1. The decree of the Subordinate Judge as it stands--giving possession to plaintiffs Nos. 1 to 4 on the one hand or the 5th plaintiff on the other hand is in any view erroneous. On the case set forth in the plaint it is only the plaintiffs Nos. 1 to 4 who could claim possession, the 5th plaintiff having upon his own admission parted with his rights to possession to plaintiffs Nos. 1 to 4. In this view the period of limitation for the suit prima facie is 12 years and not 60 years. The Municipal Commissioners v. Sarangapani Mudaliar I.L.R. 19 M. at 156 and Maharajah Jagadindra Nath Bahadur v. Rani Hemanta Kumari Debi 31 I.A. at P. 207 It is, however, unnecessary to decide the point of limitation here, as in our opinion the suit fails on other grounds.
2. Both courts find that the defendant has been in possession of the disputed land at least since 1868, that is for thirty years before suit. Admittedly the 1st defendant has been paying to Government certain revenue for the land since 1885 and it appears from the receipts that special cesses were also paid with the revenue. It is thus clear that the defendant has been holding the land as a ryot under Government. Taking it as a fact that the land was at one time the bed of a tidal and navigable river and thus land at the absolute disposal of Government there was nothing to prevent the Government from granting the land to the defendant on ordinary ryotwary tenure as in fact they did. Having done so it wag not competent to the Government to put an end to the defendant's tenure by the arrangement made by them with the plaintiffs Nos. 1 to 4. The defendant was entitled to hold the land as long as he paid the revenue properly leviable from him, and in default he could be ousted only on legal process taken under Act II of 1864. Rajagopala Ayyangar v. The Collector of Chingleput 7 M.H.C.R. p. 98 On this ground we set aside the decree of the Subordinate Judge and restore that of the District Munsiff with costs in this and in the lower appellate Court payable by the plaintiffs 2 to 4 and 1st plaintiff's legal representatives to the defendant. The 5th plaintiff will pay his own costs.