1. The plaintiffs sue the defendants for recovering1 possession of certain land, which, according to them, was granted by the Zemindar of Ramnad in 1869 to one Pachamuthu and subsequently passed to the plaintiffs by transfer. The land formed originally part of the bed of a tank, but as the zemindarthought it unnecessary to have so extensive a bed for the tank, he granted the land for cultivation. The defendants denied the grant of 1869 and the possession of the grantee and the subsequent transferees including the plaintiffs, and contended that the grant, even if true, was illegal and void and that the suit was barred by limitation. The Subordinate Judge decided all the questions in the plaintiffs' favour and gave them a decree for possession. Three points have been argued before us in appeal.
2. The first point is that the grant was a lease in writing, and being unregistered could not confer a valid title on the grantee. The only documents that have been filed to prove the original grants are Exhibits Q and Q1. Of these, Exhibit Q1, dated the 16th December 1868, is an order addressed by the zemindar'a sheristadar to the Tahsifdar directing him to report what land was available for being granted and what rate of rent should be charged. Exhibit Q, dated the 2nd March 1869, is an order by the Tahsildar to an Inspector ordering him to register the lands 'according to the list herein enclosed relating to the description of the land and to collect tirva according to the rate fixed.' It makes reference to previous orders including Exhibit Q1, according to which the lands were given on 'pathadappu' to the darkhastdar. The contention in the lower Court was that Exhibits Q and Q1 together constituted an instrument of lease and required to be registered. Before us Mr. Venkatachariar urged that these two documents together with the other documents referred to in Exhibit Q1 constituted the lease requiring to be registered under Section 17 of the Registration Act, the necessity for the change in the contention apparently being, that in neither Exhibit Q1 nor Exhibit Q is there language importing any leasing. The other orders referred to in Exhibit Q were not put in evidence, and it is impossible to say what their exact contents were. We are, however, of opinion that there is no foundation for the contention that if a person acquires the rights of a lessee under a number of instruments none of which would constitute a lease, all of them should be lumped together and the whole transaction rejected as invalid in law under Section 17 of the Registration Act. That section states what particular instruments are compulsorily registrable and affords no foundation for the argument that though none of a number of instruments require registration, there is some aggregate instrument arising out of them requiring registration. Three (? four) cases, Syed Sufdar Reza v. Amzad Ali 7 C. 703 : 10 C.L.R. 21; Maharaja Luchmissur Singh v. Musammat Dakho 7 C. 708 : 10 C.L.R. 127; Lall Jha v. Negroo 7 C. 717 and Rajah of Venkatagiri v. Narayana Reddi 17 M. 456 : 4 M.L.J. 198 were relied on in support of the contention, but none of them is of any help to the appellants. Briefly put, they hold that if a proposal and caceptance together constituting a lease are, contained in one single instrument, that instrument should be registered under Section 17. But they are also clear authority for the position that, if there is no one instrument which can be regarded as a lease, then Section 17 has no application. A passage from Woodfall's Landlord and. Tenant at page 103, 18th Edition, was also relied on. But it has no application to this case at all, as it merely lays down that a memorandum required by the Statute of Frauds for the validity of a transaction may be shown to be contained in more instruments than one taken together. This contention mast fail also.
3. The second point argued u that a grant m tank-bed land by a zemindar for cultivation is illegal. No authority is cited for this position. It is not contended that the ryots of the lands commanded by the tank have any ownership or interest in the bed of the tank, which would make a transfer by the zemindar invalid. They may be entitled to get a sufficient supply of water for the cultivation of their lands. How this right is to be enforced it is unnecessary to consider in this case. The Subordinate Judge has found that the grant was due to the fact that the area of the tank was too extensive for the lands that were cultivated under it and that a sufficient area was reserved at the time of the grant. No attempt has been made to show that this conclusion is not correct. The ryots made no complaint of insufficiency of water in the tank in consequence of the grant. There is no evidence of any custom prohibiting the transfer. The order of Mr. Lee Warner, while he was superintending the management of the estate, cannot affect the zemindar's legal power to make the transfer. This contention must also fail.
4. The lad point argued is that the grant is void for indefiniteness. This contention was not raised in the lower Court, and there is no substance in it. The grant was taken in the lower Court to have conferred on the transferee a perpetual right. There is no reason shown for holding this view to be erroneous, but we do not feel called upon to decide its exact character. We are of opinion that the plaintiffs' title to the land sued for has been established. The appeal must be dismissed with costs.