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lessee liable to ejectment.1 Moreover, the landlord may be sued for damages by an occupancy ryot who has sub-let, if the landlord takes upon himself to recover rent from the tenants of the occupancy ryot2 We have seen that this right has been held to be liable to be lost in some cases, as by abandonment.3 Setting up a fictitious pottah has been held to cause forfeiture or loss of the right;* but this decision has been questioned by Sir Richard Couch.5 It has even been held in the North-Western Provinces that planting trees on the land without the zemindar's consent forfeits the right of occupancy.
I shall hereafter give some description of the putnee talook in more immediate connexion with the Sale laws. I now proceed to notice some further points in connexion with tenures in general.
It is well known that the Permanent Settlement gave an enormous impetus to the subinfeudation which had already begun to be a marked feature of the land system of Bengal. Upon this subject the following remarks may be inserted here:
Sir George Campbell says :*—" At the Permanent Settlement Government by abdicating its position as exclusive possessor of the soil, and contenting itself with a permanent rent-charge on the land, escaped thenceforward all the labour and risks attendant upon detailed mofussil
* See also Huro Doss s. Gobind Bhuttacbarjee, 12 W. K., 304; 3 B. L. R., A pp., 123, s. c.
4 Mirza Nadir Beg r. Muddurram, 2 W. R., Act X, 2.
* Unopoorna Dossee v. Radha Mohun Pattro, 19 W. It., 95.
* Bengal Administration Report, p. 79.
management. The zemindars of Bengal Proper were not Lectori slow to follow the example set them, and immediately — began to dispose of their zemindaries in a similar manner. Permanent under-tenures, known as putnee tenures, were created in large numbers, and extensive tracts were leased out on long terms. By the year 1819, permanent alienations of the kind described had been so extensively effected, that they were formally legalized by Regulation VIII of that year, and means afforded to the zemindar of recovering arrears of rent from his putneedars almost identical with those by which the demands of Government were enforced against himself. The practice of granting such under-tenures has steadily continued, until at the present day, with the putnee and subordinate tenures in Bengal Proper and the farming system of Behar, but a small proportion of the whole permanently-settled area remains in the direct possession of the zemindars. In these alienations the zemindars have made far better terms for themselves than the Government was able to make for itself in 1793. It has rarely happened that a putnee, or even a lease for a term of years, has been otherwise than on payment of a bonus, which has discounted the contingency of many years' increased rents. It is a system by which, in its adoption by the zemindars, their posterity suffers, because it is clear that, if the bonus were not exacted, a higher rental could be pemanently obtained from the land. This consideration has not, however, had much practical weight with the landholders. And if gradual accession to the wealth and influence of sub-proprietors be a desirable thing in the interest of the community, the selfishness of the landholding class is not in this instance of it a subject for regret.
Lecturk "The process of subinfeudation described above has not — terminated with the putneedars and ijaradars. Lower gradations of sub-tenures under them, called dur-putnees and dur-ijaras, and even further subordinate tenures, have been created in great numbers. And not unfrequently, especially where particular lands are required for the growth of special crops, such as indigo, superior holders have taken under-tenures from their own tenants. These tenures and under-tenures often comprise defined tracts of land; but a common practice has been to sub-let certain aliquot shares of the whole superior tenure, the consequence of which is that the tenants in any particular village of an estate now very usually pay their rents to two, or many more than two, different masters, so many annas in the rupee to each. It must be added that in many cases where an estate or tenure has been sub-let, the lessor has reserved certain portions, generally those immediately contiguous to his residence, in his own possession. These he may cultivate by keeping ryots upon them, or, especially if he be a European indigo-planter, by hired labour.
"All the under-tenures in Bengal have not, however, been created since the Permanent Settlement in the manner above described. Dependent talooks, ganties, howalas, and other similar fixed and transferable undertenures existed before the Settlement. Their permanent character was practically recognised at the time of the Settlement, and has at any rate since been confirmed by lapse of time.
"In addition to all these tenures, the country is dotted over with small plots of land held revenue-free, the large majority of them having been granted by former Governments, or zemindars under those Governments, as religious
THE PERMANENT SETTLEMENT. 369
endowments,—grants which have since been recognised Lecturs and confirmed by the English Government. —
"The general provisions of the Regulations of 1793 were in favour of the tenant. The theory of the Permanent Settlement was to give to all under-holders, down to the ryots, the same security of tenure as against the zemindars, which the zemindar had as against the Government. Sub-holders of talooks and other divisions under the zemindars were recognised and protected in their holdings, subject to the payment of the established dues. As respects the ryots, the main provisions were these: all extra cesses and exactions were abolished, and the zemindars were required to specify in writing the original rent payable by each ryot at the pergunnah or established rates. If any dispute arose regarding the rates to be so entered, the question was to be 'determined in the Civil Court of the zillah in which the lands were situated, according to the rates established in the pergunnah for lands of the same description and quality as those respecting which the dispute arose.' It was further provided that no zemindar should have power to cancel the leases except on the ground that they had been obtained by collusion at rates below the established rates, and that the resident ryots should always be entitled to renew pottahs at these rates. In fact fixity of tenure and fixity of rent-rates were secured to the ryots by law. It has already been pointed out that provision was made for canoongoes and putwaris, an object of whose appointment was declared to be ' to prevent oppression of the persons paying rent.' On behalf of the ryots it was a record of rights only that was wanting. The status that was designed for the tenantry was, however, much impaired, and in great part 370 RENT-LAWS.
Lkctuki destroyed, by the great powers subsequently given to tbe — zemindars under the old huftum (seventh) and punjum (fifth) Regulations with a view to enable them to realise their rents. Under the huftum process (Regulation VII of 1799), the person of the ryot could be seized in default; under the punjum process (Regulation V of 1812) his property could be distrained; and in either case the proceedings commenced by what has been described as a strong presumption, equivalent to a knock down blow, against the ryot. The whole Rent Law was rescinded by Act X of 1859. The law of 1859 reduced the powers exercised by zemindars themselves, while it increased the grounds of enhancement and afforded the remedy of a summary process before Deputy Collectors, who were, however, often very insufficiently qualified. Rent suits are now transferred to the Civil Courts; they are better tried, and the rights of the ryots are more respected than they were; but, on the other hand, there are now good grounds of complaint that there is difficulty in quickly realising undisputed rents by legal process."
And I may add the following extracts1:—"When all intermediate (even to the very lowest) interests became rights of property in land, not only could the owner of any such interest carve it as a subject of property into other interests, by encumbering or alienating within the limits of the right, but even his ownership itself might be of that complex heterogeneous kind, which is seen in Hindoo jointparcenary.
"Let us look more nearly at the first side of this proposi-* tion. Remembering that a middle tenure or interest below
1 From Rustic Bengal, by J. B. P., in the Calcutta Reriew for 1874.