Norris and Macpherson, JJ.
1. It is contended that the lower Appellate Court has put a wrong construction upon that portion of Section 25 of Regulation III of 1872 which enacts that the Civil Courts in the Sonthal Pergunnahs can entertain a suit brought to 'contest the finding or record of the Settlement Officer within three years from the date of the said publication or of the final order of the Revenue Court.' The publication referred to is that of the record of rights, which under Section 24 requires to be notified, and published by posting a copy thereof in some conspicuous place in the village, otherwise in such manner as may be convenient. The second Clause of that section gives a right to any person interested to bring forward in the Original or Appellate Settlement Courts any objection he may desire to make to any part of such record.
2. In the present case it is admitted that the Settlement Officer in the course of a settlement held that the defendants were mokuraridars of certain villages. But it is admitted also that no record of rights was ever published under Section 24. And the question which now arises is, whether the suit brought to contest that finding is within time under Section 25. We think the construction which the lower Court has put upon that section is the right one. We are practically asked to read for the words 'Revenue Court' in Section 25 the words 'Settlement Officer.' We see no grounds on which any such construction can be maintained. The words in the section seem to indicate that a suit is within time if brought within three years from the date of the publication, or if there is any subsequent order of the Revenue Court, from such date. Sections 24 and 25 read together show that it is open to any one to question the correctness of the conclusion arrived at by the Settlement Officer, subsequent to the publication of the record of rights. And when we find in the limitation clause that a suit may be brought either from the date of the said publication or from the final order of the Revenue Court, it seems to us that the order of the Revenue Court must be one which follows and does not precede the publication of the record of rights.
3. We think, therefore, that the view of the lower Appellate Court is right, and that the appeal must be dismissed with costs.
4. This decision governs the appeal No. 117 of 1886.