1. This is a plaintiff's appeal, arising out of a suit for a declaration that the property in dispute is waqf property and that he is in charge of it as mutwalli. The plaintiff came into Court on the allegation that the disputed property appertained to the takia and qabrittan of Barah Shah Safa. That the defendants were wrongfully interfering with the plaintiff's possession as mutwalli and that the property had been attached under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. There were several defendants to the suit, some of whom pleaded that they had no concern with the property at all. All of them denied that the plaintiff was the mutwalli of the property or that he was the legal representative of the last mutwalli. Defendants Nos. 4 to 6 further pleaded that they were in possession of two-thirds of the property as mutwallis themselves. Three of the defendants also pleaded that the value of the property had been grossly exaggerated and that it was not worth more than Rs. 1.000, the plaintiff in his plaint having valued the property at Rs. 10,000.
2. The learned Subordinate Judge framed several issues, Issue No. 4 bearing on the actual value of the property in dispute. His finding on this issue was that the disputed property was worth a little over Rs. 1,000 and that the valuation of Rs. 10,000 given by the plaintiff was exaggerated. He also found that the plaintiff had failed to prove that he was the legal representative of Etqad Shah or that he was the mutwalli of the property. The suit was accordingly dismissed.
3. The plaintiff has filed an appeal from that decree to this Court, but in the grounds of appeal the finding of the learned Subordinate Judge that the value of the property in dispute is only Rs. 1,000 is not challenged. It is true that the valuation of the appeal is put down as Rs. 10.000, but Mr. Girdhari Lal Agarwala who appears for the appellant has stated before us that this valuation was by mistake copied out from that given in the decree and that be in no way intended thereby to challenge the finding of the Court below as to the correct valuation of the property in dispute.
4. Section 21 of the Civil Courts Act XII of 1887 says: 'Save as aforesaid an appeal from a decree or order of a Subordinate Judge shall lie to the District Judge where the value of the original suit in which or in any proceeding arising out of which the decree or order was made did not exceed Rs. 5,000.' Section 3, Sub-clause 13, of the General Clauses Act, I of 1887, explains what is meant by the word 'value' with reference to a suit. It provides that the word 'value,' used with reference to a suit, shall mean the amount or value of the subject matter of the suit. It follows, therefore, that ordinarily the value of the subject-matter of the suit would determine the Court of Appeal. A plaintiff cannot by grossly exaggerating the valuation of a property in dispute choose his own forum. As was observed in the case of Likshman Bhatkar v. Babaji Bhatkar 8 B. 31 : 4 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 395, which was approved by a Bench of this Court in the case of Mahabir Singh v. Behari Lal 13 A. 330 : A.W.N. (1891) 107 : 7 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 202: 'An exaggerated claim brought for the purpose of getting a trial in a different Court from the one intended by the Legislature is substantially a fraud upon the law and must be rejected, whether it arises from mere recklessness or from an artful design to get the adjudication of one Judge instead of that of another.' In the present case it is obvious that the valuation put in the plaint was grossly exaggerated and on the finding of the learned Subordinate Judge, which had been arrived at on the objection taken by some of the defendants and which has not been challenged by the plaintiff appellant, there can be no doubt that the value of the subject-matter of the suit was about Rs. 1.000 and the appeal from the decree of the first Court should have been filed in the Court of the District Judge instead of this Court. The appeal having been filed in this Court under a mistake, the memorandum of appeal must be returned to the appellant. In fact, we have no jurisdiction to entertain this appeal. We accordingly order that the memorandum of appeal presented to this Court be returned to the appellant or his Vakil for presentation to the proper Court. The respondents will have their costs of this appeal to the extent certified.