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Palakolanu Manikyam and ors. Vs. Palakolanu Chandrasekharudu - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil;Limitation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1930Mad573; (1930)58MLJ542
AppellantPalakolanu Manikyam and ors.
RespondentPalakolanu Chandrasekharudu
Cases ReferredVanchinatha Aiyar v. Rajagopala Aiyar and Ors.
Excerpt:
- .....village governed by the madras act iii of 1895. the lands which are the subject-matter of the present suit and also the subject-matter of r.s. no. 14 of 1922 are lands attached to the office of the village carpenter. on the allegation that the defendant was appointed as the village carpenter by the revenue authorities in 1921, he filed r.s. no. 14 of 1922 in the court of the sub-collector of narsapur division for recovery of the lands claiming that they formed the emoluments attached to the carpenter service inam of illapakurru village. the defendants in that suit, who were the present plaintiffs, raised various pleas, one of which was that the then plaintiff's father who was the carpenter in 1907 was dispossessed by them of the lands in question, that they had acquired title to the.....
Judgment:

Anantakrishna Aiyar, J.

1. The plaintiffs instituted the suit out of which this second appeal has arisen in the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Narsapur against the defendant for a declaration that the decrees in R.S. No. 14 of 1922 on the file of the Sub-Collector, Narsapur, and A.S. No. 6690 of 1923 on the file of the Collector of Kistna are 'null and void for want of jurisdiction and illegal and for a permanent injunction restraining the defendant from executing the decrees in the said suit and appeal.'

2. The defendant's father was a village carpenter in a Government village governed by the Madras Act III of 1895. The lands which are the subject-matter of the present suit and also the subject-matter of R.S. No. 14 of 1922 are lands attached to the office of the village carpenter. On the allegation that the defendant was appointed as the village carpenter by the Revenue Authorities in 1921, he filed R.S. No. 14 of 1922 in the Court of the Sub-Collector of Narsapur Division for recovery of the lands claiming that they formed the emoluments attached to the carpenter service inam of Illapakurru village. The defendants in that suit, who were the present plaintiffs, raised various pleas, one of which was that the then plaintiff's father who was the carpenter in 1907 was dispossessed by them of the lands in question, that they had acquired title to the lands by virtue of adverse possession for more than the statutory period and that the mere tact : that the then plaintiff was appointed as the village carpenter in 1921 could not give him a right to recover the properties to which the defendants had acquired (according to them) title by adverse possession for more than 12 years. They also pleaded that the Revenue Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit. Both the Sub-Collector and on appeal the District Collector overruled the pleas of the then defendants and decreed the plaintiff's suit in his favour and directed that the defendants should surrender possession of the properties to the then plaintiff with mesne profits.

3. The present suit has been filed by the present plaintiffs (who were defendants in the revenue suit) for a declaration that the decrees passed by the Sub-Collector, and the District Collector in appeal, are null and void and illegal and also for an injunction restraining the successful plaintiff in the revenue suit, who is the defendant in the present suit, from executing those decrees. Both the Lower Courts have dismissed the suit. Hence this second appeal has been preferred by the plaintiffs.

4. The learned Advocate who appeared for the plaintiffs in this second appeal argued that as the present plaintiffs had been in possession of these lands from 1907 and as the revenue suit (14 of 1922) was filed in 1922, they had acquired title to the lands by adverse possession and that the mere circumstance that (after the acquisition of such title by them as against the then village carpenter, that carpenter resigned, or died) and a new carpenter was appointed did not give the newly appointed carpenter a fresh right to recover possession of the properties to which the persons in possession had acquired title by virtue of limitation. He also argued that on a proper construction of the plaint in R.S. No. 14 of 1922 that suit must be taken to have been instituted against a trespasser and that such a suit would not lie in the Revenue Court. After considering the arguments urged by the learned Advocate for the appellants carefully, I have come to the conclusion that in substance and in fact the prior suit was a suit by the village carpenter to recover emoluments which he alleged were attached to that office. Such a suit is specifically provided for by the Madras Act III of 1895. With reference to the argument of the learned' Advocate that that was not the real nature of that suit, I think it necessary just to quote a sentence or two from the judgments of the Sub-Collector and the District Collector in appeal.

5. This is what the Sub-Collector says (Ex. I):

He (the plaintiff) has brought the suit only by virtue of his appointment to the office. It is really a suit for emoluments within the meaning of Section 13 of the Act, as the plaintiff has been discharging the duties of the office, since the date of the appointment (1921).

6. Similar observations were made by the learned District Collector in appeal. This is what he says (Ex. II):

There is no doubt at all that the respondent is the sole registered holder, that he instituted his suit within three years from the time when he was registered as office-holder and that the lands in dispute formed the emoluments of the office.

