1. The first defendant is the petitioner in this revision petition and the short question that is raised is as to whether the question relating to the claim of status of the defendant as a tenant is required to be referred to the Munsiff's Court at Kolar for adjudication. Respondent No. 1 - the first plaintiff, filed O. S. No. 17/65 for declaration of title and for possession in respect of the land in dispute. The contention of the first defendant was that he is cultivating the suit land as a tenant and as such the plaintiff is not entitled to recover possession of the land from the tenant. It was also contended that the first defendant is a deemed tenant.
2. In view of the defendant's contention an issue was framed, viz., issue No. 11, which reads as follows:
'Issue No. 11: Is it true that the first defendant is a tenant or a deemed tenant of the suit land r'
3. As per the order passed on 13-6-1968, this issue was sent to the land Tribunal, Kolar, for a finding and the proceedings in the suit were stayed. The Tribunal decided the question in so far as the deemed tenancy was concerned. It declined to decide the. question of tenancy. The view taken by the Land Tribunal was that having regard to the judgment of this Court reported in 1968 (2) Mys LJ 20T, C. Thammayya v. Thimayya, the Land Tribunal had no jurisdiction to decide whether the petitioner is a tenant of any other kind.
Thereafter the Mysore Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, (Act 6 of 1970) came into force and the amendment of the provisions of the- Act provoked first defendant to apply to the Court, that having regard to the provisions of the Mysore Land Reforms Act as amended by Act 6 of 1970, the Civil Judge's Court at Kolar has no Jurisdiction to decide the question of tenancy and so it should be referred to the Mtmsiff's Court at Kolar for adjudication. The learned Civil Judge by his order dated 28th March 1970 held that it was not necessary to call for a finding. Even while rejecting this application, the view taken by the learned Civil Judge was that the amending Act 6 of 1970 was applicable but ft was not necessary to refer the matter to the tenancy Court. The learned Judge incidentally negatived the contention of the petitioner that he was a tenant. It is this order that is challenged before this Court.
4. Sri M. S. Gopal, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner, contended that having regard to the provisions of Sections 2 (9a), 112, 132 and 133 of the Mysore Land Reforms Act, the Court of the Civil Judge had no Jurisdiction fo decide the question of tenancy and the only appropriate Court to decide the matter is the Court of the Munsiff at Kolar. It was also contended fey him that the learned Civil Judge in the guise of rejecting the application for reference has virtually decided that the petitioner was raising this plea to drag on the proceedings and that he was not a tenant at all.
Sri B. Tilak, Hegde, learned counsel for the first respondent, contended that the Mysore Land Reforms' (Amendment) Act 6 of 1970 was not retrospective and since it was not retrospective, the provisions of the said Act were inapplicable to the present proceedings and the suit and the revision application may he disposed of as if the amending Act was not in force. It was further submitted by Sri Tilak Hegde that there was no question of jurisdiction involved in the present proceedings as the Court bag merely 'stated that the question as to whether the defendant was a tenant does not arise and further there was no adjudication on merits and so referring of the issue of tenancy to the competent court does not arise.
5. In so far as the first contention raised by Sri Tilak Hegde that the provisions of the Mysore Land Reforms Act 6 of 1970 are not applicable to the present proceedings is concerned. I am of the view that the said contention is devoid of any substance. This Court has in number of decisions including the decisions reported in (1988) 1 Mys LJ 570, Purushottam Sakharam Shah v. Parabhu Bharamasutar, and (1968) 2 Mys LJ 207, Thammayya v. Thimmayya has laid down that after coming into force of the provisions of the- Mysore Laud Reforms Act, the suits and proceedings pending on that day must be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Land Reforms Act. It has been further stated that when a Jurisdiction is altered during the pendency of a litigation, the jurisdiction to be exercised is the jurisdiction newly created, and not the old. It has also been stated that though the suits were instituted before the coming' into force of the Land Reforms Act, its disposal was governed by the Mysore Land Reforms Act.
