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The Secretary of State for India in Council Vs. Ikkurti Subbarayudu and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1912)23MLJ728
AppellantThe Secretary of State for India in Council
Respondentikkurti Subbarayudu and ors.
Cases ReferredBavutha Koundan v. Muthu Koundan I.L.R.
Excerpt:
- - the instrument of grant, it was held, distinctly made of a grant of taxes due to the government although it may have been that the kudivaram also was granted. this argument must therefore fail. 5. the second appeal must substantially fail......applies. that section enacts that no civil court shall entertain any suit relating to any grant of land revenue conferred or made by the british or any former government, whatever may have been the consideration for any such... grant and whatever may have been the nature of payment, claim or right for which such grant may have been substituted.' it was not th plaintiffs' case nor the case of defendants that inam whether it be a karnam service itiam or some other kind of inam consisted of land revenue. the plaintiffs alleged that the land itself is maniam and this position was not contested by any of the defendants. the suit is therefore not one relating to any grant of land revenue. the learned government pleader argues that when the land is granted the land-revenue is part of the grant.....
Judgment:

1. The plaintiffs in this suit claim to recover certain lands as belonging to them as an inam for the Archakathnam or worship of a family deity. They allege that they were dispossessed by defendants Nos. 1 to 3 in execution of a decree of the revenue court in S.S. No. 1 of 1891. They impeach the decree as one passed without jurisdiction by the Revenue Court and therefore not affecting their rights. The 15th defendant is the Secretary of state for India in Council and was impleaded as a party in consequence of the contention raised by defendants Nos. 1 to 3. They allege that the hinds appertain to the office of Karnam which is held by the 1st defendant and that plaintiffs have no right to recover them. They also deny the jurisdiction of the civil courts to entertain the suit. It is also contended that the plaintiffs' right is re's judicata in consequence of the decision in S.S. No. 1 of 1891. 'A question of limitation was also raised in the lower courts but has not been argued before us. Both the courts have found that the lands are not Karnam service inam lands and that the the plaintiffs are owners. This finding has been attacked before us but we are unable to agree that the finding can be interfered with in Second Appeal. The Lower Appellate Court relied upon Ex. A a register of inams prepared in the year 1790 in which the lands are not shown to be Karnam inam lands. It is argued that the Subordinate Judge misconstrued Ex. A and understood it as showing that the lands were Archaka Inam lands. We do not think that the Subordinate Judge has committed any error in the construction of the document. He observes, plaintiff's grand-father Venkamarazu,worshipper of God is described in it as the hereditary grantee of 4j Kuchalas of land as maniam. This observation is quite correct and it is quite clear that Ex. A. is consistent with the land being Karnam inam. He observes only that he is described as a hereditary grantee and it is not stated as holding the land as Karnam Service Inam. Assuming that Ex. VI is in favour of the appellant's contention the Subordinate Judge has taken the document into consideration and given it such weight as in his opinion it deserves. It does not appear that Government took any final action on the statement contained in Ex. VI. At any rate we cannot hold that the appellate court was bound to act on the contents of Ex. VI. We must therefore accept the finding that the lands belong to the plaintiffs and are not Karnam service inam lands.

