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Madras High Court
Audirazu Veerayya vs Audirazu Sangayya on 14 March, 1909
Equivalent citations: 5 Ind Cas 1004
Bench: Benson, K Aiyar


1. The suit is for the recovery of the kamam’s office in an inam village in the Kristna District and of certain emoluments attached to that office. The Munsif decreed the claim to the office. The District Judge on appeal has dismissed the suit, holding that the Civil Courts have no jurisdiction. It is to be regretted that he has not pointed out the particular provision of the law under which the jurisdiction is ousted. But we think he has arrived at the right conclusion. We have had the case twice argued before us. On the first occasion it appeared to us that the case fell within Clause (1) of Section 3 of Act III of 1895. But on a closer examination we are satisfied that, that clause does not apply. Madras Act IV of 1864 had no application to inam villages which were not, for purposes of village administration, grouped with ryotwari villages. The Government Notification dated the 25th of July 1878 did not, therefore, extend to the Agraharam we have to deal with. Madras Act IV of 1893 which applied to local areas to which Act IV of 1864 was extended did not touch the suit Agraharam. It is, therefore, clear that the office now in question does not fall within Clause (1). This result is also made (dear by the amendment made by Act IV of 1907 which repeals Madras Act I V of 1893 altogether and modifies the language of Clause (I) of Section 3 of the Act III of 1895. The suit, however, is governed by the Act as it stood before the amendment; but that the meaning was the same is borne out by the history of the enactment. Although we are clear that Clause (1) does not apply, we think Clause (3) does. It deals with other hereditary village offices in proprietary estates. The Agraharam is a proprietary estate according to the provision in Section 4 of Act III of 1895 read with Section 4 of Act II of 1894.

2. We have been somewhat exercised over the word ‘other,” Clauses. (1) and (2) deal with the office of village accounrant among others. Is that office excluded from the purview of Clause (3) by the word other”? We think not. If the office of karnnm were excluded by the word other” there would be no meaning in excepting it from the offices in Clause (3) by the further words in proprietary estates wherein Regulation XXIX of 1802 remains in force the office of village accountant.” We ought, therefore, to put a construction on the phrase “other hereditary village offices” which does not render the exception meaningless if we can possibly do so. By other hereditary village offices” we may understand not necessarily offices of a different description but offices other than those in the localities dealt with by Clause (1) and (2). This construction will not exclude the offices of karnam or village accountant from the ‘other hereditary village offices” in Clause (3). We think this interpretation produces a result in accordance with the policy of legislature as regards the determination of the tribunal which should deal with the succession to the office of karnams in inam villages. We are of opinion that the conclusion of the District Judge is right and we dismiss the second appeal with costs.

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