1. The petitioner here has filed this civil revision petition as Secretary to the Tirukkurungudi Chatram Ryots' Association on behalf of the ryots. This association 4s, I am informed, an unregistered association and clearly the petitioner cannot without some special procedure represent the members of that association. He is, however, one of the ryots affected by the order under revision. In so far as he personally is concerned, the revision petition may be treated as in proper form. The order out of which this revision petition arises deals with the question whether, sales under Section 112 of the Madras Estates Land Act can proceed in view of the fact that the ryots are claiming to be agriculturists entitled to the benefits of Act IV of 1938. The order is a comprehensive one governing a large number of cases, but I am concerned with it only in so far as it relates to the liability of the present petitioner. The landholder to whom the rent is payable is the Tinnevelly District Board as trustee of Tirukkurungudi Chat-ram. The proceedings in the lower Court seem to have been conducted more by correspondence than by judicial procedure. It would appear that the sale applications were stayed in view of representations that the ryots were entitled to the benefits of Act IV of 1938. On a report from the manager of the chatram estate that the matter was governed by the decision of Mockett, J., in District Board of West Tanjore v. Ponmiswami : AIR1940Mad231 , the order now under consideration was passed directing that the sale applications should proceed. The decision on which the learned Sub-Collector relies was one in a case of contractual rent due to a District Board as manager of a chatram estate. It seems to me that the question whether 'the liability to a chatram estate under the control of the District Board is exempted under Section 4 (c) of Act IV of 1938 is the same question whether the liability be in respect of an ordinary contractual rent which would be a debt under Act IV of 1938 or whether the liability be in respect of rent under the Estates Land Act which would fall under Section 15 of Act IV of 1938 and be scaled down not as a debt but as rent. Two contentions are really open to the applicant for relief. One is that the rent is not payable to the local authority as such but to the chatram fund of which the local authority is charged with the administration; and the other is that a payment by way of rent would not come under the class of liabilities enumerated in Section 4 (c) of the Act. The first contention has been dealt with at length by Mockett, J. The second contention was not apparently raised before that learned Judge, though it might have been raised in that case. It seems to me that there are no grounds for doubting the correctness of the decision in the case quoted. The reasoning which appealed to the learned Judge was that under Section 63 of the Madras Local Boards Act the management of the Trust Estates is transferred by the Board of Revenue to the Local Board. Under Section 64, the Local Board is empowered to accept trusts in furtherance of any purpose to which its funds may be applied and in Rule 5-B of Schedule V of the Local Boards Act, Sub-rule 9 provides that 'the district funds shall include income from endowments and trusts under the management of the District Board'. From these statutory provisions it follows that when a chatram estate has been transferred to the management of the District Board with a view to the application of its funds to purposes to which the District Board's funds may be properly applied, the income of the trust becomes part of the funds of the District Board when received by that Board. From this it follows that when rent, whether contractual or under the Madras Estates Land Act, is paid to the District Board as manager of the chatram estate, it is a payment to the District Board as such of money, which goes into the funds of the District Board, though ear-marked for a particular purpose. It is difficult to resist the inference that a payment of rent in such circumstances would come within the category of 'any other sum due to them, by way of loan or otherwise'. An argument has been based on the rule of ejusdem generis, it being apparently suggested that the words 'by way of loan or otherwise' should be read as indicating 'by way of loan or some other form of advance'. It seems to, me that it is impossible to read these words in such a way. In Clause (c) we start with an enumeration of 'any tax or cess', then follow the words 'any other sum due'. These words are qualified by the words 'by way of loan or otherwise'. It seems to me clear that the object of the qualifying words is to prevent the application of the ejusdem generis rule which would otherwise apply to the words 'any other sum'. If this clause merely specified 'any tax or cess or any other sum' the latter words would have to be read ejusdem generis with the first two classes of payment enumerated. In order to make it clear that there is no such intention, the words 'any other sum' are thus qualified by the very wide description 'by way of loan or otherwise', indicating to my mind clearly that the words 'any other sum' are read in their natural and wide sense, not restricted by the proximity of the special words preceding. There is authority for the view that the ejusdem generis rule should not be applied when the context makes it clear that it was the intention of the Legislature that the general words should be construed generally (see Maxwell on the Interpretation of Statutes, 7th edition, page 289).
2. I am, therefore, of opinion that the exemption in Section 4; Clause (c) will cover any sum payable to the local authority even though it partakes of the nature of rent; and it seems to me to make no difference whether the rent in question be an ordinary contractual rent or a rent governed by the special provisions of the Estates Land Act which would bring it within the definition of rent under Act IV of 1938.
3. In this view I dismiss the civil revision petition with costs.