Skip to content


Putta Veeranna Vs. Yellapalli Mocharamma - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1938Mad505; (1938)1MLJ406
AppellantPutta Veeranna
RespondentYellapalli Mocharamma
Cases ReferredViranna v. Venkayya
Excerpt:
- - whether the land itself or the revenue from the emoluments of a village office like this is obviously within the exclusive jurisdiction of the revenue court, and the petitioner has failed in my opinion to show that the deputy collector and the collector of east godavari had no jurisdiction to decide this controversy. the reasoning of the learned judge cannot therefore be upheld, but still we are satisfied that the writ was rightly refused. any person may sue before the collector for recovery of the emoluments of any such office, on the ground that he is entitled to hold such office and enjoy such emoluments. he (the plaintiff) can therefore only succeed by showing (1) that he is the karnam of the village entitled as such to enjoy the emoluments and (2) that the land for which he..........cases. where it is necessary for the plaintiff to allege in order to maintain his action that the land in suit is an emolument of a service inam, the jurisdiction will remain with the revenue court under section 13 of the act devineni pattayya v. kandukuri kotiah (1916) 5 l.w. 151. where the plaintiff sues on the ground of a trespass or on the ground that the land is his private property or upon the footing of a lease that has expired, there is no need for him to rely upon the fact of the land being an emolument of a service inam. in such cases the courts have held that the suits are triable by the civil and not the revenue court. and what is the principle underlying this? - that unless in a given case jurisdiction is conferred by section 13 upon the revenue court, it should not be.....
Judgment:

Venkatasubba Rao, J.

1. The appellant was a defendant in a suit brought under the Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act (III of 1895). His defence was negatived by the Revenue Courts and a decree was passed against him. He thereupon applied to the High Court for a writ of certiorari, alleging that the Revenue Courts had no jurisdiction to try the suit and that the proceedings were liable to be quashed. Pandrang Row, J., refused the writ and in the course of his order observed thus:

Whether the land itself or the revenue from the emoluments of a village office like this is obviously within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Revenue Court, and the petitioner has failed in my opinion to show that the Deputy Collector and the Collector of East Godavari had no jurisdiction to decide this controversy.

2. The passage quoted above, as has been conceded by the respondent's learned Counsel, proceeds upon a misapprehension. There was no issue in the case as wrongly assumed by Pandrang Row, J., whether the land itself or the assignment of revenue formed the emoluments. The reasoning of the learned Judge cannot therefore be upheld, but still we are satisfied that the writ was rightly refused.

3. The facts which led to the suit may be briefly stated. One Manikyam, the village blacksmith of Peddada (a ryotwari village), alienated to various persons portions of his service inam lands. He was thereupon dismissed and his widow Mocharamma was appointed to that office. The defendant as one of the alienees was in possession of a part of the land. Mocharamma brought the suit in question before the Deputy Collector for possession, which was decreed by that officer. His decision was confirmed on appeal by the Collector. The question is, did they have jurisdiction to entertain the suit and the appeal under the provisions of the Act referred to above. Sections 13 and 21 are the governing sections. It has been settled by authority that the Act does not contemplate concurrent jurisdiction so that what in each case has to be determined is, whether in view of the nature of a given suit, the Act has vested jurisdiction in the Civil or the Revenue Court to entertain it. Section 13 is the provision which confers jurisdiction upon Revenue Courts; Section 21 enacts in positive terms as to when Civil Courts are forbidden to exercise jurisdiction. These two sections, it has been held, are complementary. In Muvvula Seetharam Naidu v. Doddi Ramu Naidu (1909) 20 M.L.J. 91 : I.L.R. 33 Mad. 208 the learned Judges observe:

It is reasonable to hold, notwithstanding the apparent generality of the language of Section 21, that the jurisdiction of the Civil Court Under that section is taken away in those cases in which it is conferred upon the Revenue Courts by Section 13.

4. This rule is based upon the general principle of law that every presumption shall be made in favour of the jurisdiction of a Civil Court and that it shall not be taken away except by express words or by necessary implication Muvvula Seetharam Naidu v. Doddi Ramu Naidu (1909) 20 M.L.J. 91 : I.L.R. 33 Mad. 208.

