1. This second appeal arises from a suit brought by the plaintiff under Section 55 of the Estates Land Act, I of 1908, to obtain a patta from the defendant--the landholder for the plaint land. Plaintiff's case was that he obtained the occupancy right by purchase of the rights of the previous ryot, one Kaliappan Servai, some years ago and that he was paying the rent due, though the patta remained in the latter's name. Kaliappan died some time ago leaving his widow, one Kaliammai, Plaintiff recently made an application under Section 146 of the Estates Laud Act jointly with Kaliammai for the transfer of patta to his name, but the defendant refused it. Hence the suit. Defendant pleaded that some time ago he had recognized one Perianayagi as the ryot on a joint application by herself and Kaliammai alleging that the occupancy right had. been sold to her by one Muthu Servai, a nephew and heir of Kaliappa, that he had issued a patta in her name and that having done so, he was not bound to issue a new patta to the plaintiff unless the latter took proper steps under Section 146 of the Estates Land Act. He also pleaded that as plaintiff did not take such steps the Revenue Court had no jurisdiction to decree delivery of patta to him. He further contended that the suit was also bad for non-joinder of Perianayagi. The District Judge upheld his objections and dismissed the suit. Hence the appeal to us by the plaintiff.
2. On the question of non-joinder I agree with the Deputy Collector that Porianayagi was not a necessary party, though it may be desirable to have her as a party, to settle effectively the dispute raised. But even if she was a necessary party the suit should not have been dismissed for her non-joinder. It is clear from Order I, Rule 9, Civil Procedure Code, which applies to Revenue Courts by force of Section 192 of the, Estates Land Act, that the order of dismissal is improper. The Court should have acted under Order I, Rule 10, Clause (2), and added her as a party defendant if it thought fit to do so.
3. The defendant's chief objection, however, is that in the circumstances by him the Revenue Court had no authority to direct him to issue a patta to the plaintiff. This is said to result from Section 146 of the Act. I am unable to see what bearing that section has on the present case. That section seems to be intended to prevent landholders from contumaciously refusing to recognize transfers which are prima facie valid. But it cannot be read as validating transfers which are in truth invalid or as affecting the real rights of parties. Section 50 gives every ryot a right to demand a patta and Section 55 a right to sue for it in the Revenue Court. When such a suit is brought the Court is bound to decide whether the plaintiff is entitled to a patta or not, if his title to it is denied. The fact that the landholder has previously recognized a rival claimant who is alleged to have no right in the land, cannot, in my opinion, make any difference in the matter, for any action of his, to which plaintiff is not a party, cannot be allowed to prejudice the latter's right. The definition of the term 'ryot' in Section 2, Clause (15), does not seem to lend any support to the defendant's contention on the point. Nor has any authority been, cited in support of it. I consider Section 55 is not affected in any way by Section 146, and the Revenue Court's power to deal with the rights of parties before it under the former section is not controlled by anything in the latter. The opinion of the learned District Judge that plaintiff's only remedy was to sue Perianayagi in a Civil Court for a declaration that his rights are superior to hers and after getting a decree to apply to defendant to recognize him as the ryot is not., in my opinion, correct, for I think he is entitled to ask the Revenue Court to decide whether he is not the rightful ryot and to dispose of his suit on the merits of his claim.
4. I would, therefore, set aside the decree of the lower Appellate Court, and remand the appeal to it for disposal according to law, and direct, respondent to pay appellant's cost in this Court.
5. The maintainability of the suit in the Revenue Court is a point on which I must confess to a certain amount of doubt. But I am not prepared to differ from my learned brother and I agree in the order proposed.