1. The defendant in this case is a tenant under the plaintiff in the Sonthal Parganas. At the Settlement the landlord sued to have the tenancy declared invalid, as it was that of a middleman, which was said not to be recognised by the law of the Sonthal Parganas. The Settlement Authorities found that it was a permanent tenure with a variable rent, and assessed a fair rent. In revision the Commissioner accepted the view that the tenancy was a permanent tenure with a variable rent, but set aside the assessment on the ground that the plaintiff had not asked for an assessment, adding that it would be open to the zemindar to sue for enhancement. Accordingly this suit has been brought and has been dismissed by the Subordinate Judge on the ground that there is no law in the Sonthal Parganas justifying a suit in the Civil Court for enhancement of rent. The plaintiff accordingly appeals.
2. It certainly seems unfortunate that the Commissioner construed the pleadings in the case before him so strictly. It is difficult to see what advantage is gained by referring to a Civil Court parties whose relations have been fixed on fair and equitable considerations at a Settlement. But the learned Government Pleader, who appears for the plaintiff, has been unable to show us any provision. of law that justifies a suit for enhancement of rent in the Civil Courts. On the grounds stated in this plaint, it is argued that this is a general right that -must be deemed to exist, until it is specifically taken away. I am not at all prepared to accede to this argument. It seems to me that it would be most dangerous to apply such a doctrine to a tract like the Sonthal Parganas, when conceivably . the relation of landlord and tenant may not historically be based on contract at all, and to hold that landlords have all the rights that arise out of freedom of. contract in more civilised regions, unless those rights are specifically taken away. The learned Subordinate Judge says that this suit is apparently the first one ever brought for enhancement of rent in the Sonthal Parganas. Under Section 3 of the Sonthal Parganas Rent Regulation, 1836, such a suit would not be maintainable against a raiyat. The Commissioner thought that that section did not apply because the defendant was not a raiyat. But the term 'raiyat' has not been defined, in any of these Regulations. According to paragraph 3 of the plaint the defendant is a raiyat as defined in the Bengal Tenancy Act and according to the law previous to that Act, having .taken the land in- order to grow indigo himself. And though the defendant claims to be a tenure-holder it may well be that the term 'raiyat' in Section 3 of the Regulation of 1886 includes him. Be that as it may, I am. not satisfied that the present suit is maintainable under the law in force in the Sonthal Parganas and would dismiss the appeal with costs.