1. This matter comes before the Court on reference by the Office. It arises in the following circumstances :
2. C.R.P. 1884/58 has been filed by the plaintiff against the orders of the Courts of the subordinate Judge, Eluru, which directed the plaintiff to pay ad valorem court-fee on the entire value of the suit properties. The contention of the plaintiff that he is liable to pay court-fee on 3/4ths of the market value under section 21 of the Andhra Court Fees Act has been raised, but decided against by the Court of the Subordinate Judge, Eluru. That Court demanded payment of court-fee under Section 7 Clause (v) of Act VII of 1870.
Against this order is the present revision application in which the office insisted upon the process being taken out for all the respondents. But the contention on behalf of the petitioner has been that as the matter in question in the revision petition relates to court-fee and concerns the Government and the plaintiff only, the defendants need not be parties to the revision petition, and even if they are made parties, it is not necessary that all of them should be served with notice of this revision petition.
3. It is undeniable that at the stage of the presentation of the plaint if an objection as regards the court-fee is taken by the Court sue motu, the matter indeed relates only to one which concerns the plaintiff and the Government, the defendants at that stage cannot have their say in the matter of court-fee and if a revision petition is to be filed against the orders concerning the determination of the court-fee at such a stage, it is only the plaintiff that can do so. The defendants in such cases have no right to file any revision petition. This position has been upheld by the Full Bench decision in Murthiraju v. Suhbaraju, AIR 1944 Mad 315 where the decisions in Kulandaivelu Nachiar v. Ramaswami, ILR 51 Mad 664: (AIR 1928 Mad 416) and Kattia Pillai v. Ramaswami Pillai, 56 Mad. L.J. 394 ; (AIR 1929 Mad 396) on this point have been affirmed.
But the office points out that this Full Bench decision should be taken to govern only cases where the defendants are ex parte, meaning perhaps thereby that when suits are filed and after notice to the defendants are served if the objection relating to court-fee is to be considered the position would be different. Therefore it becomes necessary to set out the facts of the case in order to find out whether the defendants have been already on record at the time when the question of court-fee was determined and therefore notice to them in the revision petition is inevitable.
4. The plaintiff filed the suit on 19-6-1958 in the Court of the Subordinate Judge, Eluru. But this suit has also a prior history. The plaintiff instituted the O.S. No. 313 of 1955 in the District Munsifs Court, Kovvur, for the same reliefs as are prayed for in the present plaint filed in the Court of the Subordinate Judge, Eluru. But that plaint in O.S. 313 of 1955 was returned on 25-2-1956 because the Munsiffs Court held that it had no jurisdiction. As already stated, this presentation of the fresh plaint is clearly nearly four months thereafter. Having regard to the time, that has elapsed and the fact that it is sought to be filed as fresh plaint in the Court of the. Subordinate Judge, Eluru, it cannot he held that this is a case of re-presentation of a returned plaint but only the presentation of a Fresh plaint. If this aspect is borne in mind it would become clear that in this suit as instituted in the Court of the Subordinate Judge no notice to the defendants could be said to have been clearly served. Therefore the defendants not having been given notice of the suit they have neither right to prefer a revision petition nor could it be, said that they are necessary parties in this revision petition. In such circumstances, if the petitioner herein has chosen to serve only a few of the respondents, that again would not constitute the reason for insisting service upon the other respondents.
5. It is no doubt true that when the question of jurisdiction arises the giving of notice to the defendant in the suit or notice to a respondent in a revision petition filed against any order in such suit is enjoined upon the plaintiff, To that effect is the decision of Panchapakesa Aiyar J., in Subrahmanyam v. Lakshmi Narayanamma, AIR 1949 Mad. 415. But the same reasoning will not apply to the cases where the dispute is in regard to the court-fee between the plaintiff and the Government alone. In this view, I hold that no notice is necessary, for the respondents whom the petitioner does not choose to serve.