1. This appeal arises out of a claim made by the plaintiffs as patnidars of land under the provisions of Act I of 1894 to the compensation money which has been taken away by the appellant, Maharaja Ranajit Sinha. Both the lower Courts decreed the claim and in appeal it is urged that the doctrine of res judicata applies, that the respondent Sajjad Ahmed Chowdhry patnidar was a party to the reference in the Land Acquisition Court and that he did not press his claim to any part of the compensation.
2. It appears to us that at law this contention must prevail. The observations of Mr. Justice Mookerjee in the case of Bhandi Singh v. Ramadhin Roy (3) apply to this case and do not confine the decision, as was sought to be argued by the learned Vakil for the respondent, to the case of a person who himself obtains the reference from Collector. It is true that in that particular case the parties who were held to be barred had themselves obtained the reference, but the law as laid down by the Court covered the case of every person who was made a party to the reference and who had the opportunity and the duty of litigating his claim before the Special Court. As pointed out by Mr. Justice Mookerjee, a person who disputes the claim of the plaintiff to compensation occupies the position of a defendant and the jurisdiction of the Special Court ought to be regarded as exclusive.
3. The facts of this particular case are that an award was made in favour of Raja Jogendra Narain Rai Bahadur of Lalgola and Sajjad Ahmad Chowdhry patnidar, the Collector holding that the land acquired lay exclusively in the estate of the Raja of Lalgola and Sajjad Ahmad was the patnidar of the whole of the land. Maharaja Ranajit Sinha put in an objection that the land was included in his zemindari and that the award should have been made in his favour; in other words, as the Collector says, it was an apportionment dispute arising from a boundary dispute between two Rajas. The reference was then made and it was stated that the persons interested in addition to the objector who had obtained the reference were Raja Jogendra Narain Bahadur and Sajjad Ahmad Chowdhry. As a matter of fact, as the plaintiff now claims in his plaint, the patnidar' was entitled to the whole of the compensation money, Rs. 1,431-15-8, inasmuch as it is not contended that any reduction has been made in his rent. The parties then went before the Special Land Acquisition Judge who was the District Judge of Murshidabad and the Judge said that the only question before him was how the amount awarded should be apportioned between the three parties, the first party claiming as proprietor of the Estate Touzi No. 1152, the second party claiming as proprietor of the Estate Touzi No. 2721 and the third party, that is, present respondent not pressing his claim. Now the third party was properly represented by a learned Pleader and he stated that he did not press the case. What was the case? The case was that the two zemindars were entitled each to a portion of the compensation money; and it was decided that the first party was entitled to Rs. 846-5-3 and the second party to Rs. 780-13-1. That made up the whole of the Rs. 1,431-15-8 with the additional compensation of 15 per cent, under Section 23. The Judge went further and said that the zemindars were entitled in addition to this to the capitalized value of the Government revenue in the case, which of course is exclusively their own right. It was, therefore, clear to the respondent that he was bound to ask for his share of the compensation money which consisted of a lump sum specifically awarded to the two zemindars in his presence. How he can say that he is entitled to come again to the Civil Court and re-open the question we are at a loss to see. At the same time there is no doubt that the Maharaja and the Raja are morally bound to pay him compensation money as far as his patni covers the land, subject to his getting registered upon which a fee of 2 per cent is leviable and on his furnishing security for half the amount of the rent. But even if he did this a large portion of the compensation must still be due to him, and he alleges that Raja Jogendra Narain Rai Bahadur has already given him what he is entitled to, In all honesty and fairness the other party, the present appellant, ought to have done the same.
4. In decreeing the appeal and in dismissing the plaintiff's suit we do so without costs in any Court to the appellant on account of the failure of the appellant to honestly fulfil his clear duty to the plaintiffs.