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Chadalavada Venkata Subbayya Vs. the Secretary of State for India in Council and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1938Mad483; (1938)1MLJ539
AppellantChadalavada Venkata Subbayya
RespondentThe Secretary of State for India in Council and anr.
Cases ReferredKumaraswami Mudali v. Muniratna Mudali
Excerpt:
- - muniratna mudali air1932mad529 .6. it follows therefore that there was never any substance in the plaintiff-appellant's suit and that the appeal must fail......the present village munsif of pedapudi in the tenali taluk for a declaration that the order of the board of revenue dated 12th may, 1928, in second appeal is illegal and ultra vires.2. the facts necessary to understand the points in issue may be stated briefly. the plaintiff-appellant's grandfather ramanappa was village munsif of pedapudi till 1883 when he was dismissed by the sub-collector for misconduct, and a divided member of the same mirasi family was appointed to the office, namely, the grandfather of the second defendant. the plaintiff's contention was that that appointment was only temporary, and to be in force only during the lifetime of the dismissed village munsif, and that on the death of the latter in 1923, the plaintiff was entitled to be appointed village munsif. on this.....
Judgment:

Pandrang Row, J.

1. The appellant in this appeal was the plaintiff in the lower Court. He sued the Secretary of State for India in Council and the present Village Munsif of Pedapudi in the Tenali Taluk for a declaration that the order of the Board of Revenue dated 12th May, 1928, in second appeal is illegal and ultra vires.

2. The facts necessary to understand the points in issue may be stated briefly. The plaintiff-appellant's grandfather Ramanappa was Village Munsif of Pedapudi till 1883 when he was dismissed by the Sub-Collector for misconduct, and a divided member of the same mirasi family was appointed to the office, namely, the grandfather of the second defendant. The plaintiff's contention was that that appointment was only temporary, and to be in force only during the lifetime of the dismissed Village Munsif, and that on the death of the latter in 1923, the plaintiff was entitled to be appointed Village Munsif. On this basis, the plaintiff, during his minority, by a next friend sued in the Court of the Revenue Divisional Officer under Section 13 of the Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act (III of 1895), namely, S.S. No. 1 of 1926, for being registered as the Village Munsif of Pedapudi. That suit was dismissed and an appeal from the decree of the Revenue Divisional Officer was also dismissed by the District Collector in S.A.S. No. 1 of 1927. The plaintiff preferred a second appeal to the Board of Revenue as provided for in Section 23 of the Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act and that second appeal was also dismissed by the Board of Revenue in May, 1928.

3. It is this dismissal of the second appeal by the Board of Revenue that is sought to be declared illegal and ultra vires. It cannot be contended that the Board of Revenue had no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal or to deal with it in the manner which the Board thought fit. In fact, a claim to a village office of this kind can be decided only by Revenue Courts as will be seen from a perusal of Sections 13 and 21 of the Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act (III of 1895). This position is not contested. It is therefore clear that the Board of Revenue had not only jurisdiction to entertain and dispose of the second appeal, but also that the Board was the only authority in fact which could have entertained such a second appeal in this matter. The contention that the Board of Revenue acted without jurisdiction must be dismissed as having no foundation, and as being even absurd. The jurisdiction of the Board of Revenue was invoked by the plaintiff himself and that jurisdiction which undoubtedly existed when the appeal was entertained could not be said to have been lost simply because, as the plaintiff-appellant believes, the Board decided the second appeal wrongly.

4. So far as the contention that the order of the Board of Revenue was illegal is concerned, it appears to us that no civil suit of this nature could have been entertained by the Subordinate Judge for the purpose of getting a declaration that the order of the Board of Revenue passed in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction was contrary to law. No separate suit would lie in a case of this kind, and when the highest Court of Appeal, so far as this subject-matter is concerned, has decided a particular claim in a particular way, it is final, and it is not open to any Court in the moffussil to canvass the correctness of such an order. The order of the Board has the force of a decree and it is the decree of the final Court of Appeal in a suit of this kind. Assuming for argument's sake that that decision was contrary to law, it is obviously not competent to the Subordinate Judge's Court in which this suit was filed to declare that such a decision was contrary to law. In effect, the present suit though framed as one for a declaration that the order of the Board of Revenue is illegal and ultra vires is a suit for the office of a Village Munsif in which the plaintiff seeks the same relief which he sought in the suit which he filed before the Revenue Divisional Officer. He is really therefore attempting to obtain an adjudication by a Civil Court of a claim which has been excluded from the jurisdiction of Civil Courts for over a century by express legislation. It may at the same time be mentioned that the Subordinate Judge while holding that the suit was maintainable came to the conclusion that the order of the Board of Revenue was right on the merits and that the view taken by the Board as regards the appointment of the second defendant's grandfather was right.

5. A further complaint has been made on the ground that the Board of Revenue passed its order in second appeal without hearing the plaintiff-appellant or his counsel. The rules of procedure governing the hearing of suits and appeals under the Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act are rules framed under Section 20, Clause (4) of that Act, and the rules so framed do not require that the Board of Revenue should hear either the appellant or his counsel before disposing of a second appeal. This rule of procedure cannot be regarded as ultra vires in the light of the decision reported in Kumaraswami Mudali v. Muniratna Mudali : AIR1932Mad529 , which expressly decided the question that the Board of Revenue having jurisdiction to decide a second appeal under Section 23 of the Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act has jurisdiction to decide it without giving the parties an opportunity of being heard. This Bench decision which directly bears on the point disposes of the contention that the decision of the Board of Revenue must be deemed to be illegal or ultra vires because it was pronounced without giving a hearing to the plaintiff-appellant or his counsel. We see no reason to differ from the decision in Kumaraswami Mudali v. Muniratna Mudali : AIR1932Mad529 .

6. It follows therefore that there was never any substance in the plaintiff-appellant's suit and that the appeal must fail. It is accordingly dismissed with costs (two sets).


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