1. This is a second appeal by a plaintiff whose suit has been dismissed by both the lower Courts. The plaintiff claimed Rs. 157 damages from the defendant. The facts are simple. The plaintiff had a decree against the defendant and in execution of the decree he brought to sale some zamindari shares of the defendant. The auction sale took place on 21st May 1925, and the plaintiff purchased the shares and the sale was confirmed in favour of the plaintiff on 24th June 1929. Subsequent to that date on 25th July 1929, the plaintiff paid Rs. 128-5-0 as the revenue due for the current rabi kist of 1336 F. It is true that the revenue fell due on 15th May 1929, but the period of the rabi of 1336 P. extended up to 30th June 1929. The case for the plaintiff is based on the provisions of Sections 69 and 70, Contract Act. Section 69 lays down that a person who is interested in the payment of money which another is bound by law to pay and who therefore pays it, is entitled to be reimbursed by the other; and Section 70 relates to the case of a person doing a non-gratuitous act for the benefit of another. Both these sections involve the supposition that on the date of payment, 25th July 1929, the defendant was bound to pay the land revenue.
2. Learned Counsel has failed to establish that point from a consideration of Chap. 8, Land Revenue Act, 3 of 1901. He relied for his proposition on an old ruling reported in Kishan Lal v. Megh Singh (1901) A.W.N. 37. That case was under the former Land Revenue Act, 19 of 1873. The case was somewhat complicated as the former proprietors had lost their property owing to default in paying revenue and the property had been taken under the management of the Collector and during this period it was sold in execution of a Civil Court decree and purchased by the plaintiff. The plaintiff was forced to pay the arrears for three years' revenue which had become due from the previous proprietors before his auction-sale. The case then differed from the present one as the date of the auction-sale in the present case was during the period for which the land revenue in question accrued, but in the ruling the land revenue had accrued for three previous years. Moreover the language in the former Act, 19 of 1873, was materially different, Section 146, provided:
In the case of every mabal the entire mahal and all the proprietors jointly and severally shall be responsible to Government for the revenue for the time being assessed on the mahal.
3. Now, this section has been altered in the Land Revenue Act, 3 of 1901 and is as follows Section 142:
All the proprietors of a mahal are jointly and severally responsible to Government for the revenue for the time being assessed thereon, and all persons succeeding to proprietary possession therein, otherwise than by purchase under Section 160 shall be responsible for all arrows of revenue due at the time of their succession.
Explanation - 'Proprietor' in this chapter means a person in proprietary possession for his own benefit, and includes a mortgagee and a lessee of proprietary rights.
4. The present section differs by the addition that persons who succeeded otherwise than by purchase under Section 160, (that is, by purchase at a sale by the Collector of the defaulter's property), shall be responsible for all arrears of revenue which are due at the time of their succession. Under this provision therefore the plaintiff became liable for the arrears of revenue in question apart from his liability from the fact that he acquired it during the currency of the period in question. There has also been the addition of the Explanation, and this Explanation indicates that the proprietors must be in possession. The case of a proprietor who has lost possession does not appear to come under the Chapter. It is probable that the intention of the present Act, is that Government should realize arrears of land revenue from the people who are actually in possession and that it is not desirable that Government Officials should endeavour to realize arrears from people who have lost possession. Owing to this change in law I consider that the following finding in the ruling quoted no longer applies:
There can be no doubt that the sale to Bhagwan Das would not in the smallest degree make Megh Singh and Shamman Singh cease to be personally responsible to Government for the arrears which had accrued due up to the time of the sale. That personal liability would still attach to them after the property had passed from their hands.
5. Reference has also been made in the grounds of appeal to the case of Ram Ratan Lal v. Gaura : AIR1930All516 , and it is claimed that this case supports the appellants. In that case the plaintiff had purchased at auction-sale the rights of Mt. Gaura, and there were arrears of land revenue due from her and from 34 other co-sharers. On p. 111 the Court held:
The plaintiff, as having succeeded to the estate of Mt. Gaura, may be held liable for the amount due to Government which stood charged upon her share in the property. The position of the remaining 34 defendants was altogether different;
and the Court held that the plaintiff had a right against the remaining 34 co-sharers. Therefore this ruling supports the decision of the lower Court because it was held that the plaintiff did not have a right against Mt. Gaura whose property he had acquired at auction-sale. Similarly the plaintiff in the present case has not got a right against Mt. Insar Begam whose property he has acquired at auction sale. Learned Counsel endeavoured to draw distinction because in the reported case the arrears of land revenue had been modified at the time of sale although the property was not sold subject to a lien in favour of Government. I do not think any distinction can be drawn on these lines. The plaintiff himself was the decree-holder and he should have made himself acquainted with the facts of whether the land revenue had been paid or not. If there was a liability it was his duty to notify that liability in the sale proclamation. I consider that no case has been made out for the appellant and I therefore dismiss this appeal with costs. Permission is granted for a Letters Patent appeal.