Sadasiva Aiyer, J.
1. The plaintiffs Nos. 1 and 4 are the appellants. The suit was brought for the following reliefs: (a) a declaration that the plaintiffs are entitled to the melvaram of certain lands and (b) recovery of arrears of rent due on those lands for Faslis 1319, 1320 and 1321. The suit was brought in the District Munsif's Court of Mannargudi, South Arcot District. The District Munsif and the District Judge (on appeal) held that the suit was substantially one for recovery of arrears of rent, that the adding of a prayer for declaration cannot alter the substantial character of the suit and that Section 189 of the Madras Estates Land Act, which gives exclusive jurisdiction to Revenue Courts in respect of suits for arrears of rent, cannot be evaded by adding a prayer for declaration. The suit was, therefore, dismissed as brought in a wrong Court. The District Munsif dismissed the suit on another ground also, namely, that the Revenue Court had, in Suits Nos. 5 and 8 of 1909, found that the plaintiffs' father was not the melvaramdar of the plaint lands and hence the question was res judicata. The District Judge, however, differed from the District Munsif on the question of res judicata, but upheld the District Munsif's decision on the question of jurisdiction. The 1st to 3rd respondents' Vakil argued before us that the dismissal of the suit by the lower Courts could also be supported on the ground of res judicata decided against the 1st to 3rd respondents in the District Court. If we assume that the Civil Court, and not the Revenue Court, has the jurisdiction over the present suit, a Revenue Court's decision on the question of title cannot be res judicata as under Section 11, Civil Procedure Code, the decision in the first suit by a Court not competent to try the second suit cannot be pleaded as res judicata in the second suit. [See also Rangayya Appa Rou v. Ratnam 20 M.k 392.]
2. The second appeal preferred to this Court was dismissed by Ayling, J., who agreed with the views of the District Judge. Hence this Letters Patent Appeal. We cannot say that the addition of the prayer for declaration was made in this case by the plaintiffs with the improper object of ousting the jurisdiction of the Revenue Court. The 1st defendant had denied the plaintiffs' melvaram right in the two Revenue Suits Nos. 5 and 8 of l909 and also in Suit No. 9 of 1909 brought for enforcement of patta for Faslis 131 and 1320. But we think that as the claim for rent is exclusively cognizable by the Revenue Court, the Civil Court cannot be given jurisdiction over that claim by the addition of that claim to a bona fide claim for declaration of title. Following Venkata Kumara Mahipati Surya Rao v. Sreerama Charyulu 12 Ind. Cas. 430 : (1911) 2 M.W.N. 307, we shall direct the plaintiffs Nos. 1 and 4 (the 1st and 4th plaintiffs' learned Vakil Mr. Venkatarama Sastriar consenting to that course on their behalf) to amend the plaint by striking out the prayers relating to the recovery of arrears of rent and by confining the suit to a prayer for declaration of the plaintiffs' title to melvaram. If this amendment is made within two weeks from the date of the receipt of the records in the District Munsif's Court, the District Munsif will re-try the suit as for pure declaration of title and dispose of it in due course of law, provided also that the costs hitherto incurred by the contesting defendants are paid into Court of the District Munsif for payment to them in any event. If the amendment is not made and the costs are not paid up as directed, this Letters Patent Appeal shall be deemed to have been dismissed with costs.
3. I agree.