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Bhajjan Kewat Vs. Raghu and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported in157Ind.Cas.690
AppellantBhajjan Kewat
RespondentRaghu and ors.
Excerpt:
agra tenancy act (iii of 1926), sections 3(2), (8), (15), 230, 121 - land occupied by grove, whether holding--suit for declaration of title maintainable in revenue court--suit for injunction in civil court, restraining rival tenant from asserting his right and interfering with plaintiff's possession--held, suit was not cognizable by civil court. - .....could have been obtained when a declaration of right was secured from the revenue court. if a suit for injunction restraining a rival tenant from asserting his right or interfering with the co-tenants' possession were cognizable by the civil court, the result would be that almost all suits for declaration of title by a co-tenant would lie in the civil court, if instead of claiming a relief for declaration, the plaintiff chooses to claim a relief for injunction.4. no doubt in order to determine whether the suit is cognizable by the civil court, we have to examine the allegations in the plaint, but those allegations themselves disclose the fact that the defendants are not claiming title to this grove in any capacity other than that of grove-holders. there is no suggestion that they.....
Judgment:

1. This is a defendants appeal arising out of a suit for an injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with the plaintiffs' possession over certain groves. In the plaint it was stated that the property in dispute consists of three groves with trees in a village, which belong to the plaintiffs; that the defendants' ancestors were allowed to plant three trees with the permision of the plaintiffs' ancestors, and on the strength of their claim to these trees, the defendants got their names entered in respect of the three groves as grove-holders; it was further alleged that there was a dispute between the parties a year before the suit and the defendants were ready to claim possession over the groves and assert their own right, and that the plaintiffs made an attempt in the Revenue Court for the rectification of the papers but that they ultimately withdrew the application and brought the present suit. The defendants put forward the case that they themselves were the grove-holders. Both the Courts below decreed the plaintiffs' claim for an injunction on the merits, holding that the groves belong to the plaintiffs. On appeal that decree has been affirmed by a learned Judge of this Court. In the Courts below no plea as to want of jurisdiction in the Civil Court was taken, but such a plea was raised before the learned Judges of this Court, and has been disallowed. The case is undoubtedly governed by the new Agra Tenancy Act, of 1926. Under Section 3, Sub-sections (2), (8) and (15) land occupied by a grove is a holding within the meaning of this Act and the grove-holder is a tenant.

2. Section 230 of the Act confers exclusive jurisdiction on Revenue Courts in respect of all suits of the nature specified in Schedule IV, and bars the jurisdiction of the Civil Court. The Explanation makes it further clear that if adequate relief might be granted by the Revenue Court, then it is immaterial whether the relief actually asked from the Civil Courts is or is not identical with that which the Revenue Court could have granted. We have therefore to see whether the present plaintiffs by framing a suit properly could have obtained an adequate relief from the Revenue Court.

3. The Civil Court cannot grant a decree for injunction without first determining the plaintiffs' title and substantially giving the plaintiffs a declaration that they are the grove-holders and that the defendants are not. A suit for a declaration of right as a tenant during the continuance of a tenancy lies in the Revenue Court under Section 121 of the Act. Under Sub-section (2) of that section not only the land-holder but any other person claiming to hold through the land-holder can be joined a party. It is, therefore, obvious, that the present plaintiffs could have brought a suit for a declaration of title in the Revenue Court against the landholder, impleading the present defendants. No doubt the relief which they could have got would not have been identical with the relief for injunction which they are claiming in the Civil Court, but, in our opinion, adequate relief could have been obtained when a declaration of right was secured from the Revenue Court. If a suit for injunction restraining a rival tenant from asserting his right or interfering with the co-tenants' possession were cognizable by the Civil Court, the result would be that almost all suits for declaration of title by a co-tenant would lie in the Civil Court, if instead of claiming a relief for declaration, the plaintiff chooses to claim a relief for injunction.

4. No doubt in order to determine whether the suit is cognizable by the Civil Court, we have to examine the allegations in the plaint, but those allegations themselves disclose the fact that the defendants are not claiming title to this grove in any capacity other than that of grove-holders. There is no suggestion that they claim to be the proprietors or mortgagees of the groves. On the other hand, their names are admittedly recorded in the revenue papers as grove-holders and it is on the strength of such entry that they are resisting the plaintiffs' claim. They are, in our opinion, persons claiming through the land-holder within the meaning of Section 121 of the Act. It has been held by this Court that on a proper interpretation of Section 268 of the Act, the provisions of that section do not apply to a case where an appeal would not have lain to the District Judge, if the suit had been filed in the Revenue Court.

5. We, therefore, allow this appeal and setting aside the decrees passed in the case, order that the plaint be returned to the plaintiffs for presentation to the proper Court. As the point was not raised in the Court below, the parties would bear their own costs in both the Courts below, and the defendants will have their costs of both the hearings in the Court and the plaintiffs will bear their own costs.


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