Chandrasekhara Aiyar, J.
1. These three appeals have been preferred by the landholder, which is the Pushpagiri Mutt, against an order of the Subordinate Judge directing the plaints to be returned for presentation to the Revenue Court as the lands in respect of which the suits have been brought form part of an 'estate.'
2. Both the Courts have held that the Lingamguntla Agraharam in which the lands are situated is an 'estate.' The District Munsiff dismissed the suits on this finding but the Subordinate Judge directed the plaints to be returned, which, of course, is the proper order to make, if the finding is correct.
3. It is contended for the appellant that as the grant to the mutt was not of an entire village, but only of part of a village, there having been minor inams at the time which were not subject-matter of the grant, the agraharam cannot be called an 'estate' within the meaning of the Act and according to the decisions of this Court. It is to meet these decisions that legislation was undertaken and Madras Act II of 1945 came to be passed amending the Madras Estates Land Act, 1908, and enacting in Explanation 1 to Clause (d) of Sub-section (2) of Section 3 that the 'area which forms the subject-matter of the grant shall be deemed to be an estate notwithstanding that it did not include certain lands in the village which have already been granted on service or other tenure or been reserved for communal purposes' and providing that the amendment 'shall be deemed to have had effect as from the date on which the Madras Estates Land (Third Amendment) Act, 1936, came into force.' Therefore the point that the grant was not of the entire village and it did not include certain lands which formed part of the village is of no avail to the appellant, unless he is able to steer clear of this legislation.
4. How Mr. Seshachalapathi, the learned advocate for the appellant, has tried to do it is by invoking the aid of Section 4 of the Amending Act which provides 'Nothing contained in this Act shall be deemed to invalidate any decree or order of a Court which became final before the passing of this Act.' He relies on the circumstance that as early as 1921 it was finally held by the High Court in a suit between the mutt and the predecessor in title of the defendant tenant that the Lmgamguntla Agraharam is not an 'estate.' This is referred to in Ex. P-13 a judgment of Sundaram Chettiar, J., dated 8th August, 1923. So, he contends that as it has been finally held that Lingamguntla is not an 'estate' the new legislation cannot be deemed to affect this view taken by the Courts long before 1936.
5. This, however, does not appear to me to be the correct construction of Section 4. What it apparently means is that the amendment shall not be allowed to upset or affect any decree or order of a Court, i.e., it would not be open, because of this legislation, for a party to come up and say for instance 'There was a decree for rent passed against me in a Civil Court. The Act says my land is an estate and therefore that decree must be reversed and I must get back what was decreed against me' or it would not be open for a tenant to come forward and contend 'The landholder recovered possession of certain properties from me on the ground that I had no occupancy lights, but now that the Act says the village is an estate conferring occupancy rights on me, I should get back possession of the lands.' To put it in another way, decrees or orders which have become final shall stand unaffected by the Act in so far as rights and obligations have sprung up in favour of or against parties to those decrees or orders, but this does not mean that any finding on the basis of which those decrees or orders were reached must also be upheld for all time to come in spite of a legislation of this kind which is on the face of it not only retrospective but also ex-proprietary. It is one thing to say that what was decreed or ordered previously shall stand; it is another thing to say that the basis of the decree which the legislature has definitely made up its mind to change should still remain unaffected even as regards the determination of future rights and obligations between the parties.
6. I hold that the Amending Act is a conclusive answer to these appeals which must be dismissed with costs only in C.M.A. No. 377 of 1943 where the respondent appears. There will be no order as to costs in the other appeals where the respondent does not appear. No leave.