1. In this case the plaintiff (appellant) held a pattah for certain trees on land in certain survey fields, and the defendants (respondents) held the pattah for the land. The plaintiff had possession of the trees for more than twenty years prior to 1906. In that year, the Revenue authorities cancelled the pattah which they had given to the plaintiff. The defend, ants then interfered with the plaintiff's enjoyment of the trees and deprived him of their possession. The plaintiff therefore brought this suit to recover possession of the trees and for mesne profits.
2. The District Munsif gave him a decree but the District Judge reversed it on appeal and dismissed the suit. We think the decree of the District Munsif is right.
3. The successive Standing Orders of the Board of Revenue Madras, in regard to tree pattahs are found at pages 5, 6 and 7 of Maclean's Edition of 1878, and at pages 36 and 40 of the Government Editions of 1900 and 1907 respectively.
4. The respective rights of parties in the position of the plaintiff and defendants, who for, the sake of brevity are called tree-pattadars and land-pattadars respectively are discussed in the cases reported in Reference under Section 39 of Madras Forest Act I.L.R. (1889) M. 303. and Theiva Pandithan v. Secretary of State for India I.L.R.. (1898) M. 433. It was there held that the tree pattadar ' has an interest, during the continuance of the patta, in the tree itself and in all that is necessary for the growth of the tree including the soil in which it grows.''
5. The District Judge held that that the plaintiff's interest in the trees ceased to exist as soon as the pattah was cancelled and that he could not rely on his possession because it was not really adverse to the defendants but was rather that of a licensee and when the tree pattah was cancelled the effect was to ' complete the land pattadar's natural and usual proprietary rights in his land by cancelling the limitation which the existence of the tree pattah imposed on him.
6. We do not think that this view is correct. So far as appears in this case the only effect of the cancellation of the tree patta was that Government no longer made any demand on the pattadars for revenue in respect of the trees. It is not shown or even contended that Government resumed possession of the trees, or made any grant of them to the defendants. The District Judge no doubt states that when both pattahs were in existence the land pattadar was credited with whatever revenue was collected from the tree pattadar and that on the cancellation of the tree patta the whole revenue was payable by the land pattadar. But this cannot be taken to evidence a grant of the trees to the land pattadar and the District Munsif points out that no revived pattah was issued to the latter enhancing the revenue payable by him. The Government is no party to the suit and it is unnecessary to consider how far, if at all, the position of the tree pattadar quoed the Government is affected by the cancellation of the tree pattah. For all that appears the rights of the tree pattadar may have been and probably were in existence before the land patta was granted. Even if it is assumed that Government by cancelling the tree pattah could and did resume complete ownership of the trees, there was no grant of them to the defendants and there is no foundation for regarding the defendants as the owners of the trees. The plaintiff was in possession of the trees until dispossessed by the defendants some two years prior to the suit. The defendants having no title as owners were mere trespassers, and the plaintiff was entitled to rely on his possession in a suit to eject them-Narayana Rao v. Dharma Char I.L.R. (1902) M. 514. and Subbaraya Chetty v. Aiyasawmi Iyer I.L.R. (1905) M. 86.
7. On this ground we must set aside the decree of the District Judge and restore that of the District Munsif with costs in this and the lower appellate court.