D.M. Chandrashekhar, C.J.
1. This appeal is from the ruling of Puttaswamy J., regarding the court-fee payable in Writ Petition No. 11630 of 1978.The petitioner therein has presented this appeal For the sake of convenience, he will hereinafter be referred to as the petitioner.
2. In the writ petition, the petitioner had impugned the order of the Tahsildar and Taluk Executive Magistrate, T. Narasipur (hereinafter referred to as 'the Executive Magistrate') dated 7-8-1978 rejecting his (the petitioner's) application made under - the Karnataka Debt Relief Act, 1976 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act). In that application, he had prayed for declaring the mortgages executed by him in favour of respondents 2 to 11 in the writ petition, -as having stood redeemed and for putting him in possession of the mortgaged properties. The Executive Magistrate dismissed- that application holding that he (the petitioner) was not a 'debtor' as defined in clause (c) of Section 3 of the Act.
3. The office of this Court has raised an objection that the court-fee of Rs. 100/paid on the writ petition, was not sufficient and that the petitioner' had to pay deficient court-fee of Rs. 900/-because he had sought for relief in respect of 10 separate mortgage transactions with respondents 2 to 11 therein, that although the Executive Magistrate had passed a common order, the petitioner had a distinct interest in respect of each item of property mortgaged separately in favour of each of respondents 2 to 11 and that as such he had to pay separate court-fee in respect of each transaction with respondents 2 to 11 separately.
4. The office objection came up for consideration before the learned single Judge who upheld it and directed the petitioner to pay the deficient court-fee of Rs. 900/- or to confine the writ petition to any one transaction only with one of creditors respondents 2 to 11.
5. Feeling aggrieved by that ruling- of the learned single Judge the petitioner has presented this appeal.
6. We issued notice to the learned Government Advocate as a question -of court fee arises in this appeal. The learned Government Advocate entered appearance and addressed, arguments in support of the ruling of he learned single Judge.
7. Court-fee payable on a writ petition, is governed by Clause (s) of Art. II in Sch .II to the Karnataka Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1958 (hereinafter referred to as the court-fees Act l. That. clause reads:
(s) Petition to the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution for a writ other than the writ of Habeas Corpus, or a petition under, Art; 227 of the constitution
8. Thus, it is seen that under the Court fees Act a fixed court-fee of Rs. 100/- is payable on a writ petition irrespective- of the value of the subject, matter thereof .
9. In holding that the court-fee of Rs. 100/- paid by the petitioner was not sufficient and that he was liable to pay a deficient court-fee of Rs. 900/-. The reasoning of the learned single Judge was as follows:
'The claim made by the petitioner in re separate and distinct through the result may very much depend on the status to be determined by the Magistrate. As to whether there was one application before the Magistrate an the same has been disposed of by one order cannot be decisive in examining the validity of the office objection ......
Rule 7 of the Rules (Writ Proceedings Rules, 1977) provides for the procedure to be followed in filing common petitions Involving common questions of law and fact. That rule provides that several persons having similar but separate and distinct interests in the subject matter of controversy involving common questions of law and fact may file-a common petition which is equivalent to the filing of a separate writ petition by each of the petitioners; and each petitioner .is required to pay separate court-fee as if be has filed a separate writ petition .........In my view the same is the position even When only one person files writ petitions against different persons with separate and distinct interests though they may involve common questions of law and fact... .. ... .. ..'
The learned single 'Judge also relied on the decision of this Court in Mount Corporation V. Director of Industries and Commerce, (1964) 1 Mys LJ 513 : (AIR 1965 Mys, 143).
10. Rule 7 of the Writ Proceedings Rules, 1977 made by this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution deals with common or joint petitions filed by several persons. But, that rule does not deal with petitions filed by same person but based upon different causes of action and praying for different relief-, based upon such causes of action. That rule also does not- state whether in such circumstances a separate writ petition should be presented in respect of each cause of action or in respect of each relief sought for. Nor does that rule state what should be the court-fee payable if a single writ petition is presented based on distinct and separate causes of action and praying distinct and separate reliefs based on them. There is no provision in the Writ Proceedings Rules expressly dealing with those questions. We are unable to agree with the view taken by, the learned single Judge that Rule 7 should be understood as providing that when a person Was a writ petition against different persons having separate and distinct interests, such petition should be treated as equivalent to filing separate writ petition against each of those persons and that the courtfee payable on such petition should be the aggregate amount of court-fee which would be chargeable if separate petitions were presented in respect of each cause of action and against each
11. The decision of this Court in Mount Corporation's case (AIR 1965 Mys 143) deals with the joint petition 'by two or more petitioners, each claiming his own right and, complaining of an individual injury. That decision also does not deal with the question of one petitioner presenting a petition based on distinct and separate cases of action and claiming distinct and separate relief against several persons. Hence, that decision also cannot be of any assistance to the present case.
