(1) The question in this Second Appeal is whether S. 21, Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act (Act III of 1895) (hereinafter referred to as the Act) is a bar to the maintaibility of the suit.
(2) The facts found by the courts below may be stated. The plaint schedule paroperty bearing Old Survey No. 182 and Re:Survey No. 231 of the extend of 2 acres 14 cents is situated in Magam village and is a potter service inam. Palakollu subbanna was the original service-holder, enjoyed the said inam during his life-time. After his death, the plaintiff's father Madidi became the service-holder and was in enjoyment of the said land.
As Maridi has service inams in Innavalli also, he appointed the defendant's father Narasayya as deputy for him to do service on his behalf of Magam. Narasayya died on 19-9-1948. After his death, plaintiff's father continued the defendants as deputies. When Maridi died on 9-11-1945 the authority. conferred by maridi on the defendants came to an end. Though the plaintiffs asked the defendants to deliver possession of the suit land, they refused to do so. In the circumsances, the plaintiffs filed O. S. No. 199 of 1948 on the file of the Court of the District Munsif of Amalapuram for recovery of possession of the property mentioned in schedule 'A' annexed to the plaint and for profits.
(3) Both the courts found that, after the deathof Maridi, the authority conferred on the defendants to deputise for him ceased and therefore the plaintiffs would be entitled to possession. The contention raised by the defendants that S. 21 of the Act would be a bar to the maintainability of the suit was negatived. Hence, the Second Appeal.
(4) The only question raised in the Second Appeal is whether S. 21 of the Act is a bar to the maintainability of the suit. The relevant provisions of the Act may now be read:
'Section 13: Any person may sue before the Collector for any of the Village Offices specified in s. 3 or for the recovery of the emoluments of any such offices, on the grounds that he is entitled under sub-s 2 or 3 of S. 10 of the Madras Proprietory Estates Village Service Act, 1894 or under Sub-s 2 or 3 of S. 10 or Sub-s or 3 of S. 11 or S. 12 of this Act, as the case may be to hold such office and enjoy such emoluments.
Section 21: NO civil court shall have authority to take into consideration or decide any claims to sxucceed to any of the offices specified in S. 3 or any question as to the rate of the amount of the emoluments of any such offices or exceptas provided in proviso (ii) to Sub-s. 1 of S. 13 any claim to recover the emoluments of any such office'.
(5) These two sections were the subject of judicial scrutiny. Some of the deicisons, which ay throw some light on the scopeof the Sections, may be noticed. In -- 'Kestiram Narasimhulu v. Narasimhulu Patnaidu', 30 Mad 126 (A) (FB), a Bench of three Judges held that the jurisdiction of a civil court is excluded by S. 21, Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act in cases in which the plaintiff sues for recovery of the land as emoluments of his office, and the defendant resists the claim on the ground that the land is not the emolument of the office. At page 129, Sir Arnold White C. J. defines the scope of S. 21 as follows:
'Section 13, subject to the proviso, gives the Collector jurisdiction to decide such, a claim, whilst S. 21, subject to the exception takes away the jurisdiction of the civil courts'.
At page 127, the learned Chief Justice observed:
'The plaintiff's sole ground of action is that the lands sued for are the emoluments of his office, and it seems tome the claim is nonetheless a flciam for the emoluments within the meaning of the section because the defendant denies that the lands in question constitute the emoluments'.
It may be observed that, in that case, the suit was filed on the basis that the plaintiff was entitled to recover theland as emoluments of his office, and therefore, it was a cler case coming within the scope of S. 13.
(6) 'Muvvala Seetham Naidu v. Dobbi Rami Naidu', 33 Mad 208 (B) was a decision arising out of a suit for the recovery of a village Officer's inam land on the expiry of a lease granted by the Village Office to the defendant. The learned Judges Benson, O. C. J. and Krishnaswamy Ayyar J. held that such a suit was maintainable in a civil court. The learned Judges accepted the following observations of subramania Iyr J. in -- 'Narasinhulu v. Narasinhulu', 16 Mad LJ 333 (C) 'According to the general law, the landlord can eject the tenant iwhtout showing more than the letting and the expiry of the term as he is not called upon the allege or prove his right to the land or to the office, the tenant being estopped in such a case from raising any question as to the title of the party etc'.
