1. No valid objection has been made to the judgment under appeal. But, the question being one of jurisdiction, we are constrained to decide on a ground not referred to in it, though it was considered by the Assistant Agent, that the suit, being one for land or immoveable property, could be filed in an Agency court without the Agent's previous permission.
2. Agency Rule 10, clause 5, repeats the description 'suit for land or other immoveable property ', which occurs in the Letters Patent of this High Court, Section 12; and we have been shewn no reason why the authorities, in which that description was construed in the latter connection should not be considered also in the former. The decision of this court, like those in Calcutta, have given it a wide construction, as covering all suits, in which a decree is asked for 'operating directly on the land in accordance with the principle that all questions relating to lands should ordinarily be decided by the court, within whose jurisdiction it lies.' Sundara Bai Sahiba v. Tirumal Rao Sahib I.L.R. (1909) M. 131. Srinivasa Aiyangar v. Kannapa Chetty (1915) 30 M.L.J. 120 has also been referred to; and although the judgment of Seshagjri Aiyar, J., identifies the description in the Letters Patent only with Clauses (a), (c) and (e) of Section 16, Civil Procedure Code, that is presumably because reference to Clauses (b) and (d) was unnecessary for the purpose of the case before him. since he expressly referred to the judgment in Nalam Lahshmi Kantam v. Krishnaswami Mudaliar I.L.R. (1903) M. 157, in which the latter clauses also are specified. This is material, because, plaintiff-appellant contends that his suit is for land, because it involves a determination of the nature contained in Clause (d) of an interest in immoveable property.
3. Plaintiff's allegations in his plaint, on which (and not on the defence) the jurisdiction must depend, are that he brought the mokhasas held by some of the defendants in a court sale in execution of a decree against the 1st defendant, the Zemindar, part of whose estate they were; that the Collector held him liable for cess, which he paid, and that he is entitled to recover the amount claimed from the defendants no withstanding Section 73 of the Local Boards Act (Madras Act V of 1884). He has impleaded 1st defendant, because the latter, being still the registered Zemindar is collecting cess and has filed some suits for it. Plaintiff asks for a decree against 1st defendant for the amounts thus collected by him or in the alternative against the others for amounts not yet collected from them and for an injunction restraining 1st defendant from collecting in future or interfering with plaintiff's collecting. In effect, he alleges that the court sale made him landholder for the purpose of Section 73 of the Local Boards Act and asks the court to negative 1st defendant's right to deny this. We think that the declaration of plaintiff's character as landholder under Section 73 amounts to a determination of his and 1st defendant's interest in the mokhasa immoveable property; and that therefore the suit is for land within the meaning of Agency Rule X, Clause 5.
4. Plaintiff's suit was therefore, in our opinion, rightly filed in an Agency Court; and no previous permission for its institution there was necessary. The Agent's decision must be set aside and the appeal must be remanded to him for re-admission and disposal on the merits. Costs will abide the event. Those up to date will be provided for in the agent's final order.