Decided on October 19,1954



- (1.) The question in this Second Appeal is whether trees of spontaneous growth on lease-hold property belong to the land-holder or the tenant.( The facts that give rise to the aforesaid question may be stated. The plaintiff is the owner of the suit land which is a tank in an estate. He leased it for a period of five years to defendants 1 and 2 under a deed, dated 22.8.1939, for grazing purposes. During the period of tenancy, there was spontaneous growth of babul trees on the land. Nine of them were cut by the defendants shortly before the filling of the suit. The question is who is the owner of the trees, whether it is the land-holder or the tenant ?
(2.) Both the Courts found that the said babul trees were of spontaneous growth during the period of the tenancy and that the ownership of the said trees is in the land-holder. On these findings a decree for an injunction waa granted restraining the defendants from cutting the babul trees and also for the recovery of the fuel of the trees cut by them. The defendants preferred the above Second Appeal.
(3.) The short question in the appeal is whether the land-holder or the tenant is the owner of the trees of spontaneous growth during the period of the tenancy. At the outset, some ground may be cleared to enable me to focus on the point raised. Though the land is situated in an estate, tank bed is excluded from the definition of ryoti land under S. 3 (16), Madras Estates Land Act, and therefore the provisions of S. 12 of that Act regulating the ownership of the trees, do not apply. There is also no evidence, much less a finding, that the tenure is otherwise regulated by a contract between the parties or custom obtaining in the locality. Therefore, this is a simple case of conflicting rights between a land-holder and a tenant not governed by any statute or custom.;

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