1. This appeal has been referred to a Division Bench by a learned Single Judge as he felt that a question of law of some importance was involved in this appeal.
2. Regular Civil Suit No. 488 of 1966 was filed in the Court of the 4th Joint Civil Judge, Junior Division, Poona, by the present respondent seeking possession of property situated within the municipal limits of the Poona Corporation. She sought possession of Survey No. 162 Hissa Nos. 1 and 2 admeasuring 8 acres 26 gunthas which was in the possession of one Kisan from about 1935 as tenant. On May 5, 1955 Kisan died leaving behind him his widow, the appellant No.1 and two sons Vithal and Raghunath, appellants Nos. 2 and 3. Plaintiff claimed possession on the ground that the tenancy was terminated by her by Exh. 117 dated September 13, 1965 effective from March 31, 1966. It was the case of the plaintiff that since the lands were situated within the limits of Poona Municipal Corporation and were within the Industrial Zone, the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948, did not apply to these lands.
3. By their written statement, Exh. 9, the defendants, the present appellants, took up inter alia the following contentions: (1) that the lands were governed by the Bombay Tenancy Act, (2) that Kisan was a protected tenant and this right was inherited by the present appellants upon the death of Kisan, (3) that the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to deal with any of the matters in issue since the case was governed by the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948, as amended from time to time, (4) that there was no effective termination in fact and (5) that the plaintiff had waived her right under the notice as she had accepted rent after giving notice and even after the filing of the suit.
4. The trial Court framed several issues and having held the issues in favour of the plaintiff decreed the plaintiff's suit. The defendants went in appeal and the appeal court partially allowed the appeal by passing a conditional decree for possession. On the contentions raised by the defendants the findings were against them. Against this order partially allowing the appeal the defendants have filed this second appeal and the plaintiff has filed cross-objections regarding the conditional nature of the decree.
5. Mr.Lalit appearing for the appellants contended that in this case an important question of law was involved regarding the jurisdiction of a Civil Court. A reference was made by Mr.Lalit to the various provisions of the Bombay Tenancy Act to contend that whenever a question arose requiring the decision of a contention whether a party to the suit was entitled to the benefit of the Bombay Tenancy Act, the jurisdiction of the Civil Court was ousted. His further contention was that a Tenancy forum alone had the jurisdiction to decide any dispute arising between the parties, one of whom claimed the status of a tenant under the Bombay Tenancy Act.
6. The argument on behalf of the plaintiff which was accepted by both the Courts was that no provision of the Tenancy Act applies in the instant case on facts. Reliance was placed for this purpose by both the Courts upon Section 88 (1) (b) of the Bombay Tenancy Act which is as follows :-
'Save as otherwise provided in sub-section (2), nothing in the foregoing provisions of this Act shall apply- (b) to any area which the State Government may, from time to time, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify as being reserved for non-agricultural or industrial development;'
On 1-8-1956 a notification R. D. No. TNC 5156/101/65 F, was issued by Government reserving the following areas for non-agricultural and industrial development : 'Areas within the limits of (1) Greater Bombay, (2) the Municipal Corporation of the Cities of Poona and Ahmedabad and (3) the Municipal boroughs of Thana, Kalyan, Surat, Sholapur and Hubli.' By subsequent notifications alterations were effected but they did not affect the are within the Municipal Corporation of the City of Poona. Relying upon Section 88 (1) (b) of the Tenancy Act and the notification which was issued on 1-8-1956, both the Courts held that since the area in dispute was within the Municipal limits of the Corporation of Poona, the Tenancy Act did not apply and therefore the Civil Court did not cease to have jurisdiction to entertain the dispute about this land.
7. Mr. Lalit's contention on this point was that on the date on which amendments were effected to Bombay Tenancy Act, 1948, and the date on which the notification referred to above was issued, Section 43-C also came on the statute book. Section 43-C has a proviso which, according to Mr. Lalit, gave exclusive jurisdiction to the Tenancy forums in respect of suit lands. The proviso is as follows:-
'Provided that if any person has acquired any right as a tenant under this Act on or after the 28th December, 1948, the said right shall not be deemed to have been affected by the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands (Amendment) Act, 1952, or (save as expressly provided in Section 43-D), by the Amending Act, 1955, notwithstanding the fact that either of the said Acts has been made applicable to the area in which such land is situate.'
