Alfred Henry Lionel Leach, C.J.
1. The appellant is a ryot cultivating a holding in the Karvetnagar Trust Estate in Tiruttani. Originally the land was suitable only for the raising of dry crops. The appellant is the tenant of an adjoining holding, which is in another Estate. Some ten years ago, he dug two wells on the adjoining holding and with water obtained therefrom, he grew wet crops on his holding in the Karvetnagar Trust Estate. It is common ground that it is customary for tenants of lands in that Estate to pay rent according to the nature of the crop raised. When a dry crop is raised the rent is lower than when a wet crop is grown. In faslis 1349, 1350, and 1351 the appellant grew paddy and the executive officer of the Estate sought to charge him with the customary rent on such a crop. The appellant objected, but in a suit filed by the executive officer in the Revenue Court, a decree for the higher rent was passed. The appellant appealed to the District Judge of Chittoor, who held that as the construction of the two wells on the adjoining holding meant an improvement of the other holding, the landlord was not entitled to charge a higher rent, the case falling within Section 13(3) of the Madras Estates Land Act. The executive officer had suggested that the crop was raised from water supplied from a well belonging to the Estate, but this plea was not accepted by the District Judge. Consequently, the District Judge reduced the decretal amount in accordance with the rate charged for a superior dry crop. The Estate appealed to this Court. The appeal was heard by Byers, J., who allowed it on a point which had never been raised in the Courts below but was taken by him suo motu. The learned Judge considered that as the water came from the wells dug by the tenant on the adjoining holding it did not constitute an improvement within the meaning of Section 13(3).
2. We consider that the learned Judge was not justified in deciding the second appeal on a question which had not been raised at any stage by the parties. We go further and say that the learned Judge erred in holding that Section 13(3) did not apply. The section says:
(3) Notwithstanding any usage or contract to the contrary, the ryot shall not, by reason of his making an improvement at his expense, become liable to pay a higher rate of rent on account of any increase of production or of any change in the nature of the crop raised, as a consequence of such improvement.
Section 3(4) gives the definition of the word 'improvement.' It means with reference to a ryot's holding any work which materially adds to the value of the holding, which is suitable to the holding and consistent with its character, and which, if not executed on the holding, is either executed directly for its benefit or after execution is made directly beneficial to it.
3. The evidence given by the appellant in the Revenue Court was that he had dug these two wells for the purpose of irrigating his holding in the Karvetnagar Trust Estate and it is manifest that he had utilised the water from these wells for this purpose. Therefore the wells constitute an improvement within the meaning of Section 13(3).
4. On behalf of the respondent it is said that the appellant can at any time, if he wishes, discontinue this supply. This may be so although it is not likely as the wells were dug for the purposes of this particular holding. To be an improvement within the meaning of the Act, does not mean something which must be of a permanent nature. Any work which improves the value of the land for the time being is an improvement and the digging of these two wells has improved the value. The decree of the District Judge should not have been disturbed. It is restored with costs here and before Byers, J.