1. This is an appeal preferred against the Decree and Judgment of the learned District Judge of Chingleput in A.S. No. 58 of 1955 confirming the Decree and Judgment of the learned District Munsif of Chingleput in O.S. No. 302 of 1953.
2. The suit was for a declaration of plaintiff's title to the suit properties and for an injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with the plaintiff's possession of the said lands in Zamin Mogaiyur village and comprised in Patta No. 89.
3. It is admitted in the plaint itself that the village has been taken over by the : State under the provisions of the Madras Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act of 1948. The provisions of the Act became applicable to the suit village from 1st October, 1951. Under Section 3(b) of the Act the proprietor was divested of his title to the suit village and the suit village vested in the Government.
4. The dispute between the parties is as follows: The plaintiff based her title to the suit properties under a grant by the Zamindar in or about Fasli 1352 under issue of Patta. She claimed that she was paying the premia to the landlord for item 1 of the suit properties. The defendants also claimed that they were in possession of the suit items and pattas stood in their names as well as in the names of others and contended that the Zamindar was not competent to grant patta to others. They further claimed that they were paying premium to the Zamindar for the suit lands. The purchase by the Zamindar in rent sale on the foot of which the Zamindar is said to have become the owner to the kudiwaram and granted her a patta is also questioned. The suit is in substance and in effect one based on the grant of title in respect of occupancy rights and issue of patta by the Zamindar for the suit lands and the adjudication asked for is in essence nothing more than the determination as to who is the lawful ryot with regard to these lands.
5. The contention before both the Courts below and which was accepted by them was that under Section 56(1)(c) and 56 (2) of the aforesaid Act a civil Court is impliedly barred from trying this question and that the proper forum is the Special Court created by the Act, viz., the Settlement Officer.
6. The relevant provisions of the Act are:
Section 3(b): 'With effect on and from the notified date and save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act the entire estate (including all communal lands waste lands pasture lands forests mines and minerals, quarries rivers and streams ; tank and irrigation works ; fisheries ; and ferries) shall stand transferred to the Government and vest in them, free of all encumbrances and the Madras Revenue Act, 1864, the Madras Irrigation Cess Act, 1865 and all other enactments applicable to ryotwari areas shall apply to the estate.
7. Section 3(f) of the Act extinguished all relationship between the landlord and the ryot:
Again Section 56(1)(c) of the Act is as follows:
Where after an estate is notified, a dispute arises... (c) as to who the lawful ryot in respect of any holding, is, the dispute shall be decided by a Settlement Officer.
8. Section 56(2) ran thus:
Any person deeming himself aggrieved by any decision of the Settlement Officer under Sub-section (1) may within two months from the date of the decision or such further time as the Tribunal may in its discretion allow, appeal to the Tribunal ; and its decision shall be final and not be liable to be questioned in any Court of Law.
9. On a review of the entire circumstances of the case I have come to the same conclusion as both the Courts below that the civil Court cannot try the suit till the dispute with regard to occupancy rights of the parties to the suit properties are decided by the Settlement Officer as provided for by the Act.
10. Under Section 9, Civil Procedure Code, Civil Courts have jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature excepting suits of which their cognizance is either expressly or impliedly barred. Suraj Narain v. Jammed A.I.R. 1946 Pat. 385, Jagannathacharuylu v. Kutumbarayudu : AIR1915Mad738 , State of B6ombay v. Adamjee Hajee Dawood and Co., Ltd. : AIR1951Cal147 and Valii V. Corporation of Madras : (1912)23MLJ531 .
11. But even in such cases civil Courts have jurisdiction to examine into cases where the provisions of the Statute have not been complied with or the Tribunal has not acted in conformity with the fundamental principles of judicial procedure : Secretary of State v. Mask and Co. (1939) F.L.J. 15 : (1940) 2 M.L.J., Noor Muhammad v. Salaiman 49 C.W.N. 10 : I.L.R. (1947) Cal. 339. Ordinarily suits for possession, injunction, for ejectment, arrears of rent, will be filed in the civil Courts. But by virtue of these special Acts, a class of civil suits has been withdrawn from the purview of civil Courts in specified circumstances.
12. I have already reproduced the relevant provisions which will show that Section 56 of the Act provides a special forum for the settlement of disputes of the nature involved in the suit. It is a mandatory provision stating that such disputes shall be decided by the Settlement Officer. Again, a special procedure has been provided for with regard to appeal against the order of the Settlement Officer by Section 56(2) of the Act. In other words, Section 56 of the Act enacts a particular mode of redress in respect of disputes of the nature involved in the suit and where cognisance of a suit by a civil Court is impliedly barred. So where a special forum is appointed by the Act as here to determine questions arising under the Act the jurisdiction pro tanto of the civil Court is ousted.
13. The mere addition of certain reliefs which are outside the ambit of the reliefs which can be granted by the Special Court will not prevent the outsing of the jurisdiction of the civil Court. It all depends upon the circumstances of each case. In Chigurupati Venkatasubbiah v. Ravi Punnayya (1957) 2 An. W.R. 204, where the suit was of such a nature that the reliefs of possession and mesne profits could not be granted by the Settlement Officer and incidentally the question of title to the holding was also in issue it was held by Chandra Reddy, J., that the jurisdiction of civil Courts is not excluded when special forum could not grant certain prayers. But, where the suit is in substance and effect as in this case only for the determination as to who is the lawful ryot the addition of certain prayers which can be granted or withheld only at the determination of this dispute would not oust the jurisdiction of the Special Court.
14. In Appanna v. Sriramamurthy (1958) 1 An. W.R. 120, a Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court held that where a statute confers a power on any person for public purposes from which an individual may receive an injury, if the mode of redressing the injury is pointed out by the Statute, the jurisdiction of the ordinary Courts is ousted and where a special tribunal, out of the ordinary course, is appointed by the Act to determine questions as to rights which are the creation of that Act, then except so far as is otherwise expressly provided or necessarily implied that tribunal's jurisdiction to determine those questions is exclusive. Iswarananda Bharathi Swami v. Board of Commissioners, H.R.E. : AIR1931Mad574 , Karimal v. Board of Commissioners, H.R.E. (1934) 42 L.W. 207, Venkata Siva Rao v. Ramakrishnayya (1925) 50 M.L.J. 148, referred to. Chigurupaiti Venkatasubbiah v. Ravi Punnayya (1957) 2 An. W.R. 204, distinguished.
15. Bearing these principles in mind, if we examine the facts of this case, the reliefs asked for in the plaint in the instant case cannot be granted by the civil Court before the occupancy rights of the parties in the suit are decided by the Settlement Officer. The conclusion of both the Courts below is correct and this second appeal is dismissed with costs.