1. A preliminary objection has been raised to the hearing of this appeal. Mr. Narain Prasad who appears for the plaintiff-respondent, argues that the appeal does not lie to this Court but to the Court of the District Judge. The suit out of which the appeal has arisen was a suit for accounts and in paragraph 8 of the plaint the plaintiff stated that the valuation of the subject-matter of the suit for purposes of jurisdiction and payment of Court-fee was Rs. 2,500. The suit was accordingly laid in the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Agra. The learned Subordinate Judge has given the plaintiff a decree for Rs. 5,796-9-3. We have now this appeal by the defendant and the appeal is valued in this Court at the amount which has been awarded in the decree of the Subordinate Judge.
2. Mr. Narain Prasad argues, and we think correctly, that the appeal must lie to the Court of the District Judge. If the valuation as set out in the plaint is to determine the forum of appeal then Mr. Narain Prasad's contention is undoubtedly correct.
3. Mr. Peary Lal Banerji, on the other hand, has referred us to a Full Bench ruling of the Calcutta High Court to be found in Ijjatulla v. Chandra Mohan (1907) 34 Cal. 954. He also refers us to a Bench decision of this Court to be found in Goswami Sri Raman v. Bohra Desraj (1910) 32 All. 222. On the other hand, our attention has been called on a ruling of this Court in Madho Das y Ramji Pathak (1894) 16 All. 286, and also another ruling of a Bench of this Court in Sudarshan Das Shastry v. Ram Prasad (1911) 33 All. 97. We are also referred to a judgment of a Pull Bench of the Madras High Court which is to be found in Kannayya Chetti v. Venkata Narasayya (1917) 40 Mad. 1. It appears to us, after a perusal of these rulings and also of the, law on the subject as contained in Section 7 of the Court Pees Act and in Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act of 1887 that the preliminary objection must be upheld.
4. In the case which was decided in this Court in Madho Das v. Ramji Pathak (1894) 16 All. 286 it was clearly laid down that in order to determine the proper appellate Court what has to be looked at is the value of the original suit, that is to say, the amount or value of the subject-matter of the suit, and it was explained that the word 'value' must be taken to be the value assigned by the plaintiff in his plaint and not the value as found by the Court unless it appears that either purposely or through gross negligence, the true value has been altogether misrepresented by the plaintiff. At page 289 of the report it is said that it would be impossible to hold that the jurisdiction of an appellate Court should depend upon the amount of the decree of the appellate Court. It is the plaintiff's valuation in his plaint which controls jurisdiction not only of the first Court but of the appellate Court otherwise there would be no certainty as to the Court in which a suit should be brought or an appeal should be brought. This is a clear exposition of the law and one which we think ought to be followed in this case and was followed in the subsequent case Sudarshan Das Shastri v. Ram Prasad (1911) 33 All. 97. With regard to the case Goswami Sri Raman v. Bohra Desraj (1910) 32 All. 222 it professes to follow the Full Bench ruling of the Calcutta High Court Ijjatulla v. Chandra Mohan (1907) 34 Cal. 954. That ruling in turn was based upon a previous ruling of the Calcutta Court which is to be found in Golap Sundari Devi v. Indra Coomar Hazra (1909) 13 C.W.N. 493. In view of the interpretation of the law which has been given forth by the Branches of this Court in the cases already cited, we are unable to follow the Full Bench ruling of the Calcutta Court and are also unable to follow the Bench ruling of this Court to be found in Goswami Sri Raman v. Bohra Desraj (1910) 32 All. 222. It seems to us that the law has been very dearly expounded in the Full Bench ruling of the Madras Court Kannayya Chetti v. Venkata Narasayya (1917) 40 Mad. 1, and we are in agreement with what has been said in that judgment.
5. We think, it is sufficient for us to refer to the provisions of Section 7 of the Court Pees Act and Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act of 1887.
6. The suit with which we are now concerned was a suit for accounts and, therefore, under the provisions of Section 7, paragraph 4, Clause (f) the Court-fee had to be paid according to the amount at which the relief sought was valued in the plaint. It is to be noted that in the case of suits which are referred to in Section 7, paragraph 4 it is declared that in all such suits the plaintiff shall state the amount at which he values the relief sought and here we may also refer to the new provision which was introduced into the Civil Procedure Code under Order 7, Rule 1(i). It is now necessary for the plaint to contain a statement of the value of the subject-matter of the suit for purposes of jurisdiction and Court-fees so far as the case admits, and so when Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act is considered it carries us back to the provisions of the Court Fees Act and obviously the value for purposes of jurisdiction is the value which the plaintiff sets upon his claim in the plaint as directed in Section 7, paragraph 4 of the Court Fees Act as also by Order 7, Rule 1. We think, with the learned Judges of the Madras High Court, that the confusion which has arisen in the discussion of this subject springs from the mistake which lies in supposing that the amount of value of the subject-matter of a suit is the real or market value. In our opinion it is not the real or market value which has to be taken into account for purposes of determining Court-fee or jurisdiction. The value is the value which the plaintiff as signs to his claim in the plaint. In other words, it is the 'valuation ' by the plaintiff as distinguished from the real or market value. We are quite clear, therefore, that applying the principles which have been laid down in Madho Das v. Ramji Pathak (1894) 16 All. 286, and which we think ought to guide our decision, this appeal lies not to this Court but to the Court of the District Judge. The suit having been valued at Rs. 2,500 under Section 21 of the Bengal, Assam and N.W.P. Civil Courts Act 21 of 1887 the appeal lies to the District Judge. We have pointed out the difference of judicial opinion which exists with regard to the question now under consideration but for the reasons given we follow the interpretation of the law which was laid down in Madho Das v. Ramji Pathak (1894) 16 All. 286. The consequence is that we direct that the memorandum of appeal be returned to the appellant for presentation to the Court of the District Judge of Agra. The respondent is entitled to his costs in this Court.