1. This is an appeal from the decision of the learned District Judge of Midnapur, dated the 26th December, 1914, affirming the decision of the Subordinate Judge of that place, dated the 9th July, 1918. The suit was brought by the plaintiff, the Midnapur Zamindary Company, Limited, to recover the arrears of rent due under a habuliyat. There are two classes of defendants in this case, the adult defendants and the infant defendants. The appeal in so far as the adult defendants are concerned is, it is conceded, barred by limitation and is accordingly dismissed. We shall now deal with the appeal of the infant defendants, namely, the defendants Nos. 4 to 8.
2. Two questions are raised in this appeal with reference to the infant defendants. First of all, it is urged that the defendant No. 3, who entered into this habuliyat on the 14th March, 1909, on behalf of himself and as guardian of the infant defendants, was himself a minor at that time. The learned Judge has found that he was of full age. If the case remained there, we should have to accept the finding of the learned Judge that the defendant No. 3, at the time he entered into the habuliyat on behalf of the defendants Nos. 4 to 8, was of full age, although there is a considerable body of documentary evidence which would suggest that the defendant No. 3 was not at that time of full age. The second question is, was the habuliyat properly entered into on behalf of and is binding on the infants? The learned Judge of the lower Appellate Court has made only one finding with reference to that, namely, that the habuliyat was entered into in order to avoid a litigation. Before the habuliyat was entered into, the defendants had a right of occupancy in the land; and it is obvious that the mere fact that the infants avoided litigation with the plaintiff Company was not sufficient by itself to entitle a guardian to enter into a fresh lease in which the rent was doubled. 'That seems to us quite clear. Moreover on the record? there appears evidence of former proceedings brought by the Midnapur Zemindary Company as plaintiff against the defendants. What exactly were the reasons that led to the conclusion of the Court in that case does not appear on the record. But what does appear is that the Court by its decree found that the Company was not entitled to increase the rent. That being the case, it is quite clear that we cannot accept the statement made by the learned Judge of the lower Appellate Court, that the habuliyat was entered into on behalf of the infant defendants by their guardian in order to avoid a litigation, as a sufficient fact on which we can hold that the infants are bound by the terms of the habuliyat. The matter does not seem to have been fully or satisfactorily determined by the learned Judge of the lower Appellate Court and we think that the appeal ought to go back to him in order that we may come to a proper finding as to whether or not the kabuliyat is binding on the infant defendants Nos. 4 to 8.
3. We understand that the decree in the former litigation states that the suit for enhancement is dismissed. Whether that is so or not, obviously the conclusion of the Court was, as the matter then stood, that the plaintiff was not entitled to the enhancement of rent as claimed.
4. The result, therefore, is that the appeal of the adult defendants is dismissed with costs, and, in so far as the infant defendants are concerned, the appeal is sent back to the lower Appellate Court to be dealt with as directed above. The costs as between these infant defendants and the respondents will abide the result.