Ramachandra Iyer, C.J.
1. Two persons Pappu Reddiar and Sankaralingam Pillai, the appellants before us, had simple money claims against the estate of A. S. T. F. Rodrigues, whose sons are respondents 2 and 3. The creditors brought a suit for administration of the estate of the deceased Rodrigues ana in the course of administration it appears that a sum of about Rs. two lakhs had been brought into Court. There were income tax assessment proceedings in regard to the estate of the deceased in the hands of his sons, and the Income-tax Department, had a claim of nearly Rs. 2,38,819-14-0 by way of arrears of income tax. The Second Additional Income-tax Officer, Tuticorin, applied on behalf of the Union of India in I. A. No. 430 of 1957 in the administration suit referred to above for payment of the arrears clue to the department out of the monies in deposit in the administration suit.
It was claimed on behalf of the petitioner who is the first respondent before us that as amongst the simple money creditors who were alone parties to the administration suit the charge holders having been already paid--the Government would have a preferential claim for payment. This was accepted by the lower Court and the amount in deposit was directed to be paid out in discharge of the income-tax arrears. The two creditors feelingaggrieved by the decree of the lower Court have filed this appeal.
2. It is contended on their behalf that although they were only simple money creditors of the estate of deceased Rodrigues, as they had taken enormous trouble in bringing the monies into Court it is highly inequitable that such monies should be paid out to the Income-tax authorities who did nothing to bring these monies into Court. We are unable to find any principle of law behind this argument. It is a well accepted rule that as between creditors in equal degree the Sovereign or Government would be entitled to priority in the matter of payment. This position has now been settled beyond doubt so far as this Court is concerned by the Full Bench decision in Collector of Tiruchirapalli v. Trinity Bank, : 44ITR189(Mad) .
Mr. Natesan, learned counsel for the appellants faintlycontended that to recognise such a principle would be tocontravene the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitutionas it would be discriminating one class of creditors againstanother. This argument was considered by the learnedJudges of the Full Bench and also in the decision in Barmof India v. John Bowman, (S) : AIR1955Bom305 . Thesetwo decisions are in full accord with the principle laindown by the Supreme Court in Nav Rattanmal v. Stateof Rajasthan, : 2SCR324 . The order of the lowerCourt is therefore correct. This appeal is dismissed, butIn the circumstances there will be no order as to costs.