Alfred Henry Lionel Leach, C.J.
1. This is an appeal from a decree passed by the Subordinate Judge of Madura in a suit filed by the respondent under the provisions of Section 44(B) of the Madras Religious Endowments Act, 1926, for a declaration that two parcels of land situate in the Villages of Anuppanadi and Ponmeni were granted in respect of the Sikaram kaval service at the Sri Minakshi Sundareswaral temple, Madura, and that the lands were liable to resumption as the result of the failure of the grantees to perform the service, The appellants bought one of the parcels of land and the appeal is confined to the area which they purchased. It measures 5.9 acres.
2. Sub-S. (1) of Section 44 (B) provides that a sale of the whole or a portion of an inam granted for the performance of a charity or service connected with a math or temple and made, confirmed or recognized by the British Government, shall be null and void. Sub-S. (2), states that the Collector may resume the whole or any part of an inam of this nature if it has been sold, or the holder has failed to perform the services, or the math or temple has ceased to exist, or the charity or service in question has become impossible of performance. Any party, aggrieved by an order of the Collector may appeal to the District Collector and if the District Collector's decision is against him he may file a suit in a Civil Court for determining whether the inam comprises both the melvaram and the kudivaram or only the melvaram.
3. In this case it is common ground that the inam was granted in the time of the Karnatic Rajas and the service to be performed was the guarding of the Sikaram of this temple. The inamdars were required to provide four men as watchers throughout the day and night. The grant has not been produced and the evidence with regard to it consists of the statement made on behalf of the inamdars at the time the Inam Commission was sitting, the inam register and certain deeds of mortgage.
4. In 1936 the Deputy Collector, at the instance of the Devasthanam, inquired into the question whether there had been a failure on the part of the inamdars to perform the service required of them and in the course of the inquiry he went into the question whether the inamdars were entitled to both the melvaram and the kudivaram. His conclusion was that the inam did not confer upon the grantees both the varams, but only the melvaram. On this basis he passed an order resuming the melvaram and re-granted it to the Devasthanam. The trustee of the Devasthanam appealed to the Collector, who confirmed the Deputy Collector's order. The result was the institution of the present suit. The Subordinate Judge held that the inam comprised both the varams. Consequently he granted a declaration that the lands themselves constituted the inam attached to the Sikaram kaval service at this temple. The appellants say that the Collector came to the correct conclusion and as the purchasers of the land they are entitled to the kudivaram.
5. The statement presented to the Inam Commission contains in column 4 this entry:
This land was given to our ancestors by the Rajas of Karnatic for watching the tower of the aforesaid temple and they were watching the tower of the said Meenakshi Amman's temple and enjoying the said man-yam land and now we are watching the tower of the said Meenakshi Amman temple and enjoying the inam land.
The land apparently was not then assessed, but if it had been it would have been assessed at the figure Rs. 43-2-9. On the basis of this statement, which has been marked as Ex. B, the Deputy Collector recommended that there should be a jodi of Rs. 8-10-2 per annum and this recommendation was accepted by the Inam Commission. In holding that the inam included both the varams the Subordinate Judge relied on the entry in column 4 of the Ex. B. There is there the plain statement that the land was 'given' to ancestors of the inamdars by the Rajas of the Karnatic for watching the tower. The words used imply a gift of the soil to the inamdars, and consequently the Subordinate Judge was right in holding that they became entitled to both the melvaram and the kudivaram.
6. It has been suggested by the learned advocate for the appellants that the judgment of Venkatasubba Rao, J., in Chidambara Gurukkal v. Sundaram pillai : (1924)47MLJ598 reads the word 'land' in an inam grant in a different sense. It is clear from the judgment in that case that the learned Judge was merely interpreting the word in the light of the context. The grant in that case has nothing in common with the statement in Ex. B.
7. For the appellants it is said that the statement made in Ex. B should be rejected because in a mortgage deed executed in 1899 and in subsequent deeds of a similar nature the mortgagors stated that the land mortgaged was their ancestral property in which four-fifths of the kist had been remitted in their favour as remuneration for the performance of the Sikaram kaval service at the temple. We do not attach the same importance to these recitals as to the statement in Ex. B. There would naturally be difficulty in mortgaging the lands if it was confessed that both the varams belonged to the mortgagors on terms of service. The Subordinate Judge has described the recitals in the mortgage deeds as ' self-serving' and in view of the statement in Ex. B this may very well be the case.
8. There is another factor which supports the conclusion of the Subordinate Judge and that is that the total income from the lands granted was small. At the time of the inam settlement the total income of both the parcels of land amounted to no more than Rs. 136 per annum. Assuming the melvaram to be a half of the total income this meant Rs. 68 for the services of four men continuously on duty night and day for three hundred and sixty five days in the year. It works out at less than Rs. 1-8-0 per man per month. It is true that the temple authorities have provided the watchers with their meals, but even taking this into consideration the remuneration would be very small indeed. We consider that they must have got more than the melvaram for the services agreed upon.
9. The Subordinate Judge has carefully considered all the factors in the case and we can see no reason to disturb his decision. Consequently the appeal will be dismissed with costs.