1. The question which arises for decision in this appeal is whether a Revenue Court exercising jurisdiction under the Estates Land Act is entitled to decide objections, (other than those specified in Section 26 of the Act), to the validity of a contract under which a ryot claims to hold the holding at a rent less than the ordinary or the lawful rent payable on the land. The landlord is an office-holder in a temple and the lands or rather the revenue constitutes the manyam attached to the office. A predecessor of his received Rs. 200 from the ryot and agreed to allow him, remission of five-eighths of the assessment in perpetuity. The present office-holder claims the full rent, declines to be bound by the agreement and contends that his predecessor who owned the Manyam as an office-holder cannot bind his successor by such an agreement. The question arises in a suit brought by the tenant contesting the landlord's right of sale under Section 112 of the Act. The learned District Judge in appeal declined to go into the question as he thought that that question was competent only to an ordinary Civil Court.
2. We are unable to agree with him. For deciding whether the landlord is entitled to sell the holding the court must find whether any arrears of rent are due and for this purpose, it must decide what the rent or rate of rent is. The rent or rate of rent cannot be determined without considering for the purpose of the suit whether the contract granting the remission is valid. Section 26 assumes that the contract except as affected by the provisions of the section is valid. If the existence or the validity of the contract is questioned that must be first determined before the provisions of Section 26 are applied If the court has jurisdiction to determine a matter, it must have jurisdiction to decide all questions necessary for that determination. If a previous judicial rescission is necessary before the contract could be repudiated, it may be that the Revenue Court would be bound to give effect to the contract subject only to the provisions of Section 26; but the landlord in this case was not a party to the contract and denies the authority of his predecessor to bind the successor.
3. In Raja of Pittapur v. Sreerama Charyulu (1911) 2 M.W.N. 307 the Raja of Pittapur sued a ryot in the ordinary Civil Court and prayed for declaration, (i) that the contract of his predecessor granting remission to the ryot was not binding on him, (ii) that the proper rent was Es. 500 a year and prayed for the recovery of arrears of rent. Objection was taken to the jurisdiction of the Civil Court to entertain the suit on the ground that a suit to determine the rent and for recovery of arrears was exclusively cognizable by the Revenue Court and that the declaration as to the invalidity of the contract was only ancillary to the main reliefs. This contention prevailed in the first court, but in appeal here the plaintiff withdrew his last two prayers, and this Court held that the prayer for declaration of the invalidity of the agreement was not ancillary but was substantial relief and on that ground held that the Civil Court had jurisdiction. No doubt was entertained that the Revenue Court would have jurisdiction to decide on the validity of the contract if the matter arose incidently, for determining the rate of rent. We must therefore reverse the decree of the Lower Appellate Court and remand the appeal for disposal according to law. Costs to abide.