What was urged by Mr. Lalit was that this saving proviso revived the rights of protected tenancy of Kisan which were inherited by the present appellants.
8. One of the questions involved in deciding the issue whether the rights were revived or not was the issue of tenancy of the present appellants. A number of decided cases were cited t urge before us that if the issue to be decided between the parties relates to the decision on the question of tenancy of one of the parties, then the Civil court has no jurisdiction to decide that question and if the jurisdiction of the Court is dependent upon the decision of this issue, then the question whether the Court has jurisdiction to decide the dispute has also to be decided by the revenue forum and the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to do so.
9. We do not dispute the proposition urged by Mr. Lalit that if a disputed question regarding the tenancy of one of the parties to the suit has to be decided then necessarily that question has to be decided by the revenue forum and not by the Civil Court. Section 70 (b) of the Tenancy Act makes it a duty and the function of the Mamlatdar to decide whether a person is or was at any time in the past a tenant or a protected tenant or a permanent tenant and by Section 85 the jurisdiction of Civil Court is expressly taken away in this respect. Section 85-A of the Tenancy Act provides for a reference to be made by the Civil Court to a revenue forum whenever such a question arises in a suit. Relying upon the provisions of Section 70 (b) and Sections 85 and 85A, Mr. Lalit's contention was that an issue whether the defendants in the instant case were protected tenants or tenants could not be decided by the Civil Court. Since it was one of the questions in dispute raised in the suit, his further contention was that the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to decide any of the issues in this matter and that it was incumbent upon the Civil Court to make a reference about these issues to the revenue forum under Section 85-A of the Bombay Tenancy Act. The issues as raised in the suit include issue No.1 before the trial Court, 'His this Court jurisdiction to try this suit?' Similar is issue No.1 before the appeal Court. Issue No.2 before the trial Court was 'Is the suit barred by the provisions of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act?' The appeal Court, however, considered this issue as included in issue No.1 before it, namely, 'whether the Civil Court has jurisdiction to try this suit?' Mr. Lalit's contention was that since the status of the defendants had to be decided before the dispute between the parties could be resolved and the status being in reference to a status within the meaning of the Tenancy Act, the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to entertain this dispute and that a reference was obligatory upon the Civil Court under Section 85-A of the Bombay Tenancy Act.
10. The first point, therefore, that arises is whether in the circumstances of this case, it is necessary to decide any of the issues which are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the tenancy forum for determining the jurisdiction of the authority, whether a Civil Court or a revenue forum. Mr. Lalit's argument was that such a question regarding the decision of status was necessary for the disposal of the question whether the Civil Court had jurisdiction to entertain the suit. As we have earlier pointed out, the contention on behalf of the landlord was that under the provisions of Section 88 (1) (b) of the Tenancy Act read with the notification issued on 1-8-1956, no provision included in Sections 1 to 87 of the Bombay Tenancy Act applied to an area covered by the notification. The Municipal Corporation of Poona came into existence long before 1-8-1956 and there is no dispute that the area in dispute between the parties is included within the limits of the Municipal Corporation of Poona. If therefore the notification is operative along with the provisions of Section 88 (1) (b), then a clear case is made out on behalf of the plaintiff that any of the provisions contained in Sections 1 to 87 of the Tenancy Act do not apply to the facts of this case. Section 43C upon which reliance was placed is included within Sections 1 to 87 mentioned as 'foregoing provisions of this Act' in Section 88 (1) of the Tenancy Act and therefore, according to Mr. Shah for the plaintiff, the Tenancy Act was wholly in applicable to the facts of this case. On these contentions a point arises whether for the purpose of deciding whether the Civil Court has the jurisdiction or not, it is necessary to decide the question of status of the defendants. If the status of the defendants has necessarily to be decide before the question of jurisdiction can be decided, then we are of opinion that the contention advanced by Mr. Lalit must prevail and the Civil Court would have no jurisdiction to decide the issue even of jurisdiction because it would be dependent upon the decision regarding status of the parties.
