Skip to content


Om Prakash and anr. Vs. State of U.P. and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Civil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Appeal No. 45 of 1975
Judge
Reported inAIR1977All122; 1978CriLJ797
ActsCourt Fees Act, 1870 - Sections 5
AppellantOm Prakash and anr.
RespondentState of U.P. and anr.
Appellant AdvocateV.P. Misra, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
civil - taxing judge - section 5 of court fees act, 1870 - decision on a matter referred to taxing judge by taxing officer is final - cannot be appealed against. - .....the question is, in his opinion, one of general importance, in which case he shall refer it to the final decision of the chief justice of such high court, or of such judge of the high court as the chief justice shall appoint either generally or specially in this behalf. when any such difference arises in any of the said courts of small causes the question shall be referred to the clerk of the court, whose decision thereon shall be final except when the question is, in his opinion one of general importance, in which case he shall refer it to the final decision of the first judge of such court. the chief justice shall declare who shall be taxing officer within the meaning of the first paragraph of this section.' 5. according to the submission of the learned chief standing counsel, when a.....
Judgment:

K.C. Agakwal, J.

1. This Special Appeal under Chapter VIII, Rule 5 of the Rules of the Court has been filed by the appellants against the judgment of theTaxing Judge dated January 16, 1976, by which brother A. Banerji acting as Taxing Judge, found the memorandum of appeal filed by the appellants was deficiently stamped by Rs. 13,035.

2. The facts, which gave rise to this appeal, are these. Certain land belonging to the appellants was acquired by the Nagar Mahapalika, Allahabad, under the provisions of the Nagar Mahapalika Act. In the proceedings relating to determination of compensation, the appellants made a claim of a sum of Rs. 4,52,341/-towards compensation of the land. The Tribunal, appointed under the aforesaid Act. awarded a sum of Rs. 36,560-70 P. Feeling aggrieved by the award of the Tribunal, the appellants presented an appeal in this Court valuing it at Rupees 1,62,740.30 P. The Stamp Reporter calculated ad valorem court-fee under Section 8 of the Court Fees Act on the basis of a decision of a learned Single Judge of this Court in Aijaz Uddin v. Taxing Officer : AIR1966All227 and, accordingly, pointed out the deficiency of Rs. 13,035/- on the memorandum of appeal. The appellants, being dissatisfied, filed two objections dated April 23, 1975, and July 26, 1975, mainly on the ground that the appeal filed by the appellants being not against an award made under the provisions of the U. P. Town Improvement Act, the provisions of Section 8 of the Court Fees Act did not apply. These objections were dealt with by the Joint Registrar, who has been appointed as the Taxing Officer by the Chief Justice. The Taxing Officer being of the opinion that the objections filed by the appellants raised a question of general importance, referred the same to the Taxing Judge for his opinion. It was thereupon, that the matter was placed before brother A. Banerji who also, being of the opinion that the provisions of Section 8 of the Court Fees Act applied to the facts of the present appeal, found that the memorandum of appeal was deficiently stamped by & sum of Rupees 13,035. Aggrieved by this judgment the present Special Appeal has been filed by the appellants.

3. Sri B. D. Agrawal, Chief Standing Counsel, appearing for the respondent, raised a preliminary objection to the maintainability of the appeal on the ground that an order passed by the Taxing Judge having become final under Section 5 of the Court Fees Act, the same was not open to appeal and, there-fore, the appeal being incompetent is liable to be rejected on this ground. He also urged that the judgment of the learned Single Judge, finding the memorandum of appeal to be deficiently stamped is correct and does not call for interference. These objections were disputed by Sri V. P. Misra, counsel appearing for the appellants, as in his submission not only the judgment of the learned Single Judge was open to appeal, but also that the same was liable to be set aside, being based on erroneous grounds. As the objection about the maintainability of the appeal is of a preliminary nature, and if upheld will decide the appeal, we proceed to take up that question first.

4. In order to appreciate the point, it is necessary to note the relevant provisions of the Rules of the Court made in exercise of the power conferred by Article 225 of the Constitution and all other powers enabling the Court in that behalf with regard to the institution of appeals generally and also Special Appeals. In Chapter 1, Rule 3, a 'Special Appeal' has been defined as an appeal from the judgment of one Judge. Chapter VIII deals with miscellaneous provisions. Chapter VIII, Rule 5 lays down that an appeal shall lie to the Court from a Judgment not being a judgment passed in the exercise of an appeal jurisdiction in respect of a decree or order made by a Court subject to the superintendence of the Court and not being an order made in the exercise of revisional jurisdiction or in the exercise of its power of superintendence or in the exercise of criminal jurisdiction of one Judge. Chapter IX provides the manner of presentation of appeals and applications. Under Rule 1 of this Chapter every memorandum of appeal or objections must be presented for admission in court. This rule, however, does not apply to appeals and applications that may under these Rules be filed before the Registrar or other officer. Under Rule 3 of Chapter XI, no memorandum of appeal shall be presented unless it bears an office report specifying the matters mentioned in Clauses (a) to (f) thereof. Under Clause (d) a statement has to be made whether any court fee is payable or not, under Rule 4, if the appellant or his Advocate contests the office report as to court-fee, he shall before presenting the memorandum of appeal, take it to the Taxing Officer for the determination of his objection and the Taxing Officer shall determine it forthwith. If, however, the Taxing Officer is of the opinion that the question involved is of general importance, he is entitled under Section 5 of the Court Fees Act to refer the same to the Taxing Judge. In the instant case, as the memorandum of appeal was deficiently stamped, the same was taken to the Taxing Officer who in his turn referred it for opinion to the Taxing Judge. Section 5 of the Court Fees Act, under which reference was made, reads as under:

