Ryyes and Peggott, JJ.
1. This appeal arises out of the following facts: one Chikhuri Ahir was the occupancy tenant of a certain holding in a village in the Ballia district. On his death Musammat Jinsi applied to the Revenue Court for mutation of names in her favour, that is to say, she asked to be recorded as the occupancy tenant of the said holding in succession to Chikhuri, whom she described as her late husband. The proprietors of the village, the appellants now before us, replied that Musammat Jinsi was a concubine and not the lawful wife of Chikhuri Ahir; and an order wan passed on the 22nd of January, 1912, refusing mutation of names in favour of Musammat Jinsi. On the 18th of June, 1912, the said Musammat filed a suit in the court of the Munsif of Muhammadabad. She recited the facts already set forth, stated that she had been lawfully married to Chikhuri Ahir and that she was up to the date of the institution of the suit still in possession and occupation by right of inheritance of the entire estate left by Chikhuri. The plaint further recites that the order of the Revenue Court la calculated to cause injury to the plaintiff in future and the date of this order is referred to as the date of the origin of the cause of action. The relief sought is a declaration that the plaintiff is the wedded wife of Chikhuri and rightful heir to his estate (matruka). The suit was resisted on a variety of pleas, and more especially on the allegation that the plaintiff had been dispossessed and the land occupied by the defendants themselves as their khud-kasht. With this point, however, we are not concerned in the present appeal. The learned Munsif fixed a number of issues, but decided only two of them. The point of his decision was that the suit as brought was not cognizable by a Civil Court and on this finding he dismissed the suit.
2. In appeal this finding has been reversed by the Subordinate Judge of Ghazipur and the suit remanded to the court of first instance for trial of the remaining issues. Against this order of remand the defendants have filed the present appeal. In the course of argument before us the case has narrowed itself to this, whether the suit as brought is one in respect of which the cognizance of a Civil Court is barred by the provisions of Section 187 of the Agra Tenancy Act (Local Act II of 1901). Under that Section no court other than a Revenue Court can take cognizance of any dispute or matter in respect of which a suit or application might have been made to a Revenue Court under one or other of the articles of the fourth schedule to the said Act. In group C, Article No. 34 of the aforesaid schedule, it is laid down that a suit may be brought before an assistant collector of the first class exercising jurisdiction under that Act for declaration as to any of the matters specified in Section 95 of the Act. Referring back to Section 95 We find that at any time during the continuance of a tenancy, either the landholder or the tenant may sue for a declaration as to any of the following matters, including amongst Others, (a) the name and description of the tenant of the holding, (6) the class to which the tenant belongs. According to Musammat Jinsi the tenancy referred to in her plaint still continues and she is in possession of this holding as an occupancy tenant in succession to her late husband. It seems to us that it can scarcely be denied that, on these allegations of fact, Musammat Jinsi might have brought a suit for a declaration that the name and description of the tenant of the holding in question is Musammat Jinsi, widow of Chikhuri Ahir; and the class to which the said tenant belongs is 'Occupancy tenant.' Now it is contended before us that the suit as brought is not exactly of this description. The case lies in our opinion very near the boundary, and, like the learned Judges who decided the case of Birham Khushal v. Sumera (1) we feel it necessary to guard ourselves against laying down that a suit for a declaration of legal status cannot he entertained by a Civil Court merely because such a suit may be brought in consequence of a dispute which originally arose between landlord and tenant. We can conceive of a plaint, similar to the present but differently drafted, in which a mere declaration as to the existence of a valid marriage might have been sought, and in respect of which it could scarcely have been held that the jurisdiction of the Civil Court was ousted. When we come to look at this plaint, taking notice of such circumstances as that the order of the Revenue Court of the 22nd of January, 1912, is referred to as the origin of the cause of action, that no other property of the deceased Chikhuri is specified except this occupancy holding and that the relief sought is not only a declaration that the plaintiff was the wedded wife of Chikhuri, but also that she was the rightful heir of his estate, we think that in taking cognizance of this suit the Civil Courts would in substance contravene the provisions of Section 167 of the Tenancy Act. They would be taking cognizance of a dispute or matter in respect of which a suit under the Tenancy Act might have been brought. On this finding we accept this appeal, and, setting aside the order appealed against, restore the decree of the court of first instance dismissing the suit of the plaintiff respondent. The defendants appellants will get their costs throughout.