1. It is necessary to give a short summary of the facts to a proper understanding of the case. Certain land which may conveniently be called the suit land, was conveyed by one Kaveri Shedthi to one Chandayya on mulgeni lease. This was in 1897. Two years later certain members of Kaveri's family executed what purported to he a sale deed of property including the suit land to one Sidhu and his wife. Later Sidhu's wife sold the muli or landlord's interest in the suit land to Chandayya. A suit O.S. No. 275 of 1899 was then filed by Kaveri's heirs alleging that the sale to Sidhu was in reality a mortgage by conditional sale. They succeeded after the matter had gone on appeal in getting a decree for redemption. Chandayya was not made a party to the suit. Incidentally I may observe that the respondent's learned advocate sought to argue that notwithstanding that Chandayya was not a party to that suit the defendants would be bound by it. But the point is not raised in the petition of the defendants; and I declined to allow any other point than that raised in the revision petition to be argued. In 1922, after the conclusion of the redemption suit, a partition took place between Kaveri's heirs, and the suit land was allotted to the present plaintiff. The plaintiff then, it is said, sued Chandayya's heirs, Chandayya having died, for rent in S.C.S. No. 353 of 1922. An ex parte decree was made in that suit. In the meantime the suit land had been attached and brought to sale in execution of a decree against Chandayya, and purchased by defendant 1, who in turn sold it to defendant 2, who is the petitioner in this civil revision petition.
2. The plaintiff's present suit out of which this civil revision petition arises is against the two defendants for rent in respect of this suit land. The learned district Munsif has decreed the suit upon the ground that the decree in the small cause suit No. 353 of 1922 operates as an estoppel by record against the defendants in the present suit. This would undoubtedly be so if it could be shown that the issue in the present case was substantially the same as the issue in the small cause suit against Chandayya's heirs under whom the present defendants claim. But what was the issue in that previous suit? The learned advocate for the respondent has strongly urged that I should accept a passage from the Munsif's judgment in which he states that the small cause suit was a suit for rent as sufficient proof that that was the issue in that suit. But no witnesses were examined in the present suit; and from the notes produced it does not appear that any admission as to the issue was made to the Munsif. In truth the only foundation for the Munsif's statement appears to have been the small cause court decree which was exhibited by the plaintiff. The decree of course gives no indication of the issue of the decision in the case. As observed by their Lordships of the Judicial Committee in Kali Krishnan Tagore v. Secy. of State (1889) 16 Cal 173 :
In order to see what was in issue in a suit, or what has been heard or decided, the judgment must be looked at. The decree, according to the Code of Procedure, is only to state the relief granted, or other determination of the suit. The determination may be on various grounds, but the decree does not show on what ground, and does not afford any information as to the matters which were in issue or have been decided.
3. And again in Kurrutulain Bahadur v. Nazbatuddowla Abbas Hossein Khan (1906) 33 Cal 116, their Lordships held that a decree was not sufficient evidence to support an estoppel by record. I am unable to find anything inconsistent with this principle in Ramavatar v. Tulsi Prasad Singh (1911) 14 CLJ 507 and Maheshwari v. Gourhari 1926 Cal 767, cases cited by the learned advocate for the respondent. In the result I must hold that there was no estoppel and allow this civil revision petition with costs. The case will have to be remanded to the district Munsif to be disposed of in the light of these observations.