1. The appellants are defendants in a suit for ejectment brought by the plaintiff-respondent. The main defence is that the defendants have permanent rights of occupancy. The suit land is an enfranchised pre-settlement minor inam and is not governed by the provisions of the Madras Estates Land Act. There is, in fact, no plea that occupancy rights have been obtained under the Madras Estates Land Act. The only question therefore is whether apart from the Act the defendants have proved that they have permanent right of occupancy, or, in other words, whether they are permanent lessees. They relied upon a number of documents to show that on some occasions the then owners of the plaint property expressly granted occupancy rights; but those documents have been found by the District Judge to be not genuine. The learned advocate for the appellants argues that this finding is not satisfactory. But I do not see any ground for interference in second appeal as this is a finding of fact. The appellants then relied upon a compromise said to have been entered into between the then owner and the ryots in a litigation of 1929. It is said that when that suit was pending in appeal, the parties entered into a compromise by which occupancy rights were recognised, that a compromise petition was drawn in triplicate and that one copy was entrusted to the landlord to be filed into Court. They say that contrary to the understanding, the landlord did not file the copy into Court. They produced the copy which, it was said, was given to them. Unfortunately, this document has been found to be not genuine by the appellate Court. The trial Court, no doubt, found it to be genuine, but the appellate Judge has given good reasons to find that the document is not genuine. I cannot say that the finding of the lower appellate Court is open to any attack. Acquisition of occupancy rights under documents alleged to have been executed by the landlords is not established.
2. The only other point is whether the tenants have proved by other evidence that they have acquired such a right. The lower appellate Court has pointed out that all that the defendants proved is that they have been in possession for a long time, paying probably a uniform rent of Rs. 100. The rent was enhanced to Rs. 125 under Ex. P-10 of the year 1932. This document, Ex. P-10, was denounced as a forgery by the tenants and was found to be a forgery by the trial Court. But the appellate Court found that it is genuine. So, it is not even a case where until the date of suit the tenants have been paying an unvarying rent for all time. It was then said that the ryots had been alienating the properties. The alienations proved are only three mortgages. Of these one of the year 1915 and another of 1927 are both unregistered. The last is a registered mortgage of 1927. As the appellate Judge has pointed out, there is nothing to show that the landlord was ever aware of these transactions. These are only possessory mortgages which were redeemed by the tenants and there are no cases of sales effected by the ryots. Three such documents spread over a period of 12 years, none before and none after-do not prove a permanent right of occupancy. As held by the Judicial 'Committee in Nainapillai Marakayar v. Ramanathan Chettiar (1923) 46 M.L.J. 546 : L.R. 51 IndAp 83: I.L.R. 47 Mad. 337 long possession by a ryot paying a uniform rent is not by itself enough to prove that he acquired a permanent right of occupancy. Their Lordships say this at page 344:
It cannot now be doubted that when a tenant of lands in India, in a suit by his landlord to eject him from them, sets up a defence that he has a right of permanent tenancy in the lands, the onus of proving that he has such right is upon the tenant. In Secretary of State for India in Council v. Lachmeswar Singh : I.L.R. 16Cal. 223 , it was held that the onus of proving that they had a permanent right of occupancy in lands was upon the defendants, who alleged it as a defence to a suit by their landlord to eject them, and that proof of long occupation at a fixed rent did not satisfy that onus.
In this case, leaving aside Ex. P-10 of the year 1932, we have nothing more than long occupation at a uniform rent. This, as pointed out by their Lordships of the Judicial Committee, is not enough and there are no other facts prcved. We have, on the other hand, documents, Exs. P-8 series, in which the tenants have expressly undertaken to quit at the end of the term covered by those documents. Such a term is inconsistent with permanent rights of occupancy. I see no reason to differ from the conclusions arrived at by the learned District Judge and I dismiss the second appeal with costs of the plaintiff-respondent.
3. No leave.