P.V. Rajamannar, C.J.
1. Plaintiffs are the appellants. The first defendant's husband was their undivided brother who died leaving him surviving the first defendant his widow. The suit relates to certain lands, which according to the learned Subordinate Judge's finding which has not been challenged, have been and are being used as salt pans for producing salt under licences granted by the Government. The licences in respect of the suit lands were issued in the name of the plaintiffs. and the first defendant's husband; but on his death the licences were renewed in the name of the plaintiffs and the first defendant. The suit is for a declaration that the order of the Central Excise Collector dated 18th October, 1944, including the first defendant as joint owner of the suit property is illegal.
2. The case of the plaintiffs rests entirely on the ground that the suit lands are agricultural lands in which the first defendant would not be entitled to any right under Act XVIII of 1937 because as held by the Federal Court that Act is ultra vires so far as it affected devolution of agricultural lands. The learned Judge has held that both by use and character of the lands, the suit property is non-agricultural land to which the first defendant will have a title under Act XVIII of 1937. According to the evidence and the admission of the plaintiffs, for the past seventy years these lands have been' used only for manufacturing salt. This fact alone would in our opinion be sufficient to describe the lands as non-agricultural. It has not been contended before us, nor can it be contended in view of the ruling in Commissioner of Income-tax, Madras v. Linga Reddi : AIR1927Mad848 that the manufacture of salt is an agricultural operation. In coming to the conclusion whether a land is agricultural or not, we consider that a commonsense test must be applied according to which the general character of the land may be determined. Such a test should not be based upon hypothetical possibilities or potentialities which are merely notional and not practicable. This text would to a large extent consist in the user of the land for such a long course of time that it may be taken to indicate its general character. Applying this test this case does not present any difficulty because so far as anything is known about the land, it has always been used for the purpose of manufacture of salt. Certain observations of a learned Judge of the Calcutta High Court in Nil Govinda Misra v. Rukmini Deby : AIR1944Cal421 were referred to us but they are of very little assistance to us in the decision of this case, because they do not indicate how to determine the general nature and character of any particular land.
3. We are in agreement with the view taken by the learned Subordinate Judge as to the nature of the land. The appeal therefore fails and is dismissed with costs of the first respondent.