Henry Richards, C.J. and Pramada Charan Banerji, J.
1. This appeal arises out of a suit in which the plaintiff sought a declaration that a certain lease and kabuliat were not binding upon him on the ground that they had been granted by a karinda who had no authority. The material facts are as follows : The plaintiff sued in the first instance in the Revenue Court to eject the defendant appellant. The allegation was that the defendant was a non-occupancy tenant from year to year. The defendant set up the lease and kabuliat. The plaintiff replied that the lease was given without authority. The Revenue Court went into the matter and decided that there was authority to create the tenancy and accordingly dismissed the plaintiffs suit. Thereupon the plaintiff instituted the present suit, claiming the relief we have already mentioned. It is argued on behalf of the plaintiff that the present suit could not have been brought in the Revenue Court and that therefore the matter cannot be said to be res judicata. On the other hand, the defendant relies on Sections 95 and 167 of the Tenancy Act, II of 1901. Section 95 provides that a suit can be brought either by the tenant or the landholder for a declaration of various matters connected with the tenancy, and, amongst others, for a declaration as to the 'class' to which the tenant belongs. Section 167 is as follows : 'All suits and applications of the nature specified in the fourth schedule shall be heard and determined by the Revenue Court, and, except in the way of appeal as hereinafter provided, no court other than a Revenue Court shall take cognizance of any dispute or matter in respect of which any such suit or application might be brought or made.'
2. The defendant contends that the plaintiff might have sued under the provisions of Section 95 for a declaration that defendant was a non-occupancy tenant and that in such a suit it would have been competent for the Revenue Court to have taken into consideration the question of validity or invalidity of the lease. The defendant further contends that the real 'dispute' between the plaintiff and the defendant was whether or not the defendant was liable to be ejected from his holding on the ground that he was a tenant from year to year, and this is one of the suits or matters referred to in Section 167.
3. It is necessary for a moment to consider what is the real relief which the plaintiffs seek. It is clear that what they want is to eject the defendant from his holding. The declaration of the Civil Court on the question of the validity or invalidity of the lease would be quite useless except for the purpose of obtaining possession of the holding from the defendant. It is quite true that if we regard the form of the suit and disregard the substance of the dispute between the parties, the present suit is not a suit which could have been instituted in the Revenue Court. But the real substance of the matter is clearly a matter which would have been, and was decided in the Revenue Court. It cannot be denied for one moment that the present suit is an attempt to get behind the decision of the Revenue Court. We think that the real test of the] matter is whether or not the Revenue Court in a suit for ejectment was competent to go into the question of the validity or invalidity of the lease. We can see no reason whatever why it should not do so. If the lease was granted by a person who had no authority to make it, it was simply a piece of waste paper and had no more validity than if it had been forged. In our opinion it is impossible to argue that Revenue Court in the proceedings before it was not entitled to go into the question of the validity or invalidity of the lease.
4. The learned advocate on behalf of the respondents cited the case of Gomti Kwnwar v. Gudri (1902) I.L.R. 25 All. 138. This case is no authority for the proposition that where in the Revenue Court in a suit for ejectment the defendant pleads that he holds under a lease, it is not competent for the Revenue Court to consider the question of the validity of the lease. The only matter that was decided in that case was whether or not the decision of the Revenue Court operated as res judicata in a subsequent proceeding in the Civil Court. The Court held that the matter was not res judicata on the ground that the Revenue Court could not have tried the subsequent suit. In that case, (which was no doubt somewhat similar to the case now befores us), the provisions of Sections 95 and 167 of the Tenancy Act were not referred to or considered.
5. In the case of Rai Krishn Chand v. Mahadeo Singh Weekly Notes 1901 p. 49, the principle which we think ought to apply to the present case is stated in the following words : 'If the second and third defendants executed, in favour of the first defendant, he being a non-occupancy tenant, a lease which they had no power to execute on the landholders' behalf, the proper course for the plaintiff to adopt was to take proper proceedings under the North-Western Provinces Rent Act, 1881, for the ejectment of the tenant, ignoring the lease, and if the lease was set up in defence, showing that under the circumstances of its execution it was not binding upon him. As that course might have been adopted, the provisions of Section 95 of Rent Act apply, and the Civil Court could not entertain the suit so far as the setting aside of the lease was concerned.'
6. We allow the appeal, set aside the decree of this Court and also of both the lower courts and dismiss the plaintiff's suit with costs in all courts.