11. Section 88 of the Tenancy Act had undergone radical changes in 1956. Initially Section 88 of the Bombay Tenancy Act included four clauses which exempted certain lands from the operation of the Act. Those clauses referred respectively (a) to Government land, (b) to lands which were held on lease for the purpose of an industrial or commercial undertaking, (c) to areas which were included within the limits of Greater Bombay and Municipal limits of Poona, Ahmedabad, Surat and Hubli and (d) to an area wherein a notification was issued by the Government specifying the land as being reserved for urban non-agricultural or industrial development. In 1953 by Act XXXIII of 1952, which came into operation on January 12, 1953, some additional areas were included in clause (c) and a proviso was also added by which lands under the management of the State Government and lands wherein the tenant held 50 acres of Jirayat land or 12 1/2 acres of Bagayat land were excluded from the operation of Section 32 or 34.
12. By a further amendment by Act LX of 1953 which came into operation from November 23, 1953, it was laid down that if half the land of an entire survey number was included within the limits of the area mentioned in clause (c) then the entire land should be considered as having been included within those areas.
13. Thereafter by Act XIII of 1956 which came into effect from August 1, 1956, considerable changes were made in the statute. Section 88 was remodeled and split up into Sections 88, 88A, 88B, 88C, 88CA, 88CB and 43C. Section 88D was also included in the statute book as giving power to the State Government to withdraw any exemption. The scheme of the Act after the amendment of 1956 appears to be that except in regard to lands which were held on lease from Government, areas which were included in a notification issued by the State Government as reserved for non-agricultural or industrial development estate or land taken under the management of the Court of Wards etc., or an estate or land taken under management by the State Government under Chapter IV, Section 65 of the Tenancy Act etc., the rest of the exemptions were contained in different sections. Sections 88-A exempted the application of the Act to a land transferred to or by a Bhoodan Samiti recognised by the State Government. Section 88B exempted the application of certain provisions of the Act to lands held or leased by local authorities, Universities or trusts for educational purposes, hospital, Panjarapole, Gaushala or an institution for public religious worship or lands assigned or donated by a person for rendering services to the community and to lands taken under management temporarily by the Civil, Revenue or Criminal Courts. Section 88C exempted certain lands from the application of certain sections wherein the total income of a person claiming the relief did not exceed Rs. 1500/-. Section 88CA exempted lands held as inam or watan for service useful to Government. Section 88CB exempted lands held as 'saranjam' on the date of the commencement of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands (Amendment) Act, 1962. Section 88D empowered the State Government to direct the withdrawal of any such exemption to any land for specified reasons.
14. By Section 43C a provision was made regarding the exemption from application of certain sections to lands in the areas within the limits of (a) Greater Bombay, (b) a municipal corporation constituted under the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949, (c) a municipal borough constituted under the Bombay Municipal Boroughs Act, 1925, (d) a Municipal district constituted under the Bombay District Municipal Act, 1901, (e) a cantonment or (f) any area included in a Town Planning Scheme under the Bombay Town Planning Act, 1954. The scheme of the Act, therefore, appears to be that each head had been treated separately after the amendment Act of 1956 and the head with which we are concerned is dealt with Section 43C referring to areas included within the limits of clause (b), viz. 'a municipal corporation constituted under the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949.'
15. Mr. Lalit's contention was that Kisan was a protected tenant within the meaning of the Bombay Tenancy Act, 1948, and therefore those rights were saved to his successors-in-interest by reason of the proviso to Section 43C. If, therefore, the contention made by the defendants was that they were entitled to the benefits of the Act by reason of the proviso, it was necessary to hold whether the proviso applied to the defendants. Incidentally one of the questions necessarily involved was whether the defendants were entitled to the status of protected tenants for the application of the provisions of the Tenancy Act. He therefore urged that in spite of the various amendments made upto 1956, the rights of his clients as protected tenants were saved and that the rights could only be determined under the Bombay Tenancy Act and therefore the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to determine the dispute between the parties.
