1. This is a suit in ejectment brought by the Rajah of Venkatagiri against the villagers of Velikallu and others to recover possession of certain lands which he had leased to them. The defendants pleaded that they were sole owners of these lands subject to the payment of an annual rent to the plaintiff and that the annual auctions held by the plaintiff were merely auctions of the right to collect the fees which they paid for the grazing of their cattle ; and later on in the written statement they alleged that they were either owners or entitled to rights of occupancy in the plaint land.
2. We think that the Subordinate Judge's finding on the fact is to a certain extent vitiated by his belief that the estate records were deliberately manufactured in anticipation of the passing of the Estates Land Act. The Respondent's vakil is unable to sup-port this belief and we think that the facts of the case must be taken to be as follows: The suit land called the Kancha of the village had been leased out annually for grazing for 15 or 20 years, before the passing of the Act, from 1894 to 1899 to one Narayana-swami Naidu and afterwards to a number of pattadars of Velikallu village the rent being at first Rs. 500 and finally Rs. 600.
3. There is nothing to support defendant's contention that the lease of the right to collect grazing fees and from plaintiff's documents and the admissions of defendant's witnesses it is clear that the lease was of the right of grazing and not of the right to collect grazing fees.
4. Now in this state of things the zamindar is prima facie the owner of the waste lands in his zamindari and the evidence which has just been referred to shows that he is the owner. Then all we have to deal with, is the question as to whether the defendants have shown that they are ryots with occupancy right or even that they are ryots without occupancy right.
5. According to the act a ' ryot' is a ' person ' who holds for the purpose of agriculture ryoti land in an estate. We find diffi-culty in holding that lands held by the defendants for purposes of pasture only are held for the purpose of agriculture within the meaning of this definition. But even if they are it is necessary that the defendants should hold 'ryoti land ' to make them ' ryots' and ' ryoti land ' is defined as meaning 'cultivable land' in an estate other than private land.' It has recently been held by a Full Bench of this Court in Rajah of Venkatagiri v. Ayyappa Reddi I.L.R. (1913) M 738: 25 M.L.J. 578 that land fit usually only for pasturing cattle and not for ploughing and raising agricultural crops is not ryoti land. In this case for a great many years the suit lands had not been cultivated and had only been used for pasturing cattle and we think that the defendants have failed to show that it is cultivable land and that in the state of the evidence onus is on them to show it if they can. Section 6, Sub-section 4 of the Madras Estates Land Act throws considerable light upon the meaning of this definition of ryoti land. It deals with waste land generally. Now waste land, which I take it according to the common under-standing is land not under cultivation may be cultivable IInd or it may not be cultivable land. And the Sub-section 4 accordingly provides that waste land merely by letting for pasturage does not become ryoti land, that is to say, if it was not otherwise ryoti land or cultivable land it does not become so merely because it is let for pasturage. And further the sub-section provides that where the waste is ryoti land the mere admission for purposes of pasturage does not confer a right of occupancy.
6. The contention put forward for the defendants by Mr. Venkatarama Aiyar was that any land is cultivable land on which a blade of grass can be made to grow. Practically it came to that. We are unable to accept that contention which is, as I have already said, inconsistent with the decision in Rajah of Venkatagiri v. Ayyappa Reddi I.L.R. (1913) M 738: 25 M.L.J. 578. We think that in this case the land was not 'ryoti land' and therefore the defendants are not ryots and therefore no question of the jurisdiction of the Revenue Court arises under Section 189 of the Madras Estates Land Act. The suits which are brought under that section, so far as material now, are suits for the ejectment of ryots and according to our finding the defendants in respect of these lands are not ryots. The Subordinate Judge disposed of the suit mainly on the ground that the lands were ryoti lands and that the court had no jurisdiction. But the evidence was taken upon all the issues and was also discussed by him and we think, that the plaintiff is entitled to judgment. The Subordinate Judge has not recorded any finding on the question of damages but Mr. Rangachariar for the plaintiff has intimated his willingness to accept Rs. 600 a year by way of damages which he explained was a very low figure and that figure has been accepted by Mr. Venkataramier on behalf of the defendants. There will therefore be the usual decree for ejectment and for damages at this rate up to the date of delivery of possession with interest at 6 per cent with costs in both courts.