1. The petitioners object to the Subordinate Judge dealing with a petition presented to him under Section 192 of the Indian Succession Act and contend that he has no jurisdiction to do so. The Subordinate Judge has been empowered to deal with matters under that Act by a general notification of the High Court issued under Section 29 of the Madras Civil Courts Act. It is not disputed that the Subordinate Judge has so been invested with all the powers with which he could be invested under that section. But it is contended that properly interpreted that section makes it possible to authorise Subordinate Judges only to deal with matters which come before a District Delegate under Part IX of the Succession Act but of which he cannot dispose. The words of Section 29(1) of the Madras Civil Courts Act are:
The High Court may, by general or special order, authorise any Subordinate Judge to take cognizance of, or any District Judge to transfer to any Subordinate Judge under his control, any proceeding's under the Indian Succession Act which cannot be disposed of by District Delegates.
2. Grammatically that provision extends not only to proceedings under Part IX of the Indian Succession Act but to proceedings under any part of that Act other than those of which a District Delegate can dispose. The use of the words 'which cannot be disposed of by District Delegates' is perhaps not very happy But they do not appear to justify the contention for the petitioners that they limit the proceedings with which a Subordinate Judge can be authorised to deal to those comparatively few matters which may have been brought before a District Delegate but of which under Section 286 or 287 or 288 of the Indian Succession Act he finds himself for some reason unable to dispose. If that had been the intention, the words-used would be a very clumsy way of expressing it, and the proceedings would naturally have been described as 'any proceedings under Part IX of the Indian Succession Act,' with which alone District Delegates are concerned, instead of in-more general terms. And to introduce the new Section 29 of the Madras Civil Courts Act by special enactment, as was done by Act XIV of 1926, for such a limited purpose would be surprising. It may be noticed that in several other parts of India, e.g., Bengal, Bombay and the Punjab, legislation had already made it possible to empower Subordinate Judges to deal with a much larger class of testamentary matters. If the words of Section 29 of the Madras Civil Courts Act are interpreted in their plain, grammatical meaning, the result is that they make it possible to extend the powers of Subordinate Judges over the whole field of the Indian Succession, Act to the relief of District Judges except over the narrow field already covered by the powers of District Delegates, in respect of which District Judges require no further relief. The grammatical meaning of Section 29 of the Madras Civil Courts Act fits in therefore with what is the apparent object of its enactment.
3. We are therefore of opinion that the Subordinate Judge has jurisdiction in this matter. This petition is dismissed with costs.