1. On this appeal being called for hearing a preliminary objection was raised on behalf of the plaintiff-respondent that the decision of the trial Court with regard to the valuation of the suit was wrong. The suit was originally valued by the plaintiff at Rs. 2,050, but on the matter going up in appeal to the District Judge the question of the sufficiency of this valuation was raised before him, and he referred the issue back to the trial Court, which has now decided that the proper valuation is Rs. 16,800 so that the appeal from, the finding of the trial Court will lie to the High Court. This is the decision that is questioned now.
2. It was argued by Mr. Khwaja in the first place that the Court is bound to accept the valuation stated by the plaintiff in the plaint. The suit is one that comes under Section 7, Clause (4), Court-fees Act, of 1870, and under that section the amount of fee payable is to be computed 'according to the amount at which the relief sought is valued in the plaint or memorandum of appeal.' The argument is then that the plaintiff can give an arbitrary valuation in the plaint, and that the Court is bound to accept that, and there is some authority for this view in Hari Shankar Dutt v. Kali Kumar (1905) 32 Cal. 734 and Jogendra Nath v. Toriannessa Bibi 1922 Cal. 242. There are however later decisions both of the Calcutta High Court and of our own High Court which are not in accordance with this view, and we need only refer to the recent decision in Inayat Hussain v. Bashir Ahmad 1932 All 413. It has further been argued that even if the plaintiff cannot be allowed to give an arbitrary valuation in the plaint, the valuation in the present suit is to be determined by the provisions of Section 7, Clause (5), Sub-clause (a), because it is a suit not only for a declaration but for possession, and under Sub-clause (a) the valuation must be held to be ten times the revenue payable on the share of the estate which pays revenue to Government. Here again we have been compelled to dissent from the view stated by Mr. Khwaja because the suit is not one that comes under Clause (5), Section 7, but under Clause (4), Sub-clause (c), as it is a suit for a declaration with a prayer for consequential relief.
3. Where a question as to the proper valuation has been raised it is to be decided by the Court under the provisions of Section 12, Court-fees Act, and in the present case an enquiry has been made and a decision has been arrived at by the trial Court. We have however been asked to differ from that finding on the merits of the case. The plaintiff valued the property in suit at Rs. 2,050, but the decision of the trial Court now is that the proper value of the property is Rs. 16,800. The property is situated in Jaunpur and is a part of the land which has been permanently settled with the Government. The evidence which the trial Court had before it was that of several sale-deeds dated 1926, and it has been argued that these sale-deeds show such a variation in the value that has been assigned to the land that they are not to be relied upon as a guide. The trial Court has mentioned two sale-deeds, by comparison with one of which the property in suit would be valued at Rs. 18,200 and by comparison with the other the valuation will come to Rs. 16,800. Another sale-deed was pointed out which was in evidence but which was not referred to, in which the land has been valued at Rs. 1,000 per pie, but even according to this the property in suit would be valued at over Rs. 14,000. If we do not accept the analogy of these sale-deeds it is difficult to see what other criterion there can he for determining the value of the land. It is true that the plaintiff's servant was produced to make a statement in the trial Court, and that he said that the rate in the adjoining villages is four annas per mensem pier cent, but the Court did not believe that he was telling the truth, and the only other evidence that was produced by the plaintiff was that of a mortgage deed, which is not a safe guide for the assessment of the full value of the property. We see no reason to differ from the estimate made by the trial Court which is based on evidence and for which good reasons have been given. The District Judge to whom the finding was returned was also in agreement with the Subordinate Judge.
4. The result therefore is that we overrule the preliminary objection and allow the plaintiff-respondent two months to make up the deficiency in court-fees. Costs in these proceedings will abide the result.