W. Comer Petheram, Kt., C.J.
1. This was a suit brought by the Nawab Bahadur of Murshidabad to recover possession of certain property, on the ground that it was a part of the State property of the Nizamut of Murshidabad which was wrongfully in the possession of the defendants under an alienation from the last Nawab Nazim.
2. The Subordinate Judge decreed the suit. The District Judge reversed his decision, and has dismissed the suit on the ground that the only person who could bring such a suit was the Secretary of State, that the title was in the Secretary of State, as representing the Government of India, and that no one could bring the suit but that person.
3. The matter has been argued before us by Mr. Evans, for the plaintiff and by Dr. Rash Behari Ghose for the defendants, and Mr. Evans, on this point which I have mentioned, relies upon the letter of the Agent to the Governor-General, which is referred to in the judgment of the District Judge.
4. That was a letter in which the Agent conveyed to the plaintiff, the Nawab Bahadur, the intentions of the Government with reference to his future, and as to his income, and the provision which was to be made for it; and in that letter he says, 'you will also have possession of the State lands and jewels.' Both Courts found that the property in question was part of the State lands referred to in that letter, but the District Judge considers that that letter did not transfer the title to this property to the Nawab Bahadur, and even if it did, it would be shut out by the Registration Act.
5. We think that it was not necessary that the letter in question should transfer the title to give a right of action in this case. These lands were found by the Commissioners to be a part of the State lands, and I do not think it is necessary for us to enquire in whom the title, in the English sense of the word, in these lands is vested. It is sufficient, we think, that the Government of the country, which had power to do what it pleased with these lands, informed the Nawab Bahadur, the present plaintiff, that he was to have possession of them for his life. It is not necessary for us to enquire what was the technical interest created in him for the purpose of this suit, that is to say, for the purpose of a suit to recover possession from a person who has no title. It is enough, we think, that he was entitled to the possession under a grant, or an authority, given him by the only person who could give him right of possession.
6. Then comes the objection which is raised by the learned District Judge that, even if this is so, it cannot be used because of the provisions of the Registration Act. We think it is enough to quote Section 90 of that Act, Sub-section (d), which provides that 'Sanads, inam title-deeds, and other documents purporting to be, or to evidence, grants or assignments by Government of land or of any interest in land' shall be exempted from registration.
7. If this is a grant by any one, it is a grant by Government, and consequently it is exempted from the operation of that Act, so that both the objections to this suit fail.
8. Then Dr. Rash Behari Ghose takes a point here that if you look at the Commissioners' award, as a whole, it will be found that it does not determine that this particular property was one of the State lands of this Nizamut, and consequently the Nawab is not entitled to possession of it under the award and under the letter, and he relies upon paragraph 24 of the award.
9. In that paragraph the Commissioners say--'We have confined our enquiries to the property now in the possession of the Nawab Nazim. It appears to us that the Act does not empower us to follow property which has been wrongfully alienated, or of which other parties have acquired wrongful possession.' Dr. Rash Behari Ghose says that, inasmuch as it appears that the alienation by the Nawab Nazim of this property had taken place before the date of this award, that shows that this award did not operate on this particular property. But this is recital only, and when one comes to the operative part of the award, the Commissioners deal with this property by name and declare it to be State land.
10. This, one would think, should be enough to decide this point; but, in addition to that, the same point had been argued in the Privy Council in the case of Omrao Begum v. The Government of India I.L.R. 9 Cal. 704 and in that case the same point was decided in exactly the same way. So that, both on principle and authority, we think this award clearly deals with this particular property, and declares it to be State property. We think that the letter, which authorized or informed the present plaintiff that he was entitled or was to hold possession of all these State lands, and which has been acted upon ever since, is sufficient to entitle him to bring an action for possession of this property against a person wrongfully in possession, and consequently this appeal must be allowed, the decree of the Lower Appellate Court reversed, and the decree of the Court of First Instance restored with all costs.