Madhavan Nair, J.
1. These second appeals arise out of suits instituted by the proprietor of Pullur Village against his ryots for recovery of arrears of rent under Section 77 of the Estates Land Act for faslis 1332 to 1335. The ryots are the appellants.
2. The only question of law that arises for decision in these second appeals relates to the application of Clause (3) to Section 13 of the Estates Land Act. The lands held by the ryots are admittedly dry lands. They are being cultivated under what is known as the cropwar system. The tenants dug up new wells in the fields and with the water from those wells they raised wet crops. The landlord is now seeking to charge wet rates for the crops thus raised. The rates admittedly will be higher than the dry rates otherwise chargeable. The question is whether he is entitled to do so. Reliance is placed on Section 13, Clause (3) of the Estates Land Act which says that:
Notwithstanding any usage or contract to the contrary, a ryot shall not, by reason of making an improvement at his sole expense, become liable to pay a higher rate of rent on account of any increase of production or of any change in the nature of the crop raised as a consequence, of such improvement.
3. The learned District Judge has held that this clause does not apply to the case and that the tenants are liable to be charged wet rate for the wet crops raised by them.
4. The question raised by the tenants is an important one, but so far as I am concerned, there is no need to discuss it afresh as it has been considered and decided by this Court in two previous decisions, S.A. No. 1980 of 1927 and Annamalai Chettiar v. Narasimhulu Naidu (1932) 64 M.L.J. 18. The first decision is by Anantakrishna Aiyar, J. All the cases bearing on the question have been considered by him. He came to the conclusion that the wells having been dug up by the tenants and the cultivation having been carried on with the water from such wells, the improvement has been made by them and they cannot be charged the wet rate for the wet crops raised by them. The same conclusion was arrived at by Sundaram Chettiar, J. also. Mr. Somayya who appeared in the two previous cases just mentioned appears again in the present batch also and says that those decisions require reconsideration. All the arguments which the learned Counsel has now put before me were admittedly put before the learned Judges. According to his argument the lands held on cropwar system should be excluded from the operation of Clause 3 to Section 13. I am not satisfied that the legislature intended any such exclusion. The clause is general and the only question is whether improvements were made at the sole expense of the tenants. It was argued in the previous case that since the landlord's land is utilised in digging the well, the improvement cannot be said to have been made solely by the tenant. But this argument was overruled. Having regard to the generality of the rule laid down in Clause 3 of Section 13 I think it is difficult to say that lands cultivated on any particular system of irrigation are excluded from it.
5. I would respectfully follow the two decisions of this Court. That would mean that all these second appeals have to be allowed. The decisions of the lower Court will have to be set aside except with regard to S.A. Nos. 1257 and 1258. The facts with regard to these two second appeals have to be treated a little differently, not in the sense that the principle of law which have to be applied to the other cases does not apply to these but that they cannot be disposed of without some fresh finding. The learned Judge in the last paragraph of page 11 of his judgment says with respect to these two cases that 'for the two holdings the defendant has four wells of which one is new'. There is however no evidence and there is no finding as to what extent the new well irrigates. These two cases cannot be disposed of without a finding on the question as to what extent of land the new well irrigates. I would therefore allow all the second appeals except these two. With respect to these, the decision of the lower Court is set aside and the cases will be remanded to the learned District Judge for disposal according to law. He may call for a finding or may dispose of the case himself after applying the above principle.
6. With respect to the remaining second appeals the decrees of the lower Court will be set aside and the decrees of the first Court will be restored. The appellants are entitled to their costs in this Court and in the lower appellate Court. In the two cases which I have remanded, the costs will abide the result.