M.L. Malik, J.
1. This order shall govern disposal of Civil Revision No. 1160 of 1977 (Shri Kishanlal v. Kashi Prasad Jangal Prasad) also.
2. The correctness of the view taken by Bhave, J. in Baldeodas v. Moolchand Gupta, C. R. No. 646 of 1974, D/- 3-12-1975 in construing Section 13 of the Indian Stamp Act read with Rule 7 (1) of the Central Provinces and Berar Stamp Rules, 1942, made applicable to the whole of the State of Madhya Pradesh by Taxation Laws (Extension) Act, 1957, was doubted by Tankha, J. hence this reference.
3. Section 13 of the Indian Stamp Act reads as under:
'Instruments stamped with impressed stamps how to be written :-- Every instrument written upon paper stamped with an impressed stamp shall be written in such manner that the stamp may appear on the face of the instrument and cannot be used for or applied to any other instrument.'
Rule 7 (1) of the C. P. & Berar Stamp Rules, 1942, reads as under:
'7. Provision where single sheet of paper is insufficient.-- (1) Where two or more sheets of paper on which stamps are engraved or embossed are used to make up the amount of duty chargeable in respect of any instrument, a portion of such instrument shall be written on each sheet so used.'
4. Bhave, J expressed the opinion that all stamp papers must be utilised for drawing up the instrument and part of it must find place on each sheet or paper. His Lordships said:
'The clear language of Section 13 and Rule 7 requires that all the stamp papers should be utilised for drawing up the instrument. Mere crossing of the paper or defacing the same is not enough to satisfy the requirement of law. If this is allowed, the deficit duty, when the instruments were drawn up, could be made good by adding additional stamps of the required amount subsequently and making them appear as if they were used at the time the instruments were drawn. To avoid this contingency the rule has been made very clear, and only because there are a few hard cases, a lenient view would not be warranted.'
5. Shri J. P. Sanghi, advocate appearing for the non-applicant, submitted that in putting to literal and strict construction on the provision of Section 13 of the Stamp Act read with Rule 7 of the C. P. and Berar Stamp Rules, 1942, His Lordship had overlooked the authority of the Supreme Court in Hindustan Steel Ltd. v. Dilip Construction Co., AIR 1969 SC 1238 that the provisions of the Stamp Act were not meant to arm a litigant with technicalities to defeat the claim of the opponent. This is what their Lordships said:
'The Stamp Act is a fiscal measure enacted to secure revenue for the State on certain classes of instruments. It is not enacted to arm a litigant with a weapon of technicality to meet the case of his opponents. The stringent provisions of the Act are conceived in the interest of the revenue. Once that object is secured according to law, the party staking his claim on the instrument will not be defeated on the ground of the initial defect in the instrument.'
The counsel submitted that the purpose of Section 13 of the Stamp Act and even of Rule 7 of the C. P. & Berar Stamp Rules 1942, was that the instrument should be written in such manner that the impressed stamp should not only appear on the face of the instrument but it should also not be possible to utilise the same impressed stamp over again for any other instrument. The purpose would be fulfilled if the impressed stamp was can-relied by putting line across or by putting signatures thereon of the executants. The signature of a party to the instrument, the counsel said, was equally a portion of the instrument.
6. Reliance was placed by the counsel on the following three authorities. Placi-tum of each authority may usefully be cited :
(i) In Narayana Reddi v. Dr. J. Sarojini Devi, AIR 1963 Andh Pra 378 the law laid is this :
'Section 12(3) was introduced to give effect to the customary wavs of cancelling Stamps obtaining in the law merchant. The true test, therefore, for determining whether an adhesive stamp has been effectually cancelled, is whether an ordinary man would, on seeing the stamp, believe that it had already been used so as to preclude him from using it again This question, in its very nature, is one of fact to be decided on an examination of the stamp in each particular case. A stamp which bears a line across it, would carry an impression that it was used. It is sufficiently indicative of its user. It was cancelled 'in an effectual manner so that it could not be used again'.'
(ii) In Palpat Singh Narayan Singh v. Jiwanlal Jasraj, AIR 1961 Raj 43 the view taken is this :
'The omission to cancel any stamp may result in the document being taken to be unstamped to that extent; but the question whether or not a particular document has been effectively cancelled, is a question purely of fact to be decided on an examination of the stamp in each particular case....The drawing of two lines crossing each other across the face of the stamp is an effectual cancellation.'
(iii) In Narayan Singh v. Bahadur Kun-war, AIR 1955 All 634 out of the ten stamps used, seven were utilised for drawing up the instrument and the three were defaced with a cross and by putting signatures on them. It was held that the three sheets had been used as directed by Section 13 of the Stamp Act and Rule 7 of the Stamp Manual.
7. Having heard the counsel of both the sides, we are of the opinion that the view taken by Bhave, J. in Baldeodas v. Moolchand Gupta is too stringent. It would always be a question of fact to be determined ny a Court in each individual case whether or not requisite duty had been paid on an instrument in the shape of engraved or embossed stamps and whether or not at the time of drawing up the instrument all those sheets of paper had been utilized. The evidence of utilisation could be putting a cross or a signature or any such writing indicating that the stamp was in fact used at the time the instrument was drawn. It would all depend on the impression the perusal of the instrument would carry and the evidence tendered in that behalf.
One has only to bear in mind that the Stamp Act is a fiscal measure enacted to secure revenue for the State and it has not been enacted to arm a litigant with a weapon of technicality. A Just claim cannot be defeated just because the writing of the instrument ends on the first sheet of paper and the second sheet has been crossed with a signature of the executant, provided the evidence satisfies the Court that the second sheet was in fact used at the very time the instrument was drawn. The expression 'such instrument shall be written on each sheet so used' in Rule 7 of the C. P. & Berar Stamp Rules, 1942, does include within its meaning the lines drawn cancelling the sheet or signature of the executant put thereon indicative of utilization of the paper. Section 13 of the Stamp Act is duly complied if the evidence of cancellation or utilization is such that the same sheet cannot be applied to any other instrument.
8. In this view of the matter, we are constrained to say that the construction placed by Bhave, J. on Section 13 of the Stamp Act read with Rule 7 of the C. P. & Berar Stamp Rules, 1942, is too narrow and stringent. The view taken in the three authorities cited above has out respectful concurrence.
9. The Civil Revisions may now be placed before the appropriate Bench for hearing.