1. The judgment under appeal is one dismissing the plaintiffs' suit for possession of land, which was, before enfranchisement, a Naidu's Inam. The facts are that the 1st defendant obtained the office of Naidu during the minority of the plaintiffs' father, and enjoyed the land now in suit as its emoluments. Twenty-two years later there was a Regulation suit by the plaintiffs' father for the office and land, which ended in 1889 in Exhibit B. The Collector's appellate judgment, Exhibit B, decided, in accordance with the Standing Order barring suits against those who have held office for three years, that the first defendant could not be ousted from the office or emoluments, but that a member of the plaintiffs' family would be entitled to the office at the next vacancy. A cross suit by the first defendant against the plaintiffs' father and other members of his family for other lands, which also formed part of the emoluments and had been in their possession throughout, was also dealt with in the judgment, a decree being given for payment of the landlord's share to the first defendant. Afterwards, in 1906, the inam was enfranchised and title deed, Exhibit I, was given in the name of the first defendant, who still held office. In 1909, at a revision of establishment : he was superseded by the second plaintiff. In these circumstances the plaintiffs rely on the original right of their family to the land and the recognition of it in Exhibit B, denying that the first defendant's enjoyment or recognition in his favour originated in other than temporary and special circumstances or that the latter could confer a title. The defendants contend that the grant of the title deed involved the grant of an absolute estate. The case has been argued with reference only to this grant and Exhibit B.
2. It has been pointed out that Exhibit B did not deal directly with the suit land. It was unnecessary for it to do so, because the plaintiffs' father's suit brought, as Exhibit A the Principal Assistant Collector's judgment shows, for the office and emoluments in the first defendant's possession, failed. But there is no reason for doubting that it did so indirectly, that the Collector dealt with the office and land together, and though he referred explicitly only to the former, he was declaring reversionary right of the plaintiffs' family to both. This and the conclusive character of Exhibit B have not been disputed. The facts to which the law must be applied are, therefore, that the family held the office and land up to 1865, that their right fell into abeyance owing to the special circumstances of the first defendant's appointment and that it was recognised in Exhibit B as entitled to prevail at a vacancy.
3. The statute law applicable, Madras Act VIII of 1869, is not referred to in the judgment under appeal, nor the authorities earlier than Pingala Lakshmipathi v. Bommireddipalli Chalamayya 30 M.P 434 : 17 M.L.J. 101 : 2 M.L.T. 101 . Under it nothing contained in any inam title deed shall be deemed to affect the interest of any person other than the inam holder named in it and though this is applicable in terms only to deeds issued before the Act, the same principle must, as observed in the case cited, be also applied to deeds after it, such as Exhibit I. And accordingly the statute law fully justifies the plaintiffs' contention that their right, which existed before and was declared in Exhibit B, was not affected by the subsequent issue of Exhibit I in the first defendant's name. Exhibit I, at most, imposes on plaintiffs the burden of proving their title against him and they have discharged it.
4. The course of the more recent decisions is fully consistent with this. In the majority, no doubt, that are already referred to [Gunnaiyan v. Kamakchi Ayyar 26 M.P 339., Vangala Diskshatulu v. Vangala Gavaramma 28 M.L 13. and Subbaroya Chetty v. Aiyaswami Aiyar 32 M.L 86 : 5 M.L.T. 80. the dispute, as the lower Court observed, was not, as it is here, between two families, or two branches of one family, but was regarding the nature of the estate after the enfranchisement, whether the property was partible or impartible or held with full or limited powers of alienation. This, however, involves no distinction relevant to the present argument, since the ground of decision was throughout what the plaintiffs here require, that there was no new grant and creation of a fresh title but only the confirmation of the existing one, freed from the obligation of service. No reasoning is available to the defendants in the present case other than that rejected in those enumerated : and the result must be the same.
5. The defendants contend that actual possession of the office, or, at least, of the inam, at the date of the enfrachisement, is the important fact and that such a mere declaration of the 'right of the plaintiffs' family as Exhibit B contains is useless since it did not necessarily entail that any member of that family would obtain the appointment and, therefore, become entitled to the land at any future date. But it is unnecessary to decide whether this and the assumption involved in it, that the land and the office are inseparable, are sound, because in this case the second plaintiff has established his right to the latter. One case relied on, Devaguptapu Peda Satyanarayana v. Gogulapati Narasamma 31 M.K 526 : 4 M.L.T. 282, can be distinguished on this ground. For there the plaintiff was still a minor and had in his favour only registration of his heirship under Section 13 of the Madras Act II of 1894. This decision, moreover, contains no reference to Madras Act VIII of 1869 or the earlier cases cited above and is based only on Venkata v. Rama 8 M.P 249. the authority of which, as embodying any general principle, is questioned in them. In Venkata v. Rama 8 M.L 249. the facts differed materially from those in the present case. For, there, proof that the land belonged to the plaintiffs' ancestors was wanting, the possession of some of it by the plaintiffs alleged predecessors being unexplained (vide judgment of Turner, C.J.), and there was no such adjudication in favour of his right to the office or land as Exhibit B to be considered, and those considerations, not any creation of any new title by enfranchisement, are the basis of the majority of the judgments, even that of Brandt, J., though it contains some expressions consistent with the present defendants' case, being founded on the inability of Civil Courts to adjudicate impliedly on the right to the office and on the absence of any revenue adjudication such as is available here in Exhibit B. This case in no way impairs the force of the plaintiffs' contention based on statue and clearer authority. We allow the appeal. The decree of the lower Appellate Court must be reversed and that of the Court of first instance restored with costs throughout.