1. This is a case of some little difficulty as the materials appear to me to be somewhat slender. The plaintiffs sued for certain inam lands claiming under the 5th defendant. The 1st defendant was in possession of these lands under a lease from defendants 3 and 4. When the case was first tried, the first District Munsif held that he had no jurisdiction to try the suit as the matter fell within the purview of Section 21 of Act III of 1895. This was on the first issue as to 'whether the lands in dispute are service inams, and whether this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain a suit with respect to the same'. The learned District Judge considered both these points and found that the lands in question were service inams governed by Act III of 1895; and as the plaintiffs in the suit did not rely on any right to an office or its emoluments, the Civil Court had jurisdiction to entertain the suit, and remanded the suit to the District Munsif for disposal according to law. On the suit coming on again before the District Munsif he observed that the suit inams were village service inams covered by Act III of 1895 and that they were granted to the inamdar for reciting Sadulu on the occasion of the festival of the village goddess. The District Munsif came to the conclusion that the alienation in favour of the plaintiffs was void and not enforceable under Section 5 of Act III of 1895 which was the subject of the second issue. In the judgment under appeal the learned Subordinate Judge has held disagreeing with the District Judge remanding the suit that they were village service inams. He thought the lands were not attached to any temple and that the inamdar could in no sense be called a temple servant, but he held that the lands were Devadayam permanent hereditary inams and were alienable. He therefore decreed in favour of the plaintiffs.
2. On Second Appeal the first point taken is that the Subordinate Judge had no jurisdiction to review the finding of the District Judge in his order of remand as to the character of those inams. As has been seen, the character of the inams and the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the suit are made the subject of the same issue, viz., the first. It is said that the plaintiffs had the opportunity to appeal against so much of the iinding of the District Judge as determines the character of the inams, and that, not having done so, he is now concluded by that finding, it being a finding on a preliminary point. This I think it is; and Balvant Ramchandra v. Secretary of State for India I.L.R.(1908) 32 Bom 432 Subbalakshmamma v. Venkatrayudu I.L.R. (1908) M. 318 and Latchumammal v. Gangammal I.L.R. (1910) M. 72 may be referred to as authorities for the position taken up. I think, however, that what the Subordinate Judge really intended to do and the important part of his remand order is the finding as to jurisdiction and I think that the case reported in Ramaswami Reddi v. Marudai Reddi (1923) 46 M.L.J. 198 is authority for his position. The preliminary point was really whether the Court had jurisdiction to entertain the suit. That stood in limine and that is what I think was intended to be found by the Subordinate Judge. Therefore I think the first point for the appellant must fail.
3. The second point is that the lands are hereditary village service inams and so alienable. I am not at present prepared to say that this service of reciting hymns can be said to be a village service. The District Judge in his order of remand does observe that the Asadi is a village servant of considerable importance. The Inam Register, Ex. B, regards this land as a permanent inam for the service of telling Sadulu in the festival of Gramadevata at Kallur 'now rendered,' and it is confirmed under Rule 3 of the Board's Standing Orders, which refers to an inam for religious or charitable objects. The Village Register, Ex. A, refers to the inam as devadayam granted for chanting hymns at the time of the festival of the village deity. I find some difficulty in saying that a person who performs a service of this character falls within the purview of Section 3, sub-section 4 of the Act III of 1895 although of course the list given is not exhaustive. Mr. V.C. Seshachari for the plaintiffs does not contend that the lands are Devadayam. His contention is that they are the personal inams of the holder of this office; and that apparently his argument is that he is entitled to do what he likes with them. The matter is not free from doubt. But I have the finding of the Subordinate Judge and to a certain extent I have the support of the Inam Register as to the character of this inam and I do not see any sufficient reason to hold that they ace clearly not Devadayam inams in spite of Mr. Adiga's contention that they not only fall under Section 3 of Act III of 1895 but under Standing Order 55 of the Board's Standing Orders as temple service inams.
4. The third point taken is that the Subordinate Judge is wrong in holding that, even if these lands are Devadayam, they are heritable. I take it that prima facie they are not. The only reason given by the Subordinate Judge as to why these lands are heritable is that there have been certain alienations of them which were not objected to either by the villagers or by Government. The alienations set out are that the lands were given to the 5th defendant by his maternal grandfather by Ex. C in 1908 and the defendants 3 and 4 gave a long lease of the lands under Exs. C and F in 1911 and 1916. It does not seem to me that this is a conclusive reason for holding that the lands which are granted for the performance of a definite service are alienable. There is the Full Bench case reported in Anjaneyalu v. Sri Venugopala Rice Mill, Ltd. : AIR1922Mad197 against the view taken by the Subordinate Judge. That was an inam for service in a temple and what little evidence there is in the present case is that of P.W. 1 who says that the inams were given for chanting hymns in temples. It was held in the above case that alienation of such lands is opposed to public policy and the nature of the interest affected. The authorities were all considered at some length and the Standing Order 54 of the Board of Revenue which is referred to as probably relating to the inams under discussion by the Subordinate Judge is noticed in the judgment of the ex-Chief Justice. My opinion therefore is that the learned Subordinate Judge is wrong on this point. I think the lands are probably rightly classed as Devadayam inams and I think that being such, they are under the authority of the Full Bench ruling inalienable. The decree of the Subordinate Judge must, therefore, be set aside and the suit dismissed with costs throughout.