R. C. Lahoti, J. -
(1.)The suit property consists of a shop. It forms part of a building owned by Sarvjanik Sampati Trust (hereinafter, the 'Trust', for short). On 1-1-1973 the shop was taken on rent by Balkishan, the plaintiff-respondent on a monthly rent of Rs. 30/-. On 25-12-1975 Balkishan sub-let the shop to Vasudev, the defendant-appellant, on a monthly rent of Rs. 150/-. The suit shop is governed by the provisions of the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1950 (hereinafter the 'Act' for short).
(2.)The appellant fell into arrears of rent for the period 1-1-1981 to 31-12-1982. The respondent served a notice on the appellant and then filed a suit for recovery of arrears of rent as also for eviction on the ground available under Clause (a) of sub-section (1) of Section 13 of the Act. On 30-3-1983, the Trust also filed a suit for eviction, against its own tenant-the respondent, on the ground of unlawful sub-letting of the premises by the latter. That suit is still pending. In any case, the result thereof is not known. So far as the case before us is concerned, the defendant-appellant raised a dispute putting in issue the rate of rent at which the respondent could recover rent from the appellant submitting that the agreed rent was in excess of the standard rent and hence was not recoverable. Another plea taken by the defendant-appellant was that subsequent to the institution of suit on 30-3-1983 by the Trust against the respondent, the appellant has on 1-4-1983, directly attorned in favour of the Trust and entered into a direct tenancy agreement and therefore w.e.f. 1-4-1983, the right of the respondent to recover rent and secure eviction of the appellant had come to an end. On 25-7-1985, the learned Civil Judge, Bhilwara passed an order under Section 13(3) of the Act determining provisionally the rate of rent at which the appellant was required to deposit rent in the Court. This order dated 25-7-1985 was put in issue by the appellant by filing an appeal in the Court of Additional District Judge Bhilwara. Vide order dated 14-5-1992, the learned Additional District Judge allowed the appeal, and set aside the order of the trial Court, forming an opinion that in view of the appellant having attorned and entered into direct tenancy with the Trust, the respondent was not entitled to claim rent and recover possession from the appellant, and therefore, the suit filed by the respondent could not be treated as a suit for eviction, it remained only a suit for recovery of arrears of rent for the period upto 31st March, 1983. The respondent preferred a Civil Revision Petition to the High Court which was resisted by the appellant placing reliance on a Single Bench decision of Rajasthan High Court in Kewal Ram vs. Mangu Mal, AIR 1974 Raj 201. When the Revision Petition came up for hearing before the learned Chief Justice of the High Court, he doubted the correctness of the decision in Kewal Ram's case and directed the petition to be placed for hearing before a Division Bench. By order dated 22-8-1996, the Division Bench has overruled the Single Bench decision in Kewal Ram's case and held that the relations, rights and obligations of the parties were governed by Section 13 of the Act and the sub-tenant (appellant herein) inducted by the tenant (respondent herein) could not directly attorn in favour of the Trust by excluding the principal tenant, and therefore, was bound to comply with the order of the trial Court under Section 13(3) of the Act. The appellant sought for a review of the order of the Division Bench which has been rejected by order dated 23-3-1998. These appeals have been filed impugning the orders dated 22-8-1996 and 23-3-1998 passed by Division Bench of the High Court.
(3.)The issue arising for decision is : whether a sub-tenant inducted by a tenant in the premises governed by the provisions of rent control law can, during the continuance of sub-tenancy and without vacating the premises, attorn in favour of the owner of the premises and thereby refuse to discharge his obligations towards the tenant who admittedly inducted him in the premises Strong reliance has been placed on behalf of the appellant on a decision of this Court in D. Satyanarayana vs. P. Jagdish, AIR 1987 SC 2192 to which we will advert a little later.