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REVISION COURT POWERS – Sec.15 (6) Rent control Act – Powers of High court as Revision court – in Rukmini1 it is held that the revisional Court is not entitled to re-appreciate evidence. – in Ram Dass2 wherein it has been held that the expression “legality and propriety” enables the revisional Court to reappraise the evidence while considering the findings of the first appellate Court. – referred to 5 bench judges – Apex court held that confirm the judgement of Rukmini case and held that High court in it’s revisional jurisdiction can not sit as appellant authority and re assess the evidence and on the other hand the apex court explained that as per the judgment of Ram Dass as being Revision court , High court can interfere in the lower court judgement when the order impugned before it suffers from procedural illegality or irregularity. = CIVIL APPEAL NO.6177 OF 2004 Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. … Appellant Versus Dilbahar Singh … Respondent = 2014 -Aug.Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41852

   Sec.15 (6) Rent control Act – Powers of High court as Revision court –  in Rukmini1 it is held that the revisional Court is not  entitled  to  re-appreciate evidence. – in Ram Dass2  wherein  it  has  been  held  that  the expression  “legality  and  propriety”  enables  the  revisional  Court   to reappraise  the  evidence  while  considering  the  findings  of  the  first appellate Court. – referred to 5 bench judges – Apex court held that  confirm the judgement of Rukmini case and held that High court in it’s revisional jurisdiction can not sit as appellant authority and re assess the evidence and on the other hand the apex court explained that  as per the judgment of Ram Dass as being Revision court , High court can interfere in the lower court judgement when the  order impugned before it suffers from procedural illegality or irregularity. =


 whether the High  Court  (as
revisional authority) under Section 15(6) could interfere with the  findings
of fact  of  the  first  appellate  Court/first  appellate  authority. =
The
appellant relied upon the decision of this Court in Rukmini1 in  support  of
its contention that the revisional Court is not  entitled  to  re-appreciate
evidence. 
On the  other  hand,  the  respondent  pressed  into  service  the
decision of this Court in Ram Dass2  wherein  it  has  been  held  that  the
expression  “legality  and  propriety”  enables  the  revisional  Court   to
reappraise  the  evidence  while  considering  the  findings  of  the  first
appellate Court. 
The 2-Judge Bench felt that there was conflict in  the  two
decisions and has been referred to the 5-Judge Bench to resolve the conflict into the  two
3-Judge Bench decisions one, Rukmini [1] and the other,  Ram  Dass[2].   Ram
Dass2 has followed Moti Ram[3].=

We hold, as we must, that none of the above  Rent  Control  Acts
entitles the High Court to interfere with the findings of fact  recorded  by
the  First  Appellate  Court/First  Appellate  Authority  because   on   re-
appreciation  of  the   evidence,   its   view   is   different   from   the
Court/Authority below.
The consideration or examination of the evidence  by
the High Court in revisional jurisdiction under these Acts  is  confined  to
find out that finding of facts recorded  by  the  Court/Authority  below  is
according to law and does not suffer from any error of  law.
A  finding  of
fact recorded by Court/Authority below, if perverse or has been  arrived  at
without consideration of the material evidence or such  finding   is   based
on no evidence or  misreading  of  the  evidence  or  is  grossly  erroneous
that, if allowed to stand, it would result in gross miscarriage of  justice,
is open to correction because it is not treated as a  finding  according  to
law.   In  that  event,  the  High  Court  in  exercise  of  its  revisional
jurisdiction under the above Rent Control Acts  shall  be  entitled  to  set
aside the impugned order as being not legal or proper.
The  High  Court  is
entitled to satisfy itself the correctness or legality or propriety  of  any
decision or order impugned  before  it  as  indicated  above.
However,  to
satisfy itself to the regularity, correctness, legality or propriety of  the
impugned decision or the order, the High Court shall not exercise its  power
as an appellate power to re-appreciate or re-assess the evidence for  coming
to a different finding on facts.  Revisional power  is  not  and  cannot  be
equated with the power of reconsideration of all  questions  of  fact  as  a
court of first appeal.
Where the High Court is  required  to  be  satisfied
that the decision is according to law, it  may  examine  whether  the  order
impugned before it suffers from procedural illegality or irregularity.
46.         We, thus, approve the view of this Court in Rukmini1   as  noted
by us.  The decision of this Court in Ram Dass2 must be  read  as  explained
above.  The reference is answered accordingly.
47.         Civil Appeals and Special Leave Petitions shall  now  be  posted
before the regular Benches for decision in light of the above.

  2014 -Aug.Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41852

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO.6177 OF 2004

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. … Appellant

Versus

Dilbahar Singh … Respondent

WITH

CIVIL APPEAL NO.2162 OF 2004

CIVIL APPEAL NO.2901 OF 2006

CIVIL APPEAL NO.6954 OF 2005

CIVIL APPEAL NO.7520 OF 2005

CIVIL APPEAL NO.5212 OF 2006

CIVIL APPEAL NO.2859 OF 2006

CIVIL APPEAL NO.3313 OF 2007

CIVIL APPEAL NO.1224 OF 2006

SLP (C) NO.34303 of 2009

CIVIL APPEAL NO.7491 OF 2004

SLP (C) No.11931 of 2011

SLP (C) No.22248 OF 2007

CIVIL APPEAL NO.7066 OF 2005

JUDGMENT

R.M. LODHA, CJI.

