1. This is a judgment-debtors' appeal whose application for amendment of a decree under Sections 8 and 9, U.P. Debt Redemption Act, was allowed by the learned Munsif, but rejected by the learned Additional Civil Judge of Bulandshahr. The appellants claimed the benefits of this Act on the ground that they were agriculturists. The decree-holders contended in reply that they had made a declaration necessary under Section 4, U.P. Debt Redemption Act, and that the appellants were, therefore, not entitled to those benefits. The judgment-debtors, however, contended in rejoinder that the declaration made by the decree-holders referred to a well which was a part of their holding and it was, therefore, not an effective declaration. The learned Munsif held that the well in dispute was used for irrigating agricultural land, and was situate in an occupancy holding and the land did not, therefore, cease to be 'land' within the meaning of Section 2, Clause 8, U.P. Debt Redemption Act, which provides that 'land' means-
land in mahal in the United Provinces but does not include land occupied by buildings or appurtenant thereto or land within the limits of municipality, cantonment or notified area.
2. The learned Counsel for the appellants contends that as the land in dispute is not occupied by a building or has any land appurtenant thereto, the declaration is an ineffective declaration. The learned Counsel for the respondents, however, contends that, even though a building may not be standing over it, 'nevertheless' the land is occupied toy a construction albeit a subterranean construction. The question is, to my mind, not free from difficulty, but I have come to the conclusion that the contention of the learned Counsel for the appellants is, on the whole, correct. 'Building' has been defined in Murray's Oxford Dictionary - a no mean authority - as
that which is built; a structure, edifice; now a structure of the nature of a house built where it is to stand.
3. The definition in the Webster's New International Dictionary, 1937 edition, is more explicit. It defines a 'building' as
that which is built, specif : (a) As now generally used, a fabric or edifice, framed or constructed, designed to stand more or less permanently, and covering a space of land, for use as a dwelling, storehouse, factory, shelter for beasts, or some other useful purpose.
4. It is manifest from the above that the true connotation of a building is some sort of a habitation, fit either for a human being or an animal. A 'well' is, therefore, not a building within the meaning of Section 2, Clause 8, U.P. Debt Redemption Act.
5. It might also be mentioned that the U.P. Tenancy Act 17[XVII] of 1989, like the previous Act defines an 'improvement' as-
any work which adds materially to the value of the holding and is consistent with the purpose for which it was let...includes...the construction of wells....
6. The learned Munsif was, therefore, to my mind, right in holding that a well partook of the character more of a holding than of a 'building' within the meaning of Section 2, Clause 8 of the Act. I, therefore, allow the appeal, set aside the decree of the lower appellate Court and restore that of the Court of first instance, but, under the circumtances of the case, I make no order as to costs.
7. Leave to appeal under the Letters Patent is refused.