S.S. Dhavan, J.
1. This is an application under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure against an order of the III Temporary Civil and Sessions Judge, Budaun reversing that of the Munsif Budaun who had directed the respondent's plaint to be returned for presentation to the revenue court on the ground that the civil court had no jurisdiction, and directing the Munsif to re-admit the suit and decide it according to law. The plaintiff-respondent, Inder Narain Raizaday, filed a suit against the applicants praying for recovery of possession of a plot of agricultural land, for damages, for demolition of constructions alleged to have been made on his land by some of the defendants and for a permanent injunction to restrain them from interfering with his possession.
2. The defendants resisted the suit and denied that the plaintiff had any claim or title to the land. In this revision I am not, however, concerned with the merits of the dispute but with the plea of jurisdiction raised by the defendants. They contended that the civil court had no jurisdiction because the suit was based on a cause of action in respect of which the revenue court could grant the relief of possession. They invoked the bar of Section 242 of the U. P. Tenancy Act.
3. The trial court upheld this objection and returned the plaint for proper presentation to the revenue court. On appeal the learned Civil Judge disagreed with the Munsif and held that the civil court had jurisdiction to entertain the suit. He remanded the case with a direction for disposal of the suit by the Munsif. The defendants have come here in revision against that order.
4. Mr. S.S. Verma for the applicants contended that the view of the lower appellate court is contrary to law and as his order confers on the Munsif a jurisdiction which the latter does not possess, this Court should interfere in the exercise of its revisional jurisdiction. He relied upon a number of decisions of this Court interpreting the effect of section 242 of the U. P. Tenancy Act, On the other hand Mr. Radhey Shyam holding the brief of Sri Dhruva Narain contended that the view of the appellate Judge is correct. He too relied on a number of authorities.
5. After hearing learned counsel on both sides and examining the plaint in the suit I am of the opinion that the view of the trial court was correct and that of the appellate Judge erroneous.
6. Section 242 of the U. P. Tenancy Act runs thus:
'242. Subject to the provisions of Section 286 all suits and applications of the nature specified in the Fourth schedule shall be heard and determined by a revenue court, and no court other than a revenue court, shall, except by way of appeal or revision as provided in this Act, take cognizance of any such suit or application or of any suit or application based on a cause of action in respect of which any relief could be obtained by means of any such suit or application.
Explanation I--If the cause of action is one in respect of which relief might be granted by the revenue court, it is immaterial that the relief asked for from the civil court may not be identical with that which the revenue court could have granted.
Explanation II--If the cause of action is one in respect of which relief might be granted by the revenue court under Section 180, it is immaterial that the relief which may be asked for from the civil court is greater than or additional to that which the revenue court could have granted.
Example--If in a suit under Section 180, a person claims damages exceeding four time the annual rental value, he cannot oust the jurisdiction of the revenue court by framing his relief as such.'
7. It may be noted that prior to 1947, the last words of the section, before the Explanation, were 'in respect of which adequate relief could be obtained by means of any suit or application', but by U. P. Act X of 1947 the words 'adequate relief were changed into 'any relief' and Explanation II was also added by the said Amendment Act. It is manifest that the change from 'adequate' to 'any' together with Explanation II expanded the jurisdiction of the revenue court to the exclusion of the civil courts. The question however was--What were the limits of this expansion under the changed law? On this question a number of authorities were cited before me.
8. In Baiju v. Shambhu Saran, 1963 All LJ 1064 Desai C.J. and Pathak, J. took the view that if on any cause of action which has accrued relief can be had from a revenue court, the jurisdiction of a civil court is absolutely barred. In Mukteshwari Prasad Tewari v. Ram Wall, 1965 All LJ 1137 B. Dayal and D.D. Seth, JJ. held that a civil court cannot take cognizance of a suit for possession of agricultural land and for demolition of unauthorised construction standing thereon but can take cognizance of a suit merely for demolition of unauthorised constructions made on agricultural land. The case was under Section 331 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, the language of which is very similar to that of section 242 of the U. P. Tenancy Act. The suit was for possession and demolition on a legal (of an unauthorised?) construction, and the learned Judges took the view that in such a suit since the relief for possession can be granted by the revenue court, it is immaterial mat in the civil court a further relief for demolition of the construction could also be added to the main relief. They observed that
'the real reason why the plaintiff had to come to court is that he had been dispossessed from the land and as long as the revenue court can give him relief and restore him to possession, it cannot be denied that the revenue court can give him relief upon that cause of action and as such the suit clearly lies in the revenue court.'
In Syed Mohd. Zahir Hasan v. Dulare, 1953 All LJ 399: (AIR 1953 All 729) Agarwala and Chaturvedi JJ., held that the change in Section 242 from 'adequate relief' to 'any relief' was very important and had the effect of barring the jurisdiction of the civil court to hear any suit based on a cause of action in respect of which any relief could be obtained from the revenue court. It is not necessary to consider the other authorities.