This group of eleven appeals and three special leave petitions
has been referred to the 5-Judge Bench to resolve the conflict into the two
3-Judge Bench decisions one, Rukmini [1] and the other, Ram Dass[2]. Ram
Dass2 has followed Moti Ram[3]. At the time of hearing of Civil Appeal
No.6177 of 2004, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. v. Dilbahar Singh,
the 2-Judge Bench, while dealing with the meaning, ambit and scope of the
words “legality and propriety” under Section 15(6) of the Haryana Urban
(Control of Rent & Eviction) Act, 1973 (for short, ‘the Haryana Rent
Control Act’), was confronted with the question whether the High Court (as
revisional authority) under Section 15(6) could interfere with the findings
of fact of the first appellate Court/first appellate authority. The
appellant relied upon the decision of this Court in Rukmini1 in support of
its contention that the revisional Court is not entitled to re-appreciate
evidence. On the other hand, the respondent pressed into service the
decision of this Court in Ram Dass2 wherein it has been held that the
expression “legality and propriety” enables the revisional Court to
reappraise the evidence while considering the findings of the first
appellate Court. The 2-Judge Bench felt that there was conflict in the two
decisions and for its resolution referred the matter to the larger Bench.
In the Reference Order (dated August 27, 2009), the 2-Judge Bench observed,
thus:
“Learned counsel for the appellant has placed reliance on a three
Judge Bench decision of this Court in the case of Rukmini Amma Saradamma
Vs. Kallyani Sulochana And Others (1993) 1 SCC 499 wherein Section 20
of the Kerala Rent Control Act was in question. It
was held in the said decision that though Section 20 of the said Act
provided that the revisional court can go into the ‘propriety’ of
the order but it does not entitle the revisional court
to re-appreciate evidence. A similar view was taken by a two Judge bench of
this Court in the case of Ubaiba Vs. Damodaran (1999) 5 SCC, 645.

On the other hand learned counsel for the respondent has relied
upon a decision of this Court in the case of Ram Dass Vs. Ishwar Chander
and Others AIR 1988 SC 1422 which was also a three Judge Bench decision. It
has been held in that case that the expression “legality and propriety”
enables the High Court in revisional jurisdiction to re-appraise
the evidence while considering the findings of the first
appellate Court. A similar view was taken by another three Judge Bench of
this Court in the case of Moti Ram Vs. Suraj Bhan and others AIR 1960 SC
655.

From the above it is clear that there are conflicting views of
coordinate three Judge Benches of this Court as to the meaning, ambit
and scope of the expression ‘legality and propriety’ and
whether in revisional jurisdiction the High Court can re-appreciate the
evidence. Hence, we are of the view that the matter needs to be considered
by a larger bench since this question arises in a large number of cases as
similar provisions conferring power of revision exists in various rent
control and other legislations, e.g. Section 397 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure. Accordingly, we direct that the papers be placed before
Hon’ble The Chief Justice for constituting a larger Bench.”

2. There are other appeals/SLPs in this group of matters, some of
which arise from the Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965
(for short, ‘the Kerala Rent Control Act’) and the few appeals/SLPs arise
from the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960 (for
short, ‘the Tamil Nadu Rent Control Act’). These appeals/SLPs following
the Reference Order in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation have also been
referred to the 5-Judge Bench. This is how these matters have come up
before us.
3. It is appropriate to first notice the statutory provisions
pertaining to revisional jurisdiction of the High Court under the above
three Rent Control Acts. These provisions are not similar to Section 115
of the Code of Civil Procedure which confers revisional jurisdiction upon
the High Court in the matters arising from the Courts governed by the Code.

4. Section 15 of the Haryana Rent Control Act provides for
appellate and revisional authorities. This provision in the Haryana Rent
Control Act reads as under:
“15. Appellate and revisional authorities.—(1) The State Government may, by
a general or special order, by notification, confer on such officers and
authorities as it may think fit, the powers of appellate authorities for
the purposes of this Act, in such area or in such classes of cases as may
be specified in the order.

(2) Any person aggrieved by an order passed by the Controller may, within
thirty days from the date of such order or such longer period as the
appellate authority may allow for reasons to be recorded in writing, prefer
an appeal in writing to the appellate authority having jurisdiction. In
computing the period of thirty days the time taken to obtain a certified
copy of the order appealed against shall be excluded.

(3) On such appeal being preferred, the appellate authority may order
stay of further proceedings in the matter pending decision on the appeal.

(4) The appellate authority shall decide the appeal after sending for the
records of the case from the Controller and after giving the parties an
opportunity of being heard and, if necessary, after making such further
inquiry as it thinks fit either personally or through the Controller.

(5) The decisions of the appellate authority and subject to such
decision, the order of the Controller shall be final and shall not be
liable to be called in question in any court of law except as provided in
sub-section (6) of this section.

(6) The High Court as revisional authority, may at any time, on its own
motion or on the application of any aggrieved party, made within a period
of ninety days, call for and examine the record relating to any order
passed or proceedings taken under this Act for the purpose of satisfying
itself as to the legality or propriety of such order or proceedings and may
pass such order in relation thereto as it may deem fit. In computing the
period of ninety days the time taken to obtain a certified copy of the
order shall be excluded.”

5. In the Tamil Nadu Rent Control Act, Section 23 and Section 25
provide for appeal and revision, respectively. Since we are concerned with
the scope of revisional power, it is not necessary to reproduce the
appellate provision. Section 25, which deals with revisional power, reads
as under:
“25. Revision.—(1) The High Court may, on the application of any person
aggrieved by an order of the Appellate Authority, call for and examine the
record of the Appellate Authority, to satisfy itself as to the regularity
of such proceeding or the correctness, legality or propriety of any
decision or order passed therein and if, in any case, it appears to the
High Court that any such decision or order should be modified, annulled,
reversed or remitted for reconsideration, it may pass orders accordingly.

(2) Every application to the High Court for the exercise of its power
under sub-section (1) shall be preferred within one month from the date on
which the order or proceeding to which the application relates is
communicated to the applicant:

Provided that the High Court may, in its discretion, allow further
time not exceeding one month for the filing of any such application, if it
is satisfied that the applicant had sufficient cause for not preferring the
application within the time specified in this sub-section.”

6. The provision for appeal is contained in the Kerala Rent
Control Act in Section 18 while Section 20 of that Act deals with the
revisional jurisdiction. Section 20 of the Kerala Rent Control Act reads as
under:
“20. (1) In cases where the appellate authority empowered under section 18
is a Subordinate judge, the District Court, and in other cases the High
Court, may, at any time, on the application of any aggrieved party, call
for and examine the records relating to any order passed or proceedings
taken under this Act by such authority for the purpose of satisfying itself
as to the legality, regularity or propriety of such order or proceedings,
and may pass such order in reference thereto as it thinks fit.