In view of the clear pronouncements of this Court, in the decisions referred to above, I am of the view that in the present proceedings ft was the duty of the Lower Court to take notice of the provisions of the Mysore Land Reforms Act 6 of 1970 and the said provisions' cannot be overlooked. What has been merely done by the amendment of relevant sections is to alter the Jurisdiction of the authorities and when the jurisdiction is altered during the pendency of a litigation, the jurisdiction to be exercised is the jurisdiction newly created, and not the old. In that view or the matter, the first submission made by Sri Tilak' Hegde that the provisions of tbe Mysore Land Reforms Act 6 of 1970 should not be looked into, is unsustainable.
6. According to Section 2, (9a) of the Mysore Land Reforms Act, 'Court' means the Court of Munsiff within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the land is situate. Section 112 of the Act which deals with regard to the duties of the Courts, it has been stated that for the purposes of this Act, the following shall be the duties and functions to be performed by the Court, namely, to decide whether a person is a tenant or not under Section 4 and make declaration accordingly. Section 132 bars the jurisdiction of the Civil Court to settle, decide or deal with any question which is required to be settled, decided or dealt with by the Court under the provisions of this Act. Section 133 (2) (a) provides that if any suit instituted in any Civil Court (that is, other than the Court as defined in this Act) involves any issues which are required to be settled, decided or dealt with by the Court, then the Civil Court shall stay the suit and refer such issues to the Court for decision.
Having regard to tbe wording of Section 3 33 (2) (a), I am of the view that the Civil Court other than the Court defined in Section 2 (9a) is not competent to decide or deal with any of the matters required to be dealt with by the Court defined under Section 2 (9a) of the Act. In Section 2 (9a), as already noticed, it is only the Munsiff Court which has jurisdiction to decide the question referred to under Section 112. If it is only the Munsiff Court that has jurisdiction to decide the matter under Section 112, then it would necessarily mean that the other Civil Courts as are referred to under Section 133 (2) (a) cannot obviously have jurisdiction to decide or deal with the matter. In that view of the matter, the learned Judge was entirely in error in not referring this issue for adjudication to the Court of the Munsiff at Kolar. In the view I have taken, the order of the learned Civil Judge, Kolar, dated 28-3-1970 is required to be set aside.
7. It may be noted that this Court in 1968 (2) Mys LJ 207 stated before concluding the judgment that there is an element of incongruity in the relevant statutory provisions of the Land Reforms Act, which enables the Land Tribunal to decide the limited question whether a person is a deemed tenant while on the question whether a person is a tenant of any other description, the Civil Court's jurisdiction to make an adjudication remains unaffected. It was pointed out that this feature of the Act was productive of inconvenient results and that remedy lies in amending the Act. Probably it is the observations of this Court that led to amendment of some of the relevant provisions.
However, while abolishing the Tribunals and establishing the Courts in their place, what has been done is that the Courts as defined in the Act have alone been conferred' the exclusive Jurisdiction to decide these questions- The Superior Courts like the Civil Judge's Court do not have the jurisdiction but only the Court of the Munsiff has the jurisdiction. I don't think that the Legislature intended this result but as was said in the earlier case 'the remedy lies in an amending Act,.'
8. It was contended by Sri Tilak Hegde that there is no question of jurisdiction involved, and therefore, this Court should not interfere with the order of the Court below. According to my view, the only question involved in the present case is one of jurisdiction as to whether the Court of the Civil Judge has Jurisdiction to decide as to whether the first defendant is a tenant of the property or not. If the Civil Judge's Court has no jurisdiction to decide as to whether the defendant No. 1 is a tenant or not of the property, then the learned Judge could not have refused to exercise his jurisdiction vested in him in referring the issue and virtually deciding it himself. The learned Civil Judge, as already noticed, has disposed of virtually the merits of the matter.
The issue of tenancy has already raised, as already noticed, being issue No. 11 whether the first defendant is a tenant or a deemed tenant of the suit land. In the view that I have taken, the order of the learned Civil Judge Is set aside and the learned Civil Judge is directed to refer issue No. II 'Whether the first defendant is a tenant of the suit land' to the Court of the Munsiff at Kolar for adjudication -and further to stay the proceedings under Section 133 (2) (a) and await judgment of the Court of Munsiff and thereafter dispose of the suit in accordance with the findings recorded on the reference. No costs.