1. This revision petition is preferred by the landholder against an order of the Special Deputy Collector of Chandragiri purporting to have been passed under Section 15 (4) of Madras Act IV of 1938. The applicant before the learned Deputy Collector was the owner of a 3/16 share in an agraharam and he claimed the right to get the jodi scaled down on the basis of a deposit of the arrears for faslis 1346 and 1347, not of the whole jodi of the agraharam but of the proportionate arrears due on his 3/16 share. The learned Deputy Collector, accepting evidence that in practice the applicant had been paying his proportionate share of the rent separately from the other agraharamdars and that these payments had been received, held that the liability of the applicant was only a liability for 3/16 of the total jodi and allowed the application. It does not appear to have been realised in the Court below that the question whether the liability of the applicant was a joint and several liability or a separate liability for a proportion of the whole jodi was concluded so far as these particular faslis are concerned by the decisions which led up to decrees which decrees in fact the applicant was trying to get modified.
2. It has been recognised that one of the lacunae in Act IV of 1938 is that no procedure is laid down for scaling down decrees for rent. Section 19 provides only for the scaling down of a decree for the repayment of a 'debt' which term does not, strictly speaking, include a liability for rent. But it has been held in Ramadoss Reddiar v. Munuwami Reddiar : AIR1941Mad116 that a procedure analogous to that laid down in Section 19 of the Act should be followed with reference to decrees for rent and that view has been adopted in subsequent decisions. It seems to me apparent that, when there is a decree of a Civil Court determining the amount of rent payable for the relevant period, there is no room for any application to the Revenue Court under Section 15(4). The object of Section 15 (4) is clearly to enable a tenant whose liability for rent has not yet come into Court to ascertain what is the extent of that liability as scaled down and pay it into the Revenue Court in order to prevent an unnecessary suit. To permit this procedure to be used when another Court has already passed a decision as to the liability for rent, would be to sanction the existence of two conflicting judicial orders, neither of which would necessarily govern the other. It is moreover apparent that any procedure for reducing the amount due under a decree passed before Act IV of 1938 came into force with a view to giving the relief laid down under Section 15 cannot be treated as an opportunity to alter the decree apart from the process of reduction provided in the Act. I held in Ramamurti Pantulu v. Sri Lakshmi Narayana Harischandra Jagadev Raju Bahadur C.R.P. No. 2169 of 1939 [(1941) 1 M.L.J.N.R.C 51 which was a similar case though on slightly different facts to the present that the petitioner cannot under the guise of scaling down a decree for rent, get that decree amended so as to give effect to a defence which should have been put forward in the suit and was not put forward or, if put : forward, was not accepted. Still less can the same result be obtained by ignoring the decree and going to the Collector with an application for scaling down the rent on a basis which has been found to be untenable in the decree for the rent of the relevant period.
3. Turning to the facts of the present case, the application dealt with the arrears of jodi for Faslis 1340 to 1345. These faslis are admittedly covered by two decrees, one O.S. No. 229 of 1934 and the other S. C. No. 473 of 1937 of the District Munsif's Court of Tirupati. The judgment in the latter case has been exhibited and that judgment expressly negatives the contention of the present applicant that by reason of separate possession of the 3/16 share and separate collection of the rent for that share he was liable only to 3/16 of the jodi of the whole agraharam. The learned District Munsif repels this contention on the ground that the decision in O.S. No. 229 of 1934 has decided that the third defendant is liable jointly and severally with the other agraharamdars for the whole of the jodi. That is the suit covering the earlier faslis in reference to which this present application is presented. It follows therefore that both of the decrees which covered the relevant faslis proceeded upon a judicial decision binding upon the present respondent to the effect that he is liable jointly and severally for the whole of the rent of the agraharam. So long as these two decrees are in full force and effect, it is not open to the respondent to contend in proceedings for scaling down the rent of those faslis that his liability is only for 3/16 of the rent. I doubt very much whether the learned Deputy Collector was right in entertaining the application at all when the matter was covered by Civil Court's decrees. In my opinion the proper course would have been to refer the applicant to the Court which passed the decrees. But even assuming that the procedure taken by the respondent is one open to him, he clearly cannot be allowed to use the right to scale down the rent as a right to re-open the question of joint or several liability which has been finally decided for those particular faslis by decrees of a competent Court. In the result therefore the revision petition is allowed with costs and the application is dismissed with costs throughout.