1. The appellants and others were the joint owners of certain assessed dry lands and held a joint puttah for them. At the settlement of the district in 1873-74, they appear to have requested the Collector to remit the assessment in order that the land should be used as a gramanattam, that is, village house sites. The actual application and order are not produced by either side, but the Settlement Register is filed and it shows that the lands now in question were entered therein as gramanattam poramboke, and unassessed and were removed from the puttah.
2. The Settlement Register is a document which is published and which is within the knowledge of all the villagers and it is not denied that the plaintiffs must have had knowledge of how the land had been classified and registered. The plaintiff took no exception to what was done. In 1894 the revenue authorities found that the plaintiffs were in occupation of the land without permission and imposed a penal assessment in order to force them to quit the land. The plaintiffs contend that notwithstanding what was done at the settlement their title as owners was not affected. It is impossible to uphold this contention. The legal effect of the arrangement made at the settlement was that the plaintiffs relinquished their right and interest in the land in consideration of the Government reclassifying it as Poramboke Nattam and annexing it to the village site, thus placing it at the disposal of Government with a view to its being granted by Government to bona fide applicants for house-sites. The fact that the plaintiffs used part of the land for certain purposes or were in occupation without payment of assessment for less than the statutory period, even if true, cannot affect the character of the arrangement made at the. time of the settlement or revive the rights which were then given up.
3. The lower Courts were, therefore, right in holding that the plaintiffs have no title to the land or to retain possession of it. This disposes of their claim to the land. But they also claim refund of certain sums which were levied as prohibitory assessment for their occupation of the land in Fusli 1303, which ended with 30th June 1891. The present suit was instituted in May 1897 admittedly more than one year after the levy of the prohibitory assessment. This part of the suit is therefore barred by either by Article 14 or Article 10 of Schedule 2 of the Limitation Act, and it seems to us unnecessary to decide which of these articles is the more appropriate. We may also add that it is not alleged in the plaint or shown that the payment was made under coercion so as to be legally recoverable by suit. See Muthayya Chetti v. Secretary of State for India I.L.R. 22 M. 100. On both these grounds, the claim for refund must be held to have been rightly dismissed, and it is not necessary for us to decide the more difficult and important question of the legality of the action of the Revenue Officers in imposing the so-called prohibitory assessment on lands which are at the disposal of Government and which are unlawfully occupied by a trespasser, whom the Government wish to eject by the imposition of such assessment.
4. The second appeal is dismissed with costs.