Zackeriyn v. Croos Raj Chandra
1947Present: Windham J.
ZACKERIYA et al., Petitioners, and CROOS RAJ CHANDRAet al., Respondents.
S: C. 122—Application for a Writ of Prohibition or a Writ of Certiorari.
Writ of Certiorari—Rent Restriction Ordinance—Authority of Board to bringan action—Person claiming to be landlord—Jurisdiction of Board—Section 8.
Under section 8 of the Rent Restriction Ordinance the Board cangive authority to sue to any person who claims to be the landlord.The question whether he is in fact that landlord is beyond the jurisdictionof the Board and is a matter for the court of trial.
H. W. Jayewardene (with him M. Rafeek), for the petitioner.
C. V. Ranawake, for first to fourth respondents.
M. 1. M. Haniffa, for fifth respondent.
Cv.r. adv. vult.
1 (1941) 48 -V. h. R. 110.337 _V. £. R. 44.
a (1946) 47 X. L. R. 393.■> (1942) 43 N. L. R. 370.
WINDHAM J.—Zackeriya v. Croos Raj Chandra.
August 25, 1947. Windham J.—
This is an application for a Writ of Certiorari for quashing an orderof the Colombo Rent Assessment Board whereby the fifth respondent wasauthorised under section 8 of the Rent Restriction Ordinance, No. 60of 1942, to institute eviction proceedings against the applicant. Section.8 provides that, subject to certain exceptions, no such proceedings shallbe instituted in any court unless the Board “ on the application of thelandlord ” has in writing authorised them. The objection of the appli-cant to the Board’s order in the present case is that the fifth respondentwas not his landlord, and that accordingly the Board was not empoweredto make it, since it was not made “ on the application of the landlordThe Board, after considering the legal position, came to the conclusionthat the fifth respondent was the landlord. This question will be inissue in the pending proceedings. For this reason I do not think itproper to enter into the question whether the Board was right in itsconclusion.
It is argued for the applicant that the Board exceeded its jurisdictionin making an order in favour of one who was not a landlord. But thatis not, in my view, the proper construction to place upon section 8 ofthe Ordinance. It cannot be held that, by authorising a person claimingto be landlord to institute an action, the Board is making a judicialdecision that such person is in fact the landlord, and that such decisionwill be binding upon the court before which that issue is to be determinedin the pending action. To hold that would be to enable the Board topredetermine what in many cases may be, and in the present case is, avital issue in the pending proceedings. In the present case, it wouldappear, the question whether the fifth respondent is the landlord willdepend upon whether the phrase “ the person for the time being entitled toreceive the rent of such premises ”, which constitutes the definition of“landlord” under section 16 (1) of the Ordinance, is to be restricted tothe person entitled to receive an agreed rent, or can be construed toextend to a person entitled to receive an estimated or reasonable rent.And that is a point of law and construction which, in my view, the Boardis not required or empowered to determine under section 8. I consider1hat the proper and reasonable construction of the phrase “on theapplication of the landlord ” in section 8 is “ on the application of theperson claiming to be landlord ”. The powers of the Board are specificallyset out elsewhere in the Ordinance, and such a subordinate clause as“on the application of the landlord” cannot be held to confer on theBoard additional power to determine judicially such an issue.
It follows that in making their order the Board were not acting beyondtheir powers. It also follows that, not withstanding that order, it isstill open to the court of trial to decide as a fact (with such legal resultsas may follow therefrom) that the fifth respondent is not the landlordof the applicant.
I have been referred to the judgment of this Court in W. E. de Fintor. Rent Assessment Board, Dehiwala-Mount Laviniawherein a Writof Certiorari was granted quashing a decision of the Board on the
' (1945) 46 X. L. S. 396.
The King v. Hendrick.
ground that it had usurped jurisdiction which the provisions of section6 (b) of the Ordinance did not allow it. There, however, the positionwas quite different, for the Board was purporting to exercise a powerspecifically conferred upon it by section 6, namely, the power to directthat the standard rent should not be increased. Its decision on thatpoint, had it been made intra vires, would therefore admittedly havebeen conclusive by virtue of section 12 (12). Not so, however, in thepresent case, for the reasons I have given.
The application is accordingly dismissed with costs.
ZACKERIYA et al., Petitioners, and CROOS RAJ CHANDRA et al., Respondents