1. The lands in this case, as the District Judge has found, 'pertain to a talvar or shetsanadi vatan, and it is admit ted on both sides that the last owner of them was one Lenkya' from whom Mudkangavda took a lease in 1866. Now, according to Regulation XVI of 1827, Sections 19 and 20, as construed by Act XI of 1843, Section 15, the shetsanadis, who from time to time held the vatan in question in succession, were hereditary district or village officers. The land being held, and entered in the Government account, at a fraction of the full assessment was, as to the residue of the interest in it, assigned as remuneration for the duties to be performed by the functionary. Lenkya became the sole occupant of the office, and from that moment the emoluments annexed to it became inalienable under the provision of Section 20 of the regulation. By his lease, therefore, which is a partial alienation, Mudkangavda acquired no title at all. It would be directly opposed to the regulation.
2. When Bombay Act III of 1874 came into operation the land in question was already assigned, and, according to Section 23 of the Act, the assignment is to be 'taken to have been made under this section'. Now, vatan property assigned to the officiating officer, he being of the lower class, is subject to the provisions of Section 64 of the Act, but it does not appear that, in the present instance, any new order as to remuneration, or any exonerating the land from its complete subjection to the service, had been made. The vatan stood at the institution of the suit as it had stood when the Vatandars' Act came into operation. It was, competent to the Collector, or his deputed assistant, under Section 9, Clause 1, of the Act, to declare as to the alienation made by the deceased Lenkya--supposing that alienation, by its terms, gave an interest extending beyond Lenkya's life--that the alienation was void. The Collector has not, apparently, acted on that section, or been called on to do so, but the nullity of the lease under the regulation is not removed by that. What was void in its inception is not made valid by the lapse of time, except when that particular consequence is enacted by the Legislature. Purshottam has been appointed to the office. To him the vatan consequently belongs, and the occupant under an entirely void title may be ejected by him who, as life owner, is entitled to possession.
3. For these reasons we must reverse the decree of the District Court, and restore that of the Subordinate Judge, with costs throughout on the respondent Mudkangavda.