1. The suit in this case was instituted to set aside the sale of the village of Gopalapuram in the Karvetnagar zemindari for arrears of Government Revenue for faslis 1309 to 1311, and for a portion of the revenue due for fasli 1312. The village was sold in Court auction in execution of a decree against the Karvetnagur zemindar in 1886, and was purchased by one Ramasami Chetty who transferred it to the plaintiff on the 26th May 1890. The village was separately registered in the plaintiff's name by the Collector of the District on the 5th August 1901 till which date the Registry had remained in the name of the zemindar. The arrears for faslis 1309 and 1310, accrued due before while the zemindar was the registered proprietor. The sale was held for the realisation of a sum of Rs. 1,344-3-6 out of which more than Rs. 1,000 was due for faslis 1309 and 1310. The sale was impeached as illegal and irregular on various grounds and the plaintiff alleged that, in consequence of the irregularities complained of, the village which he says is worth Rs. 20,000 was sold for the very inadequate price of Rs. 6,260. The lower Court found that there was no illegality in the sale, that there was one bad mistake in the sale proclamation in that the assessment imposed on the village was stated to be Rs. 1,902-0-10 while it was really only: Rs. 322 8-0 but that no loss resulted from the mistake as the price fetched at the sale was fair, and that bidders who attended the sale were informed of the mistake in the proclamation and of the correct amount of the assessment imposed on the village.
2. At the hearing of the appeal three points were argued by Mr. Ramachandra Aiyar who appeared for the appellant:
(1) That there was no arrears of revenue due on the village, (2) that in consequence of the gross mis-statement regarding the assessment the village was sold for a low price, its real value being much more than Rs. 6,260. The first contention we think the appellant has entirely failed to establish. Exhibits F, F1, L, and M, which were relied on for the purpose, do not support the contention at all. The substance of the appellant's complaint appears to be that in previous years when the registry had not been separated the owner of Gopalapuram had paid a larger amount than was properly leviable on the village and that, therefore, there was money to his credit in the hands of the Collector, which should have been appropriated for the revenue of subsequent years. But no separate credit could be claimed for a single village of the zemindari before the change of registry. Moreover, no attempt is made to show what amount had been previously paid in excess of what was due. The second contention also, in our opinion, has not been properly substantiated. The plaintiff is admittedly in possession of account showing the actual income of the village for 10 years. He has withheld them from the Court and no good reason has been assigned for their non-production. His fourth witness his own agent, is not able to state the beriz with any definiteness. His 3rd witness a manager who says he attended the sale and intended to bid at the auction on behalf of one Kandappa Mudali took only Rs. 1,000 with him to be used if necessary as a deposit which at 15 per cent, would not enable him to offer appreciably more than Rs. 6, 260. We agree with the lower Court in the reasons given for not accepting the evidence of the second witness. The village was sold at Court auction in 1896 for Rs. 6,205 and we are not satisfied that the lower Court was mistaken in saying that the plaintiff admitted in his deposition that there was nothing payable then on account of a mortgage on this and some other villages. The sale might have been made subject to a mortgage but that cannot be assumed to mean that any money was then actually due on it. In this view we do not think it necessary to consider whether any one was or could have been misled by Exhibit I to suppose that the assessment fixed on the village was Rs. 1,902-0 10.
3. It remains for us to deal with the third and most important contention urged by the learned Pleader for the appellant, namely, that the Collector had no power at all to sell on the 25th September 1903 the village of Gopalapuram of which the plaintiff was then the registered proprietor for arrears due for faslis 1309 and 1310 as he was not a defaulter with respect to those arrears. He relies on Section 26, which provides that the Collector shall proceed to recover the arrears by the attachment and sale of the defaulter's land, i.e., according to the argument, land of which the defaulter is the registered proprietor at the time when the Collector takes steps to bring it to sale. Our attention is also drawn to Section 5, which enacts that arrears of revenue are to be recovered 'by the sale of the defaulter's moveable and immoveable property.' Careful consideration of Sections 3 to 5 has led us to the conclusion that the contention that the plaintiff was not a defaulter with respect to the arrears of faslis 1309 and 1310 is not sound. It is now well-established that the word 'defaulter' for the purpose of Act H of 1864 means the registered owner of the property with respect to which arrears of revenue are due. See Boja Sellappa Reddi v. Vridhachella Reddi 30 MK. 35 : 16 M.L.J. 569 : 1 M.L.T. 323 and Subramania Chetty v. Mahalinga-sami-swan 33 MP. 41 : 19 M.L.J. 627 : 3 Ind. Cas. 624 and the still more recent case of Zamindar of Urkad v. Sahasraanama Iyer and The Secretary of State for India 9 Ind. Cas. 643 in which the previous cases are cited.
4. It is unnecessary to refer to earlier cases in support of this position and the appellant does not contest it. According to Section 2 of the Act, every landholder is bound to pay the revenue due upon by his land on or before the day on which it falls due. According to Section 4 'when the whole or a portion of a kist shall not be so paid the amount of the kist or of its unpaid portion shall be deemed to be an arrear of revenue. It need hardly be pointed out that an arrear of revenue remains an arrear until it is paid and the landholder or registered proprietor is liable to pay it. When plaintiff became the registered proprietor, there were arrears of revenue due on the village and he as the landholder became liable to pay it to the Collector and on failure to pay it he became, in our opinion, a defaulter. We may refer to Section 2 of Act I of 1890 (Government of India Act) which defines a 'defaulter' as a person from whom an arrear of land revenue is due.
5. We are of opinion that a landholder purchaser is bound to pay not only the revenue falling due on the land after he has become the holder but all revenue due on the land including arrears, that accrued due before he became the purchaser and that on failing to do so he, becomes a defaulter with regard to the arrears due before the purchase. Section 2 fixes the time at which each kist of the revenue is payable but cannot reasonably be taken to mean that the landholder is not bound to pay it afterwards. Such a contention cannot be urged if the holder at the time when a kist falls due continues to be the landholder after it has become an arrear. The Act, in our opinion, lays the obligation to pay the revenue including all arrears, on every landholder irrespective of the time, when he becomes the holder and if he does not do so he becomes a defaulter. According to Section 5 when revenue is in arrear the Collector has power to recover the arrears by the sale of the defaulter's moveable and immoveable property. Our construction of Sections 3 to 5 is in accordance with the interpretation placed on them by the Board of Revenue. Standing Order No. 28, Clause (2), lays down that when the transfer of any land is registered the transferee takes the land subject to payment of any arrears of assessment or other legal charges On it, and to the same obligations and conditions, special or general as the transferor held it on.' Our attention is not drawn to any authority against the construction we put on these sections. Ordinarily, no doubt, a transferee of property is not personally liable to perform the obligations incurred by his transferor before the date of the transfer; but we do not see any hardship in the enactment in a Statute intended to provide a summary process for collecting the public revenue of a provision that every transferee choosing to get himself registered as the owner should be liable to all the obligations of his transferor in the same manner as if he were the registered owner when the arrears accrued due. The consequences of putting a different construction on the sections would lead to much inconvenience. We hold that the plaintiff was defaulter with respect to the arrears of faslis 1309 and 1310 as well as with respect to the faslis 1311 and 1312. Notice of demand of the arrears was sent to the plaintiff Exhibit II as well as the attachment and sale notices (Exhibits G and H). We do not think that he has any real ground for complaint.
6. The appeal fails and must be dismissed with costs.