Tottenham and Ghose, JJ.
1. The only question for us in this appeal, as argued before us, is, whether or not when certain lands have been determined by a Commission appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal under Section 58 of Beng. Act VI of 1870, to be chowkidari chakran lands or other lands before the passing of that Act assigned for the maintenance of an officer to keep watch in any village and to report crimes to the Police, the matter can be re-opened in a civil suit, or whether the order of the Commission is final and conclusive for all purposes as to the character of the lands so described in it.
2. The plaintiff-appellant sued to eject the defendants on the ground that the lands were mal lands of his zamindari, and that in a suit for rent and ejectment brought by him against Bungshi Mal, defendant No. 2 and others, his title as landlord had been repudiated, that of the chowkidar having been set up.
3. The defence raised was that the lands were chowkidari chakran lands, and it was shown that they had been so described under Section 61 of Beng. Act VI of 1870.
4. The lower Appellate Court held that consequently the jurisdiction of the Civil Court to try the suit was excluded.
5. After careful consideration of the Act, we are constrained to come to the opinion that the words 'final and conclusive' in Section 61 must be taken in their ordinary and literal sense, and correctly express what was intended by the Legislature.
6. Section 60 provides that in making an inquiry into the question, the Commission shall exercise, as far as may be necessary, all the powers conferred by Regulation VII of 1822, and the Regulations and Acts amending the same upon a Collector making a settlement of land revenue.
7. We must assume, therefore, that the proceedings take place with full notice to all parties concerned, and we think that in the face of the provision of Section 61, a party dissatisfied with the order cannot sue to set it aside, except upon the ground of fraud or of non-compliance by the Commission with the provisions of the Act.
8. The present suit was not ostensibly brought to set aside the order of Commission. On the contrary, no allusion is made to it in the plaint. It was, therefore, not quite correct for the lower Appellate Court to hold that there was no jurisdiction to try the suit, but it would be correct to say that so long as that order stands it affords conclusive evidence in support of the plea raised for the defence that the lands are chowkidari chakran. The result is the same so far as the present appeal is concerned, and it must be dismissed with costs.
We may observe that it is not quite clear whether the lower Court has appreciated the distinction between 'chowkidari chakran lands' as defined in Section 1 of the Act, and the 'other lands assigned,' referred to in Sections 58 and 61. If the lands in question are of the former description, the zamindar will apparently, if a Panchayet has been appointed, be entitled to claim possession from the Collector under Section 50. If they belong to the latter description, or if no Punchayet has been appointed, the zamindar has no present right in them. But in any case his present suit fails.