1. In this second appeal, the question which arises is whether plaintiffs, who according to the finding were at one time hereditary archakas of the suit temple but had been out of possession and enjoyment of that office for about 60 years, were barred under Article 124 of the Limitation Act, when they brought this suit against the 5th defendant, the archaka in possession, and the 1st to 4th defendants, the trustees of the temple by whom this archaka and the preceding archakas for many years have been appointed. In the plaint the plaintiffs claimed to recover possession of the office of archaka from the 5th defendant, and they claimed an injunction restraining defendants 1 to 4, the trustees, from causing any obstruction to them or to any one else who performed the duties of archaka on their behalf.
2. Under Article 124 of the Limitation Act, for possession of an hereditary office, time runs against the plaintiff from the time when the defendant, takes possession of the office adversely to the plaintiff, and to preclude any difficulty as to what was meant by the possession of an hereditary office, the explanation says, 'An hereditary office is possessed when the profits thereof are usually received, or (if there are no profits) when the duties thereof are usually performed '. It is not denied that the 5th defendant in this case has taken possession of the office, but it is said that he took possession within 12 years, so that the suit is not barred, as against him. The question then arises whether under the definition of 'defendant' in Section 2, Sub-section (4) of the Limitation Act which enacts that 'defendant' includes 'any person from or through whom a defendant derives his liability to be sued', the present 5th defendant, must not be considered to derive his liability from or through his predecessors in the office, all of whom like himself for many years held the office of archaka by virtue of their appointment by the trustees of the temple. The trustees of the temple are the persons in whom the right to appoint archakas is vested, when that office is not hereditary Now it has been held in Baja of Palghat v. Raman Unni (1916) 33 M.L.J. 26 following other cases including Pydigantum Jagannatha Row v. Rama Doss Patnaik I.L.R. (1904) M. 197 that in the case of successive holders of a stanom, they claim from or through each other within the definition of a 'plaintiff' in the Limitation Act, and there are similar decisions about heads of mutts, and other persons in a similar position. We think that the same principle applies to the case. Here all these successive archakas had held office one after another, claiming under the same right, namely, appointment by the trustees of the temple. In the case of stanikas, it is the peculiar rule of succession that confers their appointment upon them. In this case, the rule of law is that a trustee of a temple can appoint archakas where the office is not hereditary. There is no substantial distinction, it seems to us, between the two cases. Here all the archakas who have been in possession of their office now for nearly 60 years, have held their office by virtue of their appointment by the temple trustees. We think that the word ' defendant' in the 3rd column of Article 124 includes the 5th defendant's predecessors, and therefore as more than 12 years have elapsed since the defendant took possession, the suit is barred. As was pointed out by Subramania Aiyar, J. in Pydigantam Jagannatha Bow v. Rama Doss Patnaik I.L.R. (1904) M. 197 any other ruling would go far to destroy the effect of the Limitation Act, because there would be no limit of time whatever unless the defendants were able to prove that some particular holder of the archaka office had been in possession for more than 12 years
3. The 5th defendant did not appeal from the decree passed against him by the District Munsiff. But the District Judge held that the plaintiffs' suit was barred, and appears to have dismissed the suit against him also. In this, we think, he was quite right. It was necessary to give effect to the rights of the parties as established by the decree that the suit against him also should be dismissed, and the plaintiffs prevented from interfering in the affairs of the temple.
4. In the result, the second appeal is dismissed with costs.