This decision was based upon the principle that the plaintiff's title to the land as emoluments annexed to his office was not the basis for the recovery of the land. As a landlord whatever might be the natureof the land held by him, he was entitled to recover the same as lessor after the expiry of the lease.
Devadoss and Wallace JJ held in -- Yellamanda v. Chitambaram', AIr 1926 Mad 505 (D) that suit for possession of service inam lands, not based on the fact that the plaintiff is the holder of an office and that the land attached as emoluments to that office, buton the allegation that the defendants were tenants holding over after the expiry of a lease, is cognisable by civil court. At page 506 Devadoss J observes:
'But where a person sues for the possession of land, which is his, whether it be against a trespasser or against a co-sharer, he does not base his claim on his being the holder of the office, but he base his claim on his right to the land. The mere fact that it is inam land does not mean that the cause of action is based on his being the holder of the office. In this case, the plaintiff does not come into court for recovery of land on the strength of his being an office holder and that the lands being the emoluments of the office. He seeks the court's aid for recovering possession of the property which has been unlawful taken from him.'
Later on, the learned Judge proceeded to state that s. 21 does not take away the jurisdiction of a court to entertain a suit for the recovery of possession of an inam land from a trespasser, or a tenant, holding over or from a co-sharer, who, in order to defeat the plaintiff, sets up a title in himself and denies the title of the plaintiff.
(7) Venkata subba Rao J. in -- 'Veeranna v. Mocharamma', AIR 1938 Mad 505 (E) with his usual clairity, rbought out the principles underlying Ss. 9, 13, and 21 of the Act in bold relief. There a village blacksmith alienated to various persons portions of his service inam lands and was dismissed. His widow was appointed to the office. She brought a suit against the defendant, an alienee of oneof the portions. Both the Deputy collecotr, and on appeal, the collector, gave her a decree. In a Writ of Certiorari, the question was raised whether they had jurisdiction to entertain the suiut. the learned Judges Venkata subba Rao and Abdu Rahman JJ. held that S. 21 barred the suit.
At page 506 Venkata Subba Rao J. laid down the tests for ascertawining whether a particular suit comes within the mischief of S. 21 of the Act. Thelearned Judge said:
'The test for deciding whether the Revenue or the civil court has jurisdiction has been laid down in several cases. Where it is necessary for the plaintiff to allege in order to maintain his action that the land in suit is an emolument of a service inam, the jurisdiction willremain with the Revenue court under Section 13 or the Act............................ Where the plaintiff sues on the ground of a trespass or on the ground that the land is his property, or upon the footing of a lease that has expired, there is no need for him to rely upon the fact of the land being an emolument of a service inam'.
The simple test laid down by thelearned Judge may be put thus. Is it necessary to rely upon the fact of the land being an emolument of service inam in order to get a relief in the suit?
(8) To summarise, Section 21 ousts the jurisdiction of civil courts only in regard to matter in respect whereof jurisdiction is conferred under Section 13 on the Revenue Court. A suit by a service holder lcaiming a right to succeed or in actual possession of the office for recovery of the emoluments is cognisable by a Revenue Court. the denial of, the character of the property by the defendant does not affect the jurisdiction. But the essential requisite is that the plaintiff shall allege and rely upon the fact that the land is an emolument attached to the office and make that a foundation for the relief claimed. But, if his cause of action and his right to possession do not depend upon his title to the emoluments as a service holder, but on a collateral fact, S. 21 is not a bar. If he is dispossessed by a trespasser, if his lessee refuses to deliver possession after the expiry of the term, if a person holding a derivative title under him does not give him possession after the termination of the derivative title either on the expiry of the term or otherwise, in all these cases his cause of action and his right to relief do not depend, to the emoluments but only on his right to possession.
(9) If the aforesaid principles are applied what will be the result in the present case? the plaintff's father permitted the defendants to enjoy the suit property doing service during his lifetime. After his death, instead of returning the land to his heirs, they continued in possession as trespassers. The plaintiffs are entitled to suceed, if they establish that their father permitted the defendants to enjoy theland for a purpose and that the permission given was revoked by his death. It is not necessary for them to prove that they are service-holders and that the land are emoluments annexed to the service. If so, it follows that S. 21 is not a bar to the maintainability of the suit in a Civil Court. The conclusion arrived at by the courts below is correct.
(10) The appeal fails and is dismissed with costs. No leave.
(11) Appeal dismissed.