1. This appeal arises out of a decision of the learned Subordinate Judge dated 25th August 1908, dismissing the suit on the ground that it was barred by limitation. We here wish to record our grave disapproval of the conduct of the Subordinate Judge. The plaint was presented on the 23rd of May 1907. If the plaint was regular it is admitted that the suit was then within time. The Munsarim reported that the Court-fee paid was sufficient and that the plaint was presented in time.
2. The plaint was duly registered. The learned Subordinate Judge subsequently decided that the plaint was not properly stamped. The plaint had been stamped on the basis of 10 times the Government revenue. The learned Judge thought that the Court-fee ought to have been fixed on the market value, but he gave time to the plaintiffs to make good the deficiency. The deficiency was made good within the time allowed. We may here point oat that it is by no means quite clear that the decision of the learned Judge on the question of Court-fee was correct. We, however, have not gone into this matter and we do not decide it. The deficiency was made good on the 16th April 1908, within the time granted by the Court. The case ultimately came up for decision. The Government Advocate had appeared for some or all of the defendants, and the plaint shows that there were no less than 63 defendants. A. large amount of expense had been incurred, maps were prepared, evidence was taken for several days and the case was argued at length. After all this expense had been gone into and public time occupied the learned Subordinate Judge, instead of recording findings on the merits of the case, thought well to dismiss the suit upon the short ground that as the plaint had not originally been rightly stamped with the proper Court-fee stamp, the suit was barred by limitation. His attention was expressly drawn to the Full Bench ruling in Hari Ram v. Akbar Husain 29 A. 749 : A.W.X. (1907) 253 (F.B.) : 2 M.L.T. 375 : 4 A.L.J. 636. Even if this case had not been decided by the High Court or if the attention of the learned Subordinate Judge had not been called to it, he ought to have recorded his findings after the case had been heard at length. His omission to do so after his attention was called to the ruling just now referred to was extremely wrong. He must have seen that that ruling was prima facie at least a ruling in favour of the plaintiffs on the question of limitation. His conduct must now involve a re-hearing of this troublesome case, at large expense to the parties and at great waste of public time. The inconvenience would be great in any case; but the probabilities are that the large number of defendants will lead to much delay in disposing of the case. We think that the question of limitation is entirely governed by the Full Bench ruling in Hari Ram v. Akbur Husain 29 A. 749 : A.W.X. (1907) 253 (F.B.) : 2 M.L.T. 375 : 4 A.L.J. 636 to which we have referred and the deficiency having been made good within the period allowed by the Court the suit was not barred by limitation. We allow the appeal, set aside the decree of the Court below and remand the case to the Court below to be disposed of according to law. As the learned Subordinate Judge is alone responsible for this appeal, we direct that the costs of both parties, including in this Court fees on the higher scale, do abide the result.
3. In case the learned Subordinate Judge has been transferred from Ghazipur, we direct that a copy of our judgment be sent to him.