1. This appeal has arisen out of a suit for recovery of arrears of rent with cesses; and the question for consideration at the present stage of the litigation is confined to the amount of cesses payable by the tenants defendants to the plaintiff landlord. The Courts below came to the decision that the plaintiff was not entitled to realize cesses according to the valuation roll prepared by the revenue authorities, on the basis of the Record of Eights, in as much as the entries in the record, showing six different tenancies were erroneous; it having been held by those Courts that there was one tenancy bearing a rental of Rs. 19-15-17 gandas as stated by the plaintiff landlord and not six different tenancies, as shown in the Record of Rights and as asserted by the tenants defendants in the suit. The decision arrived at by the Courts below was accepted by our learned brother Rupendra Coomar Mitter, J., on second appeal to this Court.
2. As has been pointed out by Mitter, J., the cess valuation has to be prepared on the basis of the Record of Eights. The Record of Eights, about the correctness of which there was no question, at the time when the valuation roll was prepared under the Cess Act, was acted upon by the authorities concerned. It was not open either to the landlord or to the tenants to question the valuation roll, unless it was prepared without jurisdiction; that is the position under the law, and that is what has been indicated in the judgment of Mitter, J. The tenants defendants in the suit who now claim exoneration from liability to pay cesses fixed by the revenue authorities, did not and could not be allowed to challenge the valuation roll, collaterally in the civil Court. The valuation roll that was prepared on the basis of the Record of Eights was not ultra vires, in any way whatsoever, at the time when it was prepared; and the fact that a part of the entries in the Record of Rights has now been held by the civil Court to be erroneous and incorrect did not necessarily render the valuation roll prepared under the Cess Act, ultra vires. In our judgment, until and unless the valuation roll was declared to be ultra vires, by a competent Court, the liability of the tenant defendants in the suit remained. We are unable t agree with Mitter, J., in holding the it was the Collector who split up the holding in question into six separate entities; the Record of Rights on which the Collector had to proceed, showed such a state of things; and it is only now that it has been decided in this litigation that the entries in the Record of Rights showing six separate different tenancies are incorrect. In the above view of the case before us, we are unable to accept the decision of our learned brother Mitter, J., affirming those of the Courts below as correct.
3. It was pointed out to us on the side of the respondent in the appeal that under the Bengal Municipal Act, if the Municipal authorities assess rates either by consolidating or splitting up a holding, such assessment would be ultra vires under the law. Apart from the position that it is not always safe to interpret a particular statute with reference to provisions contained in another statute; in the case before us, there was no question of splitting up of any holding in the matter of assessment of cesses by the revenue authorities concerned; the question was whether the valuation roll prepared under the Cess Act on the basis of the Record of Rights which showed six different holdings, and the correctness or validity of which was not in question at the time when the record was acted upon, could be collaterally impeached as ultra vires, now that the Record of Rights has been found to be incorrect so far as it showed six different tenancies in the place of one. As has been indicated already, the liability of the tenants defendants to pay cesses for the lands in question in accordance with the valuation roll prepared under the Cess Act, remained, until and unless the valuation roll has been declared to be ultra vires by a competent Court, at the instance of one or other of the parties concerned, directly raising the question that the assessment of cesses was ultra vires of the revenue authorities. In the result, the appeal is allowed; the decision of Mitter,J., dated 6th August 1934, affirming those of the District Judge and the Munsif, is set aside, so far as the amount of cesses payable by the tenants defendants is concerned. The plaintiff-appellant before us is held entitled to recover cesses at the rate claimed by him in the suit out of which this appeal as arisen. The parties are to bear their own costs throughout.