1. The suit is to set aside an order passed by the Revenue Divisional Officer, Melur Division (Ex. D), dated 18th June 1924. This order was made on an application by the Manager of defendant 1 Devasthanam under Section 3(5), 'Madras Estates Land Act, praying that he may be declared a landlord for the purposes of the Act in respect of the two villages Yeppaduppu and Islani -which were granted as inams to the miras holders of certain services in the Devasthanam. The conclusion of the Revebue Divisional Officer was that
as the two villages have been in the possession Of the Devasthanam by virtue of usufructuary mortgage and otherwise I declare the Manager o the Tiruvarur Devasthanam as land holder for purposes of Section 3(5), Madras Estates Land Act.
2. The mortgage deed under which the Devasthanam took possession of the suit Villages is Ex. 1 dated 5th May 1885. The service holders litigated with regard to this mortgage and the matter finally went up to the High Court which by its decision, dated 7th September 1892 (Ex. 2-b) dismissed the suit, holding that the Devasthanam had a right to be in possession until they had repaid themselves out of the income of the mortgaged property, the principal and interest. Then there was a 2nd usufructuary mortgage (Ex. C) of 17 th January 1896 fixing a term of 50 years. Although a very large number of questions appear to have been raised in the suit and a very lengthy judgment has been written, the point at issue was very simple and it was whether the Devasthanam was in Such possession of the property as would justify the Revenue Divisional Officer in registering its Manager as a landholder under Section 3, Clause (5). That section runs as follows:
Landholdor means a person owning an estate or part thereof and includes every person entitled to collect the rents of the whole or any portion of the estate by virtue of any transfer from the owner or his predecessor in title or of any order of a competent Court or of any provision of law,
and Clause 5(b) says that
when there is a dispute between two or more persons as to which of them is the landholder for all or any of the purposes of this Act or between two or more joint landholders as to which of them is entitled to proceed and be dealt with as such landholders, the person who shall be deemed to be the landholder for such purposes shall be the person whom the Collector subject to any decree or order of a competent Civil Court may recognize or nominate as such landholder in accordance with rules to be framed by the Local Government in this behalf.
3. If the mortgages of 1896 and 1685 are valid then there is no question that the Devaathanam is entitled to collect the rents as transferee and to be recognized as landlords. If on the other hand it is, not valid, it has been in adverse possession under them for over 12 years and until that possession is terminated by proper proceedings in a Court of law, it is entitled to collect the rents and to be treated as landlords. In this view it is unnecessary to express any opinion on the other questions which have been raised and which have to be determined if at all by separate proceedings and we express no opinion on the various issues other than that of the question of possession and even that only so far as such possession is sufficient to justify the Divisional Officer's order. We give no findings on matters which were proper to the suit and on which findings by the lower Court were not necessary for its disposal. The appeal is dismissed with costs of respondent 1.