1. This is an application by the appellant to excuse the delay of 182 days in presenting S.R. No. 1604 of 1924 (Civil Miscellaneous Appeal,) against the order of the Inspecting Officer of the Laccadives in Case No. 6 of 1923 of Agathi Island.
2. Mr. Padmanabha Pillai for the appellant contends that Section 5 of the Limitation Act applies to the case and the Court is entitled to consider the application on the merits Mr. Pocker for the respondents contends that the Limitation Act has not been extended to the Laccadive Islands.
3. The history of the Laccadive Islands is an interesting one. We are at present concerned with the four islands which are known as the southern group of islands and the Island of Minicoy which, are administered by the Collector of Malabar. It is-unnecessary to consider the history previous to the year 1792. A few passages from ' A Short Account of the Laccadive Islands and Minicoy' by R.H. Hills, I.C.S. would be quite sufficient for the pupose of this case.
In 1791 the Southern Islands passed, by the conquest of Cannanore, to the East India Co, along with other possessions of the Bibi ; and were further ceded with Tippu's entire possession in Malabar by the peace of Seringapatam, in 1792.' It was determined, however, 'as a matter of policy and conciliatory of Mappilas in general' to permit her to retain her possessions, provided she paid a tribute to the Honourable Company.
4. The East India Company was in possession of the islands from 1792. Owing to the non-payment of the tribute payable by the Bibi, the islands were attached in 1875. This attachment remained in force until 1908. In 1909 the Bibi ceded the islands to the British and she was given a pension. By the cession of the islands to the British Government in 1909 the islands became British possessions and part of India. The following proclamation was issued in 1912.
In exercise of the power conferred by the Indian Councils Act 1861, (24 and 25 Vict. c. 67), Section 47 the Governor-General in Council is pleased to declare that, for the purposes of the said Act, the Laccadive Islands and Minicoy, which by the Proclamation No. 292 I.A., dated the 5th February 1909 have been declared to be subject to the Government of Madras, shall be included within the limits of the Madras Presidency.
5. By virtue of this proclamation, the southern group of the Laecadive Islands and Minicoy became parts of the Madras Presidency, and the High Court of Madras-was invested with jurisdiction over the southern group by a Notification dated the 1st February 1912.
In exercise of the power conferred by the Indian High Courts Acts, 1865, (28 and 29 Vict, c. 15), Section 3 the Governor-General in Council is pleased to authorize and empower the High Court of Judicature at Madras to exercise within the Laecadive Islands and Minicoy, which are not included within the limits of the places for which the said High Court was established, all such jurisdiction and powers as the High Court may, from time to time, exercise in the Scheduled Districts of the Presidency of Madras.
6. Though the southern group of the Laccadive Islands and Minicoy have become parts of the Madras Presidency and though the High Court has jurisdiction over them, yet all the Acts of the Governor-General of India have not been extended to them. Regulation I of 1912, Section 3, makes the Madras State Prisoners Regulation of 1819, the State Prisoners Act of 1858 and the Scheduled Districts Act of 1874 the only enactments in force in the Islands. Section 21 is as follows:
All questions relating to any rights claimed or set up in the civil Courts of the Islands shall be determined in accordance with any custom not manifestly unjust or immoral governing the parties or property concerned, and in the absence of any such custom, according to justice, equity and good conscience.
7. Under Section 26 an appeal lies to the High Court from any decision of the Collector in the exercise of his original jurisdiction. Under Section 17 the time for appeal is six months from the date of the judgment or order appealed against provided that the months of June, July August and September shall be excluded in reckoning such period. It is clear from the Regulation that the ordinary law of British India is not-applicable to the Islands, but only such enactments or such portions of such enactments as are specifically mentioned in the Regulation and the Scheduled Districts Act of 1874 are applicable to the islands. Under Section 3 of the Scheduled Districts Act of 1874
The Local Government may with the previous sanction of the Governor General in Council from time to time, by notification in the Gazette of India, and also in the Local Gazette (a) declare what enactments are actually in force in any of the Scheduled Districts or in any part of any such Districts'; and (b) 'declare of any enactment that it is not actually in force in any of the said Districts or in any part of any such District.
8. Under the notification issued by the Government, the Limitation Act has not been extended to the Islands.
9. Mr. Padmanabha Pillai relies upon the decision in Queen-Empress v. Cheria Koya  13 Mad. 353. as supporting his contention. In that case it was held that the Criminal P.O. was applicable to the southern group of the Laccadive islands. The learned Judges were of opinion that inasmuch as the Scheduled Districts Act did not expressly exclude the operation of the Criminal P.C., and as the Laws Local Extent Act makes all the enactments of the Indian Legislature applicable throughout British India, it should be taken that the Criminal P.C. was in force in the Islands. It was not brought to the notice of the learned Judges that the Laccadive Islands were not part of British India. The sovereignty of the islands before 1909 was vested in the Bibi of Cannanore. Though the islands were in the possession of the British Government, they did not become part of British India for they were taken possession of for arrears of tribute according to the agreement between Government and the Bibi. In the light of the facts placed before the learned Judges they held that the Criminal. P.C. was in force in these islands. The matter has now been placed beyond doubt by the cession of the Islands to the British Government in 1909 and by the proclametion of the Secretary of State above referred to.
10. It is urged that if the Law of Limitation is not extended to the Laccadive Islands, there will be no limitation for suits and there will be no security of title and no title can be created by prescription and a suit may be brought any time against any person. We are not concerned with the policy of the Government with regard to the administration of these Islands. It may be that practical difficulties will arise in deciding questions of title and claims for money. We are only concerned in this petition to see whether the petitioner can claim the benefit of Section 5 of the Limitation Act. As the Limitation Act has not been extended to the Laccadive Islands, we have no power to consider the application on the merits. We, therefore, dismiss the civil miscellaneous petition with costs.
11. As the matter is of importance we gave notice to the Government Pleader to help us in deciding this question. We are very much indebted to him for the able way in which he summarized the history of the Islands and brought to our notice the various proclamations and Regulations with reference to the islands.
12. (His Lordship stated facts & narrated the history of the Islands asstated by Devadoss, J., and continued.) The Law applicable to the islands is to be found in Regulation I of 1912. The Laccadive Islands and the Minicoy Regulation). Section 3 provides that
This Regulation, the Madras State Prisoner's Regulation, 1819, the State Prisoner's Act, 1858 and the Scheduled District Act. 1874 shall be the only enactments in force in the Islands.
13. The Laws of Local Extent Act (XV of 1874) is not referred to and, therefore, is not in force. Nor has any notification been issued under Act XIV of 1874 applying the Limitation Act to the islands. This being so, the whole basis of Mr. Padmanabha Pillai's argument disappears. It follows that the Limitation Act does not apply to the Laccadive Islands and that the Law of Limitation applicable to them must be looked for in Regulation I of 1912. Section 17 read with Section 27 provides that appeals shall ordinarily be filed' within six months, from which the period of the South-west Monsoon (June to September inclusive) is to be excluded. That period we have no power to extend. The application fails and is dismissed with costs.