16. The contention on behalf of the other side which was accepted by both the Courts below was that a question of jurisdiction had to be decided by the Court and that the Civil Court had the right to determine the question of jurisdiction, namely, whether it could exercise jurisdiction in the dispute. The decided cases, some by the Supreme Court, some by the Full Bench of this Court and some by Division Bench of this Court, lay down that if an issue arises which has necessarily to be decided under the Tenancy Act, then the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to decide that issue. Incidentally if the question of jurisdiction of the Civil Court has to depend upon an issue which has first to be decided within the Tenancy Act then necessarily even the issue regarding the jurisdiction of a Civil Court can only be decided by a Revenue forum, and not by a Civil Court. We do not dispute the proposition laid down (1) that if there is an issue which arises between the parties which can only be decided by a revenue forum then the Civil Court has no jurisdiction to decide that question, (2) that if an issue about jurisdiction requires the decision of a question which falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of a revenue forum, then the issue of jurisdiction cannot also be decided by a Civil Court. In the instant case, therefore, the question arises whether any issue under the Tenancy Act regarding the status of parties or otherwise has to be decided before the issue of jurisdiction can be decided in this case. We find on going through the facts and the provisions of law that no such issue which requires a decision of an exclusive forum under the Tenancy Act has to be decided before the issue of jurisdiction can be decided in this case. Our reasons for the same are the following:
17. The point raised in this case is whether in view of Section 88 (1) (b) of the Tenancy Act and a notification issued by the State Government on 1-8-1956, any of the provisions of Sections 1 to 87 of the Tenancy Act apply in the instant case. This point has to be decided by reference only to two circumstances; first, whether a notification to be issued by State Government is issued by it on 1-8-1956 granting exemption to lands as being reserved for non-agricultural and industrial development. We find that the decision on this point is not exclusively within the jurisdiction of a revenue forum. Section 70 of the Bombay Tenancy Act does not include in it an issue about the issuance of a notification by State Government under Section 88 (1) (b) of the said Act. The point, therefore, whether a notification has been issued by the State Government is a point to be decided in the abstract without the reference to any of the provisions of the Tenancy Act which require to be disposed of exclusively by revenue forum. In the instant case, it has been proved that a notification was issued on 1-8-1956 including the lands within the Municipal Corporation of Poona, as being reserved for non-agricultural or industrial development.
18. The next question is whether the disputed lands are within the limits of the Poona Municipal Corporation. This issue also does not find a place within any of the provisions of Section 70 of the Act. This issue also therefore, is not within the exclusive jurisdiction of the revenue forum. In deciding these two issues, one whether a notification is issued by the State Government and secondly whether the lands in dispute are included within the limits of Poona Municipal Corporation, no issue arises regarding the status of any of the defendants. No other issue also arises which has necessarily to be decided by the revenue forum within the provisions of Section 70 of the Tenancy Act. The question whether the land is included within the municipal limits of Poona Corporation and the question whether notification is issued by the State Government are not dependent upon disposal of any of the issues regarding tenancy as contended by the defendants. If the issues can be answered without reference to any of the decisions which require to be taken be exclusive forum under the Tenancy Act, then we see no reason why the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to decide an issue regarding jurisdiction. On going through the amendments we find that the facts on the two points which have to be decided for deciding the question regarding the jurisdiction of the Civil Court had no particular reference to any of the issues required to be decided by an exclusive forum only. With this background we will now scrutinize the authorities relied upon by the learned counsel for alleging that this question of jurisdiction as raised in this dispute has also necessarily to be decided by the revenue forum.
19. Very strong reliance was placed by the learned counsel Mr. Lalit on the decision of Supreme Court in Ishverlal Thakorelal v. Motibhai, : 1SCR367 . The facts of this case before the Supreme Court were as follows: A suit was instituted in the Civil Court before the coming into operation of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands (Amendment) Act, 1956, claiming possession on the basis that the provisions of the Act did not apply to the lands in question as they were included within the municipal limits of the town of Broach. Upon amendment of the Act in 1956, the proviso revived the rights of the parties and a point was taken on behalf of the tenants that although by the earlier amendments which included the lands within the inoperative provisions of the Act, the proviso revived their rights. The Supreme Court had therefore to consider the effect of the amendment by addition of the proviso and their observations are as follows:
'The effect of the amendment was to restore to tenants of lands within certain municipal boroughs (such lands not falling within the description of lands described in Section 88 as amended and Sections 88A to 88C as inserted) the protection of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act LXVII of 1948 as originally enacted.'
