Murray Coutts Trotter, Kt., C.J.
1. This appeal must be dismissed with costs. The contention put forward is that this piece of property to which the plaintiff apparently cannot prove his paper title may be deemed to be a road by reason of the definition of ' road ' in the Madras Local Boards Act, Section 3(23)(a) which runs thus:
'Road' includes; any road, street, square, couirt, alley or passage, whether a thoroughfare or not, over which the public has a right of way, together with the drains on either side and with the land, whether covered or not by any pavement, verandah or other erection, which lies on either side of the roadway up to the boundaries of the adjacent property, whether that property be private property or property reserved by Government for other purposes; and also includes the roadway over any public bridge or causeway.
2. It is no doubt possible to argue that that means that, if a Local Board can find a paddy field running along the side of the road to which nobody is able to make out a good title, that paddy field at once becomes part of the road. That construction is so repugnant to commonsense that I decline to adopt it; and wretchedly drafted as this section is, I can hardly put that absurdity on the unknown draftsman. The only way to make sense out of it is to hold that the words ' over which the public have a right of way ' qualify the whole section. No doubt there would be no great inconvenience because the public have rights of way over many things which are not roads; but the probability is that the very inconvenience of that construction would be obviated by this, that any strip of land over which the public have a right of way lying on the side of the roadway would almost certainly follow the line alongside the roadway so that really no practical inconvenience would result. 1 think it is very foolish of the Local Boards to bring up points of this kind at the ratepayers' expense to the High Court and I think the practice should be discouraged as much as possible especially when I mention that the value of this land is said to be Rs. 15 and, I suppose, twenty times that sum has already been expended in costs. If I were an auditor I should surcharge the Board with the costs and disallow them against the ratepayers.