(2) The costs of and incident to all proceedings before the High Court or
District Court under sub-section (1) shall be in its discretion.“

7. A careful reading of the text of the above three provisions
will show that under Section 15(6) of the Haryana Rent Control Act, the
High Court as revisional authority, may suo motu or on the application of
an aggrieved party, call for and examine the record relating to any order
passed or proceedings taken under the Act for the purpose of satisfying
itself as to the legality or propriety of such order or proceedings and may
pass such order as it may deem fit. The Tamil Nadu Rent Control Act
provides that the High Court on the application of an aggrieved person may
call for and examine the record of the appellate authority to satisfy
itself as to the regularity of such proceedings or the correctness,
legality or propriety of any decision or order passed therein. The High
Court in exercise of its revisional power may modify, annul or reverse the
order or decision impugned before it or remit the matter for re-
consideration. In the Tamil Nadu Rent Control Act, the High Court has no
power to act suo motu. The Kerala Rent Control Act provides that the High
Court on the application of an aggrieved party may call for and examine the
record relating to any order passed or proceedings taken under the Act for
the purpose of satisfying itself as to the legality, regularity or
propriety of such order or proceedings and pass any order that it deems
fit. Like the Tamil Nadu Rent Control Act, the Kerala Rent Control Act
also does not empower the High Court to act suo motu. Though, there is some
difference in the language of the revisional provision in the above three
statutes but, in our opinion, the revisional power of the High Court under
the above Rent Control Acts is substantially similar and not significantly
different.
8. Before we embark upon an inquiry to find out the ambit and
scope of the revisional power of the High Court under these Rent Control
Acts, we may quickly observe that in this reference, we have to really
determine the extent, scope, ambit and meaning of the terms “legality or
propriety”, “regularity, correctness, legality or propriety” and “legality,
regularity or propriety”. Obviously, this will determine the extent of the
revisional jurisdiction of the High Court under the respective Rent Control
statutes and will also include the consideration of the question whether
the High Court in exercise of its revisional jurisdiction can re-appreciate
the evidence in order to find out the correctness, legality or propriety of
the impugned order or decision.
9. The scope of revisional jurisdiction under various Rent Control
Acts has fallen for consideration in many cases before this Court. One of
the earlier decisions in the long line of such cases is Moti Ram3. The 3-
Judge Bench of this Court in Moti Ram3 had an occasion to consider the
extent of revisional power of the High Court under Section 15(5) of the
East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949 (3 of 1949) which reads: “…The
High Court may, at any time, on the application of any aggrieved party or
on its own motion, call for and examine the records relating to any order
passed or proceedings taken under this Act for the purpose of satisfying
itself as to the legality or propriety of such order or proceedings and may
pass such order in relation thereto as it may deem fit.” Having regard to
this provision, the Court noted the revisional power of the High Court in
the following words:
“…the revisional power conferred upon the High Court under Section 15(5)
is wider than that conferred by Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
Under Section 15(5) the High Court has jurisdiction to examine the legality
or propriety of the order under revision and that would clearly justify the
examination of the propriety or the legality of the finding made by the
authorities…”

10. Before we refer to the other cases of this Court, we feel that
the weighty observations made by the 2-Judge Bench in Dattonpant[4] may be
noted. The Court while dealing with findings of fact recorded by the
appellate court under the Mysore Rent Control Act, 1961 referred to Section
50 of that Act which conferred upon the High Court revisional power. The
Court observed:
“It is true that the power conferred on the High Court under
Section 50 is not as narrow as the revisional power of the High Court under
Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure. But at the same time it is not
wide enough to make the High Court a second court of first appeal.”

(emphasis supplied by us)
11. In Sri Raja Lakshmi Dyeing Works[5], the 2-Judge Bench of this
Court while considering the scope of Section 25 of Tamil Nadu Rent Control
Act followed Dattonpant4 and while doing so, the Court also articulated the
distinction between “appellate jurisdiction” and “revisional jurisdiction”.
In paragraph 2 (page 261 of the Report), the Court stated as follows:
“2. ‘Appeal’ and ‘revision’ are expressions of common usage in Indian
statute and the distinction between ‘appellate jurisdiction’ and
‘revisional jurisdiction’ is well known though not well defined.
Ordinarily, appellate jurisdiction involves a rehearing, as it were, on law
as well as fact and is invoked by an aggrieved person. Such jurisdiction
may, however, be limited in some way as, for instance has been done in the
case of second appeal under the Code of Civil Procedure, and under some
Rent Acts in some States. Ordinarily, again, revisional jurisdiction is
analogous to a power of superintendence and may sometimes be exercised even
without its being invoked by a party. The extent of revisional jurisdiction
is defined by the statute conferring such jurisdiction. The conferment of
revisional jurisdiction is generally for the purpose of keeping tribunals
subordinate to the revising Tribunal within the bounds of their authority
to make them act according to law, according to the procedure established
by law and according to well defined principles of justice. Revisional
jurisdiction as ordinarily understood with reference to our statutes is
always included in appellate jurisdiction but not vice versa. These are
general observations. The question of the extent of appellate or revisional
jurisdiction has to be considered in each case with reference to the
language employed by the statute.”

While dealing with revisional power under Section 25 of the Tamil Nadu Rent
Control Act, the Court said in paragraph 3 (page 262 of the Report) as
under:
“The language of Section 25 is indeed very wide. But we must attach
some significance to the circumstance that both the expressions ‘appeal’
and ‘revision’ are employed in the statute. Quite obviously, the expression
‘revision’ is meant to convey the idea of a much narrower jurisdiction than
that conveyed by the expression ‘appeal’. In fact it has to be noticed that
under Section 25 the High Court calls for and examines the record of the
appellate authority in order to satisfy itself. The dominant idea conveyed
by the incorporation of the words ‘to satisfy itself’ under Section 25
appears to be that the power conferred on the High Court under Section 25
is essentially a power of superintendence. Therefore, despite the wide
language employed in Section 25, the High Court quite obviously should not
interfere with findings of fact merely because it does not agree with the
finding of the subordinate authority. The power conferred on the High Court
under Section 25 of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act
may not be as narrow as the revisional power of the High Court under
Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure but in the words of Untwalia,
J., in Dattonpant Gopalvarao Devakate v. Vithalrao Maruthirao Janagaval;
“it is not wide enough to make the High Court a second Court of first
appeal”.

