1. This is an application by the plaintiffs for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court under Article 133(1) (a) and (c) of the Constitution of India. This arises out of T.S. No. 37 of 1959 for declaration of title and possession. The suit land comprising about 29 acres in Ankumi village of Sambalpur district was valued at Rs. 5100 when the suit was filed. On August 6, 1962, the trial court decreed the suit in favour of the plaintiffs. On September 12, 1962, the defendants filed an appeal being F. A. No. 51 of 1962. On December 23, 1964 the first appeal was allowed and the suit was dismissed. On January 25, 1965 the plaintiffs filed the present application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court On August 10, 1966 the leave application came up for hearing. It was submitted on behalf of the plaintiffs-applicants that although the valuation of the suit property was Rs. 5100 but it has now been revalued at not less than Rs. 20,000, Thereupon, this Court sent the matter to the trial court (Subordinate Judge, Sambalpur) for enquiring into the valuation of the property both at the time the suit was filed and also at the timewhen the leave application was filed. The trial court was directed to submit its report to this Court within three months.
2. On November 12, 1966, the trial court submitted its report. His conclusion on the valuation as stated in paragraph 12 of the report, is this :
'Thus, in conclusion in my opinion thevalue of the suit properties at the time ofthe suit was Rs. 5100.00 as valued in theplaint and Rs. 8707-20 p. at the time of theapplication for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. If, however, the Hon'ble Court(sic)pt the valuation as in annexure, the(sic) of the property at the time of the suit,(sic) be much more at the time of the leave(sic)tion in view of the rise in the priceof paddy.'
The valuation of the suit property as shown in the annexure to the report is based on the rule laid down by this Court in State of Orissa v. Bharat Chandra, AIR 1955 Orissa 97 namely, the rule that for the purpose of ascertaining the market-value of Gountia's Bhogra lands for the purpose of payment of compensation it is safe to pay as compensation 16 to 20 years purchase of the annual net produce of the land acquired. The calculation on which the learned trial court arrived at the figure of Rs. 23129.60 p. is shown in details including the classification of the types of lands, the gross yield of paddy and of hay at a particular rate and ultimately, the gross value of yield per year less costs of crop at half. Thus arrived at, the value per year, at Rs. 1445.60 sixteen times of which -- Rs. 23129-60 p. -- is the net value of the suit property on the basis of the annual crop value per details shown in the annexure to the report.
3. It has to be kept in view that what is meant by 'value of the subject-matter' as contemplated under Article 133(1) of the Constitution is the real or market value and not any value which may have been stated in the plaint for the requirements of the Court-fees Act or the Suits Valuation Act Each case therefore has to be judged on its own facts so as to find out whether the value of the subject-matter as given in the plaint is the real or market value or is based on consideration quite independent of and without regard to the real or market value. If, on investigation, it is found that the value of the subject-matter, as given in the plaint, it, the real or market value as contemplated in law, the matter ends there and no further enquiry is called for. But in case it is found that the value of the subject-matter as given in the plaint is not the real or market value, an investigation has to be made for determination of the real or market value of the subject-matter both in the Court of first instance, as also in the Court of appeal, unless the case is one where there is a judicial determination of the correctness of the valuation given in the plaint so as to attract the principle of res judicata, or it is a case wherein the petitioner has already obtainedan advantage of a lower forum whether In the matter of institution of the suit or of appeal on the basis of a lower valuation and is thereby hit by the principle of approbation and reprobation, Nanda Kishore Panigrahi v. Commr. Hindu Religious Endowments, Orissa, ILR (1965) Cut 623 = (AIR 1966 Orissa 89).
4. 'Market value' means the price that a willing purchaser would pay to a willing seller for a property having due regard to the existing conditions with all its existing advantages, and its potential possibilities when laid out in its most advantageous manner. The value to be ascertained is the price to be paid for the land with all its potentialities, and with all the use of it by the vendor. A vendor willing to sell his land at the market value will take into consideration a particular potentiality or special adaptability of the land in fixing the price. It is not the fancy or the obsession of the vendor that enters the market value but the objective factor, namely, whether the said potentiality can be turned to account within a reasonably near future. It all depends upon the facts of each case.
5. The question however arises: When there are alternative methods of valuation of the suit properties, what is the course that a Court should follow in fixing such valuation? In a recent judgment their Lordships of the Supreme Court said this:
'Such a method of valuation (annual crop value) is not adequate at least for two reasons : (i) that the owner may not have so far put his property to its best use or in the most lucrative manner and (ii) in a case like the present, the grove (the property in question) had not yet started giving the maximum yield. Such a method of valuation by ascertaining the annual value of the produce can and should be resorted to only when no other alternative method is available.'
