Piggott, Lindsay and Gokul Prasad, JJ.
1. This is a reference from the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority under Section 57, Clause (1), of the Indian Stamp Act, No, II of 1899 The point referred is a simple one. A deed of gift was executed which contains no statement of the value of the property thereby conveyed. The officer before whom the document was produced impounded it and referred it to the Deputy Commissioner of Bahraich, as Collector of the district, for necessary action. The question referred to us is, first of all, whether this instrument requires any stamp under the Indian Stamp Act. According to Article 33 of the schedule an instrument of gift, such as the one before us, should be stamped with the same duty as a conveyance, for a consideration equal to the value of the property set forth in such instrument. We are satisfied that the words 'as set forth in such instrument' refer back to the word 'value,' and not to the word 'property.' We are confirmed in this view by the authority quoted in the reference before us, reported in Indian Law Reports, 8 Madras, 453. In the present, instance there is no 'value' set forth in the said instrument. No doubt this is a contravention of Section 27 of the Indian Stamp Act, and, if it be found that the omission to state the value of the property conveyed was done with intent to defraud the Government, a prosecution will lie against the person who executed the instrument, under Section 64 of the Indian Stamp Act. The case seems to us strictly analogous to one which would arise if the executant of a deed of gift chose to set a purely nominal value on the property conveyed and to stamp the instrument accordingly. For the purposes of the Stamp Law the valuation given in the instrument would have to be accepted. If there was an intentional under-valuation, then a prosecution would protect the Government against the attempted fraud. There is no provision in the law authorizing the Collector to do what he has done in the present instance, namely, to ascertain the value of the property with a view to causing the instrument to be stamped with reference to the value thus ascertained. Our answer, therefore, to the first question referred to us is that the instrument as it stands does not require any stamp under the Stamp Act. The second question, except in so far as it has been incidentally answered, does not arise, and the third question does not arise at all. Let this answer be returned accordingly.