Pertinently, in Sri Raja Lakshmi Dyeing Works5, the Court said in
unequivocal words that concurrent findings, based on evidence, cannot be
touched upon by the High Court exercising jurisdiction under Section 25 of
the Tamil Nadu Rent Control Act.
12. In Krishnamachari[6], the Court followed Sri Raja Lakshmi
Dyeing Works5 while considering the scope of revisional power under Section
25 of the Tamil Nadu Rent Control Act.
13. A 3-Judge Bench of this Court in Ram Dass2 was concerned with
the revisional power of the High Court under Section 15(5) of the East
Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949. Inter alia, the Court noted the
earlier judgments of this Court in Dattonpant4 and Sri Raja Lakshmi Dyeing
Works5 and observed as under:
“On the first contention that the revisional powers do not extend to
interference with and upsetting of findings of fact, it needs to be
observed that, subject to the well known limitations inherent in all
revisional jurisdictions, the matter essentially turns on the language of
the statute investing the jurisdiction. The decisions relied upon by Shri
Harbans Lal, deal, in the first case, with the limitations on the scope of
interference with findings of fact in second appeals and in the second,
with the limitation on the revisional powers where the words in the statute
limit it to the examination whether or not the order under revision is
“according to law”. The scope of the revisional powers of the High Court,
where the High Court is required to be satisfied that the decision is
“according to law” is considered by Beaumont, C.J. in Bell & Co. Ltd. v.
Waman Hemraj (AIR 1938 Bom 223) a case referred to with approval by this
Court in Hari Shankar v. Girdhari Lal Chowdhury (AIR 1963 SC 698)

But here, Section 15(5) of the Act enables the High Court to satisfy
itself as to the “legality and propriety” of the order under revision,
which is, quite obviously, a much wider jurisdiction. That jurisdiction
enables the court of revision, in appropriate cases, to examine the
correctness of the findings of facts also, though the revisional court is
not “a second court of first appeal”

(emphasis supplied by us)

14. In Rukmini1, the scope of revisional power under Section 20 of
the Kerala Rent Control Act fell for consideration before a 3-Judge Bench.
The Bench considered the provision of Section 20 of that Act, vis-à-vis,
Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure and held as under:

“As far as the present Act is concerned Section 20 contains the word
“propriety” also. As to the meaning of the word “propriety” in Raman and
Raman Ltd. v. State of Madras (1956 SCR 256) at page 264 it was held thus:

“The word ‘propriety’ has nowhere been defined in the Act and is
capable of a variety of meanings. In the Oxford English Dictionary (Vol.
VIII), it has been stated to mean ‘fitness; appropriateness; aptitude;
suitability; appropriateness to the circumstances or conditions; conformity
with requirements, rule or principle; rightness, correctness, justness,
accuracy’.”

Therefore, the question would be whether in the context of this
provision the High Court was right in re-appreciating the evidence and
coming to a different conclusion? In the impugned judgment in paragraph 7
the High Court observed:

“Under Section 20 of the Act though re-appreciation of the evidence as such
is not called for, the pleadings and evidence have to be examined to
satisfy the legality, regularity of the order of the lower authorities.”

We are afraid this approach of the High Court is wrong. Even the
wider language of Section 20 of the Act cannot enable the High Court to act
as a first or a second court of appeal. Otherwise the distinction between
appellate and revisional jurisdiction will get obliterated. Hence, the High
Court was not right in re-appreciating the entire evidence both oral or
documentary in the light of the Commissioner’s report (Exts. C-1 and C-2
[pic]mahazar). In our considered view, the High Court had travelled far
beyond the revisional jurisdiction. Even by the presence of the word
“propriety” it cannot mean that there could be a re-appreciation of
evidence. Of course, the revisional court can come to a different
conclusion but not on a re-appreciation of evidence; on the contrary, by
confining itself to legality, regularity and propriety of the order
impugned before it. Therefore, we are unable to agree with the reasoning of
the High Court with reference to the exercise of revisional jurisdiction.”

While holding as above, the 3-Judge Bench also referred to the decisions of
this Court in H.V. Mathai[7] and Rai Chand Jain[8]. In H.V. Mathai7, this
Court observed that the words of Section 20 are much wider than those in
Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure. It was also observed that on
the words of Section 20, it could not be held that the revision was limited
to a mere question of jurisdiction. In Rai Chand Jain8, relying upon Ram
Dass2, the Court observed:

“… The High Court in exercising its power under Section 15(5) of the said
Act is within its jurisdiction to reverse the findings of fact as the same
were improper and also illegal. It is appropriate to refer in this
connection to the decision in the case of Ram Dass v. Ishwar Chander where
it has been held that Section 15(5) of the Act enables the High Court to
satisfy itself as to the “legality or propriety” of the order under
revision, which is, quite obviously, a much wider jurisdiction. That
[pic]jurisdiction enables the court of revision, in appropriate cases, to
examine the correctness of the findings of facts also, though the
revisional court is not ‘a second court of first appeal…”

15. In Sankaranarayanan[9], the Court had an occasion to consider
the scope of powers of revisional Court under Section 25 of the Tamil Nadu
Rent Control Act. The 2-Judge Bench which heard the matter observed that it
was improper for the High Court to consider the revision petition under
Section 25 as if it were a second appeal. The Court firmly stated that the
findings of the first appellate Court could not be reversed upon a
reassessment of the evidence.
16. In Shiv Sarup Gupta[10], this Court with reference to the
revisional jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 25-B (8) of the
Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, though reiterated that the High Court cannot
enter into appreciation or re-appreciation of evidence merely because it is
inclined to take a different view of the facts as if it were a Court of
facts, but also held that the High Court is obliged to test the order of
the Rent Controller on the touchstone of “whether it is according to law”
and, for that limited purpose, may enter into reappraisal of evidence,
i.e., for the purpose of ascertaining whether the conclusion arrived at by
the Rent Controller is wholly unreasonable or is one that no reasonable
person acting with objectivity could have reached on the material
available. The Court observed that ignoring the weight of evidence,
proceeding on a wrong premise of law or deriving such conclusion from the
established facts as betray a lack of reason and/or objectivity would
render the finding of the Controller “not according to law” calling for an
interference under the proviso to sub-section (8) of Section 25-B of the
Delhi Rent Control Act.
17. Again in Ram Narain Arora[11], a 2-Judge Bench with reference
to revisional power under Section 25-B of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958
observed as follows:

