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Madras High Court
Chipurapalli Appayya vs Sri Raja Kakarlapudi Ramachandra … on 8 September, 1914
Equivalent citations: (1914) 27 MLJ 490
Author: S Iyer


John Edward Power, Wallis Offg. C.J.

1. For the purposes of our decision the facts in A.S. No. 277 of 1911 and S.A. 1508 of 1912 may be considered to be the same. Both were suits in ejectment brought by the alienees of part of a village in the Uratla Estate, and the question is whether the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts is not barred under the provisions of the Madras Estates Land Act. The Uratla Estate is admittedly an estate within the meaning of the definition in Section 3(2) of the Act, while the portion of a village alienated to the plaintiff does not itself form an estate within the meaning of the Act as it does not come within any of the descriptions, in Sub-clause (a) to (c). The District Munsiff and District Judge’ in the one case and the Subordinate Judge in the others are all agreed on this point, and are so far clearly right. They have however drawn the inference that because the land alienated to the plaintiff does not itself form an-estate within the definition, it is outside the general scope of |he Act, and the provisions barring the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts in suits for ejectment are inapplicable. This view is opposed to several un-reported decisions of this Court to which we have been referred, but as it has been held by all three Judges of the lower Court it may be as well to deal with the question on the merits. Though the plaintiff is not the owner of an estate is clearly the owner of part of an estate and as such a landholder within the definition of Section 3(6); his tenants are ryots within the meaning of Section 3(15) and pay rent within the meaning of Section 3(11). As a landholder he may sue for ejectment before the Collector under” Section 151, and the right of the Civil Court to\entertain such suits is barred under Section 179. Nor, is there, \s appears to have been imagined anything inconsistent with the scheme of the Act in holding that the plaintiffs are landholders as owning part of the Uratla Estate although the portion which they own has been absolutely severed from the rest of the estate and the proprietor of the latter has no interest in it. As appears from the title and the preamble the general scope of the Act declare and amend the law relating to the holding of land in estates in the Presidency, that is of course in estates as defined in the Act to the exclusion of the large areas such as ryotwari tracts which do not come within the definition. Again, even in estates, -the general provisions of the Act are only applicable as between landholders and ryots as defined in the Act and do not apply to the relations between ryots in estates and those holding under them, except of course as expressly mentioned. In this state of things the Legislature was faced with the question whether estates as defined in the section which had become divided in ownership without being split into two or more estates should as between the several owners and the ryots under them be regulated by the general provisions of the Act and it seems to me there were obvious reasons for so including them by providing that landholder should include a person owning part of an estate, that is of an area to which the general provisions of the Act were intended to apply. In any case the provisions of the Act are plain in my opinion and we are bound to give effect to them. The appeal and the second appeals are allowed and the decrees set aside, all the plaints will be returned for presentation to the proper Court. Costs to abide the result.

Seshagiri Iyer, J.

2. The plaintiff sues to eject the defendants from certain lands in the village of Mallavaram. It is conceded that geographically these lands are within Uratla, a permanently settled estate : it is also not disputed that they belonged originally to the proprietors of Uratla Estate : they were given to one Subadriah Garu in exchange for certain maniam lands situated elsewhere. The plaintiff purchased these lands from the son of Subadriah Garu: his allegation is that the defendant has no occupancy right in these lands and that he is entitled to eject him. The defendant demurs to the jurisdiction of the Civil Court; he pleads that he is an occupancy ryot and is entitled to remain in possession. The learned District Judge held that he had jurisdiction to entertain the suit; and holding that defendant was liable to be evicted, gave a decree to the plaintiff. The defendant has appealed.

3. I am of opinion that the Civil Courts have no jurisdiction. It is admitted that the lands in suit were originally ryoti lands, and the evidence is clear and uncontradicted that at the time of the exchange they continued to be ryoti, It is not necessary for the purpose of deciding the question of jurisdiction to determine whether both the warams vested in Subadriah Garu or only the melwaram : I do not think that the fact that the exchanged lands were inams has any bearing upon the question we have to decide. Our opinion in regard to them must depend upon their own character and not upon that of the property for which they were substituted.

4. The learned District Judge based his judgment mainly on the ground that Mallavarm is not an estate as defined in Section 3(2) of the Estates Lands Act and consequently the provisions of the Act do not apply to lands in that village; I am unable to agree with this view; it is clear that the Act was not intended to be confined in its operation only to estates in their entirety which fell under one of the five clauses of Section 3(2) : I do not think it is open to us to attribute an intention to the legislature which is inconsistent with the operative portions of the Act. Section 200 of the Act makes it clear that parts of an estate are within the Act: on principle, it seems clear that all lands in a permanently settled estate are to have the benefit of the Act, and the fact that a portion of the estate has been granted to a stranger should not make any difference in this behalf. In S.A. 1218 of 1911 it was held that the definition of estate is not the governing factor in deciding the applicability of the Act. I am of the same opinion. Mr. Sarma’s chief contention is that the word estate used in clauses 2, 5, 15 and 16 of Section 3 refers to one as it existed at the time of the Estates Land Act and not to one with limits ascribed to it at the time of the permanent settlement. As a corollary from this, he argues that portions of the parent estate which either by operation of law or by act of parties ceased to belong to the permanently settled estate are not within the ambit of the Act. No authority has been quoted for this proposition nor can such a contention be upheld even on grounds of expediency. As a matter of fact, portions of estates granted subsequent to the permanent settlement are included for revenue purposes within the estate. Their liability to be attached for arrears of revenue continues and unless separated and separately registered, the lands continue to be part of the estate: the definition of landholder (Section 3, Clause 5) places the matter beyond doubt. There can be more than one landholder within an estate and each will have all the powers given to that class by the Act. I feel no doubt that Mallavaram is within the Uratla Estate; even though the proprietor of that estate is not the landholder in respect of the village and that the plaintiff is a landholder. I have already held that the land in suit was ryoti land, and it follows from the above that the defendant is a ryot. I am not deciding whether he has got occupancy right in the land. He has put forward that claim and it is upon that assumption that the question of jurisdiction has to be determined. From my findings about the nature of the land, and the characters of the plaintiff and the defendant, Section 151 of the Estates Land Act applies to the case; and under Article 17 of the schedule only Revenue Courts have jurisdiction. This conclusion of mine is in accordance with the decisions in Second Appeals 168 of 1912, 323 of 1913 and Brundavan Chandra Harischandra Raja v. Ramayya (1914) 26 M.L.J. 600. I agree that the appeal should be allowed and that the plaint should be returned to the plaintiff for presentation to the proper Court. In the Second Appeals also, the plaint will be returned for presentation to the proper court.

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