1. This is an application in revision by the Chief Inspector of Stamps under Section 6B of the amended Court-fees Act (7 of 1870). It arises out of Suit No. 42 of 1941 filed by the opposite party, Ramesh Chandra in the Court of the Civil Judge at Aligarh against his adoptive mother, Smt. Rama Devi, the widow o one B. Sheo Prasad. Ramesh Chandra alleged, in his plaint, that he was the validly adopted son of Babu Sheo Prasad and had inherited certain properties in that capacity on his father's death on 9th January 1924. These properties were set out in Schedule A attached to the plaint. Certain other properties were set out in Schedules B and C to the plaint. With regard to the former, the plaintiff's case was that they had been purchased by the defendant out of the funds belonging to the plaintiff as the adopted son of B. Sheo Prasad but mutation in respect of those properties had been effected jointly in the names of the plaintiff and the defendant. With regard to the latter, the plaintiff alleged that though these properties had been purchased out of the income of the plaintiff's estate yet they have been mutated in the name of the defendant alone. All the properties mentioned in Schedules A, B and C were lumped together by the plaintiff in Schedule p and he alleged that his title to these properties as the adopted son of B. Sheo Prasad had been denied by the defendant.
2. The plaintiff further alleged that he was a minor at the date of his father's death and continued to be so until 13th August 1988 and during this period the defendant who had obtained a certificate of guardianship relating to the person and property of the plaintiff from the Court of the District Judge at Aligarh remained in occupation and management of the whole property. After the plaintiff had attained majority on 13th August 1938, the defendant applied to the District Judge at Aligarh for being discharged from guardianship but before any order had been passed upon that application the plaintiff discovered that the defendant had been guilty of several acts of misfeasance and non-feasance in respect of the property under her management and he, therefore, made an application to the District Judge that the defendant should be asked to render accounts to the plaintiff for the whole period during which she had managed his properties. The dispute which thus arose between the parties was settled by an oral compromise and in pursuance of that compromise the plaintiff's application was dismissed and the defendant was discharged without having rendered any accounts. One of the terms of this compromise was that certain properties which had been set out in Schedule D attached to the plaint and which had been given to the defendant as a gift by B. Sheo Prasad and constituted her absolute property were to pass to the plaintiff on the death of the defendant who was only to have a life interest in them. Another term of the compromise was that the defendant was to remain in management of the plaintiff's properties. The defendant made a breach of these terms and she executed a will in favour of her daughter, Smt. Manorama Devi in respect of the properties set out in Schedule D and committed several acts of mismanagement and misappropriation of the moneys belonging to the plaintiff. One of these acts alleged by the plaintiff was that the defendant had executed a deed of trust in respect of a dharamshala which had been built on plaintiff's land with plaintiff's money and had appointed a committee for its management. The plaintiff alleged that in accordance with the compromise between him and the defendant he had a vested interest in the properties set out in Schedule D and the will executed by the defendant in respect of that property was inoperative against his interest. He also mentioned in his plaint that besides the properties in suit there were other properties which had devolved upon him in his capacity as the adopted son of B. Sheo Prasad, but as he was in possession of all those properties there was no dispute about them. Upon these allegations the plaintiff claimed the following reliefs:
(a) That the Court may be pleased to declare that the plaintiff is the sole owner of all tho3e properties set forth in Schedule F.
(b) In case it be found that the plaintiff is not in possession of the properties set forth in Schedule P or is dispossessed from any of them during the pendency of the suit, the Court may be pleased to put him in possession thereof.
(c) That the Court may be pleased to declare that the defendant has only a limited interest for her life in the property set forth in Schedule D annexed hereto and that the plaintiff has a vested interest in the remainder.
(d) That in ease for completion of his title it be found necessary for the plaintiff to obtain some deed from the defendant, the latter may be compelled to execute the same.
(e) That the defendant be ordered to render an account of her management of the plaintiff's estate with effect from 6th September 1939, till such time as she may be found to be in possession, and such sums as may be found due to the plaintiff be awarded to him.
(f) That in case the family arrangement referred to hereunder is found void or inoperative, the Court may be pleased to order the defendant to render full and complete accounts from 9th January 1924 to 6th September 1939, and award the plaintiff such sums as he may be found entitled to.
(g) That it be declared that the deed of trust executed by the defendant in respect of the property set forth in Schedule E is null and void.