5. Section 21 expressly excludes the jurisdiction of the Civil Court inter alia to take into consideration or decide any claim to recover the emoluments of any of the offices specified in Section 3. That the land in the present case answers the above description is not disputed (see the definition of 'emoluments' in Section 4). Turning to Section 13, the relevant words are:

Any person may sue before the Collector for recovery of the emoluments of any such office, on the ground that he is entitled to hold such office and enjoy such emoluments.

6. The test for deciding whether the Revenue or the Civil Court has jurisdiction has been laid down in several cases. Where it is necessary for the plaintiff to allege in order to maintain his action that the land in suit is an emolument of a service inam, the jurisdiction will remain with the Revenue Court under Section 13 of the Act Devineni Pattayya v. Kandukuri Kotiah (1916) 5 L.W. 151. Where the plaintiff sues on the ground of a trespass or on the ground that the land is his private property or upon the footing of a lease that has expired, there is no need for him to rely upon the fact of the land being an emolument of a service inam. In such cases the Courts have held that the suits are triable by the Civil and not the Revenue Court. And what is the principle underlying this? - that unless in a given case jurisdiction is conferred by Section 13 upon the Revenue Court, it should not be deemed taken away under Section 21 from the Civil Court.

7. The appellant's Counsel contends that Section 13 is confined to suits by persons claiming to be entitled to an office and does not apply to suits by those holding an office; in other words, as the present suit for emoluments is by a person holding an office, that is to say, by a person already appointed to it, the section does not apply. He relies for this position upon the observations of Waller, J., in Ramamurthi v. Gajapatiraju (1932) 64 M.L.J. 361 : 56 Mad. 366 . In that case there was a difference of opinion on a certain question with which we are not concerned, between Waller, J. and Krishnan Pandalai, J. As Waller, J., observes, in the suit there was:

Not one to recover the emoluments of an office, but to eject the persons who are alleged to have trespassed upon some inam land, which forms part of the emoluments of the office.

8. As already noticed, the case being one of trespass, that would have been a sufficient ground for holding that the Civil Court's jurisdiction was not taken away. As recognised by Waller, J., himself (and that is evident from the introductory words 'apart from'), his observations that follow those words are obiter. In the judgment of Krishnan Pandalai, J., there is no indication that he agrees with these obiter dicta. Wallace, J., the third Judge to whom the case was referred, has said nothing by way of endorsing the opinion of Waller, J., which, as that learned Judge himself points out, is in direct conflict with the decisions on the point. In Kesaram v. Vuddanda Row : (1906)16MLJ514 , the plaintiff was the holder of the office of karnam and the defendant resisted his claim on the ground that the land in suit was not the emolument of the office but was the private property of the plaintiff, which passed to the defendant in execution of a decree obtained by him against the former. The case was heard by three Judges and Miller, J., in the course of his judgment thus observes:

He (the plaintiff) can therefore only succeed by showing (1) that he is the karnam of the village entitled as such to enjoy the emoluments and (2) that the land for which he sues is the emolument of his office.

9. Here is a clear recognition that a person holding an office can sue under Section 13. In Devineni Pattayya v. Kandukuri Kotiah (1916) 5 L.W. 151 already referred to, the plaintiff who brought the suit was a person actually holding the office and Spencer and Phillips, JJ., adopted the principle laid down by Miller, J., in the earlier case. Again in Kandappa Achari v. Singara Chari (1926) 25 L.W. 299 where the suit was brought by certain hereditary blacksmiths, it was observed:

All suits for the emoluments of an office on the ground that the plaintiff is holding the office must primarily be brought in the Revenue Court. (See p. 302.)

10. There appears no reason why the view uniformly held in these cases should now be departed from. The point again arose in Viranna v. Venkayya : AIR1937Mad159 , where K.S. Menon, J., rightly treated the observations of Waller, J., as obiter. As a question of construction, a plaintiff even when he happens to be a person actually holding an office, has to allege in his plaint ''that he is entitled to hold such office' - which means no more than that he is the rightful office-holder, which, in turn, is the basis of his right to the emoluments claimed.

11. The writ of certiorari was therefore rightly refused. The Letters Patent Appeal fails and is dismissed. Each party will bear his or her own costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //