R. C. Lahoti, J. -
(1.)The landlord-appellant filed a suit for recovery of arrears of rent and for eviction against the tenant-respondents on the ground available under Cl. (a) of sub-section (2) of S. 20 of U.P. Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972, hereinafter U.P. Urban Buildings Act, for short. A suit of the nature filed by the appellant being triable by a Court of Small Causes, as provided by the U.P. Civil Laws Amendment Act, 1972 was filed in the Court of Small Causes, Allahabad. On 9-8-1996, the suit came to be decreed ex parte. The decree directed the tenant-respondents to pay an amount of Rs.8500/- as pre-suit arrears of rent and a further amount calculated at the rate of Rs. 250/- per month from the date of institution of suit to the date of recovery of possession. A decree for eviction was also passed. The decree was put to execution and on 21-2-1998 the decree-holder obtained possession over the suit premises with police help. The Court amin certified the delivery of possession to the executing Court. On 26-2-1998, the tenant-respondents moved an application under O. 9, R.13 of the C.P.C. seeking setting aside of the ex parte decree. Neither the amount due under the decree was deposited nor an application was filed seeking direction of the Court to give security for the performance of the decree in lieu of depositing the decretal amount. On 14-10-1998, arguments were heard on the application under O. 9, R. 13 of the C.P.C. The Court appointed 16-10-1998 for orders.
(2.)It appears that during the course of hearing the appellant decree-holder pointed out to the Court that the application seeking setting aside of the ex parte decree was not maintainable and was liable to be dismissed in limine for non-compliance with proviso to S. 17 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act, 1887 (hereinafter, 'the PSCC Act' for short). On 15-10-1998, the tenant-respondents filed an application praying that they may be permitted to furnish security for payment of decretal amount. The reason assigned for failure to deposit the amount due under the decree or to furnish security along with the application seeking setting aside of the ex parte decree is somewhat oscillating. At one place at is stated that their advocate had never advised them to deposit the decretal amount as the advocate himself was not aware of the provision. Then, at another place, it is stated that the rent was already paid to the landlord decree-holder and there were no arrears required to be deposited. At yet another place it is stated that their advocate had advised them that on the application seeking setting aside of the ex parte decree being allowed and the suit being restored to file, on the first date of hearing the tenant has to deposit the rent in arrears which would be done at that stage only. Vide order dated 15-11-1998, the learned Judge, Small Causes rejected the application filed by the tenant-respondent forming an opinion that ignorance of law was not excusable and the application under O. 9, R. 13 of C.P.C. filed without complying with proviso to S. 17 of the PSCC Act was not maintainable.
(3.)The tenant-respondents preferred a revision in the Court of Additional District Judge, which was allowed. The learned Additional District Judge vide order dated 22-4-1999, condoned the delay in moving the application dated 15-10-1998 and directed the trial Court to accept security as proposed and hear and decide the application under O.9, R. 13 of the C.P.C. on merits. The abovesaid revisional order was put in issue by the landlord-appellant by filing a writ petition under Arts. 226 and 227 of the Constitution before the High Court, which has been rejected. The landlord has filed this appeal by special leave.