“It is no doubt true that the scope of a revision petition under
Section 25-B(8) proviso of the Delhi Rent Control Act is a very limited
one, but even so in examining the legality or propriety of the proceedings
before the Rent Controller, the High Court could examine the facts
available in order to find out whether he had correctly or on a firm legal
basis approached the matters on record to decide the case. Pure findings of
fact may not be open to be interfered with, but (sic if) in a given case,
the finding of fact is given on a wrong premise of law, certainly it would
be open to the revisional court to interfere with such a matter. In this
case, the Rent Controller proceeded to analyse the matter that non-
disclosure of a particular information was fatal and, therefore, dismissed
the claim made by the landlord. It is in these circumstances that it became
necessary for the High Court to re-examine the matter and then decide the
entire question. We do not think that any of the decisions referred to by
the learned counsel decides the question of the same nature with which we
are concerned. Therefore, detailed reference to them is not required.”

18. The scope of the High Court’s revisional power under Section
50(1) of the Karnataka Rent Control Act, 1961 came to be considered by a 2-
Judge Bench of this Court in M.S. Zahed[12]. The provision (Section 50)
under consideration reads, “The High Court may, at any time call for and
examine any order passed or proceeding taken by (the Court of Small Causes
or the Court of the Civil Judge) under this Act or any order passed by the
Controller under Sections 14, 15, 16 or 17 for the purpose of satisfying
itself as to the legality or correctness of such order or proceeding and
may pass such order in reference thereto as it thinks fit.” The Court,
while observing that revisional power cannot be equated with the power of
reconsideration of all questions of fact as a Court of first appeal, held
that still the nature of the revisional jurisdiction of the High Court
under Section 50 of the Act will have to be considered in the light of the
express provisions of the statute concerning such power. On the express
language of Section 50(1) of the Act, the Court observed that it cannot be
said that the High Court has no jurisdiction to go into the question of
correctness of findings of fact reached by the Court of Small Causes on
relevant evidence. The Court considered a couple of decisions of this
Court, (1) Central Tobacco Company[13] and (2) Bhoolchand[14] and
ultimately concluded that the High Court in revision under Section 50 of
the Act was entitled to re-appreciate the evidence with a view to finding
out whether the order of the Court of Small Causes was legal or correct.
19. In Ubaiba[15], a 2-Judge Bench of this Court, while dealing
with revisional jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 20 of the
Kerala Rent Control Act, considered the meaning of the expression
‘propriety’. The Court held that in re-appreciating the evidence, the High
Court had exceeded its revisional jurisdiction. This is what the 2-Judge
Bench said:

“Mr. K. Sukumaran, the learned Senior Counsel appearing for the
appellant contended that however wide the jurisdiction of the revisional
court under the Act in question may be, but it cannot have jurisdiction to
reappreciate the evidence and substitute its own finding upsetting the
finding arrived at by the appellate authority and therefore the impugned
order of the High Court is unsustainable in law. In support of this
contention reliance has been placed on a decision of this Court in the case
of Rukmini Amma Saradamma v. Kallyani Sulochana (1993) 1 SCC 499 whereunder
the selfsame provision of the Kerala Act was under consideration. This
Court after noticing the word “propriety” used in Section 20 came to the
conclusion that the approach of the High Court was totally wrong and even
the wider language of Section 20 of the Act cannot enable the High Court to
act as a first or a second court of appeal. Otherwise the distinction
between appellate and revisional jurisdiction will get obliterated. The
Court also further observed “even by the presence of the word ‘propriety’
it cannot mean that there could be any reappreciation of evidence”. The
learned counsel for the respondent on the other hand contended that the
aforesaid decision will have no application to the case in hand where the
dispute involved relates to a jurisdictional fact and according to the
learned counsel where the dispute is in relation to a jurisdictional fact
there should not be any fetter on the power of the revisional court even to
reappreciate the evidence and come to its own conclusion. On being asked to
support the aforesaid proposition no authority could be placed though on
first principle learned counsel for the respondent argued as aforesaid.
Having examined the rival submission and having gone through the decision
of this Court referred to earlier we are of the considered opinion that
though the revisional power under the Rent Act may be wider than Section
115 of the Code of Civil Procedure it cannot be equated even with the
second appellate power conferred on the civil court under the Code of Civil
Procedure. Notwithstanding the use of the expression “propriety” in Section
20, the revisional court therefore will not be entitled to reappreciate the
evidence and substitute its own conclusion in place of the conclusion of
the appellate authority. On examining the impugned judgment of the High
Court in the light of the aforesaid ratio of this Court it is crystal clear
that the High Court exceeded its jurisdiction by reappreciating the
evidence and in coming to the conclusion that the relationship of landlord-
tenant did not exist. In the circumstances, the impugned revisional order
of the High Court is wholly unsustainable and we set aside the same and the
order of the appellate authority is affirmed.”

