(1.) This rule raises a question of some importance under Section 16(3) of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 1956. The rule arises out of a proceeding under the said section, which was started by opposite party No. 1 upon the allegation, inter alia, that it was a sub-tenant in respect of the disputed premises, comprising suite or Block (Flat) H on the. second floor of P-16 Bentinck Street, Calcutta, at a monthly rental of Rs. 66 per month according to the English Calendar under the tenant opposite party No. 2, which held its said tenancy at the same rental and, presumably, according to the same calendar, too, under the owner landlord, which is the Petitioner before me. In its application under the aforesaid section, which gave rise to the above proceeding, the opposite party No. 1 further alleged that its sub-tenancy had been created in or about June 1954, and had been in existence since then and that it had given due notice to the superior landlord Petitioner under Sub-section (2) of the aforesaid Section 16. To its said application, the opposite party No. 1 impleaded the superior landlord Petitioner and also the tenant, opposite party No. 2 which was its immediate landlord.
The aforesaid application of opposite party No. 1 was opposed by the present Petitioner upon the ground, inter alia, that the same was collusive and mala fide and the basic allegation therein that the opposite party No. 1 was the sub-tenant of the suit premises and had given notice to the Petitioner, as aforesaid, was false. The learned Rent Controller, however, by his order, dated August 9, 1956, rejected the Petitioner's above objection upon the finding, inter alia, that the opposite party No. 1 was a sub-tenant of the disputed premises, as claimed by it, and it had also given due notice to the Petitioner landlord under the aforesaid Section 16(2) of the statute and he recorded a clear finding that "the applicant" (sub-tenant, opposite party No. 1 before me), "was entitled to be declared to, be a direct tenant, under the opposite party No. 1" (landlord, Petitioner of this Rule). As, however, notwithstanding the fact that the opposite party party No. 2's tenancy under the Petitioner landlord, the learned Rent Controller was of the opinion that, in view of the terms of Section 16(3) of the above Act, it was incumbent upon him to fix inter alia the rent of the opposite party No. 1 in regard to its direct tenancy under the Petitioner, declared as aforesaid, be adjourned the proceeding pending submission and consideration of the Inspector's report for the purpose.
(2.) In the meantime, an event happened, which according to the Petitioner, is of special importance in this case. That event, on which the Petitioner strongly relies and on which its entire argument in this rule is founded, was the passing of an ejectment decree in favour of the Petitioner and against opposite party No. 2 in Ejectment Suit No. 2213 of 1954, which had been filed in the Court of Small Causes. Calcutta, by the Petitioner against the said opposite party after service of a notice to quit, expiring with the month of August, 1954, and which suit was decreed on August 22, 1956.
(3.) The substance of the Petitioner's argument may be stated here as follows:
That the learned Rent Controller's finding, quoted above, is not a declaration of direct tenancy as contemplated in Section 16(3) of the Act, so that the opposite party No. l's application under the said section remained pending, both as regards the said declaration, prayed for therein, and fixation of rent in terms of the statute, and it was only when the matter would be heard after the Inspector's report that the question of making the declaration aforesaid and also of fixing the rent would or could be decided. When, however, such time came, namely, on January 29, 1957, when the opposite party No. 1's above application was taken up for the purpose by the learned Rent Controller, the opposite part No, 2 had already ceased to be the tenant by virtue of the ejectment decree, passed in the meantime, as aforesaid, on August 22, 1956, and as, without a tenant, there cannot be a sub-tenant M.N. Ghosal v. P.K. Banerjee and Ors., 1958 63 CalWN 246 the opposite party No. 1 also lost its status of sub-tenant and thus became disentitled to any declaration of direct tenancy under the aforesaid Section 16(3) of the Act.;