1. This appeal arises out of a suit for rent. The defence was that the plaintiff dispossessed the defendant from a portion of the lands and substantially interfered with the collection of rent from his bhag tenants.
2. The Court of first instance held that there was dispossession in respect of 3 cottas of land and that the plaintiff had instigated the sub tenants under the defendant to withhold payment of rent and actively helped them in keeping the defendant out of the rent. In the result, the Munsif dismissed the suit.
3. On appeal the learned Subordinate Judge came to the conclusion that the evidence as to the dispossession of 3 cottas of land was of the weakest possible character and evidently the learned Subordinate Judge did not believe the case for the defendant that he was dispossessed from any portion of the land. So far as this part of the case is concerned, we cannot interfere with the finding in second appeal.
4. With regard to the other question, namely, whether there was interference by the plaintiff with the quiet enjoyment of the land by the defendant, the learned Subordinate Judge observes as follows: 'There was no attempt to disown relationship, but only to reduce the jama. In one case the tenant succeeded and in the other he failed. Taking it for granted that plaintiff did give such assistance, this cannot in my view amount to a substantial interference with defendant's possession... Big landholders may assist cultivators in litigation out of mere charity, Such action would not entitle the defendant, if he happened to be a tenant of the Zemindar, to claim suspension of rent. In the present case it is not the fact that plaintiff helped the tenants but the fact that they did so out of enmity which has led to this decision. I think it is wrong in law.'
5. The learned Pleader for the appellant has referred to the cases of Mohammad Zeaullah v. Sukliannessa Bibi 5 Ind. Cas. 352 : 11 C.L.J. 606 : 14 C.W.N. 446 and Kalanand Singh v. Jarao Kumari 17 Ind. Cas. 238 : 17 C.L.J. 96 and relied on certain findings arrived at by the Court of first instance which have not been set aside by the lower Appellate Court. The Court of first instance referred to the findings in the judgment in a suit brought by the defendant against his tenants, in which it was held that it was at the instigation of the plaintiff that the sub-lessees suspended delivery of bhag paddy in 1318, and that the plaintiff helped the sub-tenants in fighting out that case. So far as these findings are concerned, we do not think that they can be need against the plaintiff who was no party to that suit. The learned Munsif, however, found upon the evidence that the plaintiff did not allow the tenants to pay rent to the defendants and helped them with advice and money in the suit for rent. He referred to the case of Kristo Soondur Sandyal v. Koomar Chunder Nath Roy 15 W.R. 230 in which the learned Judges observed that the right of the landlord to receive rent from a farmer depends upon his securing to the latter quiet possession and giving him proper and lawful means of realising rent from the tenants, and, applying the principle to the present case, said 'I should hold that the plaintiffs by dissuading tenants from paying rent to the defendants and by helping them with advice and money in making false defences in suit brought by the defendant did not secure to the defendant quiet possession and give them proper and lawful means of realising rent and interfered substantially with the defendants' enjoyment of the property'. He has also found that the defendant has not yet been able to realise the decretal money from the subtenant as the latter moves his cattle to the house of the plaintiffs. These facts have been found by the Court of first instance upon the evidence, apart from the judgment in the previous suit, but some of them have not been considered by the learned District Judge on appeal.
6. We think, therefore, that the case should go back to the lower Appellate Court in order that that Court may consider the whole evidence (except the findings arrived at in the rent suit brought by the defendant), and determine whether there was substantial interference by the plaintiff with the peaceful enjoyment of the land by the defendants. If the Court comes to the conclusion that there was interference with quiet enjoyment, it will consider whether the defendant is entitled to the suspension of rent as found by the Munsif, and, if so, whether it should be for the period up to Pous 1322 or an earlier period. It will also consider whether the defendant should be awarded damages and costs even if the rent be not suspended.
7. With regard to the ceases, it appears that the Court of first instance found that the plaintiff was entitled to ceases only at the rate of half anna per rupee but the suit was dismissed. There was no appeal on the question of ceases but the learned District Judge decreed the suit in full, and ceases were claimed in the plaint at one anna per rupee. It does not appear why the plaintiffs should get more than half-anna per rupee which, under the law, is payable by the raiyat to the landlord. The Court of Appeal below will consider this question also.
8. Costs will abide the result.