1. The suit is in ejectment. The plaintiff was a purchaser in Court-auction in O.S. No. 627 of 1911 of the suit property and he got possession; but the defendants, who were tenants, refused to execute a lease and claimed occupancy rights from seven persons who, they said, were the Inamdars. The suit lands were nautch Inam lands, and the Inam was enfranchised in the name of Maddila Gangayya and Maddila Basayya by Ex. C in 1864. Adeyya and Chellayya were two members of the families of these two original Inamdars, and they mortgaged the property as theirs and the decree under which the sale took place was against them.
2. The lower Courts have found that these two were members of a dancing girl family of which there were nine members living and the District Munsif, on remand for a finding, held that Adeyya and Chellayya were entitled only to 5/9ths, that this was all they had power to mortgage and that this was all the plaintiff could recover. The lower appellate Court accepted the finding that the mortgage would only bind the share of these two, but disagreed with the lower Court that there was no custom amongst the dancing girls caste for females to share with the males; and, holding that the custom had been established that females share equally with the males, he decreed only 2/9ths to the plaintiff.
3. Both the Courts held against an alleged partition and we are bound by that finding.
4. The only grounds of appeal here are (1) that the custom set up is not sufficiently established by the evidence and (2) that the plaintiff's predecessors in title had adverse possession. As regards the latter point, it is clearly not so, for the property was held as tenants-in-common by the members of the family. Also as to this point there was no plea, no issue and no evidence. As regards the former, it is true that only one old man speaks to the custom; but, he proves two partition deeds of the caste in which the females shared with the males. It is not as if this was some strange new custom; it is a well-recognised one which we find in Thurston's Castes and Tribes of Southern India dealing with Deva Dasis at page 127, Vol. II, where he mentions as a recognised custom that the sons and daughters inherit equally, contrary to ordinary Hindu usage. We are therefore, satisfied that the lower appellate Court was justified in finding the custom proved.
5. The appeal, therefore, fails and is dismissed with costs.
Walter Salis Schwabe, K.C., C.J.
6. I agree and only wish to add this that, in addition to one witness aged 70, the 1st witness for the defendant, a young man it is true, stated 'Among dancing girls' caste the males and females share equally.' Although the evidence of custom is not as definite or clear as it ought to be, and I have no doubt in this case it could have been, I think there is sufficient to justify the finding of the Subordinate Judge that the custom was proved.