1. This appeal has been brought against a decision of the District Judge of Madura in A.S. No. 183 of 1939, against a decision of the Collector of Madura under Section 20-A of the Madras Estates Land Act. It is sufficient to state for the purpose of this appeal that an application was filed under Section 20-A of the Madras Estates Land Act, by the Zamindar of Kannivadi in respect of four plots of land which he sought to have converted into ryoti land on the ground that they were 'old road' which was no longer required for public purposes. The collector threw the burden of proof on the Zamindar to show that the reversionary right did not vest in the Government as the land appeared to have been lakhiraj land. On appeal the learned District Judge held that the burden of proof had been wrongly cast on the Zamindar and on the evidence available he came to the conclusion that the reversionary right vested in the landholder. The order of the Collector was set aside and the four plots were ordered to be registered as ryoti land. Against this decision this second appeal has been brought.
2. A preliminary objection has been raised by Mr. Govindarajachari on behalf of the respondent that no second appeal lies. This objection is well founded and must be upheld. He contends that proceedings under Section 20-A of the Madras Estates Land Act, take the form of an application by the landholder, a ryot or any other person interested and the right of appeal regarding suits or applications is provided by Section 189 of the Act. This section refers to Parts A and B of the Schedule which deal separately with the right of appeal in suits and applications. Proceedings under Section 20-A of the Act, are referred to as serial No. 5 in Part B and a right of appeal to the District Court is provided against an order directing the conversion of the land into Government ryotwari or landholder's ryoti land. So far as the Madras Estates Land Act is concerned, the right of second appeal in the case of applications is limited under Section 190 of the Act, to orders passed on appeal by a District Collector under several specified sections of which Section 20-A is not one.
3. It is conceded that second appeals lie in the case of suits because these result in decrees and the first appellate proceedings before the District Court take the form of decrees also within the meaning of Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Mr. Govindarajachari relies on Section 104 read with Order XLIII, Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure and he argues that since the initial proceedings take the form of an application, the order of the Collector thereon is an order and not a decree and the appellate order of the District Court is also an appellate order and not a decree. The distinctions! between suits and applications and between decrees and orders are clearly recognised in the Code of Civil Procedure and I am unable to see how the learned Government Pleader can contend that an appeal against proceedings under Section 20-A of the Madras Estates Land Act, results in a decree and not merely in an appellate order. He has cited the case of Kamaraju v. The Secretary of State for India I.L.R. (1888) Mad. 309, but that case does not afford much help in deciding this question. That case related to the question whether an order by a Forest Officer under Section 10 of the Madras Forest Act, was subject to second appeal, while in the present case we are concerned with the right of appeal in proceedings under an entirely different statute. The learned Government Pleader has contended that the order of the District Court conclusively determines the rights of the parties and is therefore a decree within the meaning of the definition contained in Section 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure. But this argument overlooks the reference in the definition to a suit. The distinction between suits and applications is carefully preserved both in the Code of Civil Procedure and also in the Madras Estates Land Act. This distinction was discussed at considerable length in the Full Bench decision in Rajagopala Chettiar v. The Hindu Religious Endowments Board, Madras (1933) 66 M.L.J. 43 : I.L.R. 57 Mad. 271. In my opinion the decision of the District Judge, although styled as a decree, was only an appellate order and was not a decree within the meaning of Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Consequently no second appeal lies and it is ordered to be dismissed with costs.
4. Leave to appeal is refused.