The word 'only' in the above quotation is not without significance. In that particular case, the Supreme Court expressed the view that the District Judge was right in accepting the evidence of a particular witness and in treating his offer as one of a willing and prospective purchaser, that the valuation made by the District fudge on that evidence rested on a better footing in the circumstances of the case and ought to have been accepted by the High Court (Raghubans Narain v Govt. of U.P. AIR 1967 SC 465. 468).
6. In the present case, three alternative valuations have been indicated in the report of the learned Subordinate Judge namely, Rs. 5100.00 as given in the plaint; Rs. 8707.20 on the basis of the market value as determined on a scrutiny of the sale deeds as fully discussed in the report; and Rupees 23,129-60 on the basis of the annual crop value as shown in the annexure to the report,
7. According to the rule laid down by the Supreme Court in the aforesaid case, it is only when no other alternative method is available that the method of valuation by ascertaining the annual value of the produce can be resorted to. The question in the present case is: Is there no other alternative method available to us for fixing the valuation of the suit property? In our opinion, there is. The reasons are as discussed here-under.
8. One method of valuation adopted was that the plaintiffs themselves had mentioned in the plaint. In this case Rs. 5100.00 on which the court-fee was paid. An issue was raised on the sufficiency of that court fee, namely, issue No. 13: 'Is the court fee paid insufficient?' But this issue was not pressed at the hearing. On this issue, the trial court in his judgment in the suit stated that the valuation of the suit properties, namely, Rs. 5100 was not challenged. The plaintiffs themselves in the present application for leave, while accepting the market value as the basis of the valuation, stated that the valuation of Rs. 5100 put on the property by the plaintiffs did not represent the market value, that the minimum market value of the properties about 29 acres would be at least Rs. 30,000. On this point plaintiff No. 1 Mitrabhanu Biswal as P. W. 1 Rave evidence before the Subordinate Judge. In the course of cross-examination, while explaining the inconsistency, he admitted that as the suit is for possession of immovable properties, his valuation was based on market value. The finding of the learned Subordinate Judge is that on the statement of the plaintiff himself, the valuation of the suit property at the time of filing the suit, mentioned as Rs. 5100, should be accepted as correct. We find no reason to take a different view.
9. The other method of valuation was by reference to the sale deeds as discussed by the learned Subordinate Judge in his report. In the ultimate analysis of the sale deeds, it appears that he found the total valuation of the suit properties at the time of the application for leave to be Rs. 8707.20 p. The method by which he arrived at this figure was, in substance, this: He classified the lands according to their quality into Bahel -- 1.60 acres; Berna Mal and Mal Tikre 20.25 acres; and AT 6.52 acres; total 28.37 acres. He valued the Bahel lands at Rs. 800 on the basis of Exts. A and J; Berna and Mal lands at Rs. 6075 on the basis of Exts. F and J: and AT lands at Rs 1532.20 p. on the basis of Ext. J.
The learned Subordinate Judge relied on the defendants' sale deeds in preference to the sale deed dated May 31. 1963 (Ext. 1) relied on by the plaintiffs: Ext. E dated April 12, 1958 and Ext. F dated June 18, 1960 are both nearest to the date of institution of the suit (1959) and are thus more reliable than the plaintiffs' document Ext. 1 dated May 31, 1963 for the purpose of fixing themarket value at the relevant period. ApaL from lands, there is also a house site which was valued at Rs. 300 on the basis of the evidence of the plaintiff's witness (P. W. 2) and the evidence of the defendant's witnesses as discussed in paragraph 11 of the report. Thus according to this method the total value comes to Rs. 8707.20 p.
10. Thus, adopting either method of valuation -- whether at Rs. 5100 on the basis of the valuation mentioned in the plaint, or at Rs. 8707.20 P. on the basis of the market value ascertained from the relevant sale deeds -- they both are much below the figure of Rs. 20,000 as specified in Article 133(1)(a) of the Constitution.
11. So, we are unable to hold that the amount of value of the subject-matter of the dispute in the court of first instance and still in dispute on appeal, is not less than Rs. 20,000 as specified in Article 133(1)(a) of the Constitution. Nor can we certify that the case is a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court under Article 133(1)(c) having regard to the points involved in the suit and in the appeal.
12. In this view of the matter, the application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court is refused. We, however, make no order as to costs of this application.
13. I agree.