1. This appeal is against; the order of the lower appellate Court reversing the order of the Principal District Munsif of Srivaikuntam in a matter in execution viz., the order in which certain mortgaged property shall be sold in execution of a mortgage decree. Two items are involved in this case. The appellant is the decree-holder and the respondent is the 8th defendant who is interested in Item 2 and wants it to be sold last. The District Munsif permitted the property to be sold in the order selected by the decree-holder, as ordered in M.P. No. 99 of 1918. The decree-holder has chosen to sell Item 2 first. It has been sold and the sale has been confirmed. The lower appellate Court reversed the order, cancelled the sale, and directed that further enquiry be held that the sale of the properties shall be in the order in which they are set out in the decree, provided that the 8th defendant has the right of marshalling.
2. The order of the lower appellate Court seems to me vitiated by several faults. If the lower Court had looked into the judgment in the suit in which the decree was passed, it would have found that the question of the 8th defendant's right of marshalling had already been decided. In paragraph 22 of that judgment the District Munsif held that the 8th defendant took his mortgage with full knowledge of the decree-Holder's mortgage. The 8th defendant contends before me that this is not resjudicata (1) because he was ex parte in the suit, (2) because he could not have appealed against that finding; and (3) because such a matter, even if decided in the suit, can be re-opened in the execution proceedings. None of these grounds seems to me tenable. As to the first, the decision is none-the-less res judicata because the party is ex parte, as to the second, the judgment rejected the 8th defendant's prayer that the first item be sold last. Even if he could not present an appeal, he could at least nave moved by way of cross-objections in the appeal preferred by the 1st defendant, or have moved the matter at the hearing of the suit which was remanded by the District Court. He did neither of these things. As to the third point, the ruling in Raghavachariar v. Krishna Reddy A.I.R. 1924 Mad. 509 is quoted; a ruling which has been accepted in Narasimha Rao v. Subbarayalu A.I.R. 1926 Mad. 834 which follows it. These rulings, however, appear to me to be no authority for the contention advanced. In these cases, the point was whether the order in which property shall be sold is a matter which can be agitated in execution, even though it had been decided in the suit, and it was held that it can, presumably on the principle that such an order is primarily a matter in execution and need not have been decided in the suit. But no authority has been advanced before me which lays down that when the right of marshalling has been decided in the judgment, it could be reopened again in execution proceedings. The judgment in Chokkalinga Tambiran v. Ramanadhan : AIR1926Mad1031 to which my attention has been drawn does not touch this point at all. Obviously the question whether the mortgage was taken with notice of a prior mortgage is one that may on occasions be an extremely important issue in the suit itself and must be decided there, and might in fact be the only important issue for decision and I cannot accept the argument that when the judgment has decided such a matter it can be reopened in execution proceedings. Therefore, the 8th defendant took the mortgage with full knowledge of the prior mortgage, and under Section 81 of the Transfer of Property Act he has no statutory right of marshalling. The order of the lower Court, therefore, which directs that this point shall now be decided by the executing Court is based on misconception of the facts and an error in law.
3. This is enough to dispose of the appeal as the 8th defendant has no right of marshalling. The decree-holder is unfettered as to the order in which the property has to be sold. The lower appellate Court seems to find some sort of fraud in the decree-holder's conduct merely because his election to have Item 2 sold first coincides with the desire of one of the mortgagors, the 2nd defendant. I can see no basis for deducing fraud from these circumstances. The decree-holder had an order in his favour in M.P. No. 99 of 1918 which gave him power to choose the order in which the properties should be sold, and why he should be accused of fraud merely because he exercised his right of choice which that order gave him I I do not understand.
4. The sale of item 2 has been held and confirmed. No other defendants were made parties by the 8th defendant in his appeal to the lower appellate Court. so that the order of the lower appellate Court will not bind these. It is only introducing needless confusion to cancel that sale so far as the 8th defendant's interests are concerned, when it is not cancelled so far as the interests of the other defendants are concerned. Defendants 4 and 5 whose interests the 8th defendant claims he now represents as well as his own, did not appeal to the lower appellate Court against the order of the principal District Munsif.
5. I am of opinion that the lower appellate Court's order is wrong. I reverse it and restore the order of the Principal District Munsif with costs to the decree-holder from the 8th defendant here and in the lower appellate Court.