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The Secretary of State for India in Council Represented by the Collector of North Arcot Vs. T. Ramanujam Chetty and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in49Ind.Cas.364
AppellantThe Secretary of State for India in Council Represented by the Collector of North Arcot
RespondentT. Ramanujam Chetty and ors.
Cases ReferredIn Secretary of State v. Sami Chettiar
Excerpt:
.....person concerned to show cause why proceedings should not be taken,,against him under section 5 or 6 of the act, in it there is no threat of invasion of the rights of the person in possession, whereas there is clearly such a threat in the former as shown by the notice in the present suit. the full bench ruling relied on is thus clearly distinguishable; the service of notice under section 6 is such a proceeding and, therefore, plaintiffs' suit is clearly maintainable. there can be no doubt that the present suit, is one clearly failing within section 14 of the act and the limitation applicable to it is 'the one provided by that section. ' but, as already stated, the plaintiffs had appealed to the district collector against the order under which that notice was issued and that officer had..........whereas there is clearly such a threat in the former as shown by the notice in the present suit. plaintiffs are, therefore, entitled to ask for an injunction under section 54 of the specific relief act. the full bench ruling relied on is thus clearly distinguishable; it is not applicable to a notice under section 6 of the act.4. section 14 of the act expressly saves the right of parties to resort to the. civil court for redress when they consider themselves aggrieved by any proceedings under the act. the service of notice under section 6 is such a proceeding and, therefore, plaintiffs' suit is clearly maintainable.5. the nest question raised is one of limitation. there can be no doubt that the present suit, is one clearly failing within section 14 of the act and the limitation.....
Judgment:

1. The first question raised for our decision in this civil miscellaneous appeal is whether the plaint discloses a proper cause of action. The learned Government Pleader for the appellant relies on the Full Bench ruling in the Secretary of State ; v. Illikkal Assan 32 Ind. Cas. 755: (1916) 1 M.W.N. 167 and contends that it does not.

2. The plaint, as now amended, bases the cause of action on a notice given to the plaintiffs by the Sub-Collector of Tirupattur, Exhibit I under Section 6% Clause 2 of Act III of 1905, as modified in appeal under Section 20 of that Act by the District Collector. Exhibit I directed toe plaintiffs to demolish within 20 days four anicuts which they had erected in the Pachal river and to 'withdraw from the said unauthorised occupation' and stated 'if you fail to do so, you will be evicted from the said anicuts and they will be demolished.' The Collector modified this notice by confining the order to demolish to three anicuts and by directing the levy of penal water rate on irrigation from the one anicut which was allowed to remain. The plaintiffs allege in their plaint that they are entitled to the Pachal river or Kalvai and to the dams and the water in it in various ways, viz., as absolute owners, by prescription, by easement, and as riparian owners. They ask for a declaration of their title, and for an injunction restraining the Collector from carrying out the order above mentioned.

3. It was no doubt held by the Full Bench in Secretary of State v. Illihkal Assart 32 Ind. Cas. 755 : (1916) 1 M.W.N. 167 that a notice under Section 7 of Act HI of 1905 gives rise to no cause of action. But a notice under Section 6 differs very materially from a notice under Section 7. The former is a step in eviction itself, whereas the latter only called upon the person concerned to show cause why proceedings should not be taken,, against him under Section 5 or 6 of the Act, In it there is no threat of invasion of the rights of the person in possession, whereas there is clearly such a threat in the former as shown by the notice in the present suit. Plaintiffs are, therefore, entitled to ask for an injunction under Section 54 of the Specific Relief Act. The Full Bench ruling relied on is thus clearly distinguishable; it is not applicable to a notice under Section 6 of the Act.

4. Section 14 of the Act expressly saves the right of parties to resort to the. Civil Court for redress when they consider themselves aggrieved by any proceedings under the Act. The service of notice under Section 6 is such a proceeding and, therefore, plaintiffs' suit is clearly maintainable.

5. The nest question raised is one of limitation. There can be no doubt that the present suit, is One clearly failing within Section 14 of the Act and the limitation applicable to it is 'the one provided by that section. The words of the section are very wide and include all suits where persons alleging that they have been injuriously affected by proceedings under the Act claim relief, whatever the form of that relief may be. The Subordinate Judge's view that only two classes of causes of action mentioned in Section 14, apparently meaning those dealt with in clauses (a) and (b) of the Explanation, are the only ones that fall within the scope of the section and to them alone the six months' rule will apply, is erroneous. See the observations in Secretary of State v. Sami Chettiar 49 Ind. Cas. 130 : (1918) M.W.N. 675 : 24 M.L.T. 358 and the case cited there.

6. In the present case if the date of the cause of action is taken to be the data of the notice by the Sub-Collector, the suit would be barred by limitation as it was brought more than six months after it.' But, as already stated, the plaintiffs had appealed to the District Collector against the order under which that notice was issued and that officer had suspended the execution of the order and' bad finally varied it on 9th July 1914. The appellate order was communicated to the plaintiffs on 11th August 1914, and their suit was filed 8 days after. The suit is within time, whether we take the date of the Collector's order or the date when it was communicated to the plaintiffs as the date of their cause of action in the plaint. Though plaintiff's had originally based their cause of action on the Sub-Collector's order, they were allowed to amend their plaint and make the appellate order their cause of action and no objection has been taken before us to this course by the learned Government Pleader. In fact, when the Sub-Collector's order was varied in appeal it was no longer subsisting; the real order in the case now is the final order of the Collector. It seems, therefore, that the plaintiffs were entitled to treat that as their cause of action. It may be that when the plaintiffs received the first notice, Exhibit I, they were entitled to treat it as a cause of action and sue; but they were not bound to do so. The appellate order by the Collector, followed by its being communicated to them, gave them another cause-of action which they are entitled to take advantage of. They might have waited till they were actually evicted and their anicuts demolished, when they would have got still another cause of action. See Bhaskarudu v. Subbarayudu 21 Ind. Cas. 840 : (1914) M.W.N. 53. The question we have to decide, however, is whether on the cause of action alleged in the plaint the suit is barred or not,' and not whether plaintiffs had any other cause of action. The suit must, therefore, be held to be in time.

7. In Secretary of State v. Sami Chettiar 49 Ind. Cas. 130 : 24 M.L.T. 358, above cited, it was observed that the appeal to the Collector in that case did not affect the question of limitation But that was a case where the plaintiff had been actually evicted from the land and his building demolished. In such a case the cause of action arises on the date of eviction under the Explanation to Clause (6) of Section 14 and subsequent proceedings cannot affect it. In the present case no eviction has yet taken place and it is thus distinguishable from that case.

8. The order of remand must, therefore, be upheld, though for reasons other than those given by the Subordinate Judge.

9. The appeal is dismissed, but in the circumstances the costs in this Court will abide and follow the final result.


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