1. Petitioner sued for a declaration that a sale of his holding held under Section 111 et seq, of the Madras Estates Land Act was legally void and liable to be set aside in consequence of the landholder's failure to apply to the Collector for sale within the period of forty-five days prescribed by Section 115,
2. The Munsif held that he had no jurisdiction to try the suit and dismissed it. The District Judge on appeal took the same view.
3. It seems clear that a suit of' this nature is maintainable in a Civil Court, in the absence of any statutory bar-vide Dorasamy Pillai v. Muthusamy Mooppan I L.R. 38 (1904) Mad. 94 and Zamindar of Ettayapuram v. Sankarappa Reddiar I L.R. 38 (1904) Mad. 483. Respondent relies on Section 189 of the Estates Land Act. This makes it clear that a suit for damages sustained in consequence of the alleged illegality would He in a Revenue and not in a Civil Court which is also specifically laid down in Section 213(3), But a suit for declaration like the present one is not one of those set forth in the schedule to the Act It may seem anomalous to give the jurisdiction to award damages for the illegality to the Revenue Court which ordered the sale, and the jurisdiction of setting it aside to the Civil tribunal. But if the view taken by the lower Court is correct, then in spite of the mandatory directions of Section 115, an order of a Collector for sale which was passed, without jurisdiction, must stand, and cannot be questioned; for, admittedly, no suit to set aside the sale will he in a Revenue Court.
4. The only doubt that occurs to my mind arises out of the curious wording of Section 189. The Civil Court is forbidden to take cognisance not of any suit or applications of the nature specified in the schedule but 'if any dispute or matter in respect: of which such suit or application might be brought or made. Suction 109 of the Bengal Tenancy Act may be referred to for comparison. It is arguable that the words of Section 189 bear a more extended meaning and exclude from the cognisance of a Civil Court not only the suits described in the schedule, but all suits arising out of a dispute or matter ID 'respect of which such suits might be brought. I should be loth to place such an interpretation on the sections, which might have wide and possibly undesirable consequences without some authority cM very strong grounds for holding that this was the meaning intended to be conveyed thereby. No authority has been quitted and indeed the point was not' taken by respondent's vakil until after I had suggested it; and in a recent case of a similar nature Gouse Mohideen Sahib v. Muthinlu Chettiar (1914) M.W.N. 55, the learned Judges appear to have felt no difficulty in the matter. [ therefore, though not without some hesitation, prefer to follow the more restricted interpretation of the section which was (by implication) applied in that case. On this view I mush hold that the jurisdiction of the Civil Court in the matter of the present suit was not ousted.
5. The decrees of the lower Courts are set aside. The Munsif will restore the suit to his file and dispose of it according to law.
6. The costs will be costs in the cause.