2. The next question argued is that the civil Courts had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit. This argument is based on two grounds. The first ground is that Section 4 of the Pensions Act applies. That section enacts that no civil court shall entertain any suit relating to any grant of land revenue conferred or made by the British or any former Government, whatever may have been the consideration for any such... grant and whatever may have been the nature of payment, claim or right for which such grant may have been substituted.' It was not th plaintiffs' case nor the case of defendants that inam whether it be a Karnam service itiam or some other kind of inam consisted of land revenue. The plaintiffs alleged that the land itself is maniam and this position was not contested by any of the defendants. The suit is therefore not one relating to any grant of land revenue. The learned Government Pleader argues that when the land is granted the land-revenue is part of the grant and so far as the melvaram right is concerned the suit is not cognizable by the civil courts without a certificate from the Collector; but there is nothing to show that in the hands of the Government before the grant of the Inam the land-was treated as liable for the payment of land revenue or that the Government intended to split up its ownership into melvaram and kudivaram or to make a distinct grant of the land revenue. The Government Pleader does not deny that the decisions of the High Courts would not support his contention except one viz., the Judgment of his court in Appeal No. 10 of 1908. That case however lends no support to his contention. It is in reality against it. It is held that the suit in that case was not cognizable by the Civil Courts because it relates to a grant of land revenue. The instrument of grant, it was held, distinctly made of a grant of taxes due to the Government although it may have been that the kudivaram also was granted. The grant of kudivaram and melvaram was distinct and several. The earlier decisions under Section 4 of the Pensions Act 1871 were all reviewed in that Judgment. The ratio of decisions was as already indicated that where the court is able to hold that there is a distinct grant of the land revenue itself a suit relating to it is not within the cognizance of the Civil Courts except with the sanction of the Collector. This argument must therefore fail.

3. The next question urged in support of the plea of absence of jurisdiction in the civil courts is that under Regulation VI of 183.1 which was the statute in force when the suit No. 1 of 1891 was decided and Section 21 of Act III of 1895 which repealed Regulation VI of 1831 and re-enacted the Liw applicable to hereditary village offices, this suit is excluded from the jurisdiction of the civil courts. We may deal with Section 21 of Act III of 1895 as stress was particularly laid on the language of that section. It provides ' that no civil court shall have authority to take into consideration or decide any claim to recover the emoluments of any stich office.' i.e., any of the offices specified in Section 3. Now what is taken out of the jurisdiction of the ordinary tribunal according to the language of that section is a claim to recover the emoluments of an office. The finding of the lower appellate court which we have upheld is that the lands in question are not emoluments of the office of Karnam. The expression 'any claim to recover the emoluments of an office ' mean a claim to recover what in effect are the emoluments of an office. It cannot in our opinion by any rule of construction be extended to include a claim to recover what the plaintiff denies to be the emoluments of an office but what the defendant alleges to be such emoluments. The decision of this Court in Kesiram Narasimhulu V. Narasimhulu Patnaidu I.L.R. (1906) M. 126, is strongly relied on by the Government Pleader. But that case is of absolutely no use to him. The learned Chief Justice says there ' Eeading the words ' emoluments of any such office' in Section 21 in their ordinary sense they would as it seems to me, apply to a case in which the plaintiff sues to recover lands which he alleges are the emoluments of his office, this being denied by the defendants. The plaintiff's sole ground of action is that the lands sued for are the emoluments of his office and it seems to me the claim is none the less a claim for the emoluments within the meaning of the section because the defendant denied that the lands in question constitute the emoluments.' The reason underlying the decision apparently was that the plaintiff admitting that his claim was to the emoluments of an office could not take an advantage of the defendant's plea; in other words the plaintiff is bound by his own statement when the question is whether the suit is for the emoluments of an office. With respect to Eegulation VI of 1831 it was held in Bavutha Koundan v. Muthu Koundan I.L.R. (1888) M. 41, that the Revenue Court had no jurisdiction to decide what were the emoluments of an office. Neither under Regulation VI of 1831 nor under Section 21 of Act III of 1895 then, can it be held that Civil Courts are deprived of jurisdiction to try the present suit.

4. The next contention of the appellant is that the plaintiff is barred by the rule res judicata from enforcing his claim. According to the ruling in Bavutha Koundan v. Muthu Koundan I.L.R. (1888) M. 41 already referred to, the Revenue Court had no jurisdiction to decide what were the emoluments of an office or to decree possession against a person alleged to be a trespasser. We must therefore overrule this contention also.

5. The Second Appeal must substantially fail. We however, agree that the Secretary, of State for India in Council who was never in possession of the land ought not to have been made liable for mesne profits and we modify the judgment of the Lower Appellate Court in so far it directs the 15th defendant to pay mesne profits. With this modification we dismiss the Second Appeal with costs.


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