Narayan G. Chandavarkar, Kt., Acting C.J.
1. This appeal arises out of a suit which had been brought by the present appellant in the Court of the Subordinate Judge, First Class, Belgaum, for a declaration that he was the adopted son of one Venkatrao deceased, and that as such he was entitled to his property.
2. The plaint was valued at Rs. 130 for a declaration of the fight, and at Rs. 69,016-9-0 for pleaders' fees. The plaintiff alleged in the plaint that a house forming part of the subject, matter of the suit was in the possession of the plaintiff himself and that the defendant was obstructing him. He prayed for an injunction to issue restraining the defendant from interfering with the plaintiff's rights in respect of that house. The injunction was valued at Rs. 5. The plaintiff further alleged that the rest of the property, belonging to the deceased Venkatrao and valued at Rs. 69,016-9-0, was in the possession of the Collector, having been attached by him after the death of Venkatrao. As to that property, the plaintiff sought a bare declaration of his right as Venkatrao's adopted son. As all the property was partly in Athni and partly in Chikodi, and, ' therefore, outside the ordinary jurisdiction of the Subordinate Judge's Court at Belgaum, that Court could try the suit only under its special jurisdiction.
3. The Subordinate Judge tried the suit under his special jurisdiction and held that the appellant was the adopted son of Venkatrao. A decree was accordingly passed in favour of the plaintiff.
4. The defendant appealed to the District Court at Belgaum, There a preliminary objection was raised by the present appellant, who was respondent in the appeal, that the appeal lay, not to the District Court, but to this Court, because the suit had been tried in the Court of the Subordinate Judge at Belgaum under that Court's special jurisdiction. The learned District Judge held that the Subordinate Judge, First Class, at Belgaum, had no jurisdiction to try the suit under his special jurisdiction, because the suit having been for a declaration with consequential relief and the relief having been valued at Rs. 5 for the purposes of Court-fee, the valuation for the purposes of jurisdiction was the same as that for the purposes of Court-fee and that valuation was less than Rs. 5,000, according to the decision of this Court in Vachhani Keshabhai v. Vachhani Nanbha (1908) 11 Bom. L. R. 30. The District Judge was also of opinion that the Subordinate Judge had no jurisdiction to try the suit under his ordinary jurisdiction, because the property to which the suit related was outside that jurisdiction. Nevertheless, the District Judge held that he had jurisdiction to dispose of the appeal on the merits, because neither party ' hinted that he had been prejudiced by the lower Court's erroneous assumption of jurisdiction '. The District Judge found the adoption set up by the plaintiff not proved and disallowed his claim.
5. From that decree this second appeal has been filed. The principal contention in support of the second appeal is that the suit was within the special jurisdiction of the Subordinate Judge, First Class, Belgaum, and that, therefore, an appeal from his decree lay, not to the District Court, but to the High Court.
6. The appellant's argument is as follows:-The suit comprised two subjects-(i) property in the custody of the Collector, of the value of more than Rs. 5,000, and (2) property in the plaintiff s possession of the value of less than Rs. 5,000. Plaintiff asked for a bare declaration of title as to the former; as to the latter he asked for a declaration with consequential relief, valued at Rs. 5. Though the latter relief was of a value less than Rs. 5000, the former exceeded that value ; hence the suit was within the special jurisdiction of the Subordinate Judge, First Class, at Belgaum.
7. It has been argued for the respondent that as this was a suit for a declaration with a consequential relief and the consequential relief had been valued at Rs. 5, the suit must be treated as one for a declaratory decree with consequential relief and that, therefore, the valuation having been less than Rs. 5,000, the suit lay in the First Class Subordinate Judge's Court at Belgaum under its ordinary jurisdiction.
8. But that is not the correct view to take of the plaint. In the plaint, the appellant distinctly states that he laid claim to two subjects, i. e., two kinds of properties. First, there was property in the possession of the Collector and its value exceeded Rs. 5,000. That property having been in the possession of the' Collector, it was not necessary for and allowable to the plaintiff to ask for an injunction. He was entitled to ask only for a declaration of his title. Then there was the other subject-matter of the suit, namely, the house as to which the plaintiff was entitled to ask for a declaration and consequential relief. With reference to this second subject-matter, it was open to the plaintiff to put his own valuation on the plaint, and he did it, and if the suit had been confined to this second subject-matter, then it would have been within the ordinary jurisdiction of the Subordinate Judge's a Court at Belgaum, provided the house was within the limits of that jurisdiction. But plainly it was not.
9. It is, however, contended before us for the respondent that according to the Court Fees' Act, read with the Suits' Valuation Act, we have provision made only for two classes of suits, one a suit for a bare declaration and the other a suit for a declaration with consequential relief. There is, it is urged, no third class of suits provided for, namely, a suit for a bare declaration and also for a declaration with consequential relief. Upon reasoning we are asked to ignore the relief in the plaint for a bare declaration and to look solely to the relief by way of declaration and consequential relief.
10. Section 17 of the Court Fees' Act is an answer to the argument in question. It provides that ' where a suit em* braces two or more distinct subjects, the plaint or memorandum of appeal shall be chargeable with the aggregate ' amount of the fees to which the plaints or memoranda of appeal in suits embracing separately each of such subjects would be liable under this Act.'
11. Here there are two distinct subjects, one, the property with the Collector valued at Rs. 60,000 odd ; the other, the house valued at less than Rs. 5,000. The declaration as to the former can only be of a valuation of more than Rs. 5,000 both for Court-fee and jurisdiction. The valuation of both would be the aggregate of the fees to which the plaint would be liable, having regard to these two subjects. Therefore the suit lay within the special jurisdiction of the Subordinate Judge First Class at Belgaum and the appeal could lie only to this Court and not to the District Court.
12. The decree, therefore, of the District Court must be reversed and the memorandum of appeal to that Court must be returned to the respondent in this appeal for presentation to this Court.
13. The appellant must have his costs of this appeal and also of the appeal to the District Court.