20. The scope of power of revision under Section 25 of the Tamil
Nadu Rent Control Act also fell for consideration before a 2-Judge Bench of
this Court in T. Sivasubramaniam[16]. The Court in paragraph 5 (page 279 of
the Report) held as follows:

“5. So far as the second submission is concerned, the language employed in
Section 25 of the Act, which confers revisional jurisdiction on the High
Court, is very wide. Under Section 25 of the Act, the High Court can call
for and examine the record of the appellate authority in order to satisfy
itself as to regularity of such proceedings or the correctness, legality or
propriety of any decision or orders passed therein. The words “to satisfy
itself” employed in Section 25 of the Act no doubt is a power of
superintendence, and the High Court is not required to interfere with the
finding of fact merely because the High Court is not in agreement with the
findings of the courts below. It is also true that the power exercisable by
the High Court under Section 25 of the Act is not an appellate power to
reappraise or reassess the evidence for coming to a different finding
contrary to the finding recorded by the courts below. But where a finding
arrived at by the courts below is based on no evidence, the High Court
would be justified in interfering with such a finding recorded by the
courts below. In the present case what we find is that neither has the
landlord set out his need or requirement for the premises for his
occupation in his petition nor has he led any evidence to show that his
need is bona fide. In the absence of such evidence, the Rent Controller and
the first appellate authority acted contrary to law in allowing the
petition of the landlord by directing the eviction of the tenants. In such
circumstances, the High Court was fully justified in interfering with the
findings of the courts below. We, therefore, reject the second submission
of learned counsel.”

21. In Ramdoss[17], this Court again had an occasion to consider
the scope of Section 25 of the Tamil Nadu Rent Control Act. Relying upon
Sankaranarayanan9, the Court held that the revisional power of the High
Court under Section 25 of the Act not being an appellate power, it is
impermissible for the High Court to reassess the evidence in a revision
petition filed under Section 25 of the Act. The Court did not accept the
argument that in exercise of its revisional jurisdiction, the High Court
can interfere with incorrect finding of fact recorded by the Courts below.
22. In Shaw Wallace[18], a 2-Judge Bench of this Court relied upon
M.S. Zahed12 decision of this Court and held in paragraph 13 of the Report
as follows:
“13. On a plain reading of Section 25 of the Act, it is clear that the
revisional jurisdiction vested in the High Court under that section is
wider than Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The High Court is
entitled to satisfy itself as to the regularity of the proceeding, of the
correctness, legality or propriety of any decision or order passed therein
and if, on examination, it appears to the High Court that any such decision
or order should be modified, annulled, reversed or remitted for
reconsideration, it may pass such orders accordingly.”

