1. In taking up the question whether the 1st plaintiff was Swami Reddi's nearest reversioner or not, the learned District Judge says:
Not to speak of the oral evidence, there is clear documentary evidenre in support of the plaintiff's case.
2. Since he does not further allude to the oral evidence, I can only conclude that he bases his finding exclusively upon the documentary evidence as sufficient in itself. Of that evidence.
3. I do net suppose that the learned District Judge considered that the holding of joint pattas, the entry in the Pouthi report, or the fact that 1st plaintiff and Swami Reddi each enjoyed part of the same survey numbers, went very far by themselves to prove that 1st plaintiff was nearest reversioner. He evidently relies upon the three documents, Exs. L, H and C. But in speaking of Ex. C, he makes the somewhat serious mistake of supposing that Venkanna to whom it relates is described as 'son of Chinna Narasanna,' whereon he bases his conclusion that Achanna must have had a brother Chinna Narasanna, whose grandson is the 1st plaintiff. The document does not say who Venkanna's lather was, and since another Venkanna has been referred to by some of the plaintiff's witnesses, it is necessary to take that evidence into consideration in considering the effect of Ex.C. I think it is quite clear that Exs. L, M and C by themselves do not establish that there is no reversioner nearer than, or as near as, the 1st plaintiff. It may very well be, however, that read with the oral evidence, they have this effect. I do not think therefore that the Appellate Court was relieved of the burden of weighing the oral evidence both as regards its admis-sibility under Section 32(5) or Section 50 of the Evidence Act or otherwise and as regards its credibility.
4. Another point which, it is argued here, has been overlooked is this, that the plaintiff must show that he is the nearest reversioner, and for this purpose must at least adduce prima facie evidence of his claim see Girdari Lall Roy v. The Bengal Government 44 MLJ 643, Haripada Mukherjee v. Radha Bullav Pal, Surjan Singh v. Sardar Singh and Rama Row v. Kuttiya Goundan. It is not enough to rely upon the statements in the plaint or on an unproved genealogical table, or merely to prove that a certain relationship existed between the plaintiff and the prepositus. Of course, after such prima facie evidence has been adduced, it may be reasonable to look to the defence to refute it by proving a nearer heir. But, the onus lying on the plaintiff, he cannot succeed if he gives no evidence at all that his claim is superior to that of any other person. It will be in the discretion of the Appellate Court whether to admit further evidence on this point, by remand or directly, the omission appearing to be of a somewhat formal nature.
5. I set aside the decree of the Lower Appellate Court and direct it to re-hear and dispose of the appeal in accordance with law and in the light of the foregoing observations. Costs of second appeal will abide the result and be provided for in the appellate decree.
6. The Court-fee on second appeal will be refunded to the appellants.