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Kesaram Narasimhulu and ors. Vs. Vuddanda Rao Narasimhulu Patnayudu - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1906)16MLJ333
AppellantKesaram Narasimhulu and ors.
RespondentVuddanda Rao Narasimhulu Patnayudu
Excerpt:
.....be, to hold such office and enjoy such emoluments; in my judgment the language conveys precisely the contrary meaning, and as i read it, whenever one party asserts that the emolument of the office is land and this is denied by the other party such question is to be adjudicated not by the revenue but by the civil courts alone; , the preamble to madras act viii of 1869) and the policy of the act clearly seems to confine the jurisdiction of the revenue courts to suits involving claims to offices and emoluments thereof, according to the theory just alluded to, and leave the decision of other questions to the ordinary courts......appeal to the board it was held as follows: - 'the board accepts the collector's finding that the suit land is karnam service inam. the village officer does not appear to have specifically encumbered the service inam lands for his debt. he was apparently proposing to repay his debt by other means, and it was the creditor's fault that the land actually attached and sold was karnam service inam. the village officer cannot therefore be held to have himself alienated the service inam land. the board resolves to modify the collector's decision under appeal, and to decree that the village officer is entitled to the assessment of the inam land. the village officer may, if so advised, sue in a civil court for the recovery of the land itself.' (exhibit b). on that the plaintiff filed the present.....
Judgment:

Subrahmania Aiyar, J.

1. The plaintiff here sues to recover possession of the land in dispute alleging that he is the holder of the office of karnam in the proprietary village of Lukulam and that the land in dispute itself is the emolument of the office.

2. The defendant does not set up any right to the. office or its emoluments and his denial of the plaintiff's claim is solely on the ground that the land in dispute is not attached to the said office but was the private property of the plaintiff which passed to the defendant under a Court sale in execution of a decree against the plaintiff. The point for determination is whether. Civil Courts have any jurisdiction or not to entertain such a suit. As Mr. Krishnaswami Aiyar on behalf of the plaintiff pointed out, unless the jurisdiction of the Civil Court has been taken away, that jurisdiction must be taken to exist, and the question is whether Section 21 of the Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act (Madras Act III of 1895) read with the proviso to the first clause of Section 13 takes it away as contended on behalf of the defendant. The bar to the jurisdiction of the Courts created by Section 21 is not absolute but is limited. The matters excepted from the cognizance of the Civil Courts ere:

i. claims to succeed to the offices specified in Section 3;

ii. claims to recover the emoluments of the offices save the emoluments referred to in Section 13 Sub-section 2, i.e., which consist of lands themselves; and

iii. questions as to the rate of amount of the emoluments.

3. As the present is a claim not falling under any of these three classes, it would follow that the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts is not excluded.

4. Against this view it was urged that under the provisions of Section 13 the present claim was cognizable by the Revenue Courts, that the proviso to Section 21 deals with the only case in which resort to a Civil Court is allowed where the matter is cognizable by the Revenue Courts, and that the present claim not being within the proviso cannot be made the subject of litigation in Civil Courts. But the first step in this argument is not warranted by anything in Section 13 which enumerates the different descriptions of suits within the cognizance of the Revenue Courts and is exhaustive of the matter. They are:

i. Suits for village offices specified in Section 3;

ii. Suits for the emoluments of such an office on the ground that the plaintiff is entitled under Sub-section 2 or 3 of Section 10 of the Madras Proprietary Estates' Village Service Act, 1894, or under Sub-sections 2 and 3 of Section 10 or Sub-section 2 or 3 of Section 11, or Section 12 of the Hereditary Village Offices Act itself, as the case may be, to hold such office and enjoy such emoluments; and,

iii. Suits by a minor to be registered as heir of the last holder.

5. The present is obviously not of the 1st or of the 3rd class. Nor does it come under the 2nd, class for though it is a suit for the recovery of the emoluments attached to the plaintiff's office still as such emolument is land the suit is outside the purview of the portion of the section relating to this 2nd class under which the only questions could be as to the title of the office itself or to the fact of the existence of an emolument attached thereto, or to other matter connected therewith, provided the emolument is not land in the special sense in which the term is used in the section as appears from the second proviso to the first Clause thereof, i.e., the kudivaram right included.