23. The scope of revisional power under Section 20 of the Kerala
Rent Control Act fell for consideration in V.M. Mohan[19]. The Court while
allowing the appeal set aside the order of the High Court as it found that
the High Court had re-appreciated the evidence to come to the conclusion
different from the trial Court as well as the appellate Court. The Court
observed that as the revision application was concluded by concurrent
finding of fact recorded by the original authority as well as the appellate
authority, no interference by the High Court was called for.
24. In Olympic Industries[20], this Court, while dealing with
revisional jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 25 of the Tamil
Nadu Rent Control Act, observed that the High Court could interfere with
concurrent orders of the tribunals in revisional jurisdiction only if their
findings are perverse or arbitrary and irregular or improper.
25. Before we consider the matter further to find out the scope and
extent of revisional jurisdiction under the above three Rent Control Acts,
a quick observation about the ‘appellate jurisdiction’ and ‘revisional
jurisdiction’ is necessary. Conceptually, revisional jurisdiction is a
part of appellate jurisdiction but it is not vice-versa. Both, appellate
jurisdiction and revisional jurisdiction are creatures of statutes. No
party to the proceeding has an inherent right of appeal or revision. An
appeal is continuation of suit or original proceeding, as the case may be.
The power of the appellate court is co-extensive with that of the trial
court. Ordinarily, appellate jurisdiction involves re-hearing on facts and
law but such jurisdiction may be limited by the statute itself that
provides for appellate jurisdiction. On the other hand, revisional
jurisdiction, though, is a part of appellate jurisdiction but ordinarily it
cannot be equated with that of a full-fledged appeal. In other words,
revision is not continuation of suit or of original proceeding. When the
aid of revisional court is invoked on the revisional side, it can interfere
within the permissible parameters provided in the statute. It goes without
saying that if a revision is provided against an order passed by the
tribunal/appellate authority, the decision of the revisional court is the
operative decision in law. In our view, as regards the extent of appellate
or revisional jurisdiction, much would, however, depend on the language
employed by the statute conferring appellate jurisdiction and revisional
jurisdiction.
26. With the above general observations, we shall now endeavour to
determine the extent, scope, ambit and meaning of the terms “legality or
propriety”, “regularity, correctness, legality or propriety” and “legality,
regularity or propriety” which are used in three Rent Control Acts under
consideration.
27. The ordinary meaning of the word ‘legality’ is lawfulness. It
refers to strict adherence to law, prescription, or doctrine; the quality
of being legal.
28. The term ‘propriety’ means fitness; appropriateness, aptitude;
suitability; appropriateness to the circumstances or condition conformity
with requirement; rules or principle, rightness, correctness, justness,
accuracy.
29. The terms ‘correctness’ and ‘propriety’ ordinarily convey the
same meaning, that is, something which is legal and proper. In its ordinary
meaning and substance, ‘correctness’ is compounded of ‘legality’ and
‘propriety’ and that which is legal and proper is ‘correct’.
30. The expression “regularity” with reference to an order
ordinarily relates to the procedure being followed in accord with the
principles of natural justice and fair play.
31. We have already noted in the earlier part of the judgment that
although there is some difference in the language employed by the three
Rent Control Acts under consideration which provide for revisional
jurisdiction but, in our view, the revisional power of the High Court under
these Acts is substantially similar and broadly such power has the same
scope save and except the power to invoke revisional jurisdiction suo motu
unless so provided expressly. None of these statutes confers on revisional
authority the power as wide as that of appellate court or appellate
authority despite such power being wider than that provided in Section 115
of the Code of Civil Procedure. The provision under consideration does not
permit the High Court to invoke the revisional jurisdiction as the cloak of
an appeal in disguise. Revision does not lie under these provisions to
bring the orders of the Trial Court/Rent Controller and Appellate
Court/Appellate Authority for re-hearing of the issues raised in the
original proceedings.
32. We are in full agreement with the view expressed in Sri Raja
Lakshmi Dyeing Works5 that where both expressions “appeal” and “revision”
are employed in a statute, obviously, the expression “revision” is meant to
convey the idea of a much narrower jurisdiction than that conveyed by the
expression “appeal”. The use of two expressions “appeal” and “revision”
when used in one statute conferring appellate power and revisional power,
we think, is not without purpose and significance. Ordinarily, appellate
jurisdiction involves a re-hearing while it is not so in the case of
revisional jurisdiction when the same statute provides the remedy by way of
an ‘appeal’ and so also of a ‘revision’. If that were so, the revisional
power would become co-extensive with that of the trial Court or the
subordinate Tribunal which is never the case. The classic statement in
Dattonpant4 that revisional power under the Rent Control Act may not be as
narrow as the revisional power under Section 115 of the Code but, at the
same time, it is not wide enough to make the High Court a second Court of
first appeal, commends to us and we approve the same. We are of the view
that in the garb of revisional jurisdiction under the above three Rent
Control Statutes, the High Court is not conferred a status of second Court
of first appeal and the High Court should not enlarge the scope of
revisional jurisdiction to that extent.
33. Insofar as the 3-Judge Bench decision of this Court in Ram
Dass2 is concerned, it rightly observes that revisional power is subject to
well-known limitations inherent in all revisional jurisdictions and the
matter essentially turns on the language of the statute investing the
jurisdiction. We do not think that there can ever be objection to the
above statement. The controversy centers round the following observation
in Ram Dass2, “…that jurisdiction enables the Court of revision, in
appropriate cases, to examine the correctness of the findings of facts
also…”. It is suggested that by observing so, the 3-Judge Bench in Ram
Dass2 has enabled the High Court to interfere with the findings of fact by
re-appreciating the evidence. We do not think that the 3-Judge Bench has
gone to that extent in Ram Dass2. The observation in Ram Dass2 that as the
expression used conferring revisional jurisdiction is “legality and
propriety”, the High Court has wider jurisdiction obviously means that the
power of revision vested in the High Court in the statute is wider than the
power conferred on it under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure; it
is not confined to the jurisdictional error alone. However, in dealing
with the findings of fact, the examination of findings of fact by the High
Court is limited to satisfy itself that the decision is “according to law”.
This is expressly stated in Ram Dass2. Whether or not a finding of fact
recorded by the subordinate court/tribunal is according to law, is required
to be seen on the touchstone whether such finding of fact is based on some
legal evidence or it suffers from any illegality like misreading of the
evidence or overlooking and ignoring the material evidence altogether or
suffers from perversity or any such illegality or such finding has resulted
in gross miscarriage of justice. Ram Dass2 does not lay down as a
proposition of law that the revisional power of the High Court under the
Rent Control Act is as wide as that of the Appellate Court or the Appellate
Authority or such power is co-extensive with that of the Appellate
Authority or that the concluded finding of fact recorded by the original
Authority or the Appellate Authority can be interfered with by the High
Court by re-appreciating evidence because revisional court/authority is not
in agreement with the finding of fact recorded by the Court/Authority
below. Ram Dass2 does not exposit that the revisional power conferred
upon the High Court is as wide as an appellate power to re-appraise or re-
assess the evidence for coming to a different finding contrary to the
finding recorded by the Court/Authority below. Rather, it emphasises that
while examining the correctness of findings of fact, the revisional Court
is not the second Court of first appeal. Ram Dass2 does not cross the
limits of revisional court as explained in Dattonpant4.
34. Rai Chand Jain8 that follows Ram Dass2 also does not lay down
that the High Court in exercise of its power under the Rent Control Act may
reverse the findings of fact merely because on re-appreciation of the
evidence it has a different view on the findings of fact. The observations
made by this Court in Rai Chand Jain8 must also be read in the context we
have explained Ram Dass2.
35. In Shiv Sarup Gupta10, the observations of this Court with
reference to revisional jurisdiction of the High Court under the Delhi Rent
Control Act that the High Court, on the touchstone of “whether it is
according to law” and for that limited purpose, may enter into reappraisal
of evidence must be understood in the context of its observations made
preceding such observation that the High Court cannot enter into
appreciation or re-appreciation of evidence merely because it is inclined
to take a different view of the facts as if it were a Court of facts and
the observations following such observation that the evidence is examined
by the High Court to find out whether Court/Authority below has ignored the
evidence or proceeded on a wrong premise of law or derived such conclusion
from the established facts which betray lack of reasons and/or objectivity
which renders the finding not according to law. Shiv Sarup Gupta10 also
does not lay down the proposition of law that in its revisional
jurisdiction under the Rent Control Act, the High Court can rehear on facts
or re-appreciate the evidence to come to the conclusion different from that
of the trial Court or the appellate Court because it has a different view
on appreciation of evidence. Shiv Sarup Gupta10 must also be understood in
the context we have explained Ram Dass2.
36. The observations in Ram Narain Arora11 that in examining the
‘legality’ or ‘propriety’ of the proceedings before the Rent Controller,
the High Court could examine the facts available must be understood for the
purpose stated therein, namely, in order to find out that the finding of
facts are based on firm legal basis and are not given on a wrong premise of
law. Ram Narain Arora11 also lays down that pure findings of fact are not
for interference in revisional jurisdiction.
37. The statement in M.S. Zahed12 that under Section 50 of the
Karnataka Rent Control Act, the High Court is entitled to re-appreciate the
evidence with a view to find out whether the order of Small Causes Court is
legal and correct must be understood in light of the observations made
therein, namely, that revisional power cannot be equated with the power of
re-consideration of all questions of fact as a Court of first appeal.
38. Shaw Wallace18 has relied upon M.S. Zahed12 and observed that
the High Court is entitled to satisfy itself as to the regularity of the
proceeding, of the correctness, legality or propriety of any decision or
order passed therein and if, on examination, it appears to the High Court
that any such decision or order should be modified, annulled, reversed or
remitted for reconsideration, it may pass such order accordingly. In Shaw
Wallace18, this Court does not lay down that the High Court can re-
appreciate the evidence to come to conclusion different from the
court/authority below as the appellate Court.
39. Rukmini1 holds, and in our view, rightly that even the wider
language of Section 20 of the Kerala Rent Control Act does not enable the
High Court to act as a first or a second court of appeal. We are in full
agreement with the view of the 3-Judge Bench in Rukmini1 that the word
“propriety” does not confer power upon the High Court to re-appreciate
evidence to come to a different conclusion but its consideration of
evidence is confined to find out legality, regularity and propriety of the
order impugned before it. We approve the view of this Court in Rukmini1.
40. The observation in Sankaranarayanan9 that the revisional Court
under Section 25 of the Tamil Nadu Rent Control Act cannot reverse the
findings of the first appellate Court upon a reassessment of evidence is in
line with Rukmini1 and we approve the same.
41. Similarly, the view in Ubaiba15, which has followed Rukmini1
that, under Section 20 of the Kerala Rent Control Act, the revisional court
will not be entitled to re-appreciate the evidence and substitute its own
conclusion in place of the conclusion of the Appellate Authority is the
correct view and gets our nod.
42. In T. Sivasubramaniam16 this Court has held that under Section
25 of the Tamil Nadu Rent Control Act, the High Court does not enjoy an
appellate power to reappraise or reassess the evidence for coming to a
different finding contrary to the finding recorded by the courts below.
This view is the correct view and we approve the same.
43. The observation in Ramdoss17 that the High Court in exercise of
its revisional jurisdiction cannot act as an appellate court/authority and
it is impermissible for the High Court to reassess the evidence in a
revision petition filed under Section 25 of the Act is in accord with
Rukmini1 and Sankaranarayanan9. Its observation that the High Court can
interfere with incorrect finding of fact must be understood in the context
where such finding is perverse, based on no evidence or misreading of the
evidence or such finding has been arrived at by ignoring or overlooking the
material evidence or such finding is so grossly erroneous that if allowed
to stand, will occasion in miscarriage of justice. Ramdoss17 does not hold
that the High Court may interfere with the findings of fact because on re-
appreciation of the evidence its view is different from that of the first
Appellate Court or Authority.
44. The decision of this Court in V.M. Mohan19 is again in line
with the judgment of this Court in Rukmini1.
45. We hold, as we must, that none of the above Rent Control Acts
entitles the High Court to interfere with the findings of fact recorded by
the First Appellate Court/First Appellate Authority because on re-
appreciation of the evidence, its view is different from the
Court/Authority below. The consideration or examination of the evidence by
the High Court in revisional jurisdiction under these Acts is confined to
find out that finding of facts recorded by the Court/Authority below is
according to law and does not suffer from any error of law. A finding of
fact recorded by Court/Authority below, if perverse or has been arrived at
without consideration of the material evidence or such finding is based
on no evidence or misreading of the evidence or is grossly erroneous
that, if allowed to stand, it would result in gross miscarriage of justice,
is open to correction because it is not treated as a finding according to
law. In that event, the High Court in exercise of its revisional
jurisdiction under the above Rent Control Acts shall be entitled to set
aside the impugned order as being not legal or proper. The High Court is
entitled to satisfy itself the correctness or legality or propriety of any
decision or order impugned before it as indicated above. However, to
satisfy itself to the regularity, correctness, legality or propriety of the
impugned decision or the order, the High Court shall not exercise its power
as an appellate power to re-appreciate or re-assess the evidence for coming
to a different finding on facts. Revisional power is not and cannot be
equated with the power of reconsideration of all questions of fact as a
court of first appeal. Where the High Court is required to be satisfied
that the decision is according to law, it may examine whether the order
impugned before it suffers from procedural illegality or irregularity.
46. We, thus, approve the view of this Court in Rukmini1 as noted
by us. The decision of this Court in Ram Dass2 must be read as explained
above. The reference is answered accordingly.
47. Civil Appeals and Special Leave Petitions shall now be posted
before the regular Benches for decision in light of the above.

