1. The petitioners in this case are hereditary blacksmiths of the mirasi village of Agaram. They sued in the District Munsif's Court, Conjeeveram, to eject the defendants from certain land which they said was the emoluments of their office. Defendants 1 to 4, who are the mirasidars of the village, contended that the land was not the emoluments, but that the melwaram only was emoluments, and that the kudivaram vested in the mirasidars. The District Munsif held that his jurisdiction was ousted by Section 21 of Madras Act 3 of 1895. This has been upheld by the District Court and the petitioners now come up in revision against that order.
2. After the District Court's order, the petitioners sued in the revenue Court of the Sub-Collector, Chingleput. He decreed the claim, and Defendants 3 and 4 appealed to the District Collector, who held that, in view of proviso (2) of Section 13 (1) of Act 3 of 1895, the Sub- Collector had no jurisdiction and, therefore, reversed that decision. The petitioners have really now come up here in order to ascertain in what forum they have to bring their suit.
3. It has been admitted throughout these proceedings, and must be taken as admitted here, although the defendants were prepared to contest the point, that the plaintiffs are now the hereditary blacksmiths holding the office and that their emoluments consist at least of the melwaram of the suit land. The real dispute, therefore, is whether the emoluments consist of the land itself or of the melwaram alone. Now Section 13 (1), proviso (2) of Act 3 of 1895 says that
when one of the facts in issue in a suit is whether the emoluments of the office consist of land or of an assignment of revenue payable in respect of land, the Collector shall decide the claim on the assumption that only the said assignment constitutes the emoluments; but such decision shall not bar the right of the claimant to institute a suit in a civil Court for recovery of the land itself.
4. This would seem applicable directly in terms to the present case. The petitioner argues that it is rather a farce to send him to the Collector for a decision that the emoluments consist of the melwaram, which is the only decision the Collector can give, when both parties are agreed on that point. But that is the very case to which the proviso applies. If the fact in issue is whether the emoluments consist of land or of an assignment of revenue, and not whether they consist of both or neither, then it is obvious that the defendants must be admitting that the emoluments consist of the melwaram. It would appear, therefore, that the procedure laid down by the Legislature in such a case is first, a suit before the Collector, the result of which is on the admission of the parties a foregone conclusion and then a suit in a civil Court for the land. It is a procedure the reason for which is difficult to understand, but there it is.
5. This procedure was discussed by three learned Judges in a Letters Patent appeal in this Court. The ruling is reported in Valia Ambu Poduval v. Emperor  30 Mad. 136 There the plaintiff was suing to recover land (which has been attached in execution of a money decree) on the ground that it was the emoluments of his office, and defendant, the execution auction-purchaser, resisted on the ground that the land was not the emoluments. It was held that the suit was a suit for emoluments, and the discussion in the case makes it clear that, reading Sections 21 and 13 together, the civil Court has no jurisdiction in the matter of the recovery by an officeholder of his emoluments, except in the specific case provided for by proviso (2) to Section 13 (1). It was held then in that case that the point in issue not being whether the emolument was the land or an assignment of revenue, Section 21 wholly ousted the jurisdiction of the civil Court and that the proper forum was the Court of the Collector. Another case in the same volume Seshayya v. Subbayya  30 Mad. 320 follows the Letters Patent appeal.
6. Therefore, all suits for the emoluments of an office on the ground that the plaintiff is holding the office must primarily be brought in the revenue Court. The civil Court has jurisdiction only in one case, viz., where one of the issues is whether the emoluments are land or an assignment of revenue and even that issue has to be decided first by the revenue Court, and only when the relief which the revenue Court can grant is exhausted, that is, when the plaintiff has got a decision that the melwaram constitutes the emoluments, can he sue in the civil Court for the recovery of the land. In effect, the plaintiff must sue in the revenue Court for a decision which permits him to sue in the civil Court. The District Collector was, therefore, wrong in holding that he had no jurisdiction. But the mistake was partly because the plaintiff mistook his remedy before and asked for a decree for ejectment of the defendants and for recovery of the land. The Collector had no jurisdiction to give a decree for ejectment and was right in refusing that, but ought to have given a decree on the footing that the emoluments were the assignment of revenue.
7. The question now is, What is the plaintiff to do now? He might go to the Board of Revenue and get the decision of the District Collector revised. But we think the more suitable plan is for him to present his original plaint, that is, the one which he first put in in the civil Court and not the one which he put in before the Collector, again to the Collector and ask for a decision on the lines of proviso (2) to Section 13 (1). His claim for emoluments is a recurring claim and will not be out of time, nor will the matter in isssue be res judicata because in his plaint to the Collector he asked only for restitution of the land which he could not get.
8. With these remarks we dismiss the Civil Revision Petition with costs.