Decided on July 17,1963

Sajjaginjala Padda Nagireddi Appellant
Changari Chinna Obulareddi And Others Respondents


JAGANMOHAN REDDI,J. - (1.) In this case the first appellate court has held that the suit is not maintainable, having regard to Section 56 of the Madras Estates Abolition Act. The plaintiff-appellant has filed a suit alleging that he purchased one-fourth share from one of the sons of Aswartha Rao, who was the shrotriemdar of an estate, which has been abolished, and that he is in joint possession of the property, but in as much as the respondents were denying his title he asked for a declaration of title and for partition of the property. The first Court gave a decree, but the first appellate court held applying the decision in Venktaramayya v. Atchannappa 1958 ALT 838 that the Civil Court had no jurisdiction. In that case, the issue was whether by reason of the Madras Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) (Andhra Pradesh), Second Amendment Act (XVIII of 1957), the definition of inam estate which was previously restricted to inam villages which were estates under the 1908 Act, has been enlarged to include inam villages, which became estates under 1936 Act as amended by Madras Act II of 1945. The decision of that question and the creation of the rights under the Act was held to be within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Settlement Officer before whom the parties to the appeal must thereafter work out within the ambit of the Madras Estates Abolition Act and the plaintiffs must apply for the appropriate reliefs before the appropriate authorities provided under the Madras Estates Abolition Act. That case is not an authority for the proposition that matters which are not admittedly within the jurisdiction of the appropriate authorities under the Estates Abolition Act, cannot be entertained by a Civil Court. That possession and possessory title with a declaration of title or the grant of possession where he is entitled to possession are not matters, which are within the competency of any of the authorities specified in the Madras Estates Abolition Act, has been specifically held by several judgments of this Court as well as by the Madras High Court. In Venkatasubbiah v. Punnayya 1957 ALT 670 the learned Chief Justice sitting single held: "The defendants question the title of the plaintiffs to the land in suit. The Civil Court can certainly take cognizance of suits in which the title to the holding forming part of an estate is put in issue. Further, the relief of possession and mesne profits cannot be granted by the Settlement Officer they being beyond his competence, and within the purview of the Civil Courts. The principle is now firmly established that the jurisdiction of civil courts is not excluded when special forums cannot grant certain prayers. A plaintiff cannot be required to split up the cause of action and seek redress partly in a civil court and partly before a Special Tribunal. There is no reason why he should be compelled to choose different forums to get different reliefs."
(2.) In another decision of a Bench, the learned Chief Justice sitting with Justice Mohammed Ahmed Ansari as he then was in Mahalakshmi v. Ammayamma (1960) I An. W.R. 13 also held that Civil courts are not barred from taking cognizance of the matters which cannot be decided by Tribunals like a Settlement Officer and that the Settlement Officer cannot pronounce upon the validity of resumption proceedings that had taken place already. To the same effect are the two Madras decisions in Soosai Udayar v. Andiyappan (1959) I MLJ 195 and Adakalathammal v. Chinnayan Ranipundar (1959) I MLJ 314 . In both these cases, it has been held that a Civil Court "?s jurisdiction to entertain a suit in regard to other matters cannot be taken away merely because in deciding such matters the court has to incidentally decide a matter which is within the jurisdiction of the Tribunals under the Act. In the latter case, Rajamannar, C.J. and Ganapate Pillai. J. specifically held that there is nothing in any of the provisions of the Act which prevents a Civil Court from entertaining a suit for possession by a person who had been in possession and who had been dispossessed and that the exclusion of the jurisdiction of civil court cannot by implication be held to be more than what is necessary for working out the rights created by the Act. I am therefore clear in my mind that the first appellate court was wrong in holding that the civil court has no jurisdiction in this case.
(3.) The judgment of the first appellate court is accordingly set aside and the case is remanded to it for fresh disposal according to law. Costs will abide the result. The appellant will be entitled to a certificate for refund of court-fee. No leave. Case remanded. ;

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