In the case before the Supreme Court their Lordships found that the findings recorded by the District Judge that the Civil Court had to jurisdiction to decide the suit and the ultimate order passed by the District Judge dismissing the plaintiff's suit were not strictly accurate. Their Lordships altered that order by holding that the suit should not have been dismissed but they upheld the contention that the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to entertain that point since question regarding tenancy of the defendant was necessarily to be decided before the question of jurisdiction could be decided. On the application of the proviso to Section 43C, one question which required the determination was whether the rights of the defendant were revived under the proviso. Those rights, as claimed by the defendants, were that he was a tenant within the meaning of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948. The question whether the Civil Court had or did not have jurisdiction was dependent upon the decision of the question whether the defendant was a tenant as contended by him. Their Lordships in these circumstances held that since a question regarding tenancy had necessarily to be decided by the revenue form and the question of jurisdiction depended upon the decision of that question, the revenue forum was the only authority which could dispose of the matter and the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit until and unless the points were decided by the revenue forum. The distinction between the facts of the instant case and the case decided by the Supreme Court is that in the instant case no issue regarding tenancy arises for disposal of the question regarding jurisdiction whereas in the case before the Supreme Court a question did arise for decision regarding the tenancy or status of parties before the question of jurisdiction could be decided. We, therefore, hold that the ratio of : 1SCR367 will not apply to the facts of the instant case.
20. The two lower courts, however, relied upon a decision of the Supreme Court in S. N. Kamble v. Sholapur Municipality, : 1SCR618 for considering the effect of the provisions contained in Section 88 91) (a) of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act. In this decision the Court held as follows :
'The effect of the express provision contained in Section 88 (1) (a) of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948, before its amendment in 1956 is that Section 31 of the Act must be treated as non-existent so far as lands held on lease from a local authority are concerned. Therefore, under Section 88 (1) (a) there will be no protection under the Act for protected tenants under the Bombay Tenancy Act, 1939, so far as lands held on lease from a local authority are concerned.'
This decision was concerned with the provisions of Section 88 (1) (a) of the Tenancy Act but we hold that the lower Court was justified in coming to the conclusion that ratio could be relied upon for the disposal of the question under Section 88 (1) (b) also. The words 'Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this Act' were construed by the Supreme Court in 68 BomLR 653 and they held that the interpretation of these words was that the provisions of the Act mentioned therein do not apply provided the ingredients of Section 88 (1) (a) are satisfied. Similar would be the case in regard to the application of this very expression in regard to the provisions of Section 88 (1) (b) if the ingredients of Section 88 (1) (b) are satisfied. We find in the instant case that the ingredients of Section 88 (1) (b) are satisfied and the fact whether they are satisfied or not can be decided without reference to any of the questions which are exclusively within the jurisdiction of the revenue forum. The two facts which require proof for the satisfaction of the ingredients of section 88 (1) (b) are (1) whether a notification was issued by the State Government in regard to lands reserved for non-agricultural or industrial development and (2) whether the lands in dispute are in the areas so mentioned in the notification.
21. Reliance was placed by the learned Counsel on the Full Bench decision of this Court in Maganbhai Jethabhai Patel v. Somabhai : (1958)60BOMLR1383 for urging that although the proviso is to Section 43-C, the said proviso is not restricted or qualified by the provisions of Section 43-C and that it has an effect on all the other sections of the Act. At p. 1389 the Full Bench considering the scope of the proviso holds that the proviso holds that the proviso is not intended as an exception to the provisions of the main Section 43-C but that it has a wider scope and this proviso will prevail in regard to other sections also. Reliance was placed upon the said decision of the Full Bench to contend that the proviso as interpreted by the Full Bench must necessarily be considered as a proviso to Section 88 (1) (b) also. The Full Bench was not considering any question about the effect of the main clause in Section 88 (1) and the scope of the proviso to Section 43-C. The argument advanced has therefore to be considered by reference to the amendment effected in 1956 by which Section 43-C was included in the statute book as separate from Section 88 and the introduction of the proviso thereto for the first time. If the plain meaning of Section 88 (1) is to be considered, then if the ingredients of Section 88 (1) (b) are satisfied, nothing in the foregoing provisions of the Act shall apply tot he circumstances of such a case. There is no doubt that the Legislature which made the amendments to Section 88 by splitting the section into several sections we have referred to above, made Section 43-C including the proviso as one of the sections included within Sections 1 to 87 which are the foregoing provisions to Section 88. If the intention of the Legislature has to be considered by the plain meaning to Section 88 (1), then one thing is clear that if the ingredients of Section 88 (1) (b) are satisfied, no provision coming before Section 88 would have any operative effect.
