1. The learned District Judge has rightly referred to Ramanadhan v. Zamindar of Ramnad I.L.R. 16 Mad. 407 as containing the law which governs this case, but we are unable to agree with him that the building of a number of tiled dwelling houses, admittedly not for agricultural purposes, on tope land, does not alter the character of the holding, It is clear from a reference to the pattas that, in both the oases before us, the rent or varam payable by the defendants to the plaintiffs is liable to vary according to the use made of the land whether for growing fruit-trees or crops of grain. If the land or part of it is covered with permanent houses it is clear that it so far ceases to be land fit for planting trees or growing other crops, and the plaintiffs' prospect of receiving enhanced rent or varam is destroyed. It is no answer to say that there are still as many trees as there ever were on the land. That is because the laud has not hitherto been fully utilized as a tope, but the defendants are not at liberty to render it impossible in the future to so utilize it. To do so is, in our opinion, manifestly to change the character of the holding.
2. The next question is as to the plaintiffs' proper remedy. They claim that the defendants' act is a breach of the condition on which the land is held, and that this works a forfeiture of the defendants' tenure. The defendants have admittedly a permanent right of occupancy. The plaintiffs' vakil has not been able to cite any case to support his contention as to the alleged forfeiture, and we should certainly be slow to hold that, in the circumstances of this case, the defendants' act does work a forfeiture In our opinion, the plaintiffs' proper remedy is to have the houses removed and the land restored to the condition in which it was before the defendants altered its character.
3. We would give a decree on this footing but that the defendants bring to notice that neither Court has decided the fourth issue raised by the defendants to the effect that the matter has really been settled by a compromise prior to the suit.
4. We must, therefore, ask the District Judge to return a finding on that issue on the evidence already on record within six weeks from the date of receipt of this order. Seven days will be allowed for filing objections after the finding has been posted up in this Court.