1. In our opinion, this appeal can be disposed of on a short ground. The defendant who is the appellant before us claims under a purchase in court auction in execution of a decree for arrears of rent obtained by the landholder. The defendant was an assignee of that decree. The plaintiff, on the other hand, claims under a purchase from the original pattadar. Though the defendant's purchase was long after the plaintiff's purchase, the contention on behalf of the appellant was that the rent being a first charge on the holding under the Estates Land Act, as his purchase was in execution of a rent decree in the Revenue Court, as purchaser therein, he was entitled to the property in preference to the plaintiff who was a purchaser from the pattadar.
The learned Judge, Panchapagesa Sastri J. refused to accept this contention. He held, following the decisions in -- 'Vyraperumal Mudaliar v. Alagappa Maniagarar', AIR 1932 Mad 189 (A), --'Venkatalakshmana Garu v. Nenda Seettayya', AIR 1920 Mad 183 (B) and -- 'Suryanarayana v. Eamchandrudu' : AIR1932Mad716 that the statutory charge was available only in so far as the relationship of landlord and teannt continued, and therefore, an ex-landholder or a bare assignee of a rent decree alone would not be entitled to the benefit of the statutory charge. More or less a similar view was taken by Fanchapakesa Aiyar J. in the -- 'Official Receiver, West Tanjore v. Sak-kurwar Bai Animal' : AIR1950Mad197 . The arned Judge also relied upon the decision in --'Krisnnan Atiyoti Kamavan v. Thayyullathil Moosa', AIR 1944 Mad 657 (E), Which no doubt dealt with a rent decree under the Malabar Tenancy Act, but which according to the learned Judge, was based on a principle which could be applied to cases arising under the Madras Estates Land Act as well. He, therefore, held that the plaintiff's purchase must prevail as against the purchase by the appellant, and dismissed the second appeal.
2. The charge for rent declared under Section 5, Madras Estates Land Act obviously enures only to the benefit of the landholder. The short question, therefore, is whether the defendant who obtained an assignment of the rent decree could be held to be a 'landholder' within the meaning of the defi-nition of that term in Section 3 (5) of the Act. The de-finition is in the following terms:
' 'Landholder' 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.'
It is clear to us that whatever may be said of other persons who are transferees of arrears of rent as such, a person in the position of the de-fendant who only obtained an assignment of a decree for rent, would not be a 'landholder' with-in the meaning of the definition. No authority was cited before us by learned counsel for the appellant for the contrary view. It follows that the defendant, when he was executing the decree assignment of which he had obtained, was doing so, not as a landholder within the meaning of the Act. He, therefore, could not have the benefit of the charge in Section 5 of the Act, which enures only to the landholder. We are not here concerned with the question whether a landholder would cease to have this charge if at the time of enforcing the right of sale he had ceased to be such by reason of a previous transfer. Strong reliance was placed by Mr. Vaidyanatha Aiyar on the observations of sadasiva Aiyar J. in tne Full Bench decision in -- 'Venkatalakshmamma Garu v. C. Acht Reddi', AIR 1921 Mad 152 (F). We may preface by saying that the decision of the Full Bench has itself nothing whatever to do with the question which falls for decision in the present case, Sadar siva Aiyar J. observed:
'The definition of a landholder makes even a bare assignee of an arrear of rent from the owner of the estate, or even a part thereof, a landholder for the purpose of enabling him to pursue his remedies under the Act as a 'landholder.''
He referred to an earlier 'obiter dictum' of his in 'AIR 1920 Mad 183 (B)', that a person who does not hold the present position of a landholder is not entitled to pursue the summary remedy under the Act for recovery of rent due to him, and said that he considered that opinion was unsound. All this has nothing to do with the present case which concerns an assignee of a bare decree for the recovery of arrears of rent. We fail to see how such a person can claim the benefit of the charge under Section 5, Madras Estates Land Act.
3. We agree with the learned Judge that the plaintiff's title would prevail. The betters Patent appeal is, therefore, dismissed with costs.