Rampini and Sale, JJ.
1. These are forty-five appeals against the decision of the Subordinate Judge of Muzaffarpur, dated the 25th of September 1897.
2. The suits were brought by the plaintiffs for arrears of rent. The defendants raised various pleas, and denied their liability to pay rent. These pleas were overruled by both the lower Courts. In this Court four of the pleas have been pressed before us, namely, first, that the suits are not maintainable; secondly, that the rent of 1308 is barred; thirdly, that the rent of the four-anna last of 1304 is premature; and fourthly, that the finding as to the rate of rent is not supported by any evidence.
3. We think there is no force in any of these contentions.
4. The first plea is that the suits are not maintainable, because it appears that there was an ekrarnamah between the co-sharer landlords, and that subsequently two of the co-sharer landlords obtained a decree against the other co-sharers for an additional share, and this decree was affirmed by this Court. But the decree in favour of the co-sharer landlords does not refer to the ekrarnamah, and does not in any way set it aside. Now the plaintiff in this case sues for a 9 annas share of the rent; and because certain of the co-sharers have got a decree against the defendants for 15 gundas of the rent, that does not show that the plaintiff is not entitled to have 9 annas. Furthermore, he has given good evidence that he is entitled to such a share of the rent, and moreover there is evidence that the plaintiff is in the habit of collecting this share separately from his other co-sharers. There is no reason therefore to suppose that the suit is not maintainable.
5. The second plea, namely, that the rent of 1303 is barred, is founded on this contention that certain of the defendants deposited their rent in Court ostensibly under Section 61 of the Bengal Tenancy Act, and asked the Court to serve notice of this deposit on the plaintiffs. Then it is said that as the Court had to serve the notices, it must be presumed that they were served, and that therefore the period of limitation must be six months from the date of such service, as laid down in Schedule Ill, Article 2 (a) of the Bengal Tenancy Act. But, in the first place, it appears from the evidence of the peon who served this notice that he served it on only one of the 28 plaintiffs, namely, Kally Charan Singh; so that the suit can be barred only as regards Kally Charan Singh. The plea of six months' limitation cannot apply to the other plaintiffs. But the co-sharer landlords are jointly and severally entitled to the rent claimed, so that the service of notice of the deposit on Kally Charan would not necessarily reduce the period of limitation applicable in this case to six months.
6. Then the plea that the rent of the four-anna kist of 1304 is premature also appears to be untenable. The point has been dealt with both by the Subordinate Judge and by the Court of first instance. The Court of first instance explains 'that the agricultural year commences in Behar from the 1st of Asarh, and that the four-anna last rent becomes due after the expiry of three months, that is, in Assin.' The Munsif then goes on to say: 'These suits were instituted long after the due date.' Therefore the suit for this portion of the rent is not premature.
7. The last plea is that the Judge's finding regarding the rate of rent is not supported by any evidence. But that does not appear to be correct. The Subordinate Judge has spoken of the village papers. He thinks they afford evidence in support of these papers. The putwari comes forward to prove these papers and says that they are correct; and further that he knows the rents irrespectively of these papers, and he adds that he has always collected rents according to the rates specified in these papers. There is therefore not only the evidence of the village papers, but that of the putwari, and this appears to us very good evidence. The last plea accordingly fails in our opinion. Under these circumstances we must dismiss these appeals, which we accordingly do with costs.