….………..……………………CJI.
(R.M. Lodha)

…….………..……………………J.
(Dipak Misra)

…….………..……………………J. (Madan B. Lokur)

…….………..……………………J.
(Kurian Joseph)

NEW DELHI; …….………..……………………J.
AUGUST 27, 2014. (S.A. Bobde)

———————–
[1] Rukmini Amma Saradamma v. Kallyani Sulochana and others; [(1993) 1
SCC 499]
[2] Ram Dass v. Ishwar Chander and others; [AIR 1988 SC 1422]
[3] Moti Ram v. Suraj Bhan and others; [AIR 1960 SC 655]
[4] Dattonpant Gopalvarao Devakate v. Vithalrao Maruthirao Janagaval;
[(1975) 2 SCC 246]
[5] M/s. Sri Raja Lakshmi Dyeing Works and others v. Rangaswamy
Chettiar; [(1980) 4 SCC 259]
[6] P.R Krishnamachari v. Lalitha Ammal; [1987 (Supp) SCC 250]
[7] H.V. Mathai v. Subordinate Judge, Kottayam; [(1969) 2 SCC 194]
[8] Rai Chand Jain v. Miss Chandra Kanta Khosla; [(1991) 1 SCC 422]
[9] Dr. D. Sankaranarayanan v. Punjab National Bank; [1995 Supp. (4) SCC
675]
[10] Shiv Sarup Gupta v. Dr. Mahesh Chand Gupta; [(1999) 6 SCC 222]
[11] Ram Narain Arora v. Asha Rani and Ors.; [(1999) 1 SCC 141]
[12] M.S. Zahed v. K. Raghavan; [(1999) 1 SCC 439]
[13] Central Tobacco Company v. Chandra Prakash; [1969 UJ 432]
[14] Bhoolchand and Anr. v. Kay Pee Cee Investments and Anr.; [(1991) 1
SCC 343]
[15] Ubaiba v. Damodaran; [(1999) 5 SCC 645]
[16] T. Sivasubramaniam and Ors. v. Kasinath Pujari and Ors.; [(1999) 7
SCC 275]
[17] Ramdoss v. K. Thangavelu; [(2000) 2 SCC 135]
[18] Shaw Wallace & Co. Ltd. v. Govindas Purushothamdas and Anr.; [(2001)
3 SCC 445]
[19] V.M. Mohan v. Prabha Rajan Dwarka and Ors.; [(2006) 9 SCC 606]
[20] Olympic Industries v. Mulla Hussainy Bhai Mulla Akberally and Ors.;
[(2009) 15 SCC 528]

———————–
32

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