1. This is a petition asking this Court to revise an order passed by the Collector of Tinnevelly on an application made to him by the Zamindar of Sivagiri under Section 20-A of the Madras Estates Land Act. I cannot accede to the contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner that this is a matter in which this Court has jurisdiction to interfere under Section 115, Civil Procedure Code. It is not in every case that parties may be prejudiced by orders passed by Collectors under the Estates Land Act and that the Collector can be deemed to have acted as Court or that this Court will be justified in interfering under Section 115, Civil Procedure Code. I have therefore no alternative but to dismiss the revision petition with costs.
2. In the ordinary course, I should have contented myself with the above order; but it seems to me to be my duty to do what I can to prevent the perpetuation of the mistake into which in my opinion the Collector has fallen in this case. I am not concerned with the merits or the validity of the order passed by Mr. Warren on a previous occasion, that is, on 4th April, 1936, nor even with the contention that that order is vitiated by his omission to observe the statutory rules. I only note that I am told by the learned Counsel for the respondent that Mr. Warren's order was passed before the present statutory rules came into force and that he acted in accordance with the rules then in force. I only propose to point out that the later order of 8th February, 1937, passed by a successor of Mr. Warren which is now sought to be revised is not right in so far as it purports to be based on the doctrine of res judicata. There are no doubt certain matters contemplated by the Estates Land Act in respect of which the doctrine of res judicata will apply. But I am unable to concur in the view that applications of the kind contemplated by Section 20-A of the Estates Land Act are matters to which that doctrine can be legitimately applied. That section contemplates that the power thereby conferred on the District Collector may be exercised from time to time according to exigencies and changing requirements. The use of the expression 'no longer required' in Clause (a) clearly indicates that it could not of course have been the intention of the legislature that a party could go on applying every month or every year under that provision without alleging any change of circumstance or some other sufficient cause, since the passing of the previous order. If in such cases the Collector dismisses the application, it will only be on the ground that as circumstances have not changed and no special cause is shown there is no reason for changing his opinion. It is a mistake to suppose that this is exactly and literally the doctrine of res judicata in its well-understood sense. It is because the order of the Collector now complained against is wholly based on his view of the application of this doctrine and not upon his view as to the merits of the claim that I have thought it necessary to make the above remarks.