Venkatasubba Rao, J.
1. The learned District Judge has, upholding a preliminary objection, dismissed the appeal of the landholder (the Rajah of Vizianagram) as being incompetent. The question is, whether his order is correct or not. The proceedings started before the Collector, by certain ryots, filing an application under Section 135 of the Estates Land Act, stating that the tank of their village was out of repair and that the landholder failed to restore it to efficiency and praying for the issue of an order under Section 137 for the repair of that tank. The Collector, holding that the landholder had grossly neglected his duty, made an order under Section 137, directing him to carry out certain repairs to the tank and take certain other steps within six months of the date of that order. It was against this order that the landholder filed an appeal to the District Court, which, as I have said, was rejected on the ground that it does not lie. Under Section 142, from any order issued by a District Collector under Chapter VII (chapter dealing with repair of irrigation works) other than an order under Section 138, an appeal lies, unless otherwise provided for in Part B of the Schedule to the Act, to the Board of Revenue, whose decision shall be final. The effect of this section is, that the appellate authority is the Board of Revenue and not the District Court, unless there is a provision to the contrary in Part B of the Schedule. Before turning to the Schedule, I must refer to Section 189 of the Estates Land Act. The material portions of that section read thus:
Clause (1).--A Collector or other Revenue Officer specially authorised under this Act shall hear and determine as a Revenue Court all suits and applications of the nature specified in Parts A and B of the Schedule.
Clause (2).--Decrees and orders passed under Sub-section (1) shall be subject to appeal as provided in the sixth column of Parts A and B of the Schedule.
2. I shall now quote Article 21 (that is the article applicable) of Part B in the Schedule to the Act.
__________________________________________________________________________Serial Section Description of Period of Time from Court, if any,Number of Act. application. limitation. which period to which begins to run. appeal lies.__________________________________________________________________________21 137 By a landholder against an order None. None. Districtunder Section 137 Court.for the repair of an irrigation work. __________________________________________________________________________
3. Now, was the application on which the Collector made his order, of the kind referred to in the article quoted above? Assuredly not. As I have said, the application was one made by the ryots under Section 135. What this article contemplates is, an application under Article 137 and that made by a landholder. It is only an appeal against an order on such an application that lies to the District Court; otherwise, the appeal lies under Section 142. to the Board of Revenue. It follows from this, that the appeal filed by the landholder to the District Court was rightly rejected as being incompetent. The appellant's counsel suggests, that when the ryots applied under Section 135, the counter-petition filed by the landholder may be regarded as the latter's application under Section 137 and, viewed in that light, his appeal to the District Court was in order. I cannot accede to this contention, for it implies, that while a landholder has a right of appeal to the District Court from an order made on the ryot's application, the ryot himself has no such right. The construction suggested cannot, in my opinion, be the correct one. Moreover, the wording of Article 21, as it stood before it was amended by Act IV of 1909, shows that the view suggested cannot prevail. I reproduce below the original article.
__________________________________________________________________________Serial Section Description of Period of Time from Court, if any,Number of Act. application. limitation. which period to which begins to run. appeal lies.__________________________________________________________________________21 135 For an order under Section 137 None. None. Districtfor the repair of Court.an irrigation work. __________________________________________________________________________
4. That shows that an appeal lay to the District Court from an order under Section 137 for the repair of an irrigation work on an application made under Section 135. That article gave wide power of appeal to the District Court. The intention of the amendment obviously was to curtail that right. It follows that the learned Counsel's argument, as I have pointed out, cannot be accepted. There is no decided case on the point, but I find that my view receives support from Mr. Ramadas's note on Section 137 in his work on the Madras Estates Land Act. The following passage from that book contains a terse statement of the law:
Appeal.--A landholder who feels aggrieved by an order under this section for the repair of an irrigation work may apply to the District Collector to set it aside. This is evidently by way of a review of the order made under Section 137. If he is dissatisfied with the order made on such an application he may appeal to the District Court. This implies that he cannot appeal against the original order under Section 137. But Section 142 seems to give him an appeal to the Board of Revenue against the original order of the District Collector. If the landholder commits default in carrying out the Collector's order, the ryots may apply to the Collector to authorise them to execute the repair; and if the Collector refuse's to authorise them to execute the repair, they may appeal to the District Court.
5. The second appeal is dismissed with costs.