner's appeal against the learned Rent Controller's above order as incompetent. So far, however, as this part of the Rule is concerned, it is, plainly, unsustainable as, until the fixation matter is also completed under Section 16(3), there is no order under that section appealable under the law under Section 29 of the Act. Clearly, therefore, the learned Appellate Authority was entirely right in dismissing the Plaintiff's appeal as incompetent and no legitimate grievance can be made against that order of the learned Appellate Authority. That part of the Rule cannot, therefore, succeed.
(3.) I have now to consider the Rule, so far as it is directed against the order of the learned Rent Controller, staying the proceedings for fixation of rent under Section 16(3) of the Act. The order was passed under the following circumstances:
The disputed premises 6/1 Mukherjee Para Lane was originally held by opposite party No. 1 as a direct tenant under the Petitioner landlady at the contractual rent of Rs. 70 per month. The opposite party No. 1, however, let out several portions of this tenanted premises to the three other opposite parties Nos. 2, 3 and 4 as sub-tenants under him, the total rental payable by these sub-tenants being the sum of Rs. 65 per month. There was also a proceeding, taken, at the instance of the opposite party No. 1, for fixation of the standard rent of the disputed premises, held by him, as aforesaid, as tenant under the Petitioner under the earlier Rent Control Act of 1950. In that proceeding, the learned Rent Controller fixed the standard rent of the disputed premises 6/1 Mukherjee Para Lane, payable by opposite party No. 1 as tenant, to the Petitioner, as landlady, at Rs. 41-7-9 pies per month with effect from April 1, 1956. On appeal, that decision was affirmed, but against this appellate decision, a Revision Case (C.R. 3922 of 1958) is still pending in this Court. In the meantime, the landlady Petitioner applied before the Rent Controller for an order under Section 16(3) of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 1956, for a declaration that the three' opposite parties Nos. 2, 3 and 4, who were sub-tenants of different portions of the disputed premises under the tenant opposite party No. 1, had become, under the said section, direct tenants under her (the landlady Petitioner), the opposite party No. 1 remaining tenant only in respect of the remaining portion of the said original premises No. 6/1, Mukherjee Para Lane and, in her application, there also the necessary prayer under the said section for fixation of rents of the different portions occupied by the different opposite parties as tenants under her, as aforesaid. By an order, dated August 1, 1957, the learned Rent Controller made the necessary declaration that the opposite parties Nos. 2. 3 and 4 had become direct tenants under the Petitioner in respect of the different portions, occupied by them as sub-tenants as aforesaid under opposite party No. 1, and that the opposite party No. 1 was a tenant only in respect of the remaining portion of the aforesaid premises. There was also, in accordance with with the provisions of the said section further action taken for purposes of fixation of rent under the latter part of the said section. At the time of writing out the judgment, however, the successor learned Rent Controller felt some difficulty in disposing of those fixation matters in view of the pendency of the previous proceeding for standardisation of rent under the earlier Rent Control Act, 1950, in this Court, in C.R. 3922 of 1958, hereinbefore mentioned. He accordingly stayed the proceedings so far as fixation of rents is concerned, until the disposal of the above Rule by this Court. It is against this order that the present Rule was obtained by the Petitioner landlady.;