1. This is an appeal by the plaintiff in a suit for possession upon establishment of title. The disputed land belonged to the father of the plaintiff and passed to him by right of inheritance when his father died. On the 22nd May 1909, when the plaintiff was still an infant, his mother granted a permanent lease of the subject-matter of the litigation to the defendants. On the 20th July 1918, the plaintiff instituted the present suit to eject the defendants on the ground that the lease was unauthorised. The Court of first instance decreed the suit. Upon appeal that decision has been reversed by the Subordinate Judge.
2. We have examined the lease and we find that it was granted by the lady on the assumption that she was the proprietor in possession, competent to deal with the property. There can be no dispute that this was not the true state of facts. As the defendant has stated in the written statement, a document was first drawn up which purported to transfer the property to the defendants, the mother of the plaintiff professing to act as his natural guardian. When the document was taken to the Registration Office, the registering officer declined to register it on the ground that no permission of the District Judge under the Guardians and Wards Act, authorising the mother to grant a permanent lease of the property of her son, was produced. Thereupon, a fresh document, the one now before the Court, was drawn up. The recitals are undoubtedly untrue and there can be no dispute as to their meaning. The lady had no property to deal with as her own and consequently the grant did not create any valid bible in the lessee.
3. Reliance has been placed, however, on the decision of the Judicial Committee in Watson & Co. v. Shimlal Mitter 14 I.A. 178 : 15 C. 8 : 11 Ind. Jur. 395 : 5 Sar. C.J. 66 : 7 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 591 (P.C.) in support of the contention that the document may be construed to mean exactly the reverse of what its language signifies, namely, a lease by the mother, not in her own right, but as the guardian of her infant son who is not even mentioned within its four corners. The case mentioned is, in our opinion, of no assistance to the respondents. There the name of the executant appeared on the face of the document and was followed by the description 'mother and guardian of the infant.' It was held that the description might be construed to indicate that the deed was executed by the lady on behalf and as guardian of her infant son. This principle of liberal construction of Indian documents inartistically drawn up was applied by the Judicial Committee in the cases of Hunooman Persaud Pandev v. Munraj Koonwaree 6 M.I.A. 398 : 18 W.R. 81 n; Sevestre 25 N. : 2 Suth. P.C.J. 29 : 1 Sar. P.C.J. 552 : 19 E.R. 147; Hemanta Kumari Debi v. Brojendrakishore Roy Chowdhury 17 I.A. 65 : 17 C. 875 : 5 Sar. P.C.J. 542 : 8 Ind. Dec. (N.S) 1128 (P.C.) and Gopee Mohun Thakoor v. Radha Nath (1834) 2 Knapp 228 : 12 E.R. 467 which are all distinguishable. In each instance, the question was one of the intention of the party who executed a document, to be gathered from the language used, and it was pointed out that as there was no suggestion that the lady had claimed any interest in the estate as her own, she might be deemed to have acted on behalf of her infant ward. In the case before us, the history of the document has been disclosed by the defendants themselves. The original document was executed by the lady on behalf of her infant son. A difficulty, real or imaginary, was raised by the registering officer. The document was thereupon deliberately altered, so as to become a deed executed by her in her own right. It is impossible, in such circumstances, to apply the principle that where there may be a doubt as to whether the guardian is acting for himself or for his ward, the executant may be deemed to have acted lawfully within the scope and in exercise of his authority; see Janardan Vishun Kulkarni v. Anant Lakshmanshet 32 B. 386 : 10 Bom. L.R. 575 and Narain Chandra Mukerji v. Mohendra Nath Mukerji 14 Ind. Cas. 820 : 15 C.L.J. 332. In this view, no question of ratification arises, for there is no unauthorised act done by the mother on behalf of the infant which could be ratified.
4. The result is that this appeal is allowed, the decree of the Subordinate Judge set aside and that of the Court of first instance restored. We direct, however, that from the amount recovered by the plaintiff as mesne profits the sum of Rs. 60 (sixty rupees) which was paid by the respondent as premium for the lease should be deducted. The appellant is entitled to his costs both in this Court and the Court of Appeal below.