1. The question is whether the plaintiff, landholder, is entitled to recover rent at wet rates from his tenant, the defendant, for land which the latter has been able to cultivate wet in consequence of improvements made at his own expense. The plaintiff claims that he is entitled to wet rates on the strength of a contract contained in Ex. D of the year 1885, before the Estates Land Act was passed. The improvements were made after it was passed. Krishnan, J. has held that, in these circumstances, the plaintiff is not entitled to rely on his contract with reference to Section 13(3) of the Estates Land Act.
2. It is no doubt true that, as the plaintiff contends, such a contract would have been enforceable under the previous law, Section 11 of Act VIII of 1865. The only authority relied on by the plaintiff is a dictum of Kumaraswami Sastri J. in Venkataperumal Rajah v. Ramudu 28 M.L.J. 81, a case in which both the contract and the improvements were made before the passing of the present Act. That dictum was, therefore, unnecessary for the learned Judge's decision. The considerations, which weigh with us are first that the wording of Section 13(3) exempts the ryot from liability to pay a higher rate of rent in consequence of improvements made at his sole expense, notwithstanding any usage or contract to the contrary; and that wording is absolutely general. Next, as Krishnan J. has observed, the connected reference to usage renders it unlikely in the extreme that the legislature intended to except contracts made before the Act but not enforceable before it from this provision. Thirdly, the ryot is referred to in Section 13(3) as becoming liable to pay a higher rate of rent inconsistently with the view that he had already become liable under a previous contract. Lastly, Section 187(1) must be read with Section 13 and in the former the reference is to contracts made 'before or after the passing of this Act.' This indicates clearly that the intention of the legislature was to refuse to contracts made before equally with contracts made after the passing of the Act, any effect on the relation between the ryot and the landholder. Taking this view, we dismiss the appeal with costs.