Tudball and Piggott, JJ.
1. This is a reference by the Sessions Judge of Farrukhabad, in the case of two persons, Ram Saran Lal and Sheo Narain, who have been, convicted by a Magistrate under Section 62 of the Stamp Act and have been sentenced to a fine of Rs. 5 each. The facts may be very briefly put as follows:---One of the accused, Sheo Narain, sued the other accused, Ram Saran Lal, in suit No. 977 of 1916 in the Munsif's court at Farrukhabad to recover some money on the basis of a simple mortgage. The parties cameto terms out of court. They agreed 'orally' that the defendant was to pay down a certain part of the debt In cash; that the plaintiff was to have a decree for the rest of the money payable in annual instalments, and that in case of any default the plaintiff was to be able to execute his decree at once for the whole sum then due. The agreement was not reduced to writing. The parties walked into court and presented a petition to the Munsif praying that a decree might be passed in the case in the terms of the compromise at which they had arrived out of court and in that petition they informed the court of the terms of the compromise. The court thereupon passed a decree in favour of the plaintiff, but it sent the petition to the stamp officer on the ground that it was an agreement which ought to have been stamped with a general stamp. The Collector directed the prosecution of these two persons for an offence under Section 62 of the Act and they have now been fined Rs. 5 each. The learned Sessions Judge is of opinion that the document in question was a petition to the court requiring only a court fee stamp; that it was unnecessary to have it engrossed upon a general stamp at all; that the conviction was bad in law and should be set aside. In his referring order the Judge has referred to the decision in Surju Prasad v. Bhawani Sahai 1879) I. L. R., 2 All., 481. and has distinguished that case from the facts of the present case. We fully agree with him that the present is a totally different case to the one reported. The Madras High Court in volume 8, page 15, of the Indian Law Reports have gone perhaps a little further even than it is necessary for us to go in the present instance, but we agree that the document in the present case was merely a petition to the court informing it of an agreement into which the parties had orally entered out of court to compromise the suit, and praying for a decree in the terms of the compromise. As such the document did not require to be engrossed upon a general stamp but only required the ordinary court fee label. In our opinion the conviction in this case is bad in law. We set it aside and direct that the fines, if paid, be refunded.