Reliefs (a) and (b) which go together and relate to the properties contained in Schedule A, B and C which have been lumped together in Schedule P were valued by the plaintiff for the purposes of court-fee at ten times the annual revenue of the properties and an ad valorem court-fee of Rs. 1107-8-0 was paid on that amount. Reliefs (c) and (d) which are connected with each other were treated by the plaintiff as mere declaratory reliefs and on each one of them a court-fee of Rs. 15 was paid. Reliefs (e) and (f) also go together and the plaintiff' arbitrarily valued the former at Rs. 200 and the latter at Rs. 300 and he paid a court-fee of Rs. 15 in respect of the former and Rs. 22-8-0 in respect of the latter. As regards relief (g) which related to a dharamshala alleged to have been built by the defendant on plaintiff's land out of the moneys belonging to the plaintiff it was valued at Rs. 5000 and an ad valorem court-fee of Rupees 102-8-0 was paid thereon.
3. The Chief Inspector of Stamps raised the following objections : (1) With regard to reliefs (a) and (b) he pointed out that it was necessary for the plaintiff to establish his adoption by B. Sheo Prasad and hence he was bound to disclose the value of all the properties which had devolved upon him in his capacity as the adopted son of B. Sheo Prasad. It will be noticed that the plaintiff had stated in his plaint that there were other properties which he had inherited from his adoptive father but he had not mentioned them in the plaint because he was in possession of them and they were not the subject of any dispute between the parties. The objection of the Chief Inspector of Stamps, as we have been able to understand it, was that the plaintiff, was bound to include the value of all those properties also for the purposes of court-fee for it is not claimed that so far as the properties involved in the reliefs (a) and (b) are concerned, the plaintiff has paid ad valorem court-fee on the basis of ten times their annual revenue.
(2) With regard to relief (c), the Chief Inspector of Stamps was of the opinion that it involved adjudging void or voidable the will executed by the defendant and hence it fell within the purview of Section 7(iv-A)(1), Court-fees Act, and the plaintiff was bound to pay ad valorem court-fee on the market value of the property involved in the relief.
(3) Relief (d), according to the Chief Inspector of Stamps, was a relief in the nature of mandatory injunction under Section 55, Specific Relief Act, and in respect of this relief the plaintiff was bound to pay court-fee on one-tenth of the total valuation of the property affected by the will.
(4) With regard to reliefs (e) and (f), which relate to accounting, the objection made by the Chief Inspector of Stamps was that the plaintiff was not entitled to set an arbitrary value on these reliefs for the purposes of court-fee and he should be asked to fix the proper valuation of each relief and should be made to pay the full court-fee thereon.
(5) As regards relief (g), the objection was that the plaintiff had undervalued the property involved in this relief because in the trust deed executed by the defendant in respect of this property its value was fixed at Rs. 20,000.
4. All these objections have been dismissed by the learned Civil Judge of Aligarh and the Chief Inspector of Stamps has accordingly come up in revision to this Court under Section 6B, Court-fees Act. Having heard learned Counsel for the applicant at great length and having fully considered the relevant provisions of the Court-fees Act, we find that there is no force in any one of the objections raised by the Chief Inspector of Stamps and there is no reason to interfere with the order passed by the learned Civil Judge of Aligarh.
5. Dealing first with the reliefs (a) and (b) which relate to the properties contained in Schedule P, we find that it is admitted that the plaintiff has paid ad valorem court-fee on the basis of ten times the annual revenue of these properties. Granting for the purposes of argument that the suit was to establish an adoption within the meaning of Section 7(iv-B), Court-fees Act, though no relief to that effect was specifically claimed the question remains whether the plaintiff was bound to include for the purposes of court-fee, the value of all the properties which had devolved upon him in his capacity as the adopted son of B. Sheo Prasad even if they were not in suit. In our judgment, the answer must be in the negative. The proviso to Section 7(iv-B) of the Act upon which the Chief Inspector of Stamps presumably relied itself shows that it is only the market value of the property 'involved in or affected by the relief sought' which has to be taken into consideration for the purposes of determining the proper court-fee. The words 'involved in or affected by the relief sought' must be strictly construed and, in our judgment, they clearly exclude all properties which are not involved in or affected by the relief sought. The plaintiff was seeking his relief only in respect of the properties set out in Schedule p and we think these properties alone were involved in or affected by the relief sought by him. The objection of the Chief Inspector of Stamps is obviously based upon a statement made by the plaintiff quite unnecessarily in para. 29 of his plaint that he was in possession of certain other properties in his capacity as the adopted son of B. Sheo Prasad. But for that unnecessary statement, there could have been no ground for the Chief Inspector of Stamps to raise any objection on the question of court-fee. The weakness of the objection is, in our judgment, clearly exposed by considering the hypothetical case of a person inheriting, say, ten different properties as an adopted son. He may be ousted from each one of those properties at different times and by different persons and may have to bring a suit on each occasion to recover possession and in such a suit, he may have to establish his adoption. If the objection raised by the Chief Inspector of Stamps is sound, he will have to pay court-fee on the basis of the value of all the properties inherited by him in every suit. This would obviously be a preposterous result which, we think, could not possibly have been contemplated by the Legislature. Such a result is, in our judgment, definitely negatived by the words 'involved in or affected by the relief sought.' We hold, therefore, that there is no force in the objection with regard to reliefs (a) and (b).
