1. This appeal arises out of a suit for ejectment. It is argued before us that the learned District Judge was wrong in proceeding on the basis that the 2nd defendant had occupancy rights in the lands from which the plaintiffs wish to eject him; that there is no ground on which the 2nd defendant could have been held to be a ryot under Section 3(15) of the Madras Estates Land Act; that assuming that the second defendant could have acquired the status of ryot, he was not admitted as such by the landholder under Section 1631) and that in the event of any of these contentions being upheld the plaintiffs would be entitled to eject the 2nd defendant from the land.
2. All these arguments so far as the present appeal is concerned centre round one question whether a person who is admitted into the possession of waste lands in 1884 can claim the rights and rely upon the presumptions in favour of ryots contained in the Estates Land Act.
3. Section 3(15) of the Estates Land Act is in the following terms:
'Ryot' means a person who holds for the purpose of agriculture ryoti land in an Estate on condition of paying to the landholder the rent which is legally due upon it.
4. It is argued that it does not apply because there is no condition for payment of rent accepted by the 1st or 2nd defendant, There is however an agreement to pay Re. 1 per acre (under Exhibit A). This payment has been evidently considered to have been by way of rent. It is not within our province to consider ,in Second Appeal whether or not the payment of this sum ought to, be otherwise considered. But we feel difficulty in understanding under what other description it could have been held to fall.
5. Another ground taken in argument was that Section 6 of the Madras Estates Land Act, cannot apply. For this purpose it was contended first that the grantor of Exhibit A was not a landholder as defined in Section 3(15). The grantor was the 1st defendant. He traced his right from Exhibit M which refers to itself as a pattah granted as Mokhasa. It is true that Exhibit M purported to be for an indefinite period and the grantor of Exhibit M was the widow of the Zamindar who had herself only a life interest and could therefore not have made a grant for a period extending beyond her life and Modhu Sudan Singh v. Rooke I.L.R.(1897) C. 1. But in our opinion that does not, affect the question whether it is a grant. During the continuance of Exhibit M no other person could have admitted any tenant into the land except the grantee under Exhibit M,
6. Secondly it was contended that Section 6 could not apply because the second sub-section requiring (1) that the holder should be a landholder and (2) that the land should be an estate; it may therefore be (so it was argued) that the grantor may be a landholder, and yet the land in question may not fall within the definition of an estate in Section 3(2); that in such a case Section 6 would not apply. For this purpose it was argued that the land in question could fall only under Clause (c) of Section 3(2) and that it was not a permanent undertenure. This argument seems to us to be incapable of being supported. The clause that seems to us to apply is Clause (a). It was argued that Clause (a) could not apply, as if it is taken to include the land in question it would imply that Clause (e) is unnecessary. We are unable to accede to this argument. Then it was argued that Clause (a) could not apply to parts of a Zamindari. In this connection it is necessary to advert to the nature of the question with which we are now concerned. The question is whether a person in occupation is to be presumed to hold the land on such terms as tenants of Zamindari lands generally hold them. That presumption is based on the well recognised fact that the Zamindar has primarily the right merely to collect the tax on the land to retain a part of it which part is now represented by the Melvaram. The presumption arises from the history of land-tenures and of cultivation in the past and from , the nature of the rights of the Zamindar. Considered in this light the argument is deprived of all point. We are of opinion that Clause (a) is applicable.
7. Finally it was argued before us that the case Cheekati Zamindar v. Ranasoru Dhora I.L.R.(1899) M. 318 is not applicable inasmuch as the decision in that case proceeds on the ground (page 322) that where the generality of tenants in the Zamindari have occupancy rights it is a fair presumption to raise that newly admitted tenants are admitted on the same terms. It was argued that there is no evidence in this case that the generality of the tenants in the particular Zamindari have rights of permanent occupancy. This argument omits to take into consideration the gist of the decision in Cheekati Zamindar v. Ranasoru Dhona I.L.R. (1899) M. 318. That decision establishes that by virtue of repeated proof of the fact that in zamindaries the prevailing terms of tenancy include the right of permanent occupancy in favour of the tenant the courts are in a position to take judicial note of the existence of such terms and to presume that they exist. If as is suggested before us it is the case of the appellant that in the particular zamindari in question the prevailing terms of tenancy do not include the right of permanent occupancy it was for the appellant to have adduced evidence on the point. It is not suggested that any such evidence was tendered and rejected. It is not even now stated to us that the appellant is desirous of adducing any such evidence.
8. In connection with the point with which we have last dealt it was argued that the presumption referred to is not applicable inasmuch as the land was waste at the time of the original grant. Two circumstances may be alluded to in reference to this argument: first, if the presumption (based on conformity with general experience no less than on the policy of law and the history of land tenures) is that a ryot who comes into possession of land ready for cultivation is let in on terms of permanent occupancy then the presumption would be stronger in the case of one who is let in on the understanding that he will make lands cultivable which were previously incapable of being cultivated. In such a case principles of even wider applicability form the support of the presumption. The other consideration in the terms in which old waste is defined in Section 3(7). The terms of that section are clearly inapplicable to the land in question. This had to be conceded when it was pointed out that under Section 3(7)(1) land cannot be called old waste unless it is shown (a) that the land has been owned and possessed by the land-holder or his predecessor in title for a continuous period of not less than 10 years.
(b) That during the said period of ten years the land has continuously remained uncultivated.
(c) That the said period consists of a period.
i. after 1908 or,
ii. partly before and partly after 1908 or,
iii within 20 years before the passing of the act i.e. since
9. It is the last: requirement of the Clause (iii) as stated above that is fatal to the land now in question being considered waste. For though the land was uncultivated in 1874 it has been continuously in cultivation since 1884 Hence it is clear that the land cannot be considered old waste.
10. The result is that the appeal must be dismissed with costs.