1. This is a Pull Bench which has been constituted to deal with what might have turned out to be a difficult point arising under Section 7(xi)(cc), Court-fees Act. There was a suit on foot in which the plaintiff was a landlord and the defendant was the tenant. That suit was started in 1942. In 1943 it was disposed of at the trial by a decree which gave possession to the plaintiff on payment of a sum of RS. 7000 to the defendant. How that came about it is not necessary for us to explain. In August 1943, the plaintiff appealed and the principal point which he took in his appeal was that he ought to have a decree for possession free from any condition of paying Rs. 7000. In substance, therefore, if his appeal had been successful, he would have escaped payment of that sum of Rs. 7000. On this appeal the plaintiff-appellant paid a certain court-fee, which, however, was not calculated ad valorem on that sum of Rs. 7000. The Chief Inspector of Stamps, when he heard of this, immediately took an objection and said that under the relevant provisions of the Court-fees Act the court-fee that ought to have been paid should have been calculated ad valorem on the sum of Rs. 7000. This in due course came as an issue in the appeal before the learned District Judge of Agra, who decided, following a decision of this High Court which has subsequently been affirmed by a Bench, that the Chief Inspector of Stamps was wrong and that the court, fee paid had been the proper one. The next step taken by the Chief Inspector of Stamps was under what we understand to be the new provisions of Section 6B, Court-fees Act. That section provides that where the Court which hears the Department's objection in the first place comes to a conclusion adverse to the Department, the Chief Inspector of Stamps may 'within three months from the date of receipt' of the Court's order, launch a revision proceeding to the High Court. That in this case the Chief Inspector did and it is that revision which is now before us.
2. In passing, we think it may be useful to observe that it should be the invariable practice of the Chief Inspector of Stamps when making such revision applications as this to the High Court to state in the body of his application the date on which he first received the order of the Court below. We say this because under Section 6B(1) a strict period of limitation has been imposed on the Chief Inspector of Stamps, and unless he discloses in his own application precisely what the date was on which he first received the order, it is impossible for the office to tell whether the revision has been presented in time or not. Moreover it should, of course, always be open to the other side to know the facts which give the right to the Chief Inspector of having the revision which he claims. We hope, therefore, that this observation may be taken in future as a matter of practice to guide the Chief Inspector of Stamps in making applications of this kind.
3. The actual revision before us has taken a somewhat peculiar course. While these arguments about the proper court-fee have been pending, the parties themselves to the original suit and appeal have come to terms. We do not know what those terms are and we are not concerned with them, but the fact is that at any rate prior to March 1945-nearly a year ago-they had agreed that the appeal should be dismissed without costs. That is quite clear from an order which we find on the record of this revision made by Sinha J. in which Mr. Jagdish Swarup stated very clearly that the matter had been compromised, and he pointed out that 'the revision has become practically infructuous.' The Standing Counsel then said that, as he had no instructions, the case should be adjourned for a month. Now, that circumstance has produced a very curious situation which is immediately apparent if one reads Section 6B(4), Court-fees Act. Sub-section (2) of that section empowers the Court on the revision application to make a declaration (if, of course, it thinks it ought to be made) that an insufficient court-fee has been paid and to fix the amount of the deficiency. Sub-section (4) provides that when the Court has done that and fixed the amount of the deficiency, then the matter shall proceed in one of two ways. It provides first for a case in which the appeal in respect of which the matter of the court-fee is in debate is still pending and in that case what it provides is that the procedure of Section 6(3) of the Act shall be followed; that is to say that the appellant shall be called upon to pay the deficiency within a certain time and, if he does not, his memorandum of appeal is to be rejected. It has to be noticed that the only penalty that a defaulting appellant suffers in such a case as that is that his memorandum of appeal is rejected. There are no provisions for the actual recovery from him of the amount of the deficiency. The second case for which Sub-section (4) provides is the case in which the appeal is no longer pending. In that case what the Act does is to say that the appellant shall be liable to have the amount of the deficiency recovered from him as if it were 'an arrear of land revenue.' This is certainly somewhat peculiar, because it appears that an appellant is in this respect in a far worse position if his appeal has been disposed of than he is if it is still pending, because in the latter case he always has an opportunity of snapping his fingers at the Chief Inspector of Stamps and, indeed, at the Court, and saying 'I am not going to pay it.' The only penalty is that he will have his memorandum of appeal rejected. In a case in which he still wishes to prosecute his appeal that may be a matter of consequence to him, but in a case such as this in which he has already settled his differences with his opponent, it is a matter of indifference to him.
4. Now, we can easily see the relevance of this in relation to the present circumstances. The appellant has already compromised his appeal in the sense that he has agreed with the respondent that it shall be compromised. Assuming that that compromise goes through, the appellant does not mind in the least if his memorandum of appeal is rejected. Unfortunately, when the application to record the compromise under Order 23, Rule 3, came before the District Judge of Agra, instead of dealing with it at once, he adjourned it pending the disposal of the present revision. If he had dealt with it at once, then, of course, the appellant would now have found himself in a difficult position, because the appeal would then have had to be treated as if it had been 'disposed of.' As it is, the appeal has not been disposed of and, as we have already pointed out, the appellant is in a position, even if we decide this question against him, of saying that it does not matter to him, as he already has an agreement for compromise. In these circumstances it is very obvious that so far as the recovery of any court-fee, or, indeed, the forcing of the appellant to pay any particular court-fee in these proceedings is concerned, all question has ceased. If we were to decide against the appellant, he would merely say that he is not going to pay it. We have pointed this out to Mr. Gupta who appears on behalf of the Chief Inspector of Stamps. We have also suggested, though of course, without having even considered the merits of the case, that it is possible we might be in agreement with the Bench of this Court which has already decided the matter adversely to the Chief Inspector of Stamps. Bearing these matters in mind Mr. Gupta has taken the view - and, if we may say so, not altogether un-naturally - that there is nothing to be gained and there may be something to be lost, from the point of view of the Department in pressing for a decision in circumstances which have made the actual question purely academic in the present case. Mr. Jagdish Swarup on behalf of the appellant has stated that his client intends to make, and will immediately make, an application to the Civil Judge of Agra, in further pursuance of the compromise petition which is still pending before that Court.
5. In those circumstances we think that the right order for us now to make is that we should set aside the order of the District Judge of Agra of 28th September 1943 and make no order on the Chief Inspector of Stamp's application dated 16th February 1944. There will be no order for costs in respect of these proceedings.