Bishan Narain, J.
1. This suit has been filed for a declaration for cancellation of a lease deed in dispute and as a consequential relief a prayer has been made for an injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with the property under lease.
The value for purposes of jurisdiction and court-fee was fixed at Rs. 550/- and court-fee was paid on this amount. The defendants objected to the valuation of the suit. The trial Court held that Section 7(v), Court-fees Act, 1870 applied to the plaint and the value should be fixed at the market value of the property for the purposes of court-fee and jurisdiction and ordered the plaintiffs to amend the plaint accordingly. The plaintiffs have filed this petition for revision.
2. It is obvious from the plaint that the plaintiff's seek a declaratory relief that the lease deed is inoperative and a consequential relief that the defendants should not interfere with the plaintiffs' rights. Thus the court-fee is to be computed under Section 7(iv)(c), Court-fees Act. Under this section the plaintiffs have been given the right to value the relief claimed. The Punjab State legislature by the Punjab Court-fees (Punjab Amendment) Act, 1903 (31 of 1953) has added a proviso to this section and this proviso reads:
'Provided further that in suits coming under Sub-clause (c), in cases where the relief sought is with reference to any property such valuation shall not be less than the value of the property calculated in the manner provided for by Clause (v). of this section.'
The question arises whether in the present case the court-fee should be paid on the market value of the property in dispute as has been held by the trial Court or on the value of the lease rights involved in the suit. Now, Section 7(v) lays down the principles of computation of values of lands, houses and gardens.
On the basis of this clause it was argued by the learned counsel for the defendant-respondents that the market value of the immovable property, i. e., the factory, which is the subject-matter of the suit, should be considered to be the value of the suit for purposes of court-fee and jurisdiction. If this be so, then whether a plaintiff in any suit seeks relief against a lease, which may be for a very short duration, or a mortgage deed which again may be for a small amount, for a sale deed, the court-fee must be paid ad valorem on the full value of the property.
It appears to me difficult to hold that this was the intention of the legislature. The legislature could not be imputed with the intention that court-fee should be paid on full market value of the immovable property irrespective of the nature of the right involved in the litigation. The word 'property' is net a term of art and strictly speaking means only the right which a person has in relation to something. The word 'property' ordinarily indicates and describes an interest which a person has in something. It is also frequently used to denote the thing in relation to Which the right of property exists.
The only properly way to construe the phrase 'with reference to any property' in the proviso is to construe it as indicating and describing an interest which a person has in the thing. Moreover, Clause (v) of Section 7 does not deal with value of moveable property but a suit relating to move-able property can also be governed by s. 7(iv)(c), Court-fees Act, in such a case then the proviso does not lay down any test for computation of the value of the property.
To hold that the word 'property' in the Punjab Amendment relates only to immoveable property and not to rights in moveable or immoveable property will be not only unjust but also In-convenient. I am, therefore, of the opinion that the word 'property' in this amendment is used in the sense of a right in the property Involved in the case. In the present case lease rights are Involved which admittedly are property and therefore court-fee must be plad on these rights and not on the market value of the immoveable property which is the subject of the lease.
3. For these reasons I accept this petition and direct that the plaintiffs should pay court-fee according to the value of lease rights involved in the litigation, amend the plaint to bring it in accordance with this Judgment and also make all other consequential amendments.
4. There will be no order as to costs.
5. The parties are directed to appear before the trial Court on 20-2-1956.