Robert Stuart, C.J.
1. This is a reference to the Full Bench of the Court by Straight, J., and my self respecting a deficiency of court fees reported to us by the Office. The question was raised in a first appeal (No. 15 of 1879), which came before us as a Division Bench, and the report of the Office stated that the plaintiff claimed to recover possession of certain immoveable properties valued at Rs. 1,666-1-101/2, and also to recover certain documents and other moveable properties valued at Rs. 1,032-9-11, the total claim being laid at Rs. 2,698-11-94. The report suggested that there were here two distinct subjects embraced in the suit, and that the court fees in the appeal should be Rs. 190, i.e., Rs. 110 for the claim relating to immoveable property, and Rs. 80 for the claim relating to documents and other moveables. But the plaintiff-appellant had only paid Rs. 160 in the lower Court and this Court, the deficiency being Rs. 30 in each or Rs. 60 in both Courts.
2. The question thus raised has been before a Full Bench in the case of Chamaili Rani v. Ram Dai I.L.R. 1 All. 552, but as the law did not appear to us so distinctly laid down in the opinions of some of the Judges in that case as was desirable, it appeared to us that it would be satisfactory that the question should be reconsidered by the Court, and we therefore referred the matter to the present Full Bench.
3. On the general question of the construction to be applied to the case, I am not aware that I can express myself more clearly than I did in my judgment in Chamaili Rani v. Ram Dai I.L.R. 1 All. 552. I there stated that 'the meaning of the words 'distinct subjects' in Section 17 of Act VII of 1870 is shown with sufficient clearness in that section itself, when it states that ' the plaint or memorandum of appeal shall be chargeable with the aggregate amount of the fees to which the plaints or memoranda of appeal in suits embracing separately each of such subjects would be liable under the Act.' This, I think, can only mean that the two or more distinct subjects are to be so chargeable as being distinct causes of action. The words ' plaints or memoranda of appeals in suits' in the section show this to my mind conclusively, and it is not enough that the distinct subjects should be merely separate and distinct matters embraced in the claim:' and I remain entirely of the same opinion. This Section 17 plainly relates to multifarious suits which are allowable by Section 45 of the Code of Procedure, Act X of 1877, a circumstance which appears to me to supply us at once with the principle by means of which we may solve the difficulty, showing that 'distinct subjects' must for the purpose of the Court Fees Act be distinct and separate claims or causes of action in single and separate suits, but which for the purpose of jurisdiction, or the convenience of the procedure, may be united in one suit. And this is shown still more clearly in Section 17 itself, where 'distinct subjects' are described as distinct subjects 'in suits embracing separately each of such subjects,' in other words, as I understand this section, even if we had not the light thrown upon the point by Section 9 of the old and by Section 45 of the new Code of Procedure, distinct and separate causes of action in distinct and separate suits.
4. In regard to the present case I am of opinion that the report of the Office is right. The plaint clearly claims, first, possession of the disputed property by voidance of the deed of gift, and, secondly, to recover certain moveable property or the price or value thereof. These are plainly two distinct subjects of suit or causes of action, and they must be separately considered with reference to the court fees to be charged on each. I would, therefore, make an order in conformity with the report of the office.
5. I entirely agree in the views and conclusions of the Chief Justice.
6. If there was any vagueness in the opinion expressed by me, when the subject of this reference was last before the Court, I desire to explain my meaning, and I hope more successfully on the present occasion, as follows. It was admitted at the hearing, and indeed, looking at the marginal note to Section 17 of the Court Fees Act, it could not be denied, that the section refers to multifarious suits. The wording of Section 17 of the Court Pees Act, 'Where a suit embraces two or more distinct subjects,' may be read with Section 45, Act X of 1877, which runs as follows:-- 'Subject to the rules contained in Section 44 the plaintiff may unite in the same suit several causes of action, and any plaintiffs having causes of action against the same defendants may unite such causes of action in the same suit.' Such a suit would embrace two or more distinct subjects. The second paragraph of this section corresponds with Section 9, Act VIII of 1859, referred to in the second paragraph of Section 17 of the Court Fees Act. The third paragraph of Section 45 provides that, 'When causes of action are united, the jurisdiction of the Court as regards the suit shall depend on the amount or value of the aggregate subject-matters at the date of instituting the suit' This provision is, of course, made with a view to determine the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the suit. But it is noticeable that 'causes of action' and 'subject-matters' are clearly distinguished in this section. I would, therefore, say regarding the two or more 'distinct subjects of a suit,' that they are the 'subject-matters of a suit' in which several 'causes of action' have been united, under the provisions of Section 45 subject to the rules contained in Section 44 of Act X of 1877, and, therefore, in such a suit the plaint or memorandum of appeal is chargeable with the aggregate amount of the fees to which each plaint or memorandum of appeal would be chargeable under the Act. The words, be it observed, are 'would be liable,' not 'is liable,' under the Act. There must, therefore, be several causes of action, and these several causes of action must be united in the same suit, and the subject-matters, 'or two or more distinct subjects,' of each cause of action united in the same suit, must be charged, as if each cause had not been so united in the same suit, but had been taken into Court by a separate plaint or memorandum of appeal.
7. The words 'multifarious suits' in the margin of Section 17, Court Fees Act, and the reference in the last part of the section to Section 9, Act VIII of 1859, with which part of Section 45, Act X of 1877, corresponds, sufficiently show, in my opinion, that Section 17, Court Fees Act, has reference to a suit which embraces two or more distinct subjects under separate causes of action, which might or ought to have been made subject of separate suits, in fact, when the suit is multifarious and of the nature of those referred to in Section 9, Act VIII of 1859, and Section 45, Act X of 1877.
8. In this view, I am of opinion that the court-fee should be levied in the suit before us, which is not of the nature of those to which Section 17 refers, on the total value of the claim, i.e., Rs. 2,698-11-91/2.