Horitarun Chuckerbutti And Anr. vs Saraswati Dasi And Sriram Shaha … on 26 April, 1889

Calcutta High Court
Horitarun Chuckerbutti And Anr. vs Saraswati Dasi And Sriram Shaha … on 26 April, 1889
Equivalent citations: (1889) ILR 16 Cal 741
Author: P A Hill
Bench: Prinsep, Hill


Prinsep and Hill, JJ.

1. This is a suit brought by an occupancy ryot to recover possession of land of which he has been dispossessed by his landlord. Under the decisions, of this Court, it is settled law that the suit could have been brought within twelve years from the date of dispossession, inasmuch as the title of the tenant was disputed and put in issue in the case. The matter which we are called upon to decide is whether this rule, which has been long in force in this Court, has been affected by the limitation prescribed in the Bengal Tenancy Act, Schedule Ill, Article 3. It is there enacted, that a suit to recover possession of land claimed by the plaintiff as an occupancy ryot must be brought within two years from the date of dispossession. Section 184 of the Bengal Tenancy Act declares that suits specified in Schedule III of the Act shall be instituted within the time prescribed in that schedule for them respectively. It seems to us that by this enactment, it was intended to provide for all suits to recover possession of land which might be brought by an occupancy ryot, and to limit the period previously allowed by the Courts for suits to recover possession by reason of a title set up and proved by the plaintiff. There is nothing in the terms of the law to lead us to suppose that the Legislature provided only for suits of a possessory nature, such as were previously dealt with by Section 27 of Bengal Act VIII of 1869. There is no saving clause in the Bengal Tenancy Act in favour of suits which might have been brought under the law previously existing by occupancy ryots, to recover possession of lands of which they had been dispossessed, Consequently, we are of opinion that even if the plaintiff’ had twelve years or a portion of twelve years to bring this suit when the Bengal Tenancy Act came into operation, he was, by its operation, restricted to two years from the date of his dispossession. The cause of action, that is to say, the date of dispossession, has not been clearly stated by the plaintiff in his plaint. It is stated to be from the year 1291. In the evidence given, it is made more precise and stated to be from Assar 1291. It is contended by the plaintiff that the expression ‘up to Assar 1291’ necessarily implies, from the end of Assar, which would bring this suit within the period prescribed by the Bengal Tenancy Act; but this was clearly not so understood by the first Court, and we are not prepared to say upon this vague expression that the suit is not barred. It is rather for the plaintiff to show that his suit has been brought within time and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we must take it that the dispossession took place from the commencement of Assar. In this view the suit would be barred. We accordingly dismiss the suit, setting aside the judgment of the Lower Appellate Court, and restoring that of the first Court, with costs of this and the Lower Appellate Court.

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