1. The facts which have given rise to this appeal are as follows:--The defendants respondents are the Zemindars of the village Bidhuna. The plaintiff appellant was, prior to 1313 Pasli, entered in the revenue papers as muafidar of plot No. 757. In the year 1313 Fasti when he was a minor, one Raghubarpuri entered into an agreement with the Zemindars on behalf of the plaintiff-appellant as his guardian, undertaking to pay rent in respect of plot No. V 57. Ever since then the plaintiff's name has been shown in the revenue papers as that of a tenant in respect of plot No. 757. In 1915 the Zemindars distrained the crops of the plaintiff for arrears of rent. Thereupon the plaintiff contested the distraint under Section 142 of the Tenancy Act and raised the question of his tenure with regard to plot No. 757. He stated that he was a muafidar of the plot and that Raghubarpuri was not his guardian and had no right to enter into an agreement with the Zemindars on the 24th of October 1905, giving up on behalf of the plaintiff the rights of a maufidar and undertaking to pay rent of plot No. 757. The Revenue Court went into the question of the validity of the agreement and held against the plaintiff. The application of the latter contesting the distraint was disallowed. After the decision of that case, the suit out of which this appeal has arisen was filed by the plaintiff on the 9th of August 1916 against the defendants-respondents, the Zemindars of the village, for a declaration that plot No. 757 was his muafi and that the defendants had no right to take any rent in respect of that plot. The plaintiff based his claim on the allegation that Raghubarpuri was not his guardian either appointed by a Court or under the Hindu Law and had no right to enter into an agreement with the Zemindars on behalf of the plaintiff and to relinquish the muafidari rights. The defendants resisted the claim on various pleas. They maintained that Raghubarpuri was the guardian of the plaintiff and during the latter's minority did all the business for him and could enter into an agreement with the Zemindars, and that the agreement entered into by him was a valid agreement binding upon the plaintiff. They farther pleaded limitation, res judicata and the want of jurisdiction in the Civil Court to try the suit. The Court of first instance dismissed the claim. On appeal its decree was confirmed. The lower Appellate Court did not refer to the question of jurisdiction. It decided the plea of limitation in favour of the plaintiff, but held that the claim was barred by res judicata inasmuch as the decision of the distraint case on appeal by the District Judge was a decision of a competent Court empowered to hear the present case. The learned Judge also decided in favour of the plaintiff the question of the validity of the agreement of Raghubarpuri. He held that Raghubarpuri was not the guardian of the plaintiff and was not authorised to come to 'terms with the defendant Zemindars and that the agreement was not binding upon the plaintiff. In second appeal to this Court it is contended that the claim of the plaintiff is not barred by res judicata.
2. We may at once concede the correctness of this contention. The learned Counsel for the respondents who has argued the case with great ability has, however, urged that he can support the decree of the lower Appellate Court on another ground, namely, that of want of jurisdiction in the Civil Court to try the present suit. He relies upon the provisions of Section 167 of the Tenancy Act. He contends that the former suit of the plaintiff in the Revenue Court was brought under Section 142 of the Tenancy Act; that is one of the suits mentioned in the 4th Schedule of the Act. In that case the very points that the plaintiff now seeks to raise were decided, namely, whether the agreement of 1904 05 given by Raghubarpuri was binding on the plaintiff and whether the plaintiff was a tenant of the respondents. He cannot by merely changing the form of his relief evade the provisions of Section 167 of the Tenancy Act. In the present case he asks for a declaration that plot No. 757 is his muafi and that he is not liable to pay rent in respect of it. In other words, he wants to have his tenure of the plot No. 757 determined by the Civil Court. The same question was before the Revenue Court in the distraint case and was decided against the plaintiff. The learned Counsel also relies upon the provisions of Section 95 of the Rent Act and on the case of Ram Singh v. Girraj Singh 26 Ind. Cas. 731 ; 12 A.L.J. 1252 ; 37 A. 41. For the plaintiff-appellant the reply is that he could not go to a Revenue Court to ask for a declaration that he was a muafidar. Section 95 of the Rent Act applies only to cases where the relationship of landlord and tenant is admitted. As to Section 167, the answer is that the present suit is not of the nature of the suits mentioned in the 4th Schedule. The real question in the case is whether a party who has been declared by the Revenue Court to be a tenant can come to a Civil Court subsequently and ask for a declaration that he is not a tenant at all. In the present case the plaintiff has been declared a tenant by the Revenue Court in the litigation between the parties and the nature of his tenancy is determined and we think that Section 167 does stand in the way of the plaintiff in the present litigation. We, therefore, hold that there is no substance in the appeal. We dismiss it with costs, including fees in this Court on the higher scale.