Norman Macleod, Kt., C.J.
1. This is a reference by the Superintendent of Stamps of the Central Provinces and Berar under Section 57 (1) (b) of the Indian Stamp Act.
2. Usuf Dadabhai filed a Suit in the civil Court on two bills of exchange of Rs. 500 each. One was stamped with an eight anna postage stamp and a one anna postage and revenue stamp equivalent to a sum of nine annas, the amount of duty leviable on the bill. The second bill of exchange was stamped with four eight anna postage stamps, two four anna postage stamps and one one anna postage and revenue stamp of the total value of Rs. 2-9-0 being stamps of the proper duty leviable on the bill.
3. The plaintiff applied under Section 37 of the Indian Stamp Act and Rule 18 of the Rules framed thereunder to the Collector for validation and certification of the bills, on payment of the duty required by the rule. The Collector passed an order that having regard to the ruling of the Judicial Commissioner's Court in Tukarmn v. Sonajee (1910) 7 N. L. R. 26 he had to hold that the instruments had been stamped with stamps of improper description. As stated in that case, the object of the Act was not to exclude evidence or to enable parties to avoid their obligations on technical grounds but to obtain revenue for the Government. That object had been served in the present case. He, therefore, directed that the applicant should affix stamps of the proper description, on which those two instruments should be held as duly stamped under Rule 16 framed under the Indian Stamp Act.
4. The documents were then admitted in evidence and a decree was passed in favour of the plaintiff.
5. As the decision of the Judicial Commissioner's Court appeared to be in conflict with the decision in Reference under Section 57 of Act II of I. L. R.1899 All. 213 the Superintendent, on the matter being brought to his notice by the defendant in the suit, thought it advisable to submit the case to this Court for a decision whether the words 'improper description' used in Rule 18 were confined to stamps issued by Government for the purposes of the Act as described in Rule 3 (1), or were applicable to stamps of any description issued by Government in any Department.
6. No one has been instructed on behalf of the Superintendent of Stamps to argue the question before us, but the pleader for the plaintiff and counsel for the defendant have appeared. We do not think that there is any case within the meaning of Section 57 (1) of the Indian Stamp Act. The Collector has validated the documents on stamps of the proper description being affixed to them. The documents have been admitted and a decree has been passed The decision of this Court on the reference, therefore, could have no effect on the case. It would be merely a decision on the abstract question referred.
7. Section 59 defines the procedure to be followed by the High Court in disposing of the case stated. It runs : 'The High Court or Chief Court, upon the hearing of any such case, shall decide the question raised thereby, and shall deliver its judgment thereon containing the grounds on which such decision is founded. (2) The Court shall send to the Revenue-authority by which the case was stated a copy of such judgment under the seal of the Court and the signature of the Registrar; and the Revenue-authority shall, on receiving such copy, dispose of the case conformably to such judgment.' There must then be a case which is to be disposed of by the Revenue authority on receipt of the High Court judgment, If we were to give a decision on this abstract question, and a copy of our judgment sent under the seal of the Court and the signature of the Registrar to the Revenue-authority there would be no case for him for disposal on receipt of this judgment.
8. In our opinion, therefore, the reference is not competent.