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(Kammara) Chinna Nagiah and anr. Vs. Yerraguntla Pullayya and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1931Mad610
Appellant(Kammara) Chinna Nagiah and anr.
RespondentYerraguntla Pullayya and ors.
Cases ReferredNarasimhalu v. Narasimhalu Patnaidu and Kandappa Achari
Excerpt:
- - chinna appalaswamy air1925mad749 ,shows that the sale of such land by an artisan inamdar is not void but holds good for the period of his tenure of office. he represents that his clients for some reason-apparently because they are afraid that, if the land is recovered from defendant 1, he may demand compensation from them-will not feel safe until they have got this deed cancelled. those cases are of no help in showing that the present case, clearly one for recovery of the land on the basis that it is blacksmith inam land, can be brought anywhere but in the revenue court. chinna appalaswami, where a learned judge of this court held that the sale of such lands is voidable only, and not void, and that the same will hold good so long as the alienor is alive......plaintiffs and defendant 3 are brothers, and defendant 4 is their uncle. in 1925 they executed a sale deed in respect of the land concerned in favour of defendant 1, and it is admitted that defendant 1 is in possession of the land. the prayers in the plaint were for the cancellation of the sale deed and for the recovery of possession from defendants 1 and 2 or for the recovery of two-thirds of the land by the plaintiffs. in the plaint the plaintiffs stated that they owned the land as inam, and their case is that it formed part of the blacksmith inam of the village concerned. in para. 9 of the plaint they stated 'according to law any sale in respect of service inam land is not valid.' defendants 1 and 2 in their written statements did not say anything specific upon that point; but they.....
Judgment:

Reilly, J.

1. In this case the suit was instituted in the Court of the District Munsif of Proddatur. The District Munsif found that it was a suit exclusively within the jurisdiction of the revenue Court and dismissed it. On appeal the District Judge of Cuddapah agreed with the District Munsif on the question of jurisdiction but altered the decree of dismissal into an order for the return of the plaint to the plaintiffs for presentation to the Court having jurisdiction. The present appeal is against that order.

2. The plaintiffs and defendant 3 are brothers, and defendant 4 is their uncle. In 1925 they executed a sale deed in respect of the land concerned in favour of defendant 1, and it is admitted that defendant 1 is in possession of the land. The prayers in the plaint were for the cancellation of the sale deed and for the recovery of possession from defendants 1 and 2 or for the recovery of two-thirds of the land by the plaintiffs. In the plaint the plaintiffs stated that they owned the land as inam, and their case is that it formed part of the blacksmith inam of the village concerned. In para. 9 of the plaint they stated 'according to law any sale in respect of service inam land is not valid.' Defendants 1 and 2 in their written statements did not say anything specific upon that point; but they denied the allegations in 'the plaint generally. It appears however that something more definite must have been alleged at the time the issues were framed, because issue 2 runs: 'Whether the suit lands are service inam lands and inalienable.' It is clear that the plaintiffs, when the issues were framed, were intending to go to trial partly on the question whether the sale to defendant 1 was void because the inam land was by law inalienable. Now of the two prayers in the plaint, which I have mentioned, I do not think there can be any doubt the substantial relief prayed for was the recovery of possession. In such a case, when the plaintiffs describe the land as village service inam land, an artisan inam in this case, and sue for recovery, Sections 13 and 21, Madras Act 3 of 1895 ex-elude the jurisdiction of the civil Courts and make the suit one to be tried by a revenue Court. Kesaram Narasimhalu v. Narasimhalu Patnaidu [1907] 30 Mad. 126 and Kandappa Achari v. Singarachari : AIR1927Mad433 are clear on that point.

3. But it will be remembered that the plaintiffs in this case prayed also for the cancellation of the sale deed. That was not a relief which could be granted by the revenue Court. However in spite of the arguments of the learned Counsel for' the plaintiffs, I think there is no doubt that in this case it is unnecessary for the plaintiffs to pray for any cancellation of that sale deed in order to get recovery of the land. Section 5, Act 3 of 1895, prohibits any transfer whatsoever of such inam land. Mr. Seshagiri Rao has contended, though it does not appear to be of immediate advantage to his clients to do so, that the decision of Devadoss, J., in Venkamma v. Chinna Appalaswamy : AIR1925Mad749 , shows that the sale of such land by an artisan inamdar is not void but holds good for the period of his tenure of office. Certainly Devadoss, J. was of that opinion. But with the greatest respect I am unable to agree with him in that interpretation of the section. He did not discuss the wording of the section nor give any reason for his view, which is opposed to the opinion indicated by Miller, J., in Kesaram Narasimhalu v. Narasimhalu Patnaidu and what is of more importance, is directly contrary to the opinion of the Full Bench in Sannamma v. Radhaboyi [1918] 41 Mad. 418. It is true that the Full Bench in the latter case were dealing with an inam in a proprietary estate. But they arrived at their conclusion by interpreting Section 5, Act 3 of 1895 and expressed the opinion that a mortgage by an inamdar, who would come within that section, as the blacksmith inamdars did in this case, was null and void from the beginning. I have no doubt that, if that opinion of the Full Bench had been brought to Devadoss, J.'s notice, he would have followed it, as we are bound to do. Therefore in order to obtain recovery of this land the plaintiffs need not get this sale deed cancelled. As Mr. Seshagiri Rao has pointed out, recovery alone will not give them exactly what they have asked for in the suit. He represents that his clients for some reason-apparently because they are afraid that, if the land is recovered from defendant 1, he may demand compensation from them-will not feel safe until they have got this deed cancelled. In regard to that I may suggest that, if the plaintiffs succeed in the revenue Court in recovering possession-and it is only in the revenue Court, so far as I can see, that they can recover possession of the land-they may either find it unnecessary to trouble themselves any more about this deed or, if they still wish to have it cancelled, there will be nothing to prevent them from instituting another suit in a civil Court for its cancellation.

4. That will be a matter for them to decide, as they may then be advised. But, so far as this suit is concerned, it appears to me quite clear that the substantial relief prayed for is recovery of the land, and that must be sought in the revenue Court. Cases have been mentioned to us in which inamdars within the scope of Act 3 of 1895 have sued their tenants for recovery after the expiry of a lease and have been allowed to do that in the civil Court. Indeed the civil Court appears to be the proper place for such a suit, because such a suit would not be in any way based upon the lessor's title as inamdar and his title in such a case could not be disputed by his lessee. Those cases are of no help in showing that the present case, clearly one for recovery of the land on the basis that it is blacksmith inam land, can be brought anywhere but in the revenue Court.

5. In my opinion therefore the order of the learned District Judge, that the plaint should be returned for presentation to the Court having jurisdiction, was right, and this appeal should be dismissed with costs.

Anantakrishna Ayyar, J.

6. I agree. The question whether the present plaint is cognizable by the civil Court or by the revenue Court has to be decided mainly on the allegations contained in the plaint. In the plaint which the appellants filed in the Court of the District Munsif of Proddattur, they alleged that on 29th April 1925 they and defendants 3 and 4 executed a sale deed of the lands in dispute in favour of defendant 1. They also alleged that the same was brought about by misrepresentation of defendants 1 and 2. They however proceeded to state in their plaint that the lands constituted service inam lands, and in para. 9 they specifically mention the following: ' According to law any sale in respect of service inam land is not valid. ' On these allegations they prayed: (1) for the cancellation of the sale deed; and (2) for possession of the land from defendants 1 and 2, or for partition and delivery of 2/3rd share of the lands so far as defendants other than defendants 1 and 2 are concerned. I have not got before me the written statement filed by defendants 1 and 2. Issue 2 framed by the learned District Munsif runs as follows: Whether the suit lands are service inam lands and inalienable? ' It was not the case of the plaintiffs that that issue did not arise in the case, but as I see from the grounds of appeal raised in the lower appellate Court by the plaintiffs, their case was that some additional issue also should have been raised. Now, on my reading of the plaint, the substantial point in dispute in the present case is whether the suit lands constitute the emoluments of the office of the village blacksmith; and such a question, when it arises in a suit, can only be decided by the revenue Court. No doubt a suit filed to recover possession of such lands on the ground that the lands were leased to a tenant and that the term of the lease was over but that the tenant was holding over, and seeking to recover possession from him in those circumstances, would be cognizable by a civil Court. In such a case the question whether the lands constitute the emoluments of the office would not properly arise. But in the present case one of the main questions arising in the suit is whether the lands in dispute constitute service inam lands. That being so, I think that the lower Courts were right in holding that the suit as framed is not cognizable by the civil Court.

7. It was argued by the learned Counsel for the appellants that the first prayer in the plaint should not be lost sight of. If the lands did constitute service inam lands, then any sale of such lands by the plaintiffs would be null and void; and that being so, it would not be a case where the executants of such sale deed would have to set aside such a document. The learned advocate however drew our attention to the decision in Venkanna v. Chinna Appalaswami, where a learned Judge of this Court held that the sale of such lands is voidable only, and not void, and that the same will hold good so long as the alienor is alive. That learned Judge's attention was not drawn to the decision in Kesaram Nara-simhalu v. Narasimhalu Patnaidu and also to the decision of the Pull Bench in Sannamma v. Radhaboyi where the Full Bench had to consider the effect of the prohibition contained in Section 5, Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act 3 of 1895, with which we are now concerned. In these circumstances we are bound to follow the decision of the Full Bench and hold that, if it be proved that the lands in suit constitute emoluments of the office of the village blacksmith, then the alienation thereof is null and void, and in such circumstances it would not be necessary to seek any cancellation of the sale deed. The decisions in Kesaram, Narasimhalu v. Narasimhalu Patnaidu and Kandappa Achari v. Singara Chari make it clear that, suits, where the substantial question for decision is whether the lands in question do constitute the emoluments of such village officer, are suits which are cognizable by revenue Court only and not by a civil Court; and construing the plaint before us, it is clear that the lower Courts were right in holding that the present suit is not a suit cognizable by the civil Court.

8. I agree with my learned brother that the appeal must be dismissed with costs.


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