6. It was next urged that the language of the said proviso is consistent with the view that the present suit is cognizable by a Civil Court. In my judgment the language conveys precisely the contrary meaning, and as I read it, whenever one party asserts that the emolument of the office is land and this is denied by the other party such question is to be adjudicated not by the Revenue but by the Civil Courts alone; and this undoubtedly is the character of the present suit. I am unable to accept the suggestion that the proviso is applicable only to cases where one party states that both the kudivaram and melvaram rights constitute the inam while the other party denies only that the former right also belongs to the office. The reason for this proviso is the now accepted theory that inams are prima facie to be taken as assignments of the melvaram right, i.e., in the language of the proviso, assignments of the revenue only (see e.g., the preamble to Madras Act VIII of 1869) and the policy of the Act clearly seems to confine the jurisdiction of the Revenue Courts to suits involving claims to offices and emoluments thereof, according to the theory just alluded to, and leave the decision of other questions to the ordinary Courts. In support of this view reference may be made to a case which may be of frequent occurrence but which cannot by any means be taken as falling under any of the three classes provided for by Section 13. Suppose an office-holder in possession of an inam which is admittedly land lets it out to a tenant for cultivation for a year and, that the tenant at the expiry of the term refuses to quit. According to the general law the landlord can eject the tenant without showing more than the letting and the expiry of the term, as he is not called upon to allege or prove his right to. the land or to the office, the tenant being estopped in such a case from raising any question as to the title of the party who has let him into possession (Section 116 of the Indian Evidence Act). Such a suit would not be one on a ground mentioned in any of the statutary provisions referred to in Section 13 and therefore could not be entertained by the Revenue Courts, and it would follow that the plaintiff in such a case must have his remedy in the Civil Courts.

7. In my opinion, therefore, the Board of Eevenue acted rightly in referring the present plaintiff to seek relief in the Civil Courts. Concurring with the. Board and the District Judge, I hold that the suit was properly instituted before the District Munsif and would dismiss the appeal with costs.

Moore, J.

8. The present plaintiff, sued (Regulation Suit 5 of 1900) before the Principal Assistant Collector, Chicacole, for the recovery of certain lands on the allegation that they were Service Inam attached to the office of karnam in Lukulam Agraharam and had been sold in execution of a decree passed against him in the Court of the District Munsif of Chicacole (Exhibit A.) The defendant in his written statement pleaded that the plaintiff was not the karnam in office and that the lands were not emoluments attached to the office of karnam (Exhibit B). The issues framed were as to whether the lands sold under the decree of the District Munsif were Service Inam attached to the karnam's office and whether the plaintiff was the karnam (Exhibit F). The Senior Assistant Collector found that as the plaintiff was not the karnam he had no claim to the emoluments and accordingly dismissed his suit (Exhibit C). The Collecter on appeal decided that the land waft Government Service Inam, but that, as the land had been sold on account of a debt contracted by the petitioner and had in effect been alienated by him, he could not sue to recover the emoluments, though his successor in office might do so (Exhibit D). On Second Appeal to the Board it was held as follows: - 'The Board accepts the Collector's finding that the suit land is Karnam Service Inam. The village officer does not appear to have specifically encumbered the Service Inam lands for his debt. He was apparently proposing to repay his debt by other means, and it was the creditor's fault that the land actually attached and sold was Karnam Service Inam. The village officer cannot therefore be held to have himself alienated the Service Inam land. The Board resolves to modify the Collector's decision under appeal, and to decree that the village officer is entitled to the assessment of the Inam land. The village officer may, if so advised, sue in a Civil Court for the recovery of the land itself.' (Exhibit B). On that the plaintiff filed the present suit for the lands on the ground that they were Service Inam and were the emoluments attached to the office of karnam. The defendants in their written statements urged that the lands were not Service Inam lands, but were the private property of the plaintiff and his family. The District Munsif threw out the suit on the ground that it was not cognizable by a Civil Court, but the District Judge has reversed his finding and remanded the case to him for disposal on the merits. The defendants appeal. It appears to me that this appeal must be allowed. The plaintiff sues for the recovery of the emoluments of the office of karnam and Section 21, Act III of 1895 (Madras) provides that the only case in which a Civil Court has authority to decide any claim to recover the emoluments of the office of karnam is where the suit comes under proviso (II) to Sub-section (1) of Section 13 of the same Act. Turning to this proviso it will be found that it lays down that where in a suit before a Collector to recover the emoluments of the office of karnam one of the facts in issue in the suit is whether the emoluments of the office consist of land or of an assignment of revenue payable in respect of the land, the Collector shall decide the claim on the assumption that only the assignment constitutes the emoluments but that such decision shall not bar the right of the claimant to institute a suit in a Civil Court for recovery of the land itself. No such fact was in issue in the present case. Before the Revenue Courts the main question at issue was whether the lands were the emoluments of the office or the private property of the plaintiff. No question was raised as to whether the emoluments of the office consisted of land or an assignment of revenue. I accordingly hold that this suit is not cognizable by a Civil Court and on that ground would allow this appeal and ' dismiss the suit of the plaintiff with costs throughout.

9. I may mention here that I am unable to understand why the Board of Revenue did not give the plaintiff a decree for the recovery of the land. It appears to me to be clear that under Act III of 1895 (Madras) the Board had the power to give the plaintiff' the relief that he sued for, i.e., a decree for the land.

10. Under Section 575, Civil Procedure Code, this appeal is dismissed with costs.


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