'When any difference arises between the officer whose duty it is to see that any fee is paid under this chapter and any suitor or attorney, as to the necessity of paying a fee or the amount thereof, the question shall when the difference arises in any of the said High Courts, be referred to the Taxing Officer whose decision thereon shall be final, except when the question is, in his opinion, one of general importance, in which case he shall refer it to the final decision of the Chief justice of such High Court, or of such Judge of the High Court as the Chief Justice shall appoint either generally or specially in this behalf.

When any such difference arises in any of the said Courts of Small Causes the question shall be referred to the Clerk of the Court, whose decision thereon shall be final except when the question is, in his opinion one of general importance, in which case he shall refer it to the final decision of the first Judge of such Court.

The Chief Justice shall declare who shall be Taxing Officer within the meaning of the first paragraph of this section.'

5. According to the submission of the learned Chief Standing Counsel, when a matter is referred by a Taxing Officer to the Taxing Judge, the judgment given by the Taxing Judge is final within the meaning of the expression 'final decision' used in Section 5 of the Court Fees Act-Section 5 of the Act does not describe the manner in which an order of appointment of a Taxing Judge has to be made by the Chief Justice. It only says that on a reference made by the Taxing Officer, the case shall be referred to the final decision of the Chief Justice of such High Court or of such Judge of the High Court as the Chief Justice shall appoint either generally or specially in this behalf. Accordingly, the Chief Justice may appoint himself as the Taxing Judge, or name some other Judge for any particular reference or generally for hearing of the references made by the Taxing Officer under this section. In the instant case, it is common ground that the Chief Justice since has appointed A. Banerji, J. for acting as the Taxing Judge; reference made by the Taxing Officer was posted before him for hearing,

6. The main question to be determined in this case is whether the order of the Taxing Judge became final and was not open to appeal. The word 'final' means without appeal. Hence, any order which is made final under a Statute by a Legislature, we think, it is intended to mean and should be construed as meaning 'final' in the sense of admitting of no further disputation. Accordingly of the fact that the opinion of the Judge deciding the reference would be final for the purposes of the Court Fees Act.

7. Reliance was placed by the learned Chief Standing Counsel on a Full Bench decision of this Court in Balkaran Rai v. Gobind Nath Tiwary, ((1890) ILR 12 All 129). In this case the Full Bench was called upon to construe the meaning of the word 'final' used with reference to the opinion of the Taxing Officer Dealing with the same, it observed:

'It cannot be doubted that Sections 5 and 12 of the Court Fees Act are in force, nor can it be doubted that by these sections it is respectively expressly enacted that the decisions in those sectionsrespectively referred to shall be and are 'final'. A decision, decree or order could not be described as 'final' if it was appealable or so long as it was appealable and I must assume that the Legislature using the term 'final' in Sections 5 and 12 used it in the legal sense in which that term is always used in Acts and Codes.'

In this view of the matter, decision under Section 5 of the Court Fees Act was held not open to appeal, revision or review and was treated as final for all purposes. It is no doubt true that this was not a case which was dealing with theopinion of a Taxing Judge as final, but that of the Taxing Officer. But, to our mind, the distinction is immaterial inasmuch as the word 'final' used in Section 5 of the Court Fees Act with reference to the opinion of the Taxing Officer has been interpreted to mean not open to appeal, revision or review. It is no doubt true that the, phraseology employed for refering the matter to a Taxing Judge by the Chief Justice is different from that used for indicating that the question of court-fee referred to the Taxing Officer shall be final, but that, in our opinion, is wholly immaterial. The words 'whose decision thereon shall be final,except when the question is, in his opinion, one of general importance, in which case he shall refer it to a final decision of the Chief Justice of such High Court'', do convey the same meaning about the finality of a decision of the Taxing Judge as with regard to finality of the Taxing Officer under this Act.

8. Reference may now be made to another decision of this Court, in which the case of Balkaran Rai (1890) ILR 12 All 129 (FB) (supra) was followed, and it was held that the decision of the Taxing Officer as to the proper amount of court-fee payable on a memorandum of appeal as also incidentally his decision as to the category within which the suit falls, is final and binding upon the Court under Section 5 of the Court Fees Act. The said decision is reported in Kunwar Karan Singh v. Gopal Rai, ((1910) ILR 32 All 59).