6. Turning to relief (c) the first question which arises for consideration is whether a will falls within the purview of Section 7(iv-A) of the Act. This section provides for
suits for or involving cancellation of or adjudging void or voidable a decree for money or other property having a market value, or an instrument securing money or other property having such value.
The question, therefore, is whether a will, can possibly be described 'as an instrument securing money or other property' within the meaning of this section. In our judgment, the question is only to be stated in order to be answered in the negative. 'Will' as defined by the Succession Act means
the legal declaration of the intention of a testator with respect to his property which he desires to be carried into effect after his death.
It is clear, therefore, that a will is no more than the declaration of an intention and it cannot possibly be described as an instrument securing any property. We may also point out that, in our view, the suit as laid by the plaintiff did not necessarily involve the adjudging void or voidable of the will executed by the defendant. The plaintiff alleged, in his plaint, that by virtue of the compromise between him and the defendant, the latter had only a life estate in the property in respect of which she had executed the will and he only wanted a declaration to that effect. It was not necessary for him to claim that the will should be adjudged void or voidable and in fact he never claimed that relief. We, therefore, have no hesitation in rejecting this objection.
7. With regard to relief (d), we find that it is wholly unintelligible and vague and we really fail to see how any such relief could be claimed or could be given by the Court. Learned Counsel for the applicant was unable to put forward any reason in support of the view of the Chief Inspector of Stamps that by praying for this relief the plaintiff had made himself liable to pay a court-fee on one-tenth of the total valuation of the property covered by the will. The plaintiff has actually paid Rs. 15 as court-fee for this relief and no provision of law has been pointed out to us which would justify us in holding that he was liable to pay anything more. The objection is, therefore, rejected.
8. With regard to reliefs (e) and (f), which relate to accounting between the parties, the objection is that the plaintiff should be asked to put the proper valuation on these reliefs for he was not entitled to put an arbitrary valuation on them. This objection is also without any force because there is nothing in the law to prevent the plaintiff from valuing a relief for accounting at any figure chosen by him. He cannot get a decree for any amount in excess of that figure until he pays the proper court-fee thereon. No decree could have been passed in his favour without payment of the proper court-fee on the amount decreed. We were informed in the course of the argument that the suit has already been decided and that these reliefs were withdrawn by the plaintiff. In any case, the objection has no force and is consequently rejected.
9. Relief (g) claimed by the plaintiff relates to a dharamshala alleged to have been built by the defendant on plaintiff's land with plaintiff's money. The plaintiff has valued the property, involved in this relief, at Rs. 5000 and the objection taken by the Chief Inspector of Stamps is that the proper valuation was Rs. 20,000 because that was the valuation of the property mentioned in the deed of trust executed by the defendant. We do not think that the plaintiff was bound to accept the valuation mentioned in the trust deed as the correct valuation and there is nothing in law to prevent him from fixing the valuation at Rs. 5000. It was open to the defendant to raise an objection on the ground that the relief had been undervalued and if any such objection had been raised the Court would, undoubtedly, have made a proper inquiry and would have asked the plaintiff to amend the valuation, if necessary, and to pay proper court-fee thereon. The plaintiff was within his rights to fix the valuation of this relief at Rs. 5000 and until that valuation was proved to be wrong ad valorem court-fee could be determined only upon that basis. It is admitted that he paid ad valorem court-fee on the valuation fixed by him. There is clearly no force in this objection and it is accordingly rejected. The result, therefore, is that we find no force in this application and we consequently dismiss it with costs.