G.C. Mathur, J.
1. The land in dispute in these writ petitions appertains to the Basudha Math and the Math is the tenure holder of all the plots, This fact is admitted by all parties. Formerly one Mahant Ajodhya Das was the Mahant of this Math. After his death there was a dispute between Ram Sunder Das respondent No. 3 and Dwarka Das regarding the Mahantship of this Math. It was held in the litigation that followed the respondent No. 3 was not the Chela of Ajodhya Das and that Dwarka Das was the successor of Ajodhya Das. Dwarka Das died on October 18, 1963. When the villages in Which the plots in dispute are situated were brought under consolidation respondent No. 3 filed objections under Section 9(2) of the Consolidation of Holdings Act claiming himself to be the Mahant of the Math after the death of Mahant Dwarka Das and prayed that his name be substituted in place of Mahant Dwarka Das as the Mahant of the Math. The petitioner Rama Kant Das who also claims to be the Mahant of the Math as successor of Mahant Dwarka Das filed objections to the objections of respondent No. 3. The Consolidation Officer held that respondent No. 3 and not the petitioner was the successor to Mahant Dwarka Das and consequently directed that the name of respondent No. 3 be recorded as Sarbarkar of the Math in place of Mahant Dwarka Das. Against the orders of the Consolidation Officer the petitioner filed appeals before the Settlement Officer (Consolidation). The Settlement Officer (Consolidation) held that the Consolidation authorities were not competent to decide the question as to who was the Mahant or Manager of the Math. He accordingly allowed the appeals and set aside the orders of the Consolidation Officer. The respondent No. 3 thereupon filed applications in revision before the Deputy Director. The Deputy Director has taken the view that the Consolidation Authorities had the jurisdiction to decide the question of Mahantship. On merits he confirmed the finding of the Consolidation Officer. Accordingly he allowed all the revisions, set aside the order of the Settlement Officer and restored that of the Consolidation Officer. It is against these orders of the Deputy Director of Consolidation that these writ petitions are being filed.
2. The only question which arises for determination in these writ petitions is whether the Consolidation Authorities are competent or not to decide the question as to who is the Mahant or Sarbarkar of a Math when admittedly the Math is the tenure-holder and there is no dispute regarding the rights of tenure-holders. Learned counsel for the petitioners has relied upon the decision of a Division Bench of this Court in Syed Ashfaq Husain v. Waqf Alal Nafs, 1967 All LJ 336. In this case the question which arose for consideration was whether a suit filed in respect of the compensation and rehabilitation bonds payable on the abolition of zamindari could be abated under Section 5 of the Consolidation of Holdings Act. In this connection the Bench examined the scope of the Consolidation of Holdings Act with a view to determine the extent to which the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts was ousted by the Act. The Bench, observed:
'We have analysed all the relevant provisions of the Act including the long title and the preamble. The result of the analysis is that it becomes clear that it is only in respect of agricultural land the rights of Bhumidhars, sirdars and Assamis that the consolidation authorities adjudicate. They are not concerned with any other rights or any other land or any; other property ...............'
A little earlier the Bench observed:
'From these provisions also it clearly follows that it is only the tenure-holder's right in respect of the agricultural land which are the subject-matter of decision before the Consolidation authorities.'
In view of this finding the Bench held that the Consolidation authorities had no jurisdiction to decide the question relating to compensation and rehabilitation bonds and that, therefore, the jurisdiction of the Civil Court was not ousted. It observed:
'It is well settled that powers of a tribunal of limited jurisdiction must strictly be called out from the statute. That the Consolidation authorities are tribunals of limited jurisdiction cannot be doubted. We have already said earlier that they are not Courts or Civil or revenue courts with the result that they cannot adjudicate upon any matter in respect of which there is no express provision permitting them to adjudicate upon. It is well settled that the bar to the jurisdiction of Civil courts cannot be readily inferred and that their jurisdiction can be barred only by an express provision, or one from which such a bar can be inferred by necessary implication.'
3. An objection under Section 9(21 of the Consolidation of Holdings Act can be filed against the records prepared under Sections 8 and 8-A of the Act. Under Section 8, after revision of the maps under Section 7, the following four things have to be done:
(1) a revision of the field book.
(2) the valuation of each plot and all trees, wells and other improvements existing on the plots have to be determined.
(3) the share of each owner, if there are more owners than one out of the valuation has to be ascertained, and
(4) the share of each Individual tenure holder in a joint holding has to be determined.
Sub-section (2) of Section 8 requires a Khasra Chakbandi to be prepared. Section 8-A requires the preparation of the statement of principles. Under Section 9(2) objections are to be filed to the records prepared under Sections 8 and 8-A. Section 9-A provides for disposal of cases relating to claims to land or partition of joint holdings. Section 9-B provides for the disposal of objections to the statement of principles. Section 9-C deals with the partition of joint holdings. These provisions were examined by the Division Bench in the above mentioned case and it observed:
'There is no provision in the Act under which Civil rights of a party can be determined. The Consolidation authorities are not competent to decide questions of proprietorship and are confined only to deciding questions relating to land tenure, that is to say relating to rights of tenure holders which means those of Bhumidhars or sirdars or Assamis. What we are saying finds support from the provisions of Sections 9, 9-A, 9-B, 9-C and 10 of the Act also. It would be noticed that Section 8 provides for the revision of field book and current annual register and Section 8-A for the preparation of statement of principles. Section 9 clearly provides that when the records_ and statements mentioned in Sections 8 and 8-A have been prepared and published, notices shall issue 'to the tenure holders concerned and other persons interested.' It would be noticed that the records that are sought to be revised under Section 8 of the Act are those relating to tenure holder plots and the statement of principles prepared under Section 8-A also relates to agricultural plots of tenure holders. Section 9 of the Act also requires that notices shall be sent 'to the tenure holders or persons interested,' i.e. those who claim to be tenure holders. Section 9-A of the Act provides that the objections in respect of land (agricultural land) and partition of joint holdings, shall be decided. Section 9-C(2) of the Act provides that 'the partition of joint hold-Ings shall be effected on the basis of shares, provided that where the tenure holders concerned agree, it may be effected on the basis of specific plots,' Section 10 of the Act provides for preparation and maintenance of revised annual registers on the basis of the orders passed under Section 9-A(1) and (2) of the Act. All these provisions clearly show that the dispute contemplated is only in respect of tenure holders' rights in agricultural land and it is only those rights that are adjudicated upon by the Consolidation authorities.'
It is, therefore, clear that the Consolidation authorities had jurisdiction only to decide questions relating to the rights of tenure holders. A dispute as to who is the Mahant or Sarbarkar of a Math is a dispute of a civil nature cognizable by a Civil Court. It cannot be said to be a dispute relating to the rights of tenure holders. Upon the death of a Mahant or Sarbarkar no question of mutation or succession to the right of the tenure holder arise. In my opinion, therefore, the dispute as to who is the Mahant or Sarbarkar of a Math cannot be decided by the Consolidation authorities and is totally beyond their jurisdiction.
4. Learned counsel for respondent No. 3 raised a preliminary objection that though writ petition No. 517 of 1969 was filed within tune the other writ petitions Nos. 2657, 2659, 2660, 2661 and 2663 are belated and the belated writ petitions should be dismissed. In the view which I am taking that the Consolidation authorities have no jurisdiction to decide the question as to who is the Mahant or Sarbarkar of the Math even if the orders are not expressly quashed they will be void orders. That being so the preliminary objection cannot be accepted.
5. The writ petitions are accordingly allowed and the orders of the Deputy Director of Consolidation dated January 9, 1959 are quashed. Parties will bear their own costs of this petition.