1. The plaintiff as the Doloi or manager of a temple brought the suit, out of which this appeal arises, for a declaration that the defendant was liable to render certain personal services or in the alternative to pay full rent for the lands held by him, and for realisation of rent at the full rate.
2. It appears that the lands, held by the defendant, were of two descriptions, viz., bhogdani and paikan. For the former the defendant pays rent at half the Government rates and supplies materials for bhog of the deity on certain occasions in the year. It is found that there has been no breach of the conditions on which the bhogdani lands are held, and so far as these lands are concerned the plaintiff's suit must fail. The other class of lands, viz., paikan lands were originally held at half the Government rates, and the tenant used to render certain personal services. The former manager commuted the services into a money-rent of one rupee only, but the present manager (who became the manager about 10 years before the suit) gave a notice to the defendant calling upon him either to render personal service or pay full rent. The learned Subordinate Judge held that it would not be fair to throw on the defendant the onus of proving that the arrangement by which the personal services were commuted to a fixed money payment was equitable and was necessitated by the circumstances.' But the power of a Doloi or manager of a temple is similar to that of a manager for an infant heir, and it is upon the defendant to show the existence of any special circumstances of necessity justifying the arrangement.
3. It is stated on behalf of the respondent that the tenant had to render personal service by cultivating certain lands in the khas possession of the temple, and that at the time of the commutation of the rent, those khas lands were settled with others at full rent and there being no other khas lands for which personal service could be rendered the services were commuted into payment of money-rent. These matters, we think, should be gone into by the Court below.
4. The next question is whether the Court below is right in holding the suit to be barred by limitation under Article 120 of the Limitation Act. Now, if the arrangement was a temporary one and as a matter of convenience, we do not think that the suit would be barred as the right to assess rent is a periodically recurring one and the right was denied within 12 years. Nor would it be barred if the claim is one for enhancement of rent. If, however, the arrangement was a permanent one, and the rent was fixed in perpetuity, it would stand in the same position as the creation of a permanent tenure at a fixed rent by a shebait, and in such a case the arrangement would have to be set aside by the succeeding manager before the full rent can be assessed. In that case the right to set aside the arrangement first accrued when the plaintiff succeeded as manager, and cannot be said to be a periodically recurring right, and the suit, not having been brought within 6 years, would be barred under Article 120 as it is not a suit for possession coming under Article 144.
5. The case is accordingly sent back to the lower Appellate Court for a fresh decision according to law, having regard to the observations made above. If the claim in respect of the paikan lands be held to be well founded and not barred by limitation, the Court below will determine what those lands are and make a decree accordingly, as it appears that those lands are mixed up with the bhogdani lands in the schedule to the plaint. The claim in respect of the bhogdani lands will be dismissed in any case. Costs will abide the result.
6. This judgment governs the three other appeals.