1. The land itself (not its assessment) was the inam of the office, set apart by Government as its emolument. For a long time prior to 1873 there were two nattamgars, belonging to different families those of the plaintiff and of the second defendant, respectively. Second defendant's brother was removed from the office in 1873. The plaintiff then discharged the whole duty of the office, being regarded as a mere temporary occupant in so far as concerned the duties and emoluments attaching to the second defendant's family. Subsequently the second defendant sued under Regulation 6 of 1831 and eventually established his right to the office vacant by his brother's removal and to its emoluments. In pursuance of this decision he was actually put in possession of the office and received a share of the emoluments. This was in the beginning of 1890. In the same year the Government resolved to enfranchise the lands attached to both the offices and to appoint a single person to do the duty of both offices and to pay him a money salary. Second defendant was at first selected for the office but eventually the plaintiff was appointed. Contemporaneously with these proceedings, steps were taken to carry out the enfranchisement, and the second defendant was informed in November 1890 that patta for half of the lands would be issued in his name and it was so issued in May 1891. The appointment of the plaintiff as sole office-holder was in April 1891. The plaintiff's contention is that, as he alone was in office when the patta was issued in May 1891, he alone was entitled to receive the patta for all the lands. This view was accepted by the Lower Appellate Court, but we are unable to support it. The exact day on which the resolution to enfranchise the land was come to does not appear, but it certainly was before the plaintiff was appointed sole nattamgar. It is also clear that the enfranchisement was made on the footing that each nattamgar was entitled to a moiety of the land. In the circumstances, this was the only reasonable and proper course for Government to adopt, and we are unable to see on what grounds the plaintiff can validly dispute it.
2. We think that the enfranchisement of half of the land in second defendant's name was in arcordanee with the principle accepted in the Pull Bench case Venkata v. Rama I.L.R. 8 Mad. 249 referred to by the District Judge, inasmuch as the right of the second defendant, established by the suit under Regulation 6 of 1831, was never subsequently set aside or even disowned by the revenue authorities. The appointment of the plaintiff as sole nattamgar in April 1891 was never intended to affect the right of the second defendant to the moiety of the lands. It was merely an act of policy on the part of the Government for the more convenient discharge of the duties of the office and could only affect the right of the second defendant from the date of such appointment. We do not think it would be reasonable, nor is there any authority for holding that the plaintiff's appointment in April 1891 should have effect retrospectively so as to divest the second defendant of the right which had vested in him by the prior order to enfranchise half the lands in his name. We must therefore reverse the decree of the District Judge and restore that of the District Munsif. First respondent must pay appellant's costs in this and in the Lower Appellate Court.