1. The facts are simple. The suit lands are ryoti lands in an estate as defined by the Madras Estates Land Act. Chengama Naidu, the landholder in 1870, purchased the kudivaram interest. In fasli 1318, the lands were let to the 1st defendant for cultivation for a year. Thereafter, the 1st defendant continued in possession under yearly leases also agreeing to relinquish possession of the lands at the end of the year. On 17th June, 1917 the plaintiffs purchased the lands and now seek to eject the 1st defendant.
2. The question referred to us is :--Is Section 153 of the Estates Land Act exhaustive, and does it oust the jurisdiction of Civil Courts in all cases where it is sought to eject a non-occupancy ryot ?
3. For the purpose of discussing Section 153, I will at once assume (without deciding) that the defendant is a non-occupancy ryot. Phillips, J., gave some reasons for holding that he is not a ryot at all. There is considerable force in his observations. Assuming, however, that he is a non-occupancy ryot, we have the following classes of non-occupancy ryots under the Act:
(1) A ryot of old waste [Section 6 (3)].
(2) A ryot of waste land reclaimed by the landlord for a period of thirty years for the reclamation [Section 6 (5).]
(3) A person admitted under Section 8(4), the case be-fore us.
4. There may be others.
5. Section 153 of the Act applies to all these cases. When the case is one of old waste, its effect has to be considered along with Section 157. A tenant of old waste can be ejected only on the grounds mentioned in Section 153, even if there is a contract to the contrary. But, in the other two cases of non-occupancy ryots, there is no section similar to Section 157. In these cases, a. contract to the contrary will have full operation and the ryot is prima facie liable to be ejected on the expiry of the term. The words ' not otherwise ' in Section 153 are used in contrast to the words ' on one or more of the following grounds,' and have no reference to the words ' before the Collector.' The effect of the opening words of the section is--A suit before the Collector will lie only on certain grounds and on no other grounds. The section does not prohibit a suit before the Civil Court on other grounds if it lies. The only section in the Act cutting down the jurisdiction of Civil Courts is Section 189 and I do not think another prohibition of the jurisdiction of Civil Courts is intended in Section 153. If the words ' not other-wise ' mean not only ' on no other grounds ' but also ' in no other Court' Section 157 is unnecessary as to old waste.
6. Of the decisions referred to by Phillips, J., in Ardajeri Rama Reddi v. Karpi Sivaga (1913) MWN 971, Ponnusami Padayachi v. Karuppudayan : (1914)26MLJ285 ., Sankara Venkataratnam v. Sri Rajah Varadarajah Appa Rao (1915) 29 MLJ 1840, Yelikapalli Venkayya v. Venkataramayya Appa Rao : (1917)33MLJ757 and President, District Board, Tanjore v. Kannusami Thondaman 35 IndCas 121., the decision of Tyabji, J., in Ardajeri Rama Reddi v. Karpi Sivaga (1913) MWN 971. has no bearing. In that case it was found that the land was neither private land nor old waste nor was there any suggestion that the ryot was a non-occupancy ryot. The defend-ant in it was a ryot to whom Section 6(1) applied. The rest of the observations in that judgment are obiter dicta. No question arose about Section 153 and the case can throw no light on it. The other cases dealt with old waste. The observations of Spencer, J., in Ponnusami Padayachi v. Karuppudayan : (1914)26MLJ285 . about Section 153 support my view. The actual decision relates to the application of the proviso to the section. As to Sankara Venkataratnam v. Sri Rajah Varadarajah Appa Rao (1915) 29 MLJ 184., I do not agree with the view of Oldfield, J., that ' it prescribes the Collector's Court as the tribunal for all ejectment suits against them, whatever the ground of liability to ejectment.' It follows I dissent from the decision in Yelikapalli Venkayya v. Venkataramayya Appa Rao : (1917)33MLJ757 ., which is based on the view adopted by Oldfield, J., in Sankara Venkataratnam v. Sri Rajah Varadarajah Appa Rao (1915) 29 MLJ 184.. The decision in President, District Board, Tanjore v. Kannuswami Thondaman 35 IndCas 121. turned on the application of Sections 153 and 157 to old waste and cannot help in cases where the land held by the non-occupancy ryot is not old waste.
7. My answer to the question referred to is :--Section 153 is exhaustive of the grounds of the suit before the Collector but not exhaustive in the sense that the suits for ejectment of non-occupancy ryots lie only before the Collector. It may be that, as to old waste the effect of Section 157 is to prohibit a suit for ejectment on grounds other than those in Section 153 (which can be only before a Civil Court) though, even then, the proviso to Section 153 prevails over both the Sections 153 and 157. But as to other non-occupancy ryots, there is no such section and suits lie before Civil Court if based on grounds other than those mentioned in Section 153. I agree with Venkatasubba Rao, J.'s observation that this is the only contention which reconciles and gives effect to Section 153, its proviso and Section 157. My view is the view indicated by both the learned Judges who referred the case.
Victor Murray Coutts Trotter, C.J.
8. I agree.
9. I agree.