1. In this case we feel constrained, though reluctantly, to hold that the lower Courts were wrong in deciding that there has been service of notice of enhancement upon the defendant No. 1.
2. The tenants are four in number, one being a Hindu and the other three Santhals. The Courts found that the notice of enhancement had been personally served upon the three Santhals. There was no personal service upon the Hindu tenant, but it was found that his son, who is an adult, had received the notice. The Courts below have held that this was sufficient service within the meaning of the law.
3. Section 14 of the Rent Law provides that the notice shall, if practicable, be served personally upon the ryot. If for any reason the notice cannot be served personally, it shall be affixed at his usual place of residence. The law does not provide that service on any member of his family or any other person shall suffice.
4. Our attention has been called by the respondents' pleader to the case of Nobodeep Chunder Shaha v. Sonaram Dass L.R. 4 Cal. 592 in which it was held that where the tenure was owned by a joint Hindu family, it is sufficient service of notice of enhancement under Section 14 of the Rent Act, if any one of the co-sharers is served with the notice. That case does not apply to the present one, for the tenants are not members of a joint Hindu family. If they were, the service on defendants 2, 3 and 4 would, no doubt, have been sufficient. On the other hand, for the appellant the case of Chunder Monee Dossee v. Dhuroneedhur Lahory 7 W.R. 2 has been cited, in which Sir Barnes Peacock held that service of notice must be strictly in the manner provided by the Act, and that if the notice was served upon the agent of a defendant who was a purdahnusheen lady, even if the agency were established, that would not suffice.
5. It seems to us that we are bound to follow this authority which is literally in accordance with the words of the Act.
6. We have been asked to take it that the lower Courts found that the notice, though served upon the son of the defendant, reached his, the defendant's, hand, and if we could be satisfied that such was the finding of the lower Courts, we should be disposed to think it sufficient, but we do not find this to be so. The first Court thought that most probably the notice was communicated to the defendant No. 1 by his son. The lower Appellate Court thought that the service effected on the adult son of defendant No. 1, who was living as a joint member of a Hindu family with his father, was a good service.
7. We think we are bound to insist upon the terms of the law being literally carried out. We must, therefore, set aside the decrees of the lower Courts and direct that the suit be dismissed.
8. Under the circumstances we make no order as to costs.