1. The respondent, a minor, filed the suit out of which this second appeal arises for a declaration that the order appointing the appellant as the Karnam of the village of Kapa-varam is illegal and ultra vires, to register him as the Karnam and to appoint a deputy for him.
2. The plaintiff's case is that his grandfather Rentala Achyutharamayya who was the holder of the office in question died in 1928 leaving two sons, the first and second defendants, that the plaintiff's father the second defendant who was the elder of the two sons was then holding the Karnam's office of another village, that the Revenue Divisional Officer appointed the first defendant the younger son ignoring the senior line of the plaintiff and that the first defendant's appointment is contrary to the provisions of Section 10(2) of the Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act.
3. The first defendant contended that the plaint should have been filed in the Revenue Courts under Section 13 (1) of the Act and that the Civil Courts have no jurisdiction to try the suit. The plaintiff then withdrew the reliefs regarding the registry of the office in his name and the appointment of a deputy and confined the suit to one for a declaration of the invalidity of the defendant's appointment.
4. The question is whether the Civil Courts ought to entertain such a suit. In the plaint, the defendant is said to have been illegally appointed ignoring the plaintiff's right by succession under the Act. It is the Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act that confers the right by succession claimed by the plaintiff. If a third party was appointed by the Revenue Divisional Officer in violation of his right, his obvious remedy was to sue in a Revenue Court for the recovery of the office from the person who according to him was wrongfully appointed. In such a case the question whether the plaintiff or the defendant was under the Act entitled to be appointed would be decided. Indeed, in most of the suits under Section 13 of the Act, that would be the main question arising for decision.
5. Ordinarily, when a right is created by a special statute and a remedy is provided by that very statute for cases of violation of that right, the party aggrieved must pursue the remedy given by the statute. In fact Section 21 bars the Civil Courts from entertaining such a suit. In this case, the plaintiff wants to recover the office; in fact, the plaint started as such. Can the plaintiff be permitted to have the matter agitated before the Civil Courts by merely confining the relief to one for a declaration of the invalidity of the defendant's appointment?
6. A suit in the Revenue Court for recovery of the office will give the plaintiff adequate and complete relief. In such a suit the plaintiff will necessarily get an adjudication whether the defendant's appointment can prevail over his rights.
7. It is not as if he is suing for establishing a right on behalf of his family where the only remedy available is a declaration of the invalidity of the defendant's appointment which suit does not lie under Section 13 of the Act. In this case, the plaintiff seeks to enforce his own personal right to succeed to the office which is expressly provided for by Section 13. He cannot, therefore, be permitted to do indirectly what he cannot do directly. If the plaint is for recovery of the office which is the relief arising on the plaint allegations, he must file the suit in the Revenue Court; and that Court will as it is bound to do, decide the question whether the defendant or the plaintiff was entitled to be appointed.
8. By a mere trick in pleading and framing the relief as one for a declaration of the invalidity of the defendant's appointment, the plaintiff is really trying to get behind the plain provisions of Sections 13 and 21 of the Act.
9. Further, such a declaration is really unnecessary to ask; if the plaintiff files the suit under Section 13 asking for recovery of the office, the Court will in adjudicating his claim, decide whether the appointment of the defendant was illegal. The plaintiff need not ask for a separate relief by way of a declaration that the defendant's appointment is illegal. By asking for a declaration that the defendant's appointment is illegal which really is unnecessary he cannot have a trial in the Civil Courts.
10. The granting of a mere declaratory relief is discretionary; the Court is not bound to grant it in every case even when the plaintiff proves a right. The Civil Courts should refuse to entertain a suit of this kind where the remedy which the plaintiff asks in the Civil Court is unnecessary and where the relief which he really wants is to be sought in the Revenue Courts. Otherwise, the provisions of Sections 13 and 21 of the Act will be rendered useless in the vast majority of the cases for which they are intended. The plaintiff has only to confine the prayer to one of a declaration that the defendant's appointment is invalid; and he can always file such a suit in the Civil Court.
11. The decisions of the lower Courts are reversed and the suit is dismissed with costs throughout.
12. No leave.