7. I agree with these observations, and in my view the prior suit was in substance a suit under Section 13 of the Act by an office-holder appointed in 1921 to recover lands which he alleged were attached to that office. If I am right in my construction of the proceedings in the prior suit, it is clear that the result of that suit is binding upon both the parties. Under Section 13 read with Section 21 the Revenue Court : has been conferred special exclusive jurisdiction to take cognizance of suits by the officers mentioned in Section 3 of the Act to recover the emoluments attached to such offices. It is not denied that the village carpenter is one of the persons mentioned in Section 3. The only question then being whether the prior suit was a suit to recover emoluments attached to the village carpenter's office, having regard to my view that that was the nature of that suit, it is clear that the adjudication in that suit is binding on both the parties. This proposition could not possibly be contested. In fact, the decision in Balijepalli Seshayya v. Balijepelli Siibbayya I.L.R. (1906) M. 320 is a direct authority on this question where Benson and Wallis, JJ., say as follows:

Under Section 13 of Act III of 1895, the Collector has jurisdiction to determine whether lands are the emoluments of an office or not, and the parties to the proceeding are debarred by Section 13 of the Civil Procedure Code and the general principles of res judicata from reagitating the same question subsequently in a Civil Suit.

8. It also seems to me that the authority of the Full Bench in Kesiram Narasimhalu v. Narasimhulu Patnaidu, is also in favour of this proposition. The learned Advocate, however, argued that the effect of dispossession of the office-holder has not been duly considered, nor the law relating to that point properly applied, by the revenue officers in the prior suit. He also argued that adverse possession against an office-holder is adverse possession against his successor also and that the successor could not lay the mere fact that he filed a suit within the limitation period after he was appointed to the office, claim to recover possession in a case where the defendants were in adverse possession for more than 12 years during the time of the previous office-holder. In my view that question does not arise for decision in the present case. If I am right in my view that the prior suit did lie in the revenue Court under Section 13, then 1 am not concerned with the correctness or otherwise of the decision on the merits in that litigation. No second appeal lies to the High Court against the Collector's decision and the present second appeal is not against the decision of the Collector. In fact, under the Act the High Court has no jurisdiction to interfere with decisions passed by Sub-Collectors and District Collectors, in appeal, the Revenue Board being given jurisdiction in such cases. Having regard to the policy of Act III of 1895, I think that the Civil Courts are not entitled to go into and consider the correctness of the decision on the merits in a case which otherwise was properly within the jurisdiction of the revenue Court under Section 13 of the Act. In the Lower Appellate Court the plaintiffs relied on a decision of a single learned Judge of this Court reported in Kotiah v. Reddamma (1916) 1 M.W.N. 278 in support of the position that, if a plaint contained an allegation which was not strictly necessary for the purpose of enabling the suit to be brought under Section 13 of the Act, then the revenue Courts have no jurisdiction. I find, however, that the decision in Kotiah v. Reddamma (1916) 1 M.W.N. 278 was on appeal under the Letters Patent reversed by two learned Judges, Vide, Pattayya v. Kotiah (1917) M.W.N. 7. As regards the construction of the plaint in the prior suit, I think that that was a suit properly brought under Section 13 of the Act, and within the special cognizance of the revenue Court.

9. In this view it is unnecessary for me to say anything with reference to the other argument raised by the learned Advocate for the appellants. I have got a case, where under the Act special jurisdiction has been conferred upon the revenue Court and assuming, but not admitting, that the decision of the revenue Court was on the merits erroneous on the question of limitation, that does not render its decree null and void, nor does it enable the present plaintiffs to obtain a declaration to that effect which is what they seek in the present suit. A Court having jurisdiction to entertain a suit has also jurisdiction to decide it, whether the decision be, on the; merits, right or not. If it has decided wrongly, the only remedy for the aggrieved party is to take steps prescribed by law for setting it aside, either by means of an appeal or revision or, where the law provides such a remedy, by means of a fresh suit. In the present case Act III of 1895 provides special remedy in respect of suits to recover emoluments attached to offices mentioned in Section 3 in the revenue Court and having regard to the authorities referred to by me, Civil Courts have no jurisdiction to go into that question.

10. On behalf of the respondent it was suggested that having regard to the circumstance that under Section 25 of the Act, while certain sections of the Limitation Act have been incorporated and made applicable to proceedings under Madras Act III of 1895, Section 28 of the Limitation Act is not one of the sections so incorporated. From that, if I understood the learned Advocate properly, he argued that the effect of adverse possession, assuming it to be so on the part of the present plaintiffs as against the prior carpenter, would not be to extinguish the title either of the prior carpenter or of the present incumbent. On this point, the learned Advocate drew my attention to the observations in the case in Vanchinatha Aiyar v. Rajagopala Aiyar and Ors. : (1921)41MLJ372 . The learned Advocate for the appellant in his reply submitted that having regard to the facts of that case the learned Judges had not to decide about the applicability or otherwise of Section 28 of (he Limitation Act to a case brought in the Civil Court. However, I do not feel called upon to express any opinion upon such a point. I think that the Lower Courts were right in their view, regarding the nature of the prior suit and I accordingly hold that the plaintiffs are not entitled to the declaration sought for and that the decision of the Lower Courts is right. The second appeal is accordingly dismissed with costs. Leave refused.


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