9. In Lurkhur Chaube v. Ram Bhajan Chaube, (1903 All WC 214), the memorandum of appeal was presented headed 'Second Appeal' bearing a stampof Rs. 2/-. The Stamp Reporter of the Court was of the opinion that the appeal being from an order having the force of a decree, should have been stamped with ad valorem court fee according to the valuation given in the memorandum. The matter went before the Registrar, who acting as the Taxing Officer, agreed with the report of the Stamp Reporter that the memorandum of appeal was deficiently stamped. Ultimately, the matter went to the Taxing Judge of this Court who on the question of payment of court-fee concurred with the opinion of the Registrar and found that the proper court-fee payable was Rs. 10/-. It was, thereupon that the question arose about the finality of the decision of the Taxing Judge. Dealing with the same this Court held that the decision of the Taxing Judge of the Court upon the question of what court fee is payable on a memorandum of appeal is final for all purposes and is not open to appeal, revision or review. To the same effect is the decision of the Bombay High Court in Ganga Ram Tillock Chand v. The Chief Controlling Revenue Authority (AIR 1927Bom 643). In this case, a Division Bench of that Court held that a decision under Section 5 of the Court Fees Act of the Taxing Officer of the High Court, or of the Chief Justice or the Judge appointedunder Section 5 is final and is not challengeable either by way of appeal or revision. The Supreme Court was also called upon to consider this controversy in Sathappa Chettiar v. Ramanathan Chettiar : [1958]1SCR1021 of this judgment, the Supreme Court remarked that if the Taxing Officer is of opinion that the point raised is one of general importance he can refer the said point to the final decision of the Chief Justice of the High Court or such Judge of the High Court as the Chief Justice, shall appoint either generally or specially in this behalf. Dealing further, it observed:

'...... and it is clear that if the ChiefJustice or any other Judge appointed in that behalf by the Chief Justice decides the matter in question, his decision shall be final.'

The law enunciated by the Supreme Court in the above case, in our opinion, is conclusive of the controversy. Hence the preliminary objection raised by the learned Chief Standing Counsel must be upheld.

10. Sri V. P. Misra counsel appearing for the appellants, contended that Section 5 of the Court Fees Act provides for reference being made by a Taxing Officer to the final decision of the Chief Justice or to any other Judge to whom the matter may be referred. It does not lay down that the decision given either by the Chief Justice, if he chooses to decide the reference himself, or by the Taxing Judge would be final. According to his submission, therefore as there is no provision made in Section 5 of the Court Fees Act making an order of Taxing Judge to be final the said question should be determined in accordance withthe provisions of the High Court Rules. He further contended that as a learnedsingle Judge acting as a Taxing Judge exercises original jurisdiction, an orderpassed, by him is subject to appeal provided by Chapter VII, Rule 5 of the Rules of the Court. The submission made by the learned counsel for the appellants is ingenious but does not carry conviction. We have already held above that Section 5 does provide that a decision of a Taxing Officer would be final, and. therefore we are unable to accede to the submission made by the counsel for theappellants.

11. Counsel had also relied on a Full Bench decision of this Court in D. P. Singh v. State : AIR1969All484 , in support of his proposition, but the said case is on a point altogether different. In thatcase, the question which arose for decision was whether a Taxing Judge appointed by the Chief Justice is entitled to make a reference to a larger Bench in accordance with the Rules of the Court. Dealing with this limited question, the Bench said that such a reference can be made. Accepting that a reference by a Taxing Judge can be made to a Division Bench, but that does not improve the position of the appellants. It appears to us that even after a reference made by a Taxing Judge to a larger Bench has been answered, the case is bound to be laid before the Taxing Judge again and the judgment passed by him would be one under Section 5 of the Court Fees Act. This judgment under Section 5 of the Court Fees Act would be final in the same manner as if decided by him without making a reference to a larger Bench. The view taken by us is supported by a decision of a five Judges Full Bench in Kalu Ram v. Babu Lal : AIR1932All485 . In that case the Court held that after a question referred by a Taxing Judge is answered by a larger Bench, the case would be put up before the Taxing Judge for his final orders. The Rules of the Court were although applied by the Full Bench in D. P. Singh's case (supra), that was for a limited purpose. In the matters of appeals, the provisions of the Court Fees Act being exhaustive the same would determine the controversy. As said above, an order passed under Section 5 of the Court Fees Act would finally settle the rights of the parties and would be beyond all appeals. As we have found that Section 5 attaches finality to the order or judgment of the Taxing Judge, the question about the nature of jurisdiction, which a Taxing Judge exercises in dealing with a reference under this section, does not arise.

12. As we have upheld the preliminary objection raised by the learned Chief Standing Counsel, it is not necessary for us to go into the merits of the case.

13. In the result, the appeal fails and is dismissed. The parties shall bear their own costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //