1. These appeals have now to be disposed of finally after remand for a finding as to adverse possession. The learned District Judge has found not only that the defendants have air along been in possession since 1873, but also that their possession has been adverse as against the Government. This finding is challenged as not being justified by the facts. The suits not only had been fully heard when they came before us on second appeal on the previous occasion, but we also gave the parties permission to adduce further evidence, if so advised, and they have done so. The matter has been very fully considered and there are no grounds for interfering with the finding.
2. On such finding a further point has been argued, as to the date from which adverse possession should be deemed to run. Article 144 of the First Schedule to the Limitation Act provides that in a suit for possession of immoveable property the period of limitation shall be 12 years from the time when the possession of the defendants becomes-adverse to the plaintiff. The property was bought by the plaintiff from the Government in July 1903. Under Article 149 had this suit been instituted by the Government it would not have become barred for sixty years. Consequently, we are asked to hold that in such circumstances, the word 'plaintiff' should not include the plaintiff's predecessors in title, that is the Government, as ordinarily required by Section (2), Sub-section (8), because it is submitted that that would be repugnant to the intention of the Act since, if there has been more than 12 years' adverse possession as against the Government, though a suit by the Government might not be, a suit by a private purchaser from the Government would be, barred. We are asked by reading the two Articles together to say that a private person in such circumstances is entitled to get, before his right becomes extinguished, either 12 years from the date of his purchase or the period to which the Government would still be entitled, whichever is the less.
3. I see no grounds whatever for any such construction. It would give such purchaser an advantage which the law does not allow. If the period of 12 years was the less, then the previous adverse possession against the Crown, and consequently Section 2 (8), would be entirely ignored; if the balance of the period to which the Crown is entitled were the less, the plaintiff would be obtaining the benefit of the full period of 60 years allowed to the Crown, to which it is conceded he is not entitled.
4. It was submitted that where there has been more than 12 years' adverse possession against the Government, if it was impossible for the Government's successor-in-interest to sue, the Act would be reduced to an absurdity. The answer to that, as is often the case, is a practical one, that when a conveyance of property is to be taken from Government against whom other persons are in adverse possession, it should not be taken until the Government has instituted proceedings and obtained an order for possession and is in a position to transfer the property free from such blot on the title.
5. The appeals must be dismissed with costs, separate sets of costs being allowed to the separate sets of respondents Who have appeared.
6. Walmsley, J.--I agree.