1. In this case, the Courts below have agreed in holding that the plaintiffs are entitled to a declaration of their rights in certain land. The defendants have appealed to this Court contending that according to the rulings of this Court, the plaintiffs' claim to a declaration is barred by limitation. The other grounds of appeal have been abandoned before me.
2. The facts found are that the plaintiffs have all along been in possession of the land in question and were recorded as the proprietors thereof at the fifth Settlement. At the sixth Settlement, owing, it would seem, to the introduction of a new method of recording shares, the Settlement Authorities made an entry in respect of this land which showed that the plaintiffs were entitled to a smaller area. They objected to the entry but their objection was thrown out in November 1901. They nevertheless remained in undisturbed possession of all the land to which they were entitled. In April 1909, the Collector ordered that the entries should be corrected and the plaintiffs' rights recorded as at the fifth Settlement. But the Commissioner on appeal set aside the Collector's order in August 1909. In their plaint, the plaintiffs say that the defendants began to interfere with them in 1910, on the strength of Commissioner's order of 1909. But according to the finding, there can have been no real disturbance of the plaintiffs' possession.
3. The questions for decision are whether time began to run against the plaintiffs in 1901 and, if so, whether a fresh cause of action accrued to them in August 1909. It is common ground that the period of limitation applicable to the claim for a declaration is six years.
4. The first question must be answered in the affirmative according to the decisions in Legge v. Ram Barn Singh 20 A. 35 and Akbar Khan v. Turaban 5 A.L.J. 637 : A.W.N. (1908) 252 : 4 M.L.T. 444 : 1 Ind. Cas. 557 : 31 A, 9 but in the negative according to the decision in Parshotam v. Parmanand Miscellaneous No. 279 of 1908 decided by Stanley, C.J. and Banerji, J. on December 18th, 1908. On looking into the record of the last mentioned case, I find it difficult to reconcile the decision in it with the decisions in the two other cases mentioned. In that case, Stanley, C.J., and Banerji, J., held that an adverse entry in the records, of which the plaintiff was found to have been well aware, did not set time running against him and that it was only when an actual claim to the land was made upon the strength of that entry that time began to run against the plaintiff. That decision receives some support from the decision of Knox and Aikman, JJ., in Skinner v. Shanker Lal 31 A. 10 (note): 1 Ind. Cas. 556. In that case an entry had been made in the records adverse to the plaintiff in May 1899. The defendant brought a suit on the strength of it in 1903. A declaratory suit brought in July 1905, was held to be within time because, although the plaintiff might have sued in 1903, he was not bound to do so and the suit of 1905 furnished him with a distinct cause of action.
5. But whether or not it should be held that a cause of action accrued to the plaintiffs in the present case in 1901, it seems to me that an entirely fresh cause of action accrued to them in August 1909.
6. The blot on their title was the erroneous entry of 1901. That was removed by the Collector in April 1909, and if his order had stood, the plaintiffs could not have maintained a suit for a declaration. The Commissioner's order of August 1909, was a fresh attack upon the plaintiff's title and, in my opinion, gave them a fresh cause of action notwithstanding that it was passed upon appeal from the Collector's order. As the Collector's order gave the plaintiffs all that they wanted, it cleared their title even if (as has been suggested) the order was not carried out before the Commissioner's order was passed.
7. I hold that the suit was brought within time. I, therefore, dismiss this appeal with costs.