1. This is a reference by an Honorary Assistant Collector of Benares through the Collector under Section 267, Clause (2), Agra Tenancy Act 3 of 1926, under the following circumstances. A suit was brought for arrears of rent due under a theka given by the plaintiff to the defendant in respect of some agricultural lands and shops. There was a joint lease for both the agricultural land and the shops, in which one rent was fixed for both the properties. The suit was filed by the plaintiff for arrears of rent in the civil Court, which returned the plaint for presentation to the revenue Court, finding that the suit was not cognizable by it. The plaint was filed in the revenue Court. The same objection of jurisdiction was taken by the defendant in the revenue Court as was taken by him in the civil Court. The defendant contended that the suit was not cognizable by the revenue Court. Without going into this question of jurisdiction the revenue Court gave a decree to the plaintiff. On appeal the case was remanded by the learned District Judge to the revenue Court for retrial of the issue about jurisdiction which had not been disposed of by the revenue Court. On the suit being remanded to the revenue Court, the learned Assistant Collector has made this reference. He is of the opinion that the suit is not cognizable by him.
2. The question for consideration is which is the proper Court to entertain and decide this suit. As already stated, the lease is a joint lease for agricultural land and for shops, reserving one sum of rent. If separate rents had been fixed for the agricultural land and for the shops, there would have been no difficulty, as a suit for arrears of rent for the shops could have been filed in the civil Court, and a suit for arrears of rent for the agricultural land in the revenue Court. The difficulty arises from the fact that only one rent has been fixed for both the properties. All suits of a civil nature are entertainable by the civil Court. Under Section 230, all suits and applications which are specified in Schedule 4, Tenancy Act, have been excepted from the jurisdiction of the civil Court. This suit does not fall under Schedule 4 of the Act, and consequently it is not cognizable by the revenue Court. This being so, the only other Court which is left to entertain the suit is the civil Court. A similar point was considered in Sukhdeo v. Basdeo 1935 ALJ 582. There a suit was brought by the plaintiffs who alleged that they were members of a joint Hindu family with the defendants, and they claimed as such a declaration of their right to the zamindari properties and the tenancy holdings owned by the family. The civil Court entertained the suit and gave a decree to the plaintiffs declaring their rights in the zamindari property as well as in the tenancy holdings. On appeal, an objection was taken that the civil Court had no jurisdiction to grant a decree for the declaration of the plaintiff's right in the fixed rate and occupancy holdings. In support of the contention reliance was placed on Sections 121 and 230, Agra Tenancy Act. Under Sections 121 and 230, the plaintiff's suit for declaration of their rights in the tenancy holdings was not cognizable by the civil Court. It was observed there:
It cannot be disputed that civil Courts have exclusive jurisdiction to try all suits of civil nature unless their cognizance is either expressly or impliedly barred: vide Section 9, Civil P.C. It is also clear that a suit is of a civil nature if the particular question in the suit relates to a civil right.... The scheme and the provisions of the Agra Tenancy Act clearly indicate that the legislature intended to vest revenue Courts alone with jurisdiction to decide all disputes concerning tenancy holdings, but there is nothing in the Act to imply that if some of the reliefs prayed for in a suit can only be granted by the civil Court, the jurisdiction of the civil Court is ousted by the mere fact that the relief for a declaration of right to a certain holding is coupled with the other reliefs. Nor is there anything in the Act to show that if the cause of action entitles the plaintiff, over and above a declaration of his right to a holding, to certain other reliefs, for instance, declaration of his right to zamindari property, the plaintiff must split his cause of action in two parts and sue for a declaration of his right to the holding in the revenue Court and claim redress with respect to the zamindari from the civil Court. To hold otherwise would be to ignore the words 'based on a cause of action in respect of which adequate relief could be obtained by means of any suit or application' used in Section 230 of the Act.
3. As already stated, the revenue Court cannot entertain the suit, and cannot give adequate relief to the parties. Nor does the present suit fall under Schedule 4. Consequently it is the civil Court only which can entertain the suit and give adequate relief. It may also be mentioned that it is not possible for the plaintiff to split up his cause of action so as to file a suit in respect of one part of his cause of action in one Court, and in respect of the other in the other Court. In these circumstances we hold that the suit is triable by the civil Court. The plaint will, therefore, be returned by the learned Assistant Collector to the plaintiff for presentation to the civil Court.