1. The question which arises for decision in this appeal by the plaintiff is: Was the certificate which was issued under Act III of 1913 under which the sale of the holding in question took place, a valid and binding one? The facts which are relevant for this appeal may be shortly stated thus. The plaintiff Munshi Ali Miyan and the defendant No. 2 Asgar were the owners of a holding under the khas mehal in Chittagong and a certificate, dated the 19th February 1917, was filed by the Certificate Officer and the holding in arrears was sold on the 11th June 1917 and purchased by the defendant No. 1 for Rs. 46.
2. The plaintiff instituted this suit for a declaration that the sale was not binding on him and in the alternative prayed for a re-conveyance of his 8-annas share on payment of half the purchase-money. Among other matters which are not material, the plaintiff contended that the certificate was not a certificate, signed and made, under the provisions of Section 4 of the Act, and, therefore, the sale was without jurisdiction.
3. The plaintiff further alleged that a property worth Rs. 3,000 was sold for Rs. 46 and in consequence he suffered substantial injury.
4. The Secretary of State for India was defendant No. 3 in the suit.
5. All the defendants contested the suit and contended that the certificate did comply with the provisions of the law and they traversed the other allegations of the plaintiff.
6. Both the Courts have dismissed the suit and the plaintiff appeals and four points were taken by the learned Vakil on his behalf in support of the appeal and the first of those was the point which we have indicated as the point which calls for decision in this case in the view that we take of the first point it is unnecessary to say anything as regards the other points.
7. The point now in issue with respect to a certificate issued under Act III of 1913, was raised in a case before a Divisional Bench of this Court consisting of the Hon'ble Justice C.C. Ghose and the Hon'ble Justice Panton in Second Appeal No. 1352 of 1921 and was decided on the 28th February 1923. In that case also the certificate was of a similar nature, and their Lordships held that the certificate was invalid. The certificate in the present case contained no entry in that part of it which is really the certificate in the prescribed form, giving any of the particulars in the handwriting of the office competent to issue such a certificate. In view of the fact that the case cited is in all fours with this case and the principles upon which the decision of the question depends have been laid down by the Judicial Committee in Baijnath Sahai v. Ramgut Singh 23 C. 775 : 23 I.A. 45 : 7 Sar. P.C.J. 1 : 12 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 514 (P.C.) we do not think it necessary to discuss the point at any length. These certificates are issued ex parte and have the force of decrees for the debts therein mentioned, it is of the utmost importance for the safety of the public that the form of the certificate should be strictly complied with. This certificate with the entries filled up by the hand of a responsible officer like the Certificate Collector ensures that that officer did apply his mind to the correctness or otherwise of those entries.
8. The learned Vakil for the respondents was unable to draw any real distinction between this case and the unreported judgment to which we have referred.
9. The result is we set aside the decrees of the Courts below and decree the suit of the plaintiff with' respect to his first prayer with costs in both Courts.
William Ewart Greaves, J.
10. I agree.