1. I have considered the ruling in the case of Jagardeo Singh v. Ali Hammad  40 All. 300 and think that it has been rightly applied to the circumstances of the present case by the learned District Judge of the lower appellate Court. The suit was brought by an occupancy tenant against zamindars of the village for their ejectment on the allegation that they were his sub-tenants. The Assistant Collector took the view which would suggest itself to most men, that, if the landlord took possession, he ejected the occupancy tenant, and the tenant was bound to sue for ejectment under Section 79, Tenancy Act (2 of 1901) which permits of a very short period of limitation. In the present case, however, the occupancy tenant accepted the landlords, who were squatters, as his sub-tenants and sued under Section 58, Tenancy Act, for their ejectment. Having regard to the view taken by this Court in the ruling quoted above, I am of opinion that the occupancy tenant was at liberty to take such action. The landlords did not state in their written statement that they had unlawfully ejected the plaintiff. They simply put forward such a case as a supposition that, if the landlords are in possession, the tenant should be considered to have been ejected unlawfully. It may be repeated that the defendants did not put forward any case of having ejected the plaintiff unlawfully. Their main claim was that they were zamindars of the village and khudkasht cultivators of the land. The Assistant Collector dismissed the suit. There was an appeal by the plaintiff. At first sight it may be thought that no appeal lay to the civil Court. The defendants, however, claimed to be zamindars and khudkasht cultivators of the land and as they put forward a claim to proprietary title as against the allegation of sub-tenancy put forward by the plaintiff, a question of proprietary title was raised, and the appeal did lie to the District Court.
2. It is true that a contract of sub-tenancy between the plaintiff and the defendants was not proved. It appears to be the law, however, as understood in this Court, that an occupancy tenant was at liberty to treat a squatter as a sub-tenant and sue him as such. The fact that the squatter happened to be a landlord would not make any difference in my opinion. A landlord can be the landlord of the tenant and may recover rent from him, but at the same he may become a sub-tenant of the tenant and pay rent to the tenant. What appears to me to have been done in this case is that the landlords colluded with and started cultivation with the sub-tenant of the occupancy land, and, when they were asked to pay the rent, they turned round and claimed to be the khudkasht holders. This is a very insidious method of ejecting an occupancy tenant, and should not be permitted. If the defendants had put forward a plea of having unlawfully and forcibly ejected the plaintiff, and had proved such a plea, different circumstances would have arisen, and the decision may have been different. On the pleadings I am of opinion that the lower appellate Court was correct. I dismiss this appeal with costs.