22. The learned Counsel, however, urged that the interpretation given to section 43-C proviso by the Full Bench must necessarily be considered as an exception to the normal rule of interpretation regarding Section 88 (1) (b). the first point, however which militates against this interpretation is that the legislature which intended that amendment placed Section 43-C including its proviso before Section 88 of the amended Act. As we have earlier pointed out, original Section 88 was split up into several sections, one of them being S. 43-C and the others being 88-A, 88-B, 88-C, 88-CA and 88-CB. If the intention of the Legislature was that the proviso to S. 43-C should prevail upon section 8, then there was nothing to prevent the Legislature from placing the provisions of Section 43-C after the provisions of Section 88. If an intention of the Legislature has to be gathered by reason of the contents of the Act, then necessarily it must follow that the Legislature deliberately intended that the contention of Section 43-C must be before the contents of Section 88.
23. On the canons of interpretation, we see no reason to take any view different from the normal rule regarding the interpretation given to Section 88 (1) (a) by the Supreme Court in : 1SCR618 . We cannot therefore accept the argument of the learned Counsel that by reason of the decision of the Full Bench in : (1958)60BOMLR1383 we should hold that the provisions of Section 43-C proviso should also act as a proviso to Section 88 (1) (b) of the Tenancy Act.
24. In Narayan Gopal v. Shankar Sitaram : (1967)69BOMLR699 a similar question had arisen before a Division Bench of this Court and the Division Bench held that the right of a tenant of lands which were excluded from the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948, by Bombay Act XXXIII of 1952, but which was revived by the proviso to Section 43-C of the Act, can be affected by a notification under Section 88 (1) (b) of the Act which was issued on the same date on which Bombay Act XIII of 1956 (which added Ss. 43-C and 88 (1) (b)) came into force. Therefore, once action is taken under Section 88 (1) (b) the protection given by the Act is taken away. The Division Bench, thereof, held that if the ingredients of Section 88 (1) (b) are satisfied then the provisions of the proviso to Section 43-C do not apply. The observations of the Division Bench at p. 703 are as follows :
'Once action is taken under Section 88 (10 (b) the protection given by the Act is intended to be taken away. The present conflict between the proviso to Section 43-C and the group of Section s88 to 88-B can be resolved by limiting the meaning of the proviso, with the qualification that the Act itself must be applicable in which case alone the proviso can apply. ........... It is apparent that if the whole Act does not apply on the notification being issued, the amendments also do not apply. If the Act itself is not applicable to lands exempted by these sections there can be no question to reviving the right of the tenant or continuing it.'
24-A. In Civil Revn. Appln. No. 120 of 1957 decided on 20-12-1957 (Bom) by Chainani J., as he then was, and Patel J. a similar question regarding the decision of the issue of jurisdiction arose. The facts of that case were that during the pendency of a suit filed by plaintiffs the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1956 (Act XIII of 1956) came into force with effect from 1st August 1956. The old Section 88 of the Act of 1948 was replaced by another new Section, which did not contain any provision exempting any area, situated within the Municipal limits, from the provisions of the Act. This provision was made in Section 43-C, inserted in the Act by the Amending Act of 1956. The question about the applicability of the Act to the lands in question was then considered and decided and it was held that the suit filed by the landlords was competent. The learned Judges observed as follows :
'The question whether this section and the other sections of the Act did or did not apply was, however, decided by this Court, even though the defendant had claimed to be a protected tenant. In the present case also, the question, whether Section 85 of the Act applies or not, depends upon the decision of the question whether the Amending Act of 1955 does or does not apply to the present proceedings. In our opinion, the Civil Court is competent to decide this question. Its jurisdiction cannot be ousted merely because it will have no power to decide the question about the defendant being a tenant or not, in case the Act of 1955 was held to be applicable to the present proceedings.'