12. The learned, Government Advocate invited our attention to subsections (3) and (4) of S. 6 of the Court4ees Act. Those sub-sections read :
(3) Where a suit embraces two or more distinct and different causes of action' and separate reliefs are sought based on them, either alternatively or cumulatively, the plaint shall be chargeable with the aggregate amount of the fees with which plaints would be chargeable under this act if separate suits were instituted in of the several causes of action-
Provided that, when the Causes of action respect of reliefs claimed alternatively against the same person arise out of the same transaction, the plaint shall be chargeable only with the highest of the fees chargeable on them.Nothing in this sub-sec shall deemed to affect any power conferred upon a Court under R. 6 of O. 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Central Act V of 1908).
(4) The provisions of this section shall apply mulattoes mutandis of appeals, applications petitions and written statements.
The learned Government Advocate agreed that sub-section (4) of S. 6 of Court fees Act makes sub-section (3) of that section applicable to writ petition also and that if a writ petition embraces two
Or more distinct and separate causes of action and separate reliefs are sought for based on such separate causes of action, the court-fee payable on the writ petition should be the aggregate amount of the court-fee payable if a separate writ petition had been presented in respect of each cause of action or in respect of separate relief against each person.
13. In the present case, what has been impugned in the writ petition, is the order of the Executive Magistrate. Even if the concept of cause of action should be imported into writ petitions, the cause of action in the present writ petition, is the passing of the impugned order by the Executive Magistrate and the main relief sought for in the writ petition, is quashing of that order. The other relief. namely, issuing a mandamus to the Executive Magistrate to dispose of the petitioner's application in accordance with law, is only a consequential relief. Assuming for sake of argument that sub-section (3) of Section 6 of the Court-fees Act, is applicable to petitions under Art. 226 of the Constitution, that subsection has no application to the present writ petition, because there is only one cause of action therein and only one main relief is sought for therein.
14. However, the learned Government Advocate argued that the petitioner's ten distinct and separate transactions with respondents 2 to 11 separately, should be regarded as constituting ten distinct and separate causes of action in the writ petition and that the relief sought for in the writ petition should also be regarded as being ten distinct and separate reliefs in respect of those ten distinct and separate transactions and that hence sub-section (3) of Section 6 was attracted.
15. Even if ten distinct and separate transactions between the petitioner and respondents 2 to 11 constituted distinct and separate causes of action for the application made by the petitioner before the Executive Magistrate and ten distinct and separate reliefs against those respondents were sought for in that application, so far as the writ petition is concerned there is only one cause of action, namely, passing of the impugned order by the Executive. Magistrate, and seeking only one main relief based on such cause of. action. Hence, there is no liability to pay anything more than the court-fee payable on one writ petition only.
16. The view we have taken, was also the view taken in Vittal v. Land Tribunal. (1979) 2 Kant LJ 382 : (AIR l9go NOC 168 (Kant)) decided by one of us (Venkatachala, J.). There, in a writ petition the petitioner had impugned the common order of a land Tribunal made on rival application of 3 persons under S. 48-A of the Karnataka land Reforms Act, 194i,l, each claiming to be the tenant of the same land belonging so the writ petitioner. Those applications were clubbed together and were disposed of by the Land Tribunal by its common order which had. been impugned in that writ petition. The question arose there, whether the petitioner had to present three separate writ petitions against those three applicants or pay on one writ petition the aggregate amount of court-fee which would have been paid if three separate writ petitions had been presented. It was held that a single petition was maintainable and the court-fee payable thereon was only. Rs. 100. The office objection that a court-fee of Rs. 300 was payable on the writ petition, was overruled.
17. We are unable to agree with the ruling of the learned single Judge that the petitioner has to pay Rs. 900 as deficient court-fee or confine his writ petition to any one creditor respondent.
18. In the result, we allow this appeal, reverse the ruling of the learned single Judge, overrule the office objection that the petitioner should pay a further sum of Rs. 900 as deficient court-fee and direct the office of this Court to register the writ petition, number it and to post it for preliminary hearing.
19. In this appeal, parties will bear their own costs.
20. Appeal allowed.