1. The question for determination in this revision is whether the valuation put on the relief asked for by the plaintiff, who is the applicant before us, is the correct valuation in the circumstances of the case.
2. It appears that there was an application for partition of zamindari property and it was opposed by the defendant on the ground that she was the owner of it and her name was recorded in the khewat. Thereupon, the applicant before us instituted the suit out of which this revision has arisen to obtain a declaration that he was the owner of the property and not the defendant. The plaintiff valued his relief, which, as we have said, was of a declaratory nature, at Rs. 400. An objection was taken to the valuation on the ground that the value of the property exceeded Rs. 4,000 and that therefore the suit was not cognizable by the Munsif in whose Court it had been instituted. The learned Munsif came to the conclusion that this objection was sound and he directed that the plaint be returned to the plaintiff for presentation to the proper Court.
3. The plaintiff filed an appeal before the learned District Judge who dismissed it. Thereupon, he has come before us. There is no rule which can be said to bear directly on the question before us. The argument of Mr. Seth was that he did not claim the property itself, but he claimed only a declaration with respect to the property, and therefore it was open to him to value the relief as he liked. He relied on Section 4, Suits Valuation Act, which lays down the maximum figure at which a relief is to be valued for the purposes of jurisdiction. It lays down that where a suit relates to land or an interest in land and the court-fee is paid under Schedule 2, Court-fees Act, the value of the suit shall not exceed the valuation made under the rules framed by the Local Government under Section 3 of the said Act (Suits Valuation Act). According to this rule, the valuation of the property in suit would be 30 times the land revenue, that is to say, nearly Rs. 8,000. Mr. Seth argues that all that the law says, is that he must not value the suit at more than Rupees 8,000. He argues that there is no lower limit fixed.
4. In our opinion, this contention is. not correct. Ordinarily when a question of title to property is in dispute, the value of the property would be the determining factor as regards jurisdiction. You cannot claim a property worth Rs. 50,000 and say that you would institute a suit before a Munsif, who cannot try a suit for a higher value than Rs. 5,000. The dispute as to the title of the property is the most important dispute that ever can arise with respect to that property. Subject to the maximum value which should be calculated having regard to Sections 3 and 4, Suits Valuation Act, the market value should determine the jurisdiction, in a suit for determination of title.
5. If an additional reason for the view which we are taking were necessary, we would give an illustration. Suppose the applicant's suit succeeds in the Munsif's Court and he gets a declaration of title. He would get his declaration on the ground that he is in actual possession. Let us suppose that the next day the defendant, who was unsuccessful in the Munsif's Court, instituted a suit for possession and valued his claim at Rs. 8,000 which would be the value which he must put to the suit under the Suits Valuation Act. It would not be open then to the present plaintiff-applicant to say that the judgment which he has obtained operates as res judicata. The Munsif would have no jurisdiction to entertain the suit for possession. The applicant's success, would be of no value to him in the subsequent suit.
6. Our view is supported by no less an authority than that of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Rachappa Subrao v. Shidappa Venkatrao AIR 1918 PC 188. In that case although the market value of the property in suit was Rs. 60,000, the plaintiff valued his relief at Rupees 130. Their Lordships said that the notional value for the purposes of the Court-fees Act and the real market value were two different things. This decision has been followed very recently by a Division Bench of this Court in Ianayat Husain v. Bashir Ahmad 0049/1932 : AIR1932All413 . The case of Mohini Mohan v. Gour Chandra AIR 1921 Pat 32 is also directly to the point.
7. Both on principle and authority we are of opinion that the judgments of the Courts below were right and the real value of the subject-matter of the suit exceeded the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Munsif. In the circumstances, we dismiss this application in revision with costs.