The ratio of this case must apply to the instant case by analogy. The question before us is whether on the ingredients of Section 88 (1) (b) having been satisfied the provisions of the Act coming prior to Section 88 apply in the instant case. A similar question regarding the application of Section 43-C was before the Division Bench in Civil Revn. Appln. No. 120 of 1957, D/- 20-12-1957 (Bom) and the learned Judges held that the Civil Court had the jurisdiction to decide whether the provisions of the Act apply to the facts of the case.
25. Several other decided cases were cited before us but we find on going through the authorities that whenever a question arose raising dispute between the parties covered by the Tenancy Act and the decision of that question was necessary for the disposal of the question regarding jurisdiction, the consistent view of this Court and the Supreme Court is that the question of jurisdiction in such cases cannot be decided by the Civil Court. If, however, the question of jurisdiction does not require the decision of any of the issues which could be raised under the Tenancy Act then the question of jurisdiction can be decided de hors other provisions of the Act which require the exclusive jurisdiction of the revenue forum and the Civil Court in such circumstance has jurisdiction. This is the view that we have come to an scrutinizing all those decisions. In the instant case, since no issue which is exclusively within the jurisdiction of the revenue form has to be decided before the question of jurisdiction of the Civil Court can be decided, we hold that both the Courts were justified in coming to the conclusion that the Civil Court had jurisdiction to decide the issue of its own jurisdiction.
26. We are fortified in our decision by the judgment in Mussamia Imam v. Rabari Govindbhai, 71 BomLR 681 : AIR 1969 Bom 439. Their Lordships were dealing with a case in which a Civil Court was required to decide whether a person had become a statutory owner of land and to decide in that connection whether he had been in the past a tenant in relation to the land on particular past dates. Their Lordships held as follows :
'Section 70 (b) of the Act imposes a duty on the Mamlatdar to decide whether a person is a tenant, but the sub-section does not cast a duty upon him to decide whether a person was or was not in the past - whether recent or remote.'
The question, therefore, was held by their Lordships regarding past tenancy within the jurisdiction of the Civil Court to decide. In other words, a restricted meaning was given to Section 70 of the Tenancy Act, by holding that the exclusive jurisdiction is strictly restricted to the provisions of Section 70 only and they do not extend in every case where a question of tenancy arises. While dealing with this question, their Lordships observed at page 687 as follows :
'We are accordingly of the opinion that Section 85 read with Section 70 of the Act does not bar the jurisdiction of the Civil Court to examine and decide the question whether the defendants had acquired the title of statutory owners to the disputed lands under the new Act. In this context it is necessary to bear in mind the important principle of construction which is that if a statute purports to exclude the ordinary jurisdiction of a Civil Court is must do so either by express terms or by the use of such terms as would necessarily lead to the inference of such exclusion. As the Judicial Committee observed in Secretary of State v. Mask & Co. : 'It is settled law that the exclusion of the jurisdiction of the civil Courts is not to be readily inferred, but that such exclusion must either be explicitly expressed or clearly implied. In our opinion, there is nothing in the language or context of Section 70 or Section 85 of the Act to suggest that the jurisdiction of the Civil Court is expressly or by necessary implication barred with regard to the question whether the defendants had become statutory owners of the land and to decide in that connection whether the defendants had been in the past tenants in relation to the land on particular past dates. We are also of the opinion that the jurisdiction of the Civil Court is not barred in considering the question whether the provisions of the Act are applicable or not applicable to the disputed land during a particular period.'
We, therefore, hold that there is no substance in the contention that the question of jurisdiction was erroneously decided by the Civil Court. WE also hold that the decision given by both the courts that the Civil Court had jurisdiction is correct.
27. The next point that was urged by Mr. Lalit was that the notice, Exh. 117, dated September 13, 1965, given to defendants 1 and 2 did not terminate the tenancy since the right of tenancy was inherited by the three defendants. Both the Courts considered the fact that the name of defendant No.1 appears as a tenant in the record of Rights after 1956 and that there is no change effected at any time thereafter. They also considered the fact that for all purposes defendants 1 and 2 were acting as the tenants in the instant case, the assessment was paid by them, the rent was paid by them and the correspondence was also carried on by them. On facts, therefore, the Courts have come to the conclusion that defendants 1 and 2 having represented themselves as tenants to the landlords, there was no substance in the contention taken by defendant No.3 that he as a covenant was entitled to a notice of termination before the landlord could take action.
