1. This was a suit brought by the plaintiff to recover rent from the defendant in respect of the year 1291 at the rate previously paid by the defendant, and for the year 1292 at an enhanced rate after notice.
2. The Munsif gave the plaintiff a decree. Against that decree the defendant appealed; and the lower Appellate Court has reversed the Munsif's decision, holding that the plaintiff's claim is barred by virtue of the provisions of Section 59 of the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation of 1886.
3. It is admitted chat the plaintiff was duly registered under the provisions of Regulation VIII of 1880, and the question is whether, being so registered, his right has been barred by Section 59 of the Assam Regulation of 1886 to which I have referred. Section 59 says: 'No person shall be bound to pay rent to any person claiming it as proprietor, lessor, manager, or mortgagee in possession of any estate, unless the name of the claimant has been registered under this chapter.' The Regulation came into force on the 1st of July 1886, and the suit was brought on the 7th of July 1886, and all the rent which is sought to be recovered in this suit accrued due before this Regulation came into force.
4. It is argued by the learned Vakeel for the appellant that Section 59 has no retrospective force, that it does not apply to bar claims for rent due previous to the regulation coming into force.
5. Section 48 directs the Deputy Commissioner to keep certain registers; and Section 49 says that, until registers are prepared for any tract under Section 48, the Chief Commissioner may direct that any registers kept by, or under the control of, the Deputy Commissioner at the commencement of this Regulation, shall be deemed to be registers prepared under that Section 50 makes it obligatory upon certain persons to apply within six months for registration. Section 51 enables persona already in possession to apply for registration. So that the only section dealing with persons already registered is Section 49, which, as I have pointed out, enables the Chief Commissioner to direct that any registers already in existence at the commencement of the Regulation shall be deemed to be registers under Section 48. No notification has been published by the Chief Commissioner of Assam under Section 49, directing that registers previously in existence shall be deemed to be registers prepared under Section 48. So that, unless we can see our way to holding that Section 59 does not apply to rent due before the Regulation of 1886 came into force, or else to holding that 'registered under this chapter' in Section 59 means registration under this chapter where the chapter has made it compulsory Section unless we can hold one of these two things, the plaintiffs' claim to this rent is hopelessly barred.
6. It is to be noted that there is no provision in this regulation similar to the provision in Section 20 of Bengal Act VII of 1876, which repealed, as far as Bengal was concerned, Sections 1 to 18 of Regulation VIII of 1800. If there had been such a provision, this matter would have been free from all doubt; but as matters stand one has to ask oneself the question, was it the intention of the Legislature to confiscate this rent? Did the Legislature intend that what was due and legally recoverable, as pointed out by my colleague, on the 30th of June 1886, should be hopelessly barred on the 1st of July 1886; and barred because the Legislature has taken no pains to introduce a saving clause equivalent to the provisions of Section 20 of Bengal Act VII of 1876, except so far as Section 49 enables the Chief Commissioner to do an act which would have a similar effect; or because the Chief Commissioner has not chosen to avail himself of the powers conferred upon him. We think that the proper construction to be put on Section 59 is to hold that it applies to rent becoming due subsequently to the Regulation coming into force.
7. That being our view of the section, we set aside the decree of the Lower Appellate Court, and remand the case to the Judge that he may investigate it on the merits.
8. The appellant before us must have his costs in both the appellate-Courts, that is, the costs already incurred by him.