Decided on June 26,1963



- (1.) The plaintiff brought the suit on 22nd November, 1957 for recovery of possession of the suit lands in his right as the lessee from defendants 5 to 7. Admittedly, the suit lands are unenfranchised carpenter service inam lands and defendants 5 to 7 were the holders of the office of village carpenter. Originally, the suit lands were leased in 1915 by Subbayya, the father of defendants 5 to 7, to Rajayya, the father of defendants 1 to 4. Under Exhibit B-8, dated 6th July, 1936, defendants 5 to 7 sold the lands for Rs. 400 to the lessee, Rajayya, and the latter and his sons have been in possession claiming to be owners ever since. On 5th October, 1957, defendants 5 to 7 executed a cowle deed (Exhibit A-1) leasing the property to the plaintiff for a period of ten years and authorising him to take possession of the lands. The learned District Munsif negatived the contention of the contesting defendants i to 4 that the Revenue Court alone and not the civil Court has jurisdiction. But he held that as the plaintiff and his lessors had been out of possession for about 40 years, the suit must fail as being barred by Article 142 of the Limitation Act. He accordingly dismissed the suit. On the appeal preferred by the plaintiff, the learned Subordinate Judge concurred in the trial Court's finding that the civil Court had jurisdiction ; but relying on paragraph (8) of Board's Standing Order No. 154, he held that a fresh cause of action arises with the recurrence of every fresh period for which emoluments are due to the office holder, that defendants 5 to 7 would therefore be entitled to recover possession of the suit lands as the emoluments of the office and that the plaintiff as their lessee is also entitled to recover possession. He accordingly allowed the appeal and decreed the suit, and defendants 1 to 4 being aggrieved have come up in Second Appeal.
(2.) Sri R. Venugopala Reddy, the learned counsel for the appellants, has raised two points. The first is that, as the foundation for the relief claimed by the plaintiff is the fact that the land is an emolument attached to the office of village carpenter, the suit is outside the jurisdiction of the civil Court. He seeks to rely for this contention on section 21 of the Madras Hereditary Village Offices Act (III of 1895), hereinafter called the Act, and on the decision in Gummala Abraham v. Lankapalli Venkadu (1956) AnWR 184 : AIR 1957 AP 869. The second point is that, the suit is barred by time as it was not brought within three years after defendants 5107 lost possession under Exhibit B-8 dated 6th July, 1936, which is the period allowed by section 14 (1) of the Act; or at least within twelve years after Exhibit B-8 under Articles 142 and 144 of the Limitation Act.
(3.) There is no force in the first point, which is directly covered by the decision of Jackson, J., in Sahadeva Reddi v. Lingappa Asari (1956) AnWR 184 : AIR 1957 AP 869. The relevant provisions of the Act are : Section 13 (1) : "Any person may sue before the Collector for any of the village offices specified in section 3 or for recovery of the emoluments of any such office, on the ground that he is entitled under sub-section (2) or (3) of section 10 of the Madras Proprietary Estates ' Village Service Act, 1894, or under sub-section (2) or (3) of section 10 or sub-section (2) or (3) of section 11 or section 12 of this Act, as the case may be, to hold such office and enjoy such emoluments." Section 21 :" No civil Court shall have authority to take into consideration or decide any claim to succeed to any of the offices specified in section 3 or any question as to the rate of amount of the emoluments of any such office or except as provided in Proviso (ii) to sub-section (1) of section 13, any claim to recover the emoluments of any such office. ";

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