1. The facts of the suit out of which the present Civil Revision Petition arose may be stated as follows : The plaintiff is one of the Zamindars of Nuzvid. The defendants are the owners of an agraharam in the Zemindari, liable to pay kattubadi to him. Defendants 1 to 4 are the descendants of the original agraharamclars. 5th defendant purchased the 1st defendant's share in the agraharam. 6th defendant purchased 100 acres 15 cents out of the 5th defendant's share. The suit is to recover Rs. 309-10-5 being the amount due on account of kattubadi from the defendants for faslis 1332 and 1333. The Lower Courts gave a decree to the plaintiff as prayed for. 6th defendant is the petitioner before me. He originally filed a second appeal. It was afterwards converted into a Civil Revision Petition.
2. His contention is that he being only a purchaser of a definite extent from one of the agraharamdars is not liable jointly and severally with the other defendants and that his liability now rests only on the privity of estate and must be limited to the proportionate share due on the portion he purchased. This contention is undoubtedly correct. See judgment of myself and Reilly, J., in Mosafkanni Ravuthar v. Doraisami (1926) 54 M.L.J. 30. It is true that this decision was not reported in the Reports by the time the two Lower Courts heard the case. But there was a decision in Venkatasubramaniyam v. Raja of Venikatagiri (1919) 11 L.W. 523, in which the principles were stated to some extent, though it was not an actual decision on the point, and the matter was further cleared up in the decision of myself and Reilly, J. In the District Munsif's judgment after stating the facts and referring to an earlier judgment of the year 1919, Ex. A, he says : 'I find on both the issues 1 and 2 for the plaintiff.' Ex. A cannot help the decision of this case as there were no purchasers at that time and the 6th defendant was not a party to it. He has not practically touched the point raised by the 6th defendant and there is neither discussion nor decision on it.
3. On appeal to the Subordinate Judge, beyond saying that a contrary view will entail serious consequences and there is no reason why the Zamindar should be put to inconvenience, there is no reference to the legal principles bearing on the matter or to the decisions. The result is that the decisions of the Lower Courts are not only erroneous but not satisfactory.
4. The only question that now arises before me is whether I should interfere in Civil Revision Petition under Section 115. If it is merely a case of erroneous judgment on an isolated matter without further far-reaching consequences, I would certainly not interfere in revision however erroneous the decision may be, though I am rather inclined to think that the decision is perverse within the meaning of the decision of the Full Bench in Kristamma Naidu v. Chapa Naidu I.L.R. (1894) M. 410. But leaving aside this aspect, I have to observe that the decision has got far-reaching consequences which require my interference in revision. The first effect of a joint decree is to necessitate suits for contribution amongst the agraharamdars which would have been unnecessary if the suit is correctly decided. If the suits for contribution are the result of a correct decision of the case, one cannot complain of the situation on the ground of the multiplicity of the suits and there is no justification for any attempt to avoid the multiplicity. But where, as in a case like this, multiplicity is the result of a wrong decision, it is the duty of a superior superintending Court to avoid such multiplicity by setting the wrong decision right. In the present case if the decision is not now interfered with, the matter will be res judicata for succeeding years and there will be multiplicity of suits for contribution in all succeeding years and this state of things is bound to go on for all time. If such a state of things' is not stopped by a superior superintending Court, the power of superintendence exists in vain. A number of cases have been cited before me by the learned vakil for the petitioner. Two of these relate to Court-fees and I do not wish to rely on them. The decision in Gangayya v. Venkataramayya (1922) 44 M.L.J. 80 is a case where the High Court interfered with the decision of the Lower Court acting on an erroneous view of the law and resulting in a grossly illegal situation. They relied on the Full Bench decision in Sundaram v. Mausa Mavulhar : AIR1921Mad157 In Gopayya v. Sobhanadri (1926) 24 L.W. 839 Jackson, J., interfered in revision in a case in which the Lower Courts made no enquiry into the facts. In the present case the Lower Courts made no reference to the legal principles underlying the matter in controversy. In Umed Mal v. Chand Mal (1926) 52 M.L.J. 368 the Privy Council affirmed the judgment of the Chief Commissioner in revision where he held that the decision of the suit-by the Lower Court in the absence of the mortgagor was a material irregularity. I think in the present case the Courts below acted with material irregularity when they proceeded to act without the barest reference to the principles on which alone the case can be decided. See also M. & S. M. Ry. v. Gangammal : AIR1928Mad484 where Madhavan Nair, J., interfered in a similar case. The decision in Brindaban Chander Choubey v. Gour Chandra Ray (1919) 56 Ind.Cas. 155 also shows that where the result of an erroneous decision is to perpetuate the error and to cause multiplicity not for one year but. for all time, the High Court would be properly acting in its powers of superintendence and would rightly interfere in such a case under the Government of India Act. The respondent does not lose any portion of his decree but continues to get a decree for the same amount. Only the defendants will not be jointly and severally liable. For all these reasons I resolve to interfere with the decisions of the Lower Courts and modify the decree's of the Courts below by limiting the liability of the 6th defendant to Rs. 11-13-0 per year or Rs. 23-10-0 for both years. The plaintiff will get proportionate costs on the amount decreed and will pay proportionate costs on the amount disallowed in the Court of First Instance so far as the 6th defendant is concerned and in the High Court and in the Lower Appellate Court each party will bear his or their own costs.
5. Another point has been touched before me in revision. The Courts below have given interest on the amount decreed at 12 per cent, per annum. I do not think this is right. The policy now is to give interest only at 6 per cent. on all arrears of rent and kattubadi is in the nature of rent. But, however, I do not wish to interfere with this point in revision especially as the amount of interest due by the 6th defendant is very small. The decree of the Lower Court is modified accordingly.