I.D. Dua, J.
(1) A preliminary objection has been raised in this case that the present appeal does not lie to this Court, the value for the purpose of jurisdiction of the suit being Rs. 500/- only. The present suit was instituted by the plaintiffs-respondents for possession, by way of pre-emption, of some agricultural land sold by Gurbux Singh defendant No. 4 on 14th September 1956 for a consideration of Rs. 5,375/-.
The value for the purpose of Court-fee was fixed at Rs. 200/- and for the purposes of jurisdiction at Rs. 500/-. The trial Court decreed the suit on payment of Rs. 5,375/-. The vendees have come up in appeal to this Court against this decree. The learned Advocate for the plaintiff-respondents pre-emptors relies on Section 39(1)(a) of the Punjab Courts Act which is in the following terms:
'39 (1) Save as aforesaid, an appeal from a decree or order of a Subordinate Judge shall lie-
(a) to the District Judge where the value of the original suit in which the decree or order was made did not exceed five thousand rupees; and
(b) to the High Court in any other case.'
The counsel contends that the value of the original suit for the purposes of jurisdiction was Rs. 500/- only with the result that the appeal would not lie to this Court. In this connection he has also referred us to the provisions of Secs. 3 and 4 of the Suits Valuation Act which, according to the counsel, lay down the rule for determining the value of suits for pre-emption for the purposes of jurisdiction.
The counsel has in support of his contention quoted the following reported cases: Iftikhar Ali v. Thakar Singh, 83 Pun Re 1912, Malha v. Bishen Singh, AIR 1925 Lah 41 and Jagdish Ram v. Mt. Chinto, AIR 1936 Lah, 133; the last authority being a Division Bench decision of the Lahore High Court which is practically on all fours with the present case. The counsel for the appellants has on the other hand, in support of his contention, relied on Muhammad Afzal Khan v. Nand Lal, 16 Pun Re 1908 (F. B.) Jaswant Ram v. Moti Ram, AIR 1926 Lah. 376 (FB), Kalu Ram v. Hanwant Ram, ILR 15 Lah 151: (AIR 1934 Lah 488) (a decision by Bench of 5 Judges), Ganga Ram v. Hakim Rai, ILR 15 Lah. 512: (AIR 1934 Lah 545 (2)) (F.B.), Nawab v. Emperor, AIR 1935 Lah 35, Sis Ram v. Sohan Lal, AIR 1938 Lah 311 and Murari Lal v. Chet Ram, AIR 1954 Punj 36. In ILR 15 Lah 151: (AIR 1934 Lah 488) (FB), the view expressed in 16 Pun Re 1908 (FB) was approved by Tek Chand J. who as usual wrote a well reasoned judgment with whom the majority of the other Judges agreed.
This view was again approved by a later Full Bench printed at page 512 of the same report (ILR 15 Lah): (AIR 1934 Lah 545 (2)) in which case also the main judgment was written by Tek Chand J. The principal basis of the view adumbrated in the above three Full Bench decisions is the proposition of law that a Court is incompetent to pass a decree for payment of an amount beyond the pecuniary limits of its jurisdiction; the value fixed by the plaintiff in those cases was considered to be tentative notwithstanding that it was fixed according to the rules.
It is contended by the appellants that a decree in a suit for pre-emption is not merely and simply a decree for possession of property but it is a decree for possession on payment of purchase money and therefore the amount to be paid under the decree should be within the pecuniary limits of the Court's jurisdiction. In 83 Pun Re 1912, a Division Bench of the Punjab Chief Court considered the observation of the Full Bench in 16 Pun Re 1908 on the question of value for purposes of appeal to be obiter and on this ground refused to adopt them. In AIR 1936 Lah 133, a Division Bench consisting of Hilton and Rangi Lal JJ. in a short judgment followed the decision reported as 83 Pun Re 1912 in preference to the Full Bench decision reported as ILR 15 Lah 512: (AIR 1934 Lah 545 (2)).
It is stated at the Bar that the question raised is of considerable importance and that it arises very frequently in Courts; in view of the conflict of authority it is suggested that the question deserves to be decided authoritatively by a larger Bench. In our opinion, the question of the competency of this appeal in this Court is of importance and in view of the conflicting authorities noticed above it does call for a decision by a larger Bench. The papers may, therefore, be laid before the Hon'ble Chief Justice, if considered proper, for constituting a larger Bench of decide this question.