1. The appellant is the owner of about 15 acres of land in the village of Paidemukkala Agraharam Chellapalli taluk of the Kistna District. He sued the respondents for arrears of rent. originally in the Court of the Deputy Collector of the Nuzvid Division. When that suit was filed, the respondents took the objection that, upon the allegations in the plaint, the appellant had not established that the property formed part of an estate and therefore that no suit lay in the Court of the Deputy Collector. The Deputy Collector accepted this contention and passed an order returning the plaint for presentation to the proper Court. The appellant accordingly filed his plaint in the Court of the District Munsif of Gudivada who gave him a decree for the greater portion of the amount claimed. There was then an appeal by the defendants to the learned Subordinate Judge of Masulipatam who held that the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit, on the ground that the appellant had not made out that the land on which the rent was due was not a portion of an estate. Against this decision of the learned Subordinate Judge the present appeal has been filed.
2. The first point argued in favour of the appeal is that the respondents were estopped from contending that the Civil Court had no jurisdiction. My attention has been called to certain rulings. Hemanta Kumari Devi V. Prusanna Kumar Datta I.L.R.(1928) Cal. 584, and Ram Khalevan Singh v. Maharajah of Benares : AIR1930All15 , in which it is laid down that when a party objects to the jurisdiction of one Court and procures an adjudication in his favour on that point and the plaint is thereupon filed in another Court, he is estopped from putting forward a contrary view of the question of jurisdiction to the one already taken. It seems to me that there could be no question of estoppel in this case at all. It will be obvious from a consideration of Section 115 of the Evidence Act that estoppel consists, not in putting forward a particular view of the law, but in making a particular representation on a point of fact. It is only when there has been one representation on a question of fact that a party is estopped from putting forward a contrary representation on the same question of fact. That has quite clearly not been done in the present case. All that was asserted at the trial before the Deputy Collector was that on the recitals of the plaint itself, the suit would not lie in that Court. In other words, any representations which were made to the Court were made, not by the defendants, but by the plaintiff and it is impossible to argue that, whatever point of law the defendants might have put forward, they can be prevented from putting forward, representations of fact for the first time when the plaint was actually filed in the Civil Court. There can be no doubt therefore that the plea of estoppel must fail.
3. The next question as whether the learned Subordinate Judge is right in holding that the burden of proof in this ease lay upon the plaintiff. It is argued for the plaintiff-appellant that the original burden of proof certainly lay upon the defendants. The plaintiff has brought a suit in the Civil Court and if any one chooses to assert that a Civil Court has no jurisdiction to try any suit, the burden of proof lies upon that person to establish his assertion. That is no doubt true; but the argument for the defendants is that the original burden which lay upon them has been in part discharged by stressing the common feature of this case that the lands in question are situated in Paidemukkala Agraharam. The word Agraharam. naturally indicates that the village of Paidemukkala is an inam village, and if it be once conceded that Paidemukkala Agraharam is an inam village, Section 28 of the Madras Estates Land Act as it now stands throws the burden upon the plaintiff. The only evidence in the case of any value is Ex. V. This is a certified copy of a register of inams in the village of Paidemukkala Agraharam. It shows that certain inams extending over 594 acres and 83 cents were enfranchised in the names of certain persons who were connected by relationship with the original grantee of the Agraharam and it also shows that there was an extent of 243 acres and 8 cents in the enjoyment of inamdars which was not enfranchised. It is argued for the appellant that the significance of this document, is to show that, when the Agraharam was granted, it consisted only of the 594 acres, and that the other 243 acres must have been granted at some previous time. If that be so, the grant of the Agraharam would not be the grant of the whole village and the definition of 'Estate' contained in Section 3 (2) (d) would not apply. It seems to me impossible to accept this contention. There is nothing in any of the columns of Ex. V, or in any of the notes made by the Deputy Collector to suggest that the whole village was not granted as Agraharam and that the separate inams did not come into existence at some time after the original grant. In. these circumstances, and bearing in mind the probability that the use of the word Agraharam in the title of the village suggests that it must have been the whole village which was originally granted, it seems to me that Section 23 of the Estates Land Act must be applied to this case, and it must be held that the burden lies upon the appellant to show that the 15 acres of which he claims ownership are situated, not amongst the enfranchised inams shown in Ex. V, but amongst the minor inams which can be excluded from the estate. It is of course obvious that this burden has not been discharged because, as I have already indicated, there is no positive evidence of title apart from Ex. V.
4. The result, is that the appeal must fail and is dismissed with costs.