Alfred Henry Lionel Leach, C.J.
1. This appeal arises out of a suit filed by the appellant in the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Salem. The Subordinate Judge held that the appellant's claim was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. This decision was concurred in by the District Judge of Salem to whom the appellant appealed. The appellant then filed a second appeal to this Court. The appeal was heard by Patanjali Sastri, J., who without hesitation agreed with the District Judge. The learned Judge having given a certificate under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent this Court is called upon to give the question further consideration. We also have no hesitation in rejecting the appeal, and we are bound to say that it is regrettable that this question which presents no difficulty should have occupied so much judicial time and involved the expenditure of so much money.
2. The facts are these. The appellant, the first respondent and the third respondent are brothers who were joint until 1925. In that year a partition took place and the appellant received as part of his share .60 of an acre of ryoti land in the Salem District. On the 29th December, 1926 the landholder, who is the second respondent in this appeal, caused the land to be sold for arrears of rent under the provisions of Section 112 of the Madras Estates Land Act, 1908. The property was bought by one Jailabdeen Sahib who was the first defendant in the suit, but is not a party to this appeal. A sale certificate was issued to the purchaser on the 4th March, 1927 and on the 1st July of that year he sold the land to the first respondent. Later in the year the Government acquired a portion of the land--03 of an acre--for the purpose of the construction of a public road. The appellant claimed to be entitled to the compensation money and a similar claim was preferred by the first respondent. The result was that the Land Acquisition Officer referred the dispute for decision to the District Judge of Salem under the provisions of Section 36 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The appellant failed to appear before the District Judge when the case was fixed for decision on the question of title to the land and the District Judge decided that the first respondent was the owner and therefore entitled to the compensation money. The reason which has been given for the non-appearance of the appellant before the District Judge is that he was contemplating filing a suit to set aside the sale of the whole parcel of land by the Revenue Court, but we fail to see what bearing this has on the question which the Court is called upon to decide. On the 20th December, 1929, that is, after the decision of the District Judge, the appellant filed a suit in the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Salem for a declaration that the sale by the Revenue Court for arrears of rent was null and void. The first respondent pleaded inter alia that the suit did not lie because the decision of the District Judge in the land acquisition proceedings had finally decided the question. The Subordinate Judge held that the sale was void because notice had not been served on the appellant as required by Section 112 of the Madras Estates Land Act, but he accepted the first respondent's argument that the doctrine of res judicata applied, and, as we have indicated, this opinion has been shared by the District Judge and by Patanjali Sastri, J.
3. The learned Judge relied on the decision of the Privy Council in Ramachandra Rao v. Ramachandra Rao (1922) 43 M.L.J. 78 : I.L.R. 45 Mad. 320 : L.R. 49 IndAp 129 . In view of that decision which was affirmed by the Judicial Committee in Bhagwati v. Ram Kali (1939) 2 M.L.J. 98 : L.R. 66 IndAp 145 : I.L.R. 1939 All. 460 , there can be no doubt that the decision of the District Judge must be taken as a decision of a Court of competent jurisdiction, and as it finally decided the question of the title to the land in the land acquisition proceedings it is not open to the appellant to question it here. The appellant had full opportunity to contest the first respondent's title to the land before the District Judge in the case before him under Section 30 of the Land Acquisition Act. If he wished to maintain his claim to the compensation money the proper course was to adduce evidence to prove that the sale was void and therefore the first respondent had obtained no title to the land, but instead of doing this he stood aside and allowed his brother to establish unchallenged the right which he claimed.
4. For these reasons the appeal will be dismissed with costs in favour of the first respondent.