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Mansukh Ram and ors. Vs. Birjraj Saran Singh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported inAIR1918All221(2); 46Ind.Cas.971
AppellantMansukh Ram and ors.
RespondentBirjraj Saran Singh
Excerpt:
jurisdiction of small cause courts - landlord and tenant--occupancy tenant cutting down trees belonging to landlord--damages, suit for, maintainability of--agra tenancy act (ii of 1901), sections 57, 65 and 167. - - it scarcely requires to be pointed out that, apart from any provision of the local tenancy act restricting the jurisdiction of the civil courts in such a matter, the plaintiff's claim for damages on account of this tortious act was clearly cognizable by a court of small causes and, on the facts found, the decree in favour of the plaintiff is a proper one. but as regards the case now before me i find no good reason for holding that the plaintiff could have obtained appropriate relief for the loss which he has suffered by way of any suit or application brought or made before a..........court in lachman das v. mohan singh 14 ind. cas. 582 : 9 a.l.j. 672. that decision, so far as the question of jurisdiction is concerned, is entirely against the defendants. i take, the liberty of saying, with all respect to the learned judge of this court who decided that case, that he has gone somewhat further in the way of affirming the jurisdiction of the civil court to deal with matters of this sort than i should myself be prepared to do, at any rate, without further argument; but as regards the case now before me i find no good reason for holding that the plaintiff could have obtained appropriate relief for the loss which he has suffered by way of any suit or application brought or made before a revenue court. the jurisdiction of the learned judge of the court of small causes was.....
Judgment:

Piggott, J.

1. The applicants in this case are certain defendants against whom a decree for Rs. 15 as damages has been passed in favour of the plaintiff by the learned Munsif of Meerut in the exercise of his jurisdiction as Judge of a Court of Small Causes. The question raised by this application is whether the cognizance of the Court below was or was not barred by the provisions of Section 167 of the U.P. Tenancy Act, Local Act No. II of 1901. Putting aside certain matters of detail no longer in controversy, the essential facts may be stated thus: The defendants were tenants with a right of occupancy of two plots of agricultural land, the property of the plaintiff. Somewhere within the boundaries of this agricultural holding there stood two trees, which were not the property of the defendants but of the plaintiff. The defend-ants cut down those trees and appropriated the timber thereof to their own use. It scarcely requires to be pointed out that, apart from any provision of the local Tenancy Act restricting the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts in such a matter, the plaintiff's claim for damages on account of this tortious act was clearly cognizable by a Court of Small Causes and, on the facts found, the decree in favour of the plaintiff is a proper one. The only question, therefore, is whether the suit is barred by the provisions of Section 167 aforesaid. This again depends upon the interpretation to be put upon certain provisions of Sections 57 and 65 of the same Act. The latter of these sections merely, says' that, if a tenant is found liable to ejectment from his holding on any of the grounds specified in Clause (b) or Clause (c) of Section 57, the Revenue Courts have jurisdiction to give the landholder a decree for compensation in lieu of, or in addition to the ejectment of the tenant. The question, therefore, is whether, on the facts alleged in the plaint, the defendants were liable to ejectment under the provisions of Section 57 aforesaid. I am unable to hold that the cutting down of the two trees under the circumstances alleged was an act detrimental to the land. There is certainly no presumption to that effect; on the contrary, in so far as the land is used for cultivating purposes, the removal of these two trees would presumably be calculated to increase its productiveness. The only question, therefore, is whether the act of the defendants in cutting down these trees could have been proved by the plaintiff, in a proceeding in the Revenue Courts, to have been an act inconsistent with the purpose for which the land was let to the defendants. There is no allegation to this effect in the plaint; and I am bound to say that in my opinion the plaintiff would have had considerable difficulty in satisfying a Revenue Court that this land had originally been let to the defendants under such circumstances as would make the cutting down of these trees an act inconsistent with the purpose for which the lease was given. If any landholder under similar circumstances feels himself able to establish such a plea by evidence, I would by no means debar him from seeking the protection of the Revenue Courts, but in the present case I find no reason for holding that the plaintiff was in any way debarred from claiming damages in a Civil Court, on the simple allegation that the defendants had taken advantage of their position as tenants of the land in order to cut down and appropriate to them selves two trees which were the property of the plaintiff. I have been referred in argument to a number of rulings supposed to have some Bearing upon the question in dispute but I do not, think it necessary to discuss them here. Most of them seem to me to have no bearing upon the particular point to be decided in this case; The only one about which I should not be prepared to say this is the decision of a single Judge of this Court in Lachman Das v. Mohan Singh 14 Ind. Cas. 582 : 9 A.L.J. 672. That decision, so far as the question of jurisdiction is concerned, is entirely against the defendants. I take, the liberty of saying, with all respect to the learned Judge of this Court who decided that case, that he has gone somewhat further in the way of affirming the jurisdiction of the Civil Court to deal with matters of this sort than I should myself be prepared to do, at any rate, without further argument; but as regards the case now before me I find no good reason for holding that the plaintiff could have obtained appropriate relief for the loss which he has suffered by way of any suit or application brought or made before a Revenue Court. The jurisdiction of the learned Judge of the Court of Small Causes was therefore, not barred and I dismiss this application with costs.


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