1. The only question argued is whether the learned Judge was right in holding that the Civil Court had jurisdiction.
2. The facts, as now agreed on, differ from those stated by the learned Judge. For they are that plaintiff, one of the fractional share-holders of the Melvaram right in an Inam village, that is one of the Inamdars, acquired by gift the Kudivaram right in the whole village, not in a portion of it, and that in 1897 he leased 50 cents of the whole to the defendant, the appellant before us. The suit is on that lease for rent. Ordinarily Section 8 (2) of the Estates Land Act would apply, the defendant would be deemed an occupancy ryot and the suit would lie in a Revenue Court. But it is admitted that the land is comprised in an estate falling under Section 3 (2)(d) and argued that the exception to sectioti 8 is applicable and the land has ceased to be part of an estate. In effect, therefore, the question is whether the exception governs Sub-section (2) or only Sub-section (1): that is, whether the expression the Inamdar' in the exception can be read as equivalent also to 'an Inamdar' or 'any of the Inamdars.'
3. The point is not, so far as we have been shown, covered by authority. On the one hand the exception stands at the end of the section consistently with its application to both Sub-sections (1) and (2) instead of only to the former; and, as the definition of 'land-holder' in Section 3 (5) includes a direct reference to joint land-holders, all references to the 'landholder' and, therefore, that to 'the Inamdar' which the exception contains, should, it may be argued, be read in the manner proposed by plaintiff. But, on the other hand, although it is not clear that a distinction is drawn between the land-holder' and 'a land-holder' or can be implied regarding 'the Inamdar' except in provisions in respect of which such distinction would be material, I think that it would be in that under construction and that the strict reading of the expression 'the Inamdar' is necessary in the interests of convenience and reasonable interpretation. For otherwise the anomalies involved in the application of Sub-section (2) to the Inam villages referred to in the exception are excessive. If the exception is applicable to acquisitions of the Kudivaram by a fractional Inamdar, the land in question ceases to be part of the estate; and it can only be regarded as doing so, either (1) as between the acquiring Inamdar and his lessee (if any) and not between the former and the other Inaradars, or (2) absolutely. The first alternative is untenable, since it is not consistent with the general language used in the exception or with the fact that Sub-section (2) does not refer to the acquiring Inamdar's right in the phraseology of the Act as that of an occupancy ryot, but simply as being to hold payment, in accordance presumably with the ordinary law. The second deprives the other Inamdars without their consent and perhaps against their will of the security for their share of the rent, which the provisions of the Act relating to distraint, sale of the holding and summary procedure afford. These anomalies can be avoided, only if 'the Inamdar' in the exception is read in its strict sense as equivalent only to the owner of the entire interest in the Inam' and the exception is treated as applicable only to Sub-section (1). On this, interpretation the decision must be that the suit holding has not ceased to be part of the estate and that the suit should have been filed in a Revenue Court.
4. The Letters Aatent Appeal is allowed, the decisions of the learned Judge and the Subordinate Judge being set aside and the plaint being returned for presentation to the Revenue Court having jurisdiction. Plaintiff will pay defendant's costs to date.
5. Sadasiva Aiyar, J.--I entirely agree.