9. In my opinion--I say this with the deepest respect for the decisions cited above which I have read with great care--the interpretation of Section 242 depends not only on the meaning of the words 'any relief' but also on the words 'based on a cause of action'. A suit may be based on a single cause of action or on several different and distinct causes of action. The Code of Civil Procedure permits a joinder of different causes of action where the plaintiffs and the defendants are the same, subject to certain limitations specified in the Code. The question is does the bar of Section 242 apply where a suit is based on several and distinct causes of action in respect of some of which the revenue court can grant relief but not in respect of the others? In my opinion, the bar would not apply in such a case. The language of Section 242 is sufficiently clear in this matter. The words 'any suit or application based on a cause of action in respect of which any relief could be obtained' refer to a suit which is based on a cause of action in respect of which some relief can be obtained from the revenue court, but not to a suit based on several and distinct causes of action in respect of some of which no relief can be obtained from the revenue court.
10. In 1963 All L 1064 (supra) Desai, C.J. and Pathak, J. appear to have taken the view that Section 242 bars the jurisdiction of the Civil Court even in a suit based on different causes of action provided the revenue court is competent to grant relief in respect of one of them. They observed as follows:
'Section 242 would be rendered meaningless and unnecessary if it only barred a suit in a civil court on a plaint containing a cause of action on which a revenue court could grant relief. No plaintiff approaching a civil court would draft his plaint in such a way as to make out a case cognizable by a revenue court. If he goes to a civil court, he will naturally draft his plaint so as to make out a case not cognizable by a revenue court. The contents of Section 242 can be given meaning only if courts insist upon the plaintiff going to a revenue court when on any of the facts that constitute the various causes of action in his favour there is one set of facts constituting a cause of action within the jurisdiction of a revenue court'.
With the deepest respect this is not the correct approach. If a statute purports to exclude the jurisdiction of the civil court but its language is obscure as regards its scope, the Court while interpreting it must bear in mind certain well recognised principles of interpretation of statutes. One of them is that where two meanings are possible the court will reject the one which will make the statute oppressive in its operation. Another is that the court will not interpret the Act in a manner which will lead to multiplicity of litigation or offend against well established principles of jurisprudence. If these principles of interpretation are kept in mind, there should be little difficulty in interpreting the words 'based on a cause of action in respect of which any relief can be obtained.' They cannot apply where a suit is based on several and distinct causes of action, for some of which no relief can be obtained from the revenue court. Any other interpretation will make the section oppressive. An illustration will make my meaning clear. A occupies B's agricultural land by force, and after sometime he starts making illegal constructions on it. A wants to file a suit for recovery of possession and for demolition of the constructions and their removal from his land. Here the suit is based on two different and distinct causes of action which accrued at different times--the relief for possession is based upon A's illegal entry, and for demolition and removal of constructions on his subsequent illegal constructions. Is this a suit based on a cause of action in respect of which the revenue court can grant any relief? I respectfully submit not. It is a suit based on different and distinct causes of action in respect of one of which alone the revenue court can grant relief but not in respect of the others. If the bar of Section 242 is extended to such a suit, what will be the result? He must file his suit in the revenue court, but that court will tell him,
'We can give you relief on one cause of action but not the other. We can restore possession but cannot order the defendants to remove his constructions.'
In this situation the plaintiff must either forgo the relief for demolition and removal of constructions and demolish and remove them at his own expense after recovering possession, or file a fresh suit for demolition after he obtains a decree for possession from the revenue court. But the civil suit cannot be filed until the dispute in the revenue court has been finally disposed of by an hierarchy of revenue courts leading upto a second appeal. He may have to wait for several years before he obtains a decree for demolition from the civil court, and shall bear all the expense and trouble due to multiplicity of actions. Thus multiplicity can be avoided by accepting the alternative interpretation that the bar of Section 242 is limited to a suit based on a cause of action in respect of which any relief can be granted by the revenue court, but not one based on several and distinct causes of action in respect of some of which no relief can be granted by the revenue court.
11. Of course, inadequacy of the relief in respect of a cause of action is no ground for not applying Section 242 of the U. P. Tenancy Act. Explanation II of Section 242 clearly provides that if the cause of action is one in respect of which relief might be granted by the revenue court, it is immaterial that the relief which may be asked for from the civil court is greater than or additional to that which the revenue court could have granted. In other words, it is immaterial whether the relief granted by the revenue court is inadequate. But inadequate relief is not the same thing as no relief. The amendment made by the U. P. Act X of 1947 concerned the question of inadequacy of relief, but had no application to cases where the revenue court can grant no relief on a distinct and separate cause of action.
12. However, it is not necessary for me to refer this case to a larger Bench because the present suit is based on a single cause of action in respect of which some relief could be granted by the revenue court. Paragraph 8 of the plaint states (I have translated the Hindi version into English) that the cause of action arose on 5th November, 1961 when the defendants started digging on the plaintiffs land and constructing foundations and again on 20th November 1961 when they refused to stop these constructions on the request of the plaintiff. Therefore, this is not a case where the plaintiff wants several reliefs based on different and distinct causes of action.
13. Learned counsel for the respondent after examining the plaint had to concede that the suit is based on one cause of action only. As the revenue court could grant him some relief namely, recovery of possession in respect of it, the jurisdiction of any other court was barred.
14. I allow this revision, set aside the order of the appellate Judge, and restore that of the Munsif. I further direct that the record shall be sent back to the trial court with a direction that the plaint be returned to the plaintiff-respondent for presentation to the proper court. Inthe circumstances, the parties shall bear theirown costs throughout.