1. The appeal arises out of a suit against the Government for the recovery of land-cess said to have been over-collected from the plaintiff during the years 1940 to 1943.
2. The plaintiff originally agreed to buy some forest lands at Karakambadi village for a sum of Rs. 91,000, Rs. 20,000 thereof to be paid in advance (Exhibit P-4 dated 26th June, 1938). On the same day was executed a lease, Exhibit P-5, whereby the plaintiff took the forest lands with the right to cut timber pending payment of the balance of the purchase price under Exhibit P-4. By 1st November, 1940, he had paid the balance and he obtained a sale deed executed in his favour becoming thereby the proprietor of the lands in question in every sense of the word. His name was not, however, registered in the Government accounts until 25th February, 1942 and by that time he had granted to third parties rights to cut and carry away the timber from the forest, covered by Exhibit P-3, dated 2nd March, 1942.
3. The Government claimed that land-cess was payable by him as the occupier of the lands arid that the amount which the third parties paid to him was equivalent to the annual rent value within the meaning of Sections 78 and 79 of the Madras Local Boards Act XIV of 1920.
4. Mr. Satyanarayan who appears for the appellant contends that these sections do not apply in the particular circumstances of the case. He says that Exhibit P-3 is not a lease but a licence to cut timber and sell as firewood and that the amount paid by the persons entitled to cut firewood is not rent within the meaning of the Act.
5. In my opinion the matter is concluded by the decision in Sri Rajah Venkata Ramayya Appa Rao v. The Secretary of State for India in Council represented by the Collector of Kistna : AIR1941Mad414 . This was an appeal under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent against a judgment of Wadsworth, J. In that case the owner of a tank let the right to catch the fish therein and he was held to be liable to land-cess under the Madras Local Boards Act, since the beneficial occupation of the land forming the bed of the tank was in him, and the land-cess is to be based on the value of the land which is to be gauged by the value of the right to fish in the water lying above the land. Whether land used for quarrying or for grazing or for cutting grass is occupied by tenants or not, the rental value of such land is liable to be taxed under Sections 78 and 79 of the Act if it is considered as being in the occupation of the person who takes a lease with grazing or grass-cutting rights or pays royalty for quarrying, as all these payments clearly come within the meaning of the term ' rent ' and the land-cess would be payable under the first part of Clause 3 of Section 79.
6. Kuppuswami Ayyar, J., in an unreported case (S.A. No. 342 of 1941) analyses carefully the various rights which are common in South India such as enjoying a casuarina tope by cutting trees, quarrying land, removing earth from tank beds and so on, and points out that the royalty or seigniorage collected is equivalent to rent. There is ample authority to show that the word ' rent ' is a very wide term not merely relating to payments made by a tenant to a landlord in the ordinary sense. The learned District Judge has referred to these authorities and he was bound by them. The appellant retained the land and got benefit from it and, therefore, he is liable to pay tax.
7. The second appeal is dismissed with costs.
8. Leave refused.