1. The subject-matter of the litigation, which has given rise to this Rule, is the Dhalbhum estate, described in these proceedings as an impartible raj subject to the operation of the Rule of lineal primogeniture among the members of a family governed by the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law. Raja Satrughandeo Dhabal Deo, the last holder of the raj, died on the 1st March 1916. He was at that time a disqualified proprietor and his estate was under the management of the Encumbered Estates Act authorities. Upon his death, disputes broke out as to the succession to the raj. The plaintiff claimed the estate under a testamentary instrument executed by the decease so fa(sic) back as the 11th May 1905. The defendant claimed title as the next taker under the Hindu Law. There was the usual preliminary controversy in the matter of land registration before the Revenue Authorities. The Deputy Commissioner, the Commissioner, and the Board of Revenue successively upheld the claim of the present petitioner, and the estate continued in the possession of the Collector of Singbhum on behalf of the Court of Wards. The order of the Board of Revenue was passed on the 13th July 1917, and the present suit was instituted by the plaintiff on the 17th March 1921 for recovery of the estate upon establishment of title on the basis of the Will. After a protracted trial the suit was decreed on the 21st August 1922. An appeal was thereupon lodged in this Court on the 30th August 1922. The plaintiff meanwhile took out execution of the decree and had a notice issued on the Manager of the Court of Wards to deliver the estate to him. The present Rule was thereafter issued at the instance of the appellant in order that execution might be stayed and the subject-matter of the litigation placed in the hands of a Receiver.
2. The value of the property in dispute is stated in the plaint as Rs. 11,99,000. Besides moveable properties, it includes a sum of five and half lakhs invested in War Bonds and numerous villages situated in the Provinces of Bengal, Behar and Orissa. A considerable portion of the estate was granted in temporary ijarah by the late proprietor on the 8th March 1905 to the Midnapur Zemindari Co. for a term of 25 years. Since the death of the grantor, there appear to have been negotiations between the Court of Wards and the Company for purchase of the remainder of the term, and an attempt was made to complete the transfer during the pendency of the litigation in the Court below. The completion of the transaction was, however, stopped by order of the Subordinate Judge. In this connection, our attention has been drawn to a passage from the volume on Singbhum in the Bengal District Gazetteers Series prepared by Mr. O'Malley and published by the Government.
3. In the midst of these troubles, the proprietor Babu Satrughan Deo Dhubal Deb, an old man of 75, having incurred debts to the extent of four lakhs of rupees, the estate was, on the application of his heir, brought under the protection of the Chota Nagpur Encumbered Estates Act, VI (B.C.) of 1876. Meanwhile, the proprietor had leased out the whole estate for 25 years on terms which left no margin of profit to the lessees from existing assets of the estate, and were a direct incentive to illegal rent enhancement and to interference with established rights. Very serious administrative difficulties were apprehended, and, accordingly, on the recommendation of the local officers, the sanction of the Government of India was obtained to the initiation of the (Settlement) operations.' Apart from the lands leased out to the Midnapur Zemindari Co., there is a considerable tract in the direct possession of the proprietor. The extent of such territory cannot be determined with precision from the materials on the record, but it has been stated that, in addition to the net rent of Rs. 59,435 annually payable by the Company, there is a net annual profit of Rs. 35,145 derived from forests, minerals, markets and fisheries. The plaintiff contends that he should be placed in possession of the estate and offers to furnish security to such extent and of such description as the Court may direct. The defendant urges, on the other hand, that the management should be placed in the hands of a Receiver for the protection of the estate which requires to be developed and managed with special care. Our attention has also been drawn to the significant fact that, in the past, there have been such difficulties in connection with the management of the estate, which is situated in a backward tract inhabited principally by aborigines, that for nearly half a century the Government have been obliged to keep the management in the hands of the Court of Wards or of the Encumbered Estates Act authorities; thus, the Court of Wards had possession during the years 1867-83, 1886-89, 1920-22 and the Encumbered Estates Act authorities; during the years 1905-1920. The plaintiff himself, while anxious to be placed in possession, is not slow to hint that even under the administration of these public authorities, there has been danger of waste, and that suits for resumption instituted by the Court of Wards have not only to be continued and looked after but that fresh suits for the same purpose require to be instituted. The plaintiff, on the other hand, does not hesitate to assert that it is necessary to control and supervise the management of such influential lessees as the Company in their dealings with the aboriginal tenants. Steps have also to be taken to get back from the Company tenures and under-tenures purchased by them as ijaradars, and to recover from the representatives of Prince Bukhtiar Shah, valuable mining rights improvidently granted to him by the late proprietor. We have taken into consideration these and other facts connected with the history of the estate, as also its present condition, and we have arrived at the conclusion that the best interest of the estate will be served if, during the pendency of this appeal, it is placed, in the hands of a Receiver who will act under the direction of this Court and we order accordingly. The plaintiff and the defendant will be at liberty to submit within two weeks the names of the suitable persons. A letter will also be addressed to the Board of Revenue, Behar and Orissa; with the request that one or more suitable names may be suggested. After the appointment of the Receiver, the Court will deal with such applications as may be made for directions as to the disposal of the corpus or of the income of the estate.