1. A point of some import is raised in this revision petition. It relates to applications for leave to file suit in forma pauperis. The question is whether a duty is cast on an applicant for such leave to disclose all the properties belonging to him in his application and if he does not, whether such non-disclosure would entail dismissal of his application.
2. The material facts are : The petitioner filed a suit for eviction of the respondents from certain properties and for delivering the same to him. He filed an application to file the suit in forma pauperis and in the B Schedule appended to the petition he had shown half joint share in a thatched house worth about Rs. 500/- and few items of apparel. The Court-fee payable is Rs. 1,546/-. The respondents opposed this application saying that he had means to pay the Court-fee and the he had not disclosed in the petition all his assets. In fact in the cross-examination of the petitioner, examined as P.W. 1, it was brought out that he owns some site, and a cattle shed, that house tax was being paid in his name for that property, that there was a granary, and that he got life interest in the site, cattle shed and granary. However, he did not show that asset in the B Schedule of his petition. The lower Court rejected his request for leave on the ground that he had not shown utmost good faith and suppressed certain assets of his in the petition. It is this order that is sought to be revised.
3. Sri E. Raja Rao contends that what the petitioner has in the undisclosed property is only a life interest. Having a life interest does not mean that he has any means to pay the Court-fee. In any case, the property, even if disclosed, would not fetch sufficient money to pay the Court-fee. It is not necessary for an applicant to disclose the properties in which he has only a life interest.
4. I am not inclined to accept this contention of Sri Raja Rao, Rule 2 of Order 33, Civil Procedure Code says that every application for permission to sue as a pauper shall contain the particulars required in regard to plaints in suits and a schedule of any moveable or immovable property belonging to him with the estimated value thereof. Rule 5 (a) of that order provides for the rejection of the application where it is not framed and presented in the manner prescribed by Rules 2 and 3. Therefore, if the application for permission to sue as a pauper does not contain a full and complete statement of all moveable and immovable properties belonging to the applicant, it is liable to be dismissed under Rule 5 (a). Nobody can say that life interest is not property. The undisputed fact is that the petitioner has a life interest in certain properties which he has not disclosed in the petition. Reading Order 33, particularly with reference to Rule 2 read with Rule 5(a) it is manifest that every applicant should approach the Court for leave to sue as a pauper with a full and complete disclosure of his moveable and immoveable property assets. If he does not do it, the application is liable to be dismissed. The motive for such non-disclosure is immaterial. Even if the undisclosed property is not sufficient to pay the Court-fee it does not alter the situation. It is fro the applicant to disclose to the Court all his assets and to show that these assets would not be sufficient to raise money to pay the necessary Court-fee. When he fails to disclose such an asset, he must necessarily incur the result of rejection of the application postulated by Rule 5(a). This is also the view taken by a single Judge of the Madras High Court in Kuppuswami v. Varadappa , AIR 1943 Mad 11 and affirmed by a Bench Decision of the Madras High Court in Chellamal v. Muthulakshmi, AIR 1945 Mad 296 = (ILR (1945) Mad 628). This view is further reiterated by the Madras High Court in Rajakumar Bhagwatsaran v. V.P.V. Rajan, (1971) 1 Mad LJ 510.
5. Sri Raja Rao, however, argues that owning life interest is not owning any property within the meaning of R. 3 of O. 33 and so, an applicant is not obliged or required to disclose any life interest he has in any property. He relies on a single Judge's decision in Munnian v. Kesava, : AIR1955Mad467 to support this proposition. I do not think that the decision helps the contention of the learned counsel. Basheer Ahmed Sayeed, J., referred to the fact that the petitioner therein was in possession of two items of property by virtue of the settlement deed which provided that he would not be entitled to alienate or otherwise encumber the property. In the view of the learned Judge a life interest in these two items of property would not make him a person possessed of sufficient means to pay the Court- fee required on the plaint in that case. But the point is that those properties and the petitioner's rights therein were disclosed in the application filed by the petitioner for leave to sue in forma pauperis. So, the question of non-disclosure did not arise in that case. Utmost good faith is required of the petitioner when he disclosed his properties and assets. Whatever may be the motive, if he fails to disclose them, it must result in the dismissal of the petition. This consequence necessarily follows from reading R. 2 of O. 33 with R. 5(a) of that order. I am, therefore, satisfied that the lower Court has rightly rejected the application of the petitioner.
6. In the circumstances, the revision petition is dismissed with costs. Time for payment of Court- fee one month from to-day.
7. Revision dismissed.