1. The plaintiffs brought this suit to recover three items of property in Siruvakkam and Konerikuppam villages on the strength of their reversionary right as heirs to the late Samu Aiyar. This suit failed in the First Court on a finding by the District Munsif on the question of the plaintiff's father's adoption, but on appeal the Subordinate Judge found this point in their favour and gave them a decree for possession on payment of the amount spent by first defendant in redeeming the property from the hands of the mortgagees.
2. In second appeal the first defendant has, for the first time, raised the contention that the Civil Courts had no jurisdiction over the suit which was brought for the recovery of the emoluments of the office of purohit in a proprietary estate, and we have allowed him to argue this point of law, seeing that if he is right in his contention the decree obtained by the plaintiff cannot stand.
3. After the Full Bench decision in Kandappa Achary v. Pathipati Vengama Naidu 20 Ind. Cas. 634, which supported Mutgala Papayya v. Koturi Muramallu 22 M.L.J. 156 , and overruled Veerabadran Achari v. Suppiah Achari 5 Ind. Cas 477 , it must be regarded as settled law that Section 13 of Madras Act III of 1895 confers jurisdiction on Revenue Courts over suits for the recovery of the emoluments of hereditary offices falling under Section 3 Clause (4), one of which is the office of village purohit or priest in proprietary estates as well as in ryotwari villages. At the same time, Section 21 ousts the jurisdiction of Civil Courts in respect of such suits.
4. Of course, a suit in which the plaintiff does not need to rely on his right to the office and its emoluments in order to succeed, such as would be the case in the instance cited in the words of Subramania Aiyar, J., at page 210 Page of 33 M.-[Ed.] of Mavolu Seetharam Naidu v. Doddi Rami Naidu 5 Ind. Cas. 137, stands on a different footing. Bat this is not such a case. In the plaint in this suit the plaintiff mentions expressly the nature of the property he sues to recover, viz., purohit maniam, and traces his descent by a genealogical tree to the previous office-holders.
5. The plaintiff's suit must, accordingly, be dismissed in respect of the first two items, but without costs as the point of jurisdiction was taken at a late stage. This dismissal will be without prejudice to any suit that may hereafter be filed in the proper Court.
6. The third item in suit is an enfranchised inam. Mr. Venkatarama Sastri argues that the suit is barred by limitation in respect of if, as Section 14 of Act III of 1895 prescribes a term of three years' limitation for suits under the Act, and more than three years had elapsed on the date of suit since the widow died in 1902.
7. Act III of 1895, however, has no provision corresponding to Section 28 of the Limitation Act which extinguishes the rights of persons who fail to sue in time. See Pichuvayyan v. Vilakkudayan Asari 21 M. 134 and Secretary of State for India v. Vira Rayan 9 M 175.) 519.
8. The plaintiff had 60 years under Article 148 of the Limitation Act to sue for redemption from the date of the mortgage and 12 years to sue for possession from the date of the widow's death under Article 141.
9. His suit is, therefore, in time in respect of this item and as there is no other point, the lower Court's decree will be modified by excluding items Nos. 1 and 2 and retaining item No. 3, with costs throughout on the proportionate value of that item, the amount to be paid by the plaintiff being reduced from Rs. 146 to Rs. 21.