1. The plaintiff is the appellant in this case, and in the suit out of which this appeal arises, the plaintiff sued for the cancellation of a certificate under the Public Demands Recovery Act by which the Beniachong Mazumdari Ward Estate sought to recover rent on the basis of a kabuliat which was executed on 20th Bhadra 1334 B.S. The landlord's case was to the effect that the plaintiff held under them certain patit lands described in Schedule 1 attached to the plaint. It was alleged that he was unable to pay arrears of rent and had therefore executed a bond for the sum of Rs. 100 on 10th Bhadra 1334 B.S. Subsequently, the Court of Wards assumed, charge of the landlord's estate and filed the certificate which the plaintiff sought to cancel. The plaintiff's case was to the effect that he did not hold the land included in Schedule 1 under the Beniaohong, Mazumdari Ward estate but under another landlord. He also maintained that the kabuliat dated 20th Bhadra, 1334 B.S. had been executed while he was insane. He filed an objection to the certificate under the relevant provisions of the Public Demands Recovery Act, but his objection was overruled. The first Court decided that the kabuliat had been duly executed by the plaintiff and the learned Munsif therefore dismissed the plaintiff's suit. The lower Appellate Court took the view that the plaintiff was insane at the time of the execution of the kabuliat and that this document was therefore not binding on him. He held however that the manager of the Court of Wards who had instituted proceedings under the Public Demands Recovery Act was a public officer and was therefore entitled to a notice under Section 80, Civil P.C.
2. The only point which has been urged on behalf of the appellant in this Court is that the lower Appellate Court Ought to have held that the Manager of the Beniachong Muzamdari Ward Estate was not a public officer within the meaning of Section 80, Civil P.C. The learned Additional District Judge has decided that notice under Section 80, Civil P.C., was necessary having regard to the language of Section 2, Clause 17(g) of the Code, and in this connexion he considers that as Government receive a certain percentage of the income of a ward's estate, it follows that a manager of such an estate is working on behalf of the Government. The relevant words in Section 2, Clause 17(g), Civil P.C., are as follows:
Every officer whose duty it is, as such officer, to take, receive, keep or expend any property on behalf of the Government.
3. The remaining words of this clause are Irrelevant for the purposes of this particular appeal. Under the provisions of the Court of Wards Act, it is clear that managers may be appointed by the Court of Wards under Section. 20 of the Act which is in the following terms:
The court may appoint one or more managers for the property of any ward, and one or more guardians for the care of the person of any ward, under the charge of the Court, and may control or remove any manager or guardian so appointed.
4. Sections 40 and 41 of the Act prescribe the general and specific duties of the manager. Section 40 is to the effect that
every manager shall manage the property committed to him diligently and faithfully for the benefit of the proprietor, and shall in every respect act to the best of his judgment for the ward's interest as if the property were his own.
5. With regard to the specific duties mentioned in Section 41 it is clear that many of these duties must be performed under the directions of the Court of Wards. Section 48 makes provision for the application of the moneys received by the manager; and the first purpose for which such moneys must be applied is indicated under item (1) of class I, namely the payment of all charges necessary for the management and supervision of the property of the ward. It therefore follows that, although the manager is appointed, controlled and removable by the Court of Wards, he is actually paid by the estate which he manages, and it also follows from the Sections of the Act to which I have referred, that his duties in connexion with the property of such estate are 'to take, receive, keep or expend' such property, not on behalf of Government but on behalf of the disqualified proprietor. In this view of the case, I do not think that Clause 17(g) of Section 2, Civil P.C., can have any application in this case. It is however urged that the manager of a ward's estate must be regarded as a public officer within the meaning of Section 2, Clause 17(h), Civil P.C. This clause refers to
every officer in the service or pay of the Government, or remunerated by fees or commission for the performance of any public duty.
6. It is argued on behalf of the appellant that this clause also can have no application in the present case because a manager of an estate appointed under the provisions of the Court of Wards Act, 1879, is not in the 'service' or the 'pay' of the Government. For the reasons which I have already discussed, I agree that it cannot be said that he is in the 'pay' of the Government. The question however remains for consideration whether or not such a person is in the 'service' of the Government. One of the definitions of 'service' which is to be found in the Oxford English Dictionary, is as follows: 'The condition of being a servant, the fact of serving a master.' In view of the abovementioned provisions of the Court of Wards Act, especially Section 20,it seems to be quite clear that the authority which is actually served by a Court of Wards Manager is not the estate which he is appointed to manage but the Court of Wards which actually appoints him. There can be no doubt that Court of Wards Managers are subject to the discipline and control of the Court of Wards and they are required to carry out the orders of the Court of Wards for the purpose of protecting the interests of disqualified proprietors who presumably are not in a position to exact proper service from the manager or any other officer of the estate. Further, there can be no doubt that the Court of Wards is a Government Department, and, this being the case, I think that the Court of Wards Managers must be regarded as being in the 'service' of Government, within the meaning of Section 2, Clause 17(h),Civil P.C. The learned advocate for the appellant in support of his argument relies upon a decision of Walmsley J. Nand Lal Bose v. Ashutosh Ghose (1920)7 A.I.R. Cal 167 In that case the point seems to have been raised whether a Court of Wards Manager was a public servant within the meaning of Section 2, Clause 17, Civil P.C.; and, in this connexion, the learned Judge recorded the following observations:
The third point is that the defendant was a public servant and therefore entitled to the benefit of a notice under Section. 80, Civil P.C. I cannot find that he falls within any of the classes enumerated in Clause 17, Section 2, Civil P.C., and therefore think he was not entitled to a notice.
7. It will be observed that the learned Judge recorded no reasons in support of the view which he adopted, and this being the case, I am not prepared to follow his decision on this point. The result is that in my view the decision of the lower Appellate Court is correct. It is therefore affirmed and this appeal is dismissed with costs. Leave to appeal under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent is refused.