1. This is a suit in ejectment against a person who is admittedly a non-occupancy tenant of land described as old waste land within the meaning of the Estates Land Act. He had a lease before the passing of the Act which expired after, the Act came into force. The question that arises is whether the suit must be brought in the Court of the Collector or in the ordinary Civil Court, This question of jurisdiction has been dealt with in a number of cases in this Court and the great preponderance of view is in favour of interpretation of Section 153 to the effect that the proviso to that section does not affect the question of jurisdiction which is dealt with by the section itself. That is to say, Section 153 lays down that a suit to eject a non-occupancy ryot shall be brought before the Collector and the proviso which has been added by the subsequent Act IV of 1909 to that section only lays down that as regards a non-occupancy ryot whose lease commenced before the commencement of the Act, the question regarding his liability to ejectment on the ground of the expiry of that lease is not affected by anything in Section 153. That, as pointed out by Old field, J., in Sankaravenkataratnam v. Sri Raja Varadaraja Appa Rao (1915) 29 M.L.J. 184, deals only with the ground of liability to ejectment and does not affect the question of jurisdiction which is dealt with in the earlier part of that section. Section 9 of the Act says that no land holder shall, as such, be entitled to eject a ryot from his holding or any part thereof otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of this Act: that is to say by a suit instituted in the Revenue Court. This seems to be quite comprehensive, but the learned Pleader for the respondent argues that the position of the defendant in this suit is that of a trespasser as contemplated in Section 163 of the Act. But Section 163, as has been pointed out in more than one ruling of this Court exempts from the operation of the Act, persons who have not come into possession of a ryoti land by legal transfer or by admission as ryot by the land-holder. The mere fact that a lease under which a man occupies ryoti land has expired, does not, as we read that section make him a trespasser within the meaning of that section.
2. The above view of the law has been adopted in a series of cases Vuppuluri Atchayya v. Kanchumarti Venkata Seetaramachandra Rao (1912) 13 M.L.T. 60, by Sankaran Nair and Sadasiva Aiyar, JJ., Achapparaju v. Rajah V.G. Krishnayachendralavaru I.L.R. (1913) M. 163, by Benson and Sundara Aiyar, JJ., President, District Board, Tanjore v. Annasami Thondaman (1916) 35 I.C. 121 by Oldfield and Sadasiva Aiyar, JJ., and in Ardajeri Rama Reddi v. Karpi Sivaga (1913) 21 I.C. 916 and Sankaravenkatarathnam v. Sri Raja Varadaraja Appa Row (1914) 29 M.L.J. 184 by Old field, J. Dissent has no doubt been expressed from that view by Spencer, J., in Ponnusami Padayachi v. Karuppudayan 26 M.L.J. 285, but it does not appear that in view of the facts found in that case it was necessary to deal with this question. Tyabji, J. differed from Oldfield, J., in the case in Sankaravenkataratnam v. Sri Raja Varadaraja Appa Rao (1914) 29 M.L.J. 184, But we find that the learned Judge in an earlier case in Rami Reddi v. Karpi Sivaga (1913) 21 I.C. 916, expressed a contrary view. The great preponderance of authority is undoubtedly in support of the contention of the appellant that jurisdiction in a case like this is in the Revenue Court and not in the ordinary Civil Court. No doubt the proviso to Section 153 might at first sight be taken to mean that the cases mentioned there were taken out altogether from Section 153 but that as explained by Oldfield, J., is not the effect of the proviso.
3. We reverse the decisions of both the courts and direct that the plaint be returned to the plaintiff to be presented in the proper court. The appellants are entitled to their costs throughout.
4. Second appeals 762 and 763 follow.