1. This is an appeal by defendants Nos. 1, 2 and 3 and by the heir of defendant No. 5 and it arises out of a judgment and decree passed by the learned Assistant Judge, North Satara, at Satara in Civil Appeal No. 228, of 1951 which arose out of a judgment and decree in Civil Suit No. 280 of 1949 filed in the Court of the Civil Judge Junior Division, at Wai.
2. This suit No. 280 of 1949 has been filed by the plaintiff for a declaration that the defendants are protected tenants of the suit property. The suit property is Section No. 92 admeasuring three acres six gunthas and assessed at Rs. 15-12-0 situated at Wai in the District of North Satara. There is no dispute that the suit property is a Devasthan Inam (Class III) of the temple of Shri Baneshwar.
On 30-10-1945, the Rastes as Wahiwatdars of the above-mentioned temple sold the suit land to the present plaintiff for Rs. 3100 by the sale deed Ex. 86. In the suit a relief has also been asked for recovering Rs. 900 from the defendants as damages for three years prior to the suit upon an allegation that the defendants failed to pay to the plaintiff his share In the fruits of the trees situated on the suit land.
The trial Court has found that the defendants are permanent tenants of the suit land. 'it has also found that the defendants have no interest in the trees which are situated on the suit land. According to the learned trial Judge, the defendants as permanent tenants of the suit land have one-third share in the usufruct of the trees by way of remuneration for looking after the trees.
Prom the above-mentioned Judgment and decree of the trial Court, the defendants went in appeal and the plaintiff cross-objected. In the cross-objection, it was contended by the plaintiff that the learned trial Judge's finding that the defendants are permanent tenants is erroneous.
In appeal, it was held by the learned Assistant Judge that the defendants were not permanent tenants and that the plaintiff was entitled to two-thirds share in the fruits of the trees. Against that decision, the defendants have come in second appeal.
3. There is a short point of law involved in this case and that point has now been well settled. It Is now well settled that whether a parson is a tenant or a protected tenant or a permanent tenant, is a question which only the Mamlatdar's Court is competent to decide. The Civil Court has no jurisdiction to decide that question. Mr. Walawalkar for the respondents concedes that this is a correct position and indeed there can bo no dispute about it.
But Mr. Walawalkar says that so far as the plaintiff's relief for Rs. 900 by way of damages for three years prior to the suit for the defendants' failure to pay to him his share in the fruits of the trees is concerned, the Civil Court is competent to decide it.
Here again, Mr. Walawalkar is in error. We have only got to turn to the provisions of Sections 20 (2), 70 (j) and 85 of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948, in order to see that in this particular case, the Civil Court has no jurisdiction to decide any of the points raised by the plaintiff.
Section 20 (2) says that if there is any dispute regarding the right to the produce of such trees or the apportionment of such produce as provided under Sub-section (1), the tenant or the landlord may apply to the Mamlatdar. Such application shall be made in a prescribed form. There is no doubt that in the present suit there is a dispute regarding the right to the produce of the trees.
The plaintiff says that the defendants are bound to pay him his share in the fruits of the trees. The defendants are disputing that right. Clearly, therefore, there is a dispute between the parties as to the right to the produce of the trees and Section 20 (2) says that the tenant or the landlord may apply to the Mamlatdar for the determination of this dispute.
Section 70 (j) says that for the purposes of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948, It shall be the duty and function to be performed by a Mamlatdar to determine any dispute regarding the right to produce of trees naturally growing upon a land and Section 85 says that no Civil Court shall have jurisdiction to settle, decide or deal with any question which is by or under this Act required to be settled, decided or dealt with by the Mamlatdar etc. etc.
Under Clause (j) of Section 70, It is the Mamlatdar's function, as I just said, to decide or deal with or determine a dispute regarding the right to the produce of the trees naturally growing on the land. That being so, it is only too obvious that the Civil Court will have no jurisdiction to decide even that point.
4. The result, therefore, is that, as theCivil Court has no Jurisdiction to decide thepoints raised in the plaintiff's suit, it is ordered that the plaint must be returned to the plaintiff for presentation to the Mamlatdar's Court.The plaintiff will bear his own costs as also thedefendants' costs throughout,Order accordingly.