28. The second point that was taken in this connection was that although the tenancy was terminated with effect from 31-3-1966, the termination was not proper as it did not coincide with the end of the tenancy. What was urged was that the tenancy was created for the first time sometime in July and therefore, the year of tenancy must be construed to have ended at the end of the year from the commencement of the tenancy. But on this point reliance was placed by both the courts on the payment of rent and the acceptance of receipts by defendants 1 and 2 when it was specifically mentioned that the rent was received by the landlord for the period commencing from 1st of April and ending with 31st of March of the subsequent year. In view of these circumstances, there is no substance in the contention that notice did not end the tenancy with the end of the tenancy year.
29. The third point that was raised was that there was waiver by acceptance of rent after the date of notice. Both the Courts held that there was no substance in the contention since irrevocable action was taken by the landlord by filing the suit. A similar question had arisen in Navnitlal v. Baburao AIR 1945 Bom 132 and it was observed by the Division Bench that there is a fundamental difference between a waiver of a forfeiture, which is a matter which can be done at the election of the landlord alone, and what is inaccurately referred to as the waiver of a notice to quit, which can only proceed on the basis that the landlord and tenant are ad idem in making a new agreement. In other words, mere acceptance of rent by the landlord even after the date of notice does not make the notice ineffective. It has been held by the Division Bench that a fresh agreement must be proved, so as to create a new tenancy after the termination of the old one. In the instant case, there is no such material before us and no such right has even been pleaded. We, therefore, hold that there is no substance in the contention put forth on behalf of the appellants. The appeal must therefore, fail.
30. On the cross-objections there is some justification for the landlord. The trial Court had passed a decree for possession simpliciter, as follows : 'Defendants to deliver possession of suit land to plaintiff forthwith along shed therein.' Before the appeal Court it was urged that there were some mango trees which were planted by the tenants and they were entitled to the price for the same. The trial Court had left the question of trees open except that about mango trees. The appeal Court altered the decree as follows :
'It is hereby ordered and decreed that Respondent (Plaintiff) do recover actual possession of the suit land described in the plaint along with a shed and all the trees standing therein, on payment of the amount of compensation, which shall be determined by the executing Court in the light of the observations made above.'
Mr.Shah urged this order required to be altered in view of the argument that was advanced. A claim was made by the tenant that there were 20 trees therein. It was also admitted that two trees were old and that the other trees were planted by the tenants. Eighteen trees, therefore, were planted by the tenant and the value claimed by the tenant in his deposition was at the rate of Rs. 200/- per tree. Mr. Shah stated that his client was willing to pay the price at the rate of Rs. 200/- per tree for 18 trees and that therefore the matter may not be held to be decided by the executing Court. He suggested that since his client was willing to pay Rs. 3600/- as the price for the trees as claimed by the tenant, possession of the suit land should not be deferred for a further period. He was willing to deposit the amount in court but added that a decree may be passed for possession upon his depositing in Court Rs. 3600/- but that the a mount of Rs. 3600/- may not be allowed to be withdrawn by the defendants until possession was in fact obtained by the plaintiff. From the judgment of the appeal Court we find that the respondent had stated in the purshis at Exh. 22 that she was prepared to pay Rs. 2600/- as compensation in respect of 13 mango trees at the rate of Rs. 200/- per tree. In this Court Mr. Shah made a statement that his client was willing to pay Rs. 3600/- as the price of 18 trees. In view of this altered position, we fell that although a decree passed by the District Court has to be altered, there would be no order as to costs for cross-objections.
31. The appeal is dismissed. Clauses (1) and (2) of the decree passed by the lower appellate court are substituted by the following :
'Upon the plaintiff depositing Rs. 3600 in the trial Court, the defendants are directed to deliver actual possession of the suit land described in the plaint along with the shed and all threes standing thereon to the plaintiff. The trial Court is directed that the amount of Rs. 3600 should not be allowed to be withdrawn by the defendants or any of them unless the plaintiff has obtained actual possession of the land either directly from the defendants or by execution of the decree.'
Clauses (3) and (4) of the decree made by the lower appellate Court are confirmed. The appellants shall pay to the respondent the costs of this appeal. Parties will bear their own costs of cross-objects.
32. Appeal dismissed.