Skip to content


In Re: Radhibai Rupji Sunderji - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Case NumberPetition No. 57 of 1931
Judge
Reported in(1931)33BOMLR864
AppellantIn Re: Radhibai Rupji Sunderji
Excerpt:
.....it is open to the applicant for probate of the will to state what he considers to be the fair value of the debt for purposes of pro bate duty.; in the goods of e.l. beake (1874) 13 beng. l.r. app, 24 and in the goods of ram chunder ghose (1897) i.l.r. 24 cal. 567 dissented from. - section 31(4) (since repealed) :[tarun chatterjee & h.l.dattu, jj] jurisdiction of high court - respondent, a government company, chartered appellants vessel to carry rock phosphate from togo to west coast india - dispute arose between parties - under agreement, respondent had chosen mumbai as port of delivery vessel carrying rock phosphate was delivered at port of bombay - application filed by respondent earlier before delhi high court for appointment of certain individual as arbitrator had become..........the figure which they are estimated to produce.4. in my view, therefore, there should be a direction that the applicant is entitled to put upon the judgment-debt forming part of the estate what he considers to be the fair value, and probate should be granted to him on that estimate, unless the revenue authority takes action under section 19h.5. no order as to costs.
Judgment:

John Beaumont, Kt., C.J.

1. This is a reference which has been made to me by the Taxing Master under Section 5 of the Court-fees Act, and the question is whether a judgment-debt which formed part of the deceased's estate ought to be included in the application for probate at its face value, or at the amount which it is estimated to produce. The face value of the judgment-debt is Rs. 10,000, but, according to the applicant, the chances of recovering that amount are remote and he estimates the sum likely to be recovered at Rs. 500.

2. Under schedule III of the Court-fees Act of 1870, there is a form of solemn affirmation for obtaining probate, and in the annexture to that form are set out various heads of property and the manner in which they are to be valued, for instance cash in the house and at the banks, household goods, wearing apparel, books, plate, jewel, etc., have to be valued and estimate given, property in Government Securities has to be valued at the price of the day, property in public companies has to be valued at the price of the day. Then comes the heading 'book debt (other than bad)' and then comes 'other property not comprised under the foregoing heads (state the estimated value, if any.)' Judgment-debts seem to me to come under the last sub-title 'other property not comprised under the foregoing heads' and the schedule provides that the applicant has to state the value, if any.

3. In my view, the applicant is entitled to state what he considers to be the fair value of the judgment-debt, and to apply for probate on that basis. If the revenue authority is not satisfied with the estimate he can deal with the matter under Section 19H. I understand that a practice has grown up of requiring debts to be brought in at their face value following an old decision of Sir Richard Couch in In the Goods of E.L. Beake (1874) 13 B. L.R. 24 and a later decision of Sir Francis William Maclean in In the Goods of Ram Chunder Ghose ILR (1897) Cal. 567; but those decisions were before the present schedule was framed and are not binding upon me. I see no reason why debts should not be valued. If too low a value is placed on a debt, further duty must be paid under Section 19E, and if too high a value is placed on a debt part of the duty must be refunded under Section 19A. I am inclined to think that the same rule should apply to a book debt as to a judgment-debt. The Advocate General has pointed out that the schedule does not refer to 'bad and doubtful debts' but only to 'bad debts,' but he concedes that the expression is used in a loose sense. Strictly speaking no debt can be treated as bad which remains a debt, for as long as the debt is there, there is a possibility of recovering it. But I think the reference to debts which are bad is made in the ordinary commercial sense and denotes debts which are not likely to be recovered in full and that they must be valued at the figure which they are estimated to produce.

4. In my view, therefore, there should be a direction that the applicant is entitled to put upon the judgment-debt forming part of the estate what he considers to be the fair value, and probate should be granted to him on that estimate, unless the revenue authority takes action under Section 19H.

5. No order as to costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //