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ROWEL MUDALIYAR v. PIERIS et al.
G. R., Chilaw, 2,299.
Right of Crown to license use of foreshore of the sea—Competency of MudaUyArof District to sue for rent for Crown land.
It is competent for the Crown, by its regularly appointed agents, togrant licenses to fishermen to spread their nets on the seashore or onland belonging to the Crown adjacent to the seashore.
Rent for Crown land cannot be sued for in the name of theMudaliy&r of the District, but in that of the Queen.
HE plaintiff in thiB case was “A. de Rowel, Mudaliynr,Mudaliydr of the Southern Division, Vaikkal,” who alleged
in his plaint that he had been authorized in writing by theAssistant Government Agent for the District of Chilaw torepresent the Crown in this suit.
He sued the defendants for the recovery of five rupees, in that“they occupied by permission of the Assistant Government“ Agent for the District of Chilaw from November, 1893, to April,“ 1894, a portion of land belonging to the Crown, in extent 500“ by 12 yards, and bordering the foreshore, situate at,” &c.
The defendants pleaded, inter alia, that they were fishermenby trade, and that they and their ancestors, who were also fisher-man, had, “ by long usage and ancient custom,” hauled .their“ fishing nets, boats, tackle, Ac., on the land bordering the foreshore“ of certain villages, free of payment to, and independent of, the“ Crown or other person ; and that the Assistant GovernmentVOL. I.M
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“ Agent, through his headman, attempted to levy an illegal and“ nnanthorized tax by the issue of licenses to the fishermen who“ had need the .foreshore for the purposes aforesaid," and that, onpetition preferred, His Excellency the Governor had directed thediscontinuance of the levy of the fee complained of.
The Commissioner (Mr. Lewis), after hearing evidence, referredto case No. 2,097 D. C., Colombo (1 S. C. Reports, 11), and gavejudgment for plaintiff for one rnpee.
On appeal, Dornhorst appeared for defendant appellant.
Tempter, Acting S.-G., for plaintiff respondent.
21st February, 1895. Lawrie, A.C.J.—
I entertain no doubt that it is competent for the Crown, by itsregularly appointed agents, to grant licenses to fishermen tospread their nets on the seashore or on land belonging to theCrown adjacent to the shore. It seems to me to be reasonable tomake use of such land, but without the express or tacit licensefrom the Crown to occupy the land adjoining the sea, the fishingtrade wonld be impossible. In this case the defendant has beenvery tenderly dealt with by Mr. Lewis.
The decree against which the defendant appeals is to pay onerupee, and no costs. Holding, as I do, that this bit of landadjoining the seashore is a land at the disposal of the Crown, andthat the defendant for some part of the six months in questionoccupied the land from time to time by stretching his nets there,that he had been informed by the Mudaliyar of the District thathe must pay a small rent, and that he had somewhat unwillinglyagreed to do so, I shall not disturb this judgment, but I mustpoint out that the Mudaliyar had no title to Bue in Mb own name.The suit ought to have been in the name of Her Majesty theQueen; to her is due this rent; she alone has right to sue for it;but this defect has not occasioned any failure of justice. I affirmthe judgment. The Commissioner found no costs to be due to orby either party in the Court below ; let that be followed by nocosts in appeal.
ROWEL MUDALIYAR v. PIERIS et al