1. The petitioner here filed a suit in the District Munsif's Court of Guntur claiming a declaration that the proceedings of the Board of Revenue cancelling the registry of the petitioner as minor karnam of Kondepadu were illegal, invalid, ultra vires, and not binding on him and a direction on defendant 1 to redeliver the office of karnamship of Kondepadu to the petitioner. The District Munsif held that the civil Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit and returned the plaint for presentation to the proper Court. On appeal to the District Judge, the appeal was dismissed. The facts of the case are set out in the judgments of both the lower Courts; and it is, therefore, unnecessary to restate them here except to say that the petitioner had been registered as the minor karnam of Kondepadu but later the Board of Revenue cancelled that registration and directed the Revenue Divisional Officer to make a fresh appointment; and eventually defendant 2 in the suit was appointed as the karnam. The question here is whether Section 21, Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act (3 of 1895), prevents Civil Courts from entertaining such a suit. The material words of Section 21 are:
No civil Court shall have authority to take into consideration or decide any claim to succeed to any of the offices specified in Section 3.
2. And amongst the offices set out in Section 3, is the office of 'karnam.' So that, if the present claim is one to succeed to the office of karnam, then the jurisdiction of the civil Court is barred. Regard must be had to Section 13(1) of the Act which enables any person to sue before the Collector for any of the village offices specified in Section 3, i.e., the office of karnam as it is conceded that if the claim here is a claim falling within Section 13(1) of the Act, Section 21 applies only to such claims. What is the claim here The petitioner contends that as he had already been registered as karnam his claim was not a claim for that office and that Section 10 of the Act applied and he was appointed. Having been appointed he contends that any other claimant must file a suit in the Revenue Court under Section 13. The question here is, what was in substance the petitioner's claim? Before he can get the office back he has to remove the impediment but what is the object of removing the impediment To get the office, had he merely claimed a declaration, the question would have arisen as to whether such relief was within the competence of the civil Court to grant by reason of the proviso to Section 13. By claiming both, in my opinion, this was a claim to the office as both lower Courts have found.
3. There is some force of course in the petitioner's contention that as he had already been appointed, this was not a claim under Section 13 to the office on the ground that the petitioner was entitled to succeed to it by reason of Section 10 and he had already been appointed to it and had been ousted by an order which he claims is ultra vires. In Krishnaswami Naidu v. Akkulammal 1919 9 MLW 90 it was held that Section 21 of the Act, should be read along with Section 13 and a suit in the civil Court must be held to be barred only where the relief claimed is such that the plaintiff could maintain a suit therefor before the Collector under Section 13 and the suit is brought on one or more of the grounds specified in that section. Clearly, the plaintiff could file such a suit as this had he not been appointed. But, although this is a matter which is not free from difficulty, I think that this relief is substantially the remedy that he seeks here. If that is so, then the civil Courts have no jurisdiction to entertain this suit by reason of Section 21 of the Act. This being so, the decision of the lower Courts was correct and this civil revision petition must be dismissed with costs. In any event in the circumstances of this case this is not one calling for interference.