The Kerala High Court has held that a Rent Control Court has the power to condone delay under Section 5 of the Limitation Act.
The appointment of a Munsiff as Rent Control Court is not as a persona designata or a quasi judicial authority, a Full Bench comprising Justices AM Shaffique, Sunil Thomas and Gopinath P. observed while overruling a division bench judgment in [Ratheesh v. A.M.Chacko and Another (2018 (5) KHC 35)] in which is it was held that Section 5 of the Limitation Act, is not applicable to proceedings before the Rent Control Court under the Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965. The Full Bench was answering a reference by a division bench [Faisal v. Vikas Chacko (2019 (3) KLT 760)] which had doubted the dictum laid down in Ratheesh case.
Referring to the provisions of the Rent Control Act, the bench observed that being a special and a local law which does not expressly exclude the provisions of Limitation Act, Section 5 of the Limitation Act would apply to proceedings under the Rent Control Act, if the Rent Control Court is a ‘Court’. Thus, the issue considered was whether the Rent Control Court is a “Court” in order to apply the provisions of S.29(2) of the Limitation Act.
The bench answered the reference as follows:
In the light of the above discussion, we are of the view that the Rent Control Court is not a persona designata. It is a Court and in the absence of any express exclusion, Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act applies. Consequently, the Rent Control Court has the power to condone delay under Section 5 of the Limitation Act. Ratheesh (supra) does not lay down the correct law.