1. This matter under Section 145, Code of Criminal Procedure, relates to nearly 10,000 bighas of chur land in the district of Faridpore. The parties are zemindars; and the question at issue is the right to receive rent from the cultivators. None of these ryots is a party to these proceedings. It has been found by the Magistrate, after a long and careful investigation, and in a well-considered judgment, that up to the end of the Bengali year, March or April 1886, the ryots on this chur paid rents to the Teota Rajahs, party No. 1; that subsequently disputes arose, and the Rajahs, being unable to obtain enhancement of rent from the tenants, declared the lands to be their khas khamar, and unsuccessfully endeavoured to make settlements with some other tenants for a portion, at least, of the lands. The tenants, on the other hand, told the Rajahs that they would not pay them any rents. The tenants probably finding themselves unable, unless supported by some person of influence, to resist the Teota Rajahs, put themselves into the hands of Sarbananda Basu and another, the second party to these proceedings, and attorned to them, executing kabuliats, which were registered in the course of August. In consequence of the threatening attitude of the parties indicating probability of a breach of the peace, proceedings under Section 145 were instituted in October 1886. It is unnecessary to refer to the cause of those proceedings except to state that, on the 27th August 1887, the Sub-divisional Officer of Goalundo found that the first party, the Teota Rajahs, were in possession by receipt of rent from the tenants as against the second party.
2. The main objections taken before us as a Court of Revision are that this dispute between zemindars with respect to land occupied or held by tenants is not properly cognizable under Section 145, and that, if cognizable, on the findings of the Magistrate, the second party was entitled to be declared to be in possession.
3. The first contention is founded upon a construction of the section in the present Code similar to that adopted at one time by Phear, J., with respect to Section 530 of the old Code-that is, that the section is applicable only to cases of actual or manual possession, such as that of ryots.
4. That was not, however, the construction of the words of the section, which finally prevailed in this Court. under Section 530 it was, as Jackson, J., said in Harak Narain Singh v. Luchmi Bux Roy 5 C.L.R. 287 (289), 'settled law that the section contemplates disputes between owners as well as occupiers of land,' following in this respect Sutherland v. Crowdy 18 W.R. 11,and he pointed out in that case that this construction of the section is in conformity with the policy of the law as shown in previous legislation on this subject.
5. It is argued that the introduction into the present Section 145 of the word 'tangible' before the words 'immoveable property' indicates that actual possession is alone contemplated by it. As to this, we can but adopt and follow the language of Field, J., in Pramatha Bhusana Deb Roy v. Doorga Churn Bhuttcharji 11 C. 413 (416). We think that a dispute as to the right to collect rents is a dispute concerning tangible immoveable property under Section 145. There can be no question that disputes regarding the exercise of this right are most fruitful causes of disturbance, specially in newly formed alluvial lands, such as are the subject of the proceedings now before us. We have no doubt that it is the policy of the law that Magistrates should have summary jurisdiction to pass temporary orders in such matters so as to prevent the occurrence of serious breaches of the peace. We are so strongly impressed with this view that, had the decision of another Division Bench been to the contrary, we should have felt it our duty to refer the matter to a Full Bench.
6. As to the second objection, it is contended that, in as much as the tenants had attorned to the second party, the first party had ceased to be in possession, and that consequently the order of the Magistrate in their favour should be set aside; that the previous existing tenancy had been determined by the action of the Teota Rajahs in declaring the lands to be their khas khamar; and next that, even if this were not sufficient to determine the tenancy, the conduct of the tenants in attorning to the second party would be an assertion of possession adverse to the Teota Rajahs, such as to put an end to any previously existing relations between them and the Rajahs, and, with them, to the existence of such a right to collect the rents as is within the section. We do not think so. No doubt a zemindar and his tenants might, by agreement, determine any relation of landlord and tenant existing between them. But the acts of the two parties, the Rajahs and the tenants in the matter before us certainly cannot be construed as constituting such an agreement between them. The attornment by the tenants to the second party is not shown to have been even known to the Rajahs until after the proceedings under Section 145 were instituted. We regard the acts done by the Teota Rajahs and the tenants in this way: The Rajahs endeavoured to terminate the tenancy in a manner which was wholly unlawful, and in this they were opposed by the tenants, and were unsuccessful in obtaining from them a surrender of their lands. Under such circumstances, the original tenancy still subsisted, and the tenants in possession of the lands remained liable to pay rent as heretofore. The subsequent acts of the tenants in repudiating as their landlords the Teota Rajahs, and in attorning to the second party to these proceedings, could not by themselves alone operate so as to determine their tenancy. As has already been stated, no notice was given to the Rajahs that the tenants had put an end to their tenancy under them. We need not consider what the effect of such notice, if any, might have been.
7. It was argued that the decision of the Magistrate was wrong, as involving the acceptance of this proposition ; that the right of a zemindar to come in under this section must exist, even though the payment of rent has been withheld from him for years, so long as his right to recover it by proceedings-at-law can be shown; and that such a proposition cannot be accepted, as it cannot be supposed that questions of title were intended to come before a Magistrate for decision under this section. There may be great force in that argument, and the Magistrate, so far as he adopted this view, may have been wrong. The point need not be decided by us in this case, and we do not decide it. Here the rent was paid down to just before the dispute between the Rajahs and the ryots which led to the proceeding under Section 145, Code of Criminal Procedure ; and upon the dispute taking place, they attorned by real or pretended payments of rent to a stranger. The question on the second branch of the case is, whether such a proceeding by the tenants of a zemindar can deprive him of recourse to this section in case of danger to the peace, to have his possession of the right to collect rents maintained, pending civil proceedings; and we must determine that question in the negative.
8. Having regard to the length and character of the proceedings before the Magistrate, we are of opinion that his order regarding costs should stand.
9. The rule must, therefore, be discharged.