1. The plaintiff's suit is for a declaration that the Government is not entitled to levy ground rent for certain land in his occupation and for the recovery of the amount collected from him by the Government as ground rent.
2. The District Judge has decided, and in our opinion, quite rightly, that the plaintiff has not made out any cause of action. Two points are argued in second appeal. The first is that the Municipality acquired, by the land acquisition proceedings, the inam right which belonged to the original owners of the land and that by successive sales the plaintiff now owns that right. The Government, it is contended, is entitled only to quit-rent as from the inamdar and not ground rent. Assuming that a civil court could go into this question, there is really no basis for the contention. The land was acquired by the Government for the requirements of the Bezwada Municipality under the Land Acquisition Act. It is quite clear that when the land was acquired, the title to it vested in Government-see Section 16 of the Act. Section 279 of Madras Act IV of 1884 does not help the plaintiff at all. It provides that on payment by the Municipality of the amount of compensation awarded for the land, the land shall vest in the Municipality. It is quite clear from that section itself that it is the Government that is to acquire the land. The effect of the section is merely to declare that the title which vests in the Government by the acquisition passes to the Municipality when the Municipality pays the amount settled as compensation. The title of the Municipality, therefore, was derived from Government. When the land became vested in the Government it became ordinary Government land liable to assessment in the hands of any person who might afterwards become the occupier. If the plaintiff claims to hold the land free from the payment of such assessment as the Government may fix he must show some grant exempting him from the payment of the ordinary assessment. The appellant's counsel argues that it must be taken that there was such a grant in this case because, when G. O. No. 20 dated the 30th February 1889 was issued permitting Municipal Councils to transfer lands vested in them by sale, mortgage or otherwise, no condition was inserted that the assignee would be liable to pay such assessment or ground rent as might be fixed by the Revenue authorities, and that this condition was inserted only in an order passed in the year 1900. The argument is that, under the previous order of 1889, every transferee from the Municipality would acquire an absolute right to the property transferred free from the payment of any assessment; in other words, that order granted an exemption for payment of land revenue to all persons who might purchase lands from the Municipality. This is a contention which it is impossible to uphold. There are no words of exemption from liability to assessment in the Government Order of 1889. No exemption can be claimed without a grant or exemption in express words. The construction to be placed on the order of 1889 would be that the transferees would obtain a title to the land under their transfers although the transferor might be a Municipal Council, i.e., to remove all the objection to the transfer on the ground that the transferor is a Municipal Council. There is no reason for differing from the conclusion of the lower appellate court. We dismiss the second appeal with costs.