1. These suits arise out of certain appointments to karnamships made by the Court Receiver of Nidadavole Estate and reported to the Revenue Divisional Officer under Section 15 of Act II 6f 1894 Vide Exhibits P., Q. and R, dated March 9th 1910.) These appointments have to be made by the 'proprietor' of the estate. The term 'proprietor' is defined, in Section 4 of the Act, and includes any person who is in lawful management of the Estates otherwise than as agent or servant of the proprietor or as mortgagee or lessee.
2. The first question for determination is whether the Receiver of the Nidadavole Estate comes within this definition. Both the lower Courts have answered this question in the affirmative and in our opinion rightly, subject to certain remarks which we shall come to presently.
3. The powers of a Receiver appointed by a Civil Court under Order XL, Rule 1 of the Civil Procedure Code (as in the present case) are entirely conditioned by the terms of his appointment, subject to any subsequent modification by the Court under which he holds the appointment. Clause (d) of the rule gives the Court complete discretion as to the powers to be conferred on the Receiver, and the Court may limit his powers in any way it thinks fit. But where the powers conferred amount to general powers of management, the effect of Section 4 of Act II of 1894 would appear to be to attach to the Receiver the special powers conferred on a proprietor by the Act, and subject to any restrictions arising out of the terms of his appointment, there can, we think, be no question that he should be regarded as a proprietor within the meaning of the Act.
4. The appointment order in the present case, Exhibit B, certainly seems to confer general powers of management: and we see no reason why the powers of a proprietor under the Act should not be held to be included in paragraph 4 thereof, which authorises the Receiver to do such other acts as may be necessary for the efficient administration of the property subject to the control of the Court. We see nothing in Exhibit C, the memo, of standing orders for the Receiver's guidance, which should be taken to affect these particular powers. In our opinion the term 'establishment' in this connection does not include village officers.
5. There is, however, an important limitation on the power conferred by paragraph 4 contained in the words 'subject to the control of this Court.' The Court referred to was the District Court of Godaveri, in the jurisdiction of which the Nidadavole zamindari originally lay, and which appointed the Receiver. But all the powers of control exercised by that Court passed to the Sub-Judge of Ellore, to whose territorial jurisdiction the zamindari was subsequently transferred. As to what the control signified, it would, in our opinion, be unreasonable to hold that it was intended that no act of the Receiver should be valid without prior sanction or even subsequent approval of the Court: but on the other hand, it clearly includes the power of supervision and a limiting and directing the action of the Receiver in any direction. It is in this sense that the order of the Sub-Judge, Exhibit IX, becomes of vital importance, in the present case.
6. Before this order was passed, we see-no reason to doubt that the Receiver was in the position of a proprietor under Act II of 1894 and competent to act as such. It has now to be considered how far his position was modified by that order.
7. It was passed by the Sub-Judge on March 4th, 1910 (5 days before the appointment of the plaintiffs in these suits) on the petition presented by certain claimants to the Nidadavole Estate, objecting to the action of the Receiver in two directions:
8. (1) in submitting registers (apparently wrongly called nomination rolls) of village officers under Section 5 of Act II of 1891, (2) in consenting to the localisations of certain mamul wet lands.
9. The Receiver appeared as 1st respondent and opposed the petitions.
10. The power of appointment under Section 15 of the Act was not directly in question; but it would presumably stand on the same footing as his power of submitting registers under Section 5, and the Receiver in fact seems to have claimed the full powers of a proprietor under the Act.
11. The Sub-Judge's order is not altogether easy to understand, and paragraph 9 is incomprehensible. But he seems to have interpreted Exhibits B and C as implying that every action of the Receiver (except in the way of granting casual leave) should receive the assent of the Court: and he declares that the Receiver's action in the two instances brought to notice was null and void for want of the previous sanction of the Court.
12. The correctness of the interpretation of Exhibits B and C is a minor matter. We should certainly not interpret them in that way ourselves, and the difficulties in the way of management under such restrictions are obvious, especially, if, as seems to be intended, assent means prior assent. But it is for the Court to say how it will exercise the power of control reserved to it by the appointment order, and it was the duty of the Receiver to obey. It was in this view, that a Bench of this Court, of which one of us was a member, rejected a revision petition presented by the Receiver against this order (vide Exhibit X).
13. What then was the effect of the order, Exhibit IX, on the Receiver's position as a proprietor' under the Act? It seems to us that he still remained as he had been before, a person in lawful management of the Estate': and, therefore, classed as a proprietor.' The purport of the order has already been indicated. It does not contain a prohibition in terms of all unauthorized actions: and even if it be taken that the opinion expressed was meant to be binding on the Receiver, it merely amounts to this. The Receiver was simply saddled with the duty of obtaining the assent of the Court to his every action, a very difficult but not absolutely impossible position.
14. We are now in a position to consider the legality of the Collector's order, Exhibit VIII, dated 20th June 1910, which it is sought to set aside as illegal. This order holds in effect that the Sub-Judge and not the Receiver is entitled to exercise the powers of a 'proprietor' under Act II of 1894, and it directs that in future notices for nominations under the Act should be issued to the Sub-Court only, thus treating the Court as a 'proprietor.' There are many objections to such a course, as pointed out by the Subordinate Judge, and it seems to us that the Court cannot be deemed to be the 'person in lawful management', for it only exercises control over the estate by the appointment of a Receiver and until such appointment is unable to exercise any powers of management (Order XL of the Civil Procedure Code). The order also cancels an order of the Head Assistant Collector accepting nominations to the same 3 karnamships by certain claimants to the estate. With this position we have no concern.
15. The order in so far as it affects the position of the Receiver is entirely illegal, and the decree of the Subordinate Court setting it aside appears to be justified and should be confirmed.
16. The decisions of both the lower Courts on the 6th issue appear to be correct.
17. We dismiss these three appeals and memoranda of objections with costs.