Seshagiri Aiyar, J.
1. The plaintiff agreed to grant a lease of a house site to the 1st defendant in July 1906. The latter sub-let portions of the site to the 2nd and 3rd defendants and directed them to pay the plaintiff Rs. 1-12-0 and 1-8-0 a month respectively. Owing to the failure of the 1st defendant to carry out the terms of the agreement, the plaintiff instituted Original Suit No. 92 of 1911 on the file of the Manamadura District Munsif for the execution of the lease-deed and for arrears of rent. Defendants Nos. 2 and 3 were impleaded as parties as they were in possession. One of the issues raised in that suit was, which defendant is liable for what portion of the rent?' The Munsif decreed that defendants Nos. 2 and 3 in this suit, who wore defendants Nos. 4 and 5 in the former suit, were liable to pay Rs. 1-12 and Rs. 1-8-0 respectively and passed a decree to that effect.
2. The present suit is solely for arrears of rent and has, therefore, been filed in the Small Cause Side of the Subordinate Court of Sivaganga. The Subordinate Judge held that the previous decision was not res judicata and passed a decree jointly and severally against all the defendants for the arrears.
3. The 2nd defendant has filed this revision petition against that judgment. I am unable to agree with the Subordinate Judge on the question of res judicata. Mr. Raju Aiyar contends that as under Section 16 of the Mofussil Small Cause Courts Act, Small Cause Courts alone are competent to entertain suits for arrears of rent, the previous decision by the District Munsif of Manamadura on the Regular Side is not res judicata. The District Munsif was competent to adjudicate on the claim for arrears, although he was not competent to entertain a suit brought to recover arrears alone.
4. The competency of the Munsif to decide an issue relating to arrears is not affected by the fact that a suit instituted solely for that purpose is beyond his jurisdiction. The decision in the case of Raja Simhadri Appa Rao v. Ramachandrudu 13 M.L.J. 23 is directly in point. I do not think the observation of the learned Judges in the case of Avanasi Gounden v. Nachammal 16 M.L.J. 41 affects this question. The observations relating to the test of appealability, which was doubted in the latter judgment, do not question the ratio decidendi of the decision in Raja Simhadri Appa Rao v. Ramachandrudu 13 M.L.J. 23.
5. In the view I have taken of the effect of the former decision, the question in this case was directly in issue in the former case and is, therefore, res judicata.
6. In modification of the decree of the Subordinate Judge, I direct that defendants Nos. 2 and 3 do pay to the plaintiff Rs. 1-1 2-0 and Rs. 1-8-0 a month respectively regarding the arrears claimed and that the 1st defendant be held liable for any balance that the plaintiff may be unable to recover from the two other defendants.
7. Each party do bear his own costs throughout.