Govinda Pillai, J.
1. The revision petition was filed against the order of the court below, refusing to set aside the attachment placed on the property under Section 143, Criminal P.C. The proceedings started by the lower Court ended in a declaration of possession of the property in favour of one of the parties. In revision, that order was set aside by the High Court, and the lower Court was directed to be in possession of the property until the rights of the parties were settled in a civil suit. On the allegation that this matter was indirectly decided in O.S. 1 of 1124 on the file of the District Court of Nagercoil, the revision petitioner filed the petition in the lower court to give effect to the decree in that suit and to raise the attachment placed on the property. This was declined by the lower Court, and the order thus passed is now sought to be revised. A copy of the lower court's order was produced along with the revision petition; and the question arose as to what was the proper value of the court fee stamp to be affixed on the same. The revision petitioners' learned advocate, Mr. Paikedey, stated in the first instance that; no stamp need be affixed on judgments and orders of criminal courts; for there was no proper provision for the same in Schedule I attached to the Court Fees Act. The Taxing Officer was of opinion that this question was governed by Article 10 of Schedule I and that the party was to affix stamps at the rate of eight annas for every 360 words or fraction thereof. Notice of this contention was given to the Advocate General; and the arguments of both sides were heard. The alternative argument of Mr. Paikeday was that, even if any stamp was to be affixed, it should be under Article 7 of Schedule I and not under Article 10. Articles 7 and 10 are extracted below for purposes of easy reference.
Number Ad-valorem fees. Proper fee* * *7. Copy or trans When such judgmentlation of a judgment, or order is passed byor of an order not any Civil Court otherbeing or having force than the High Courtof a decree. or by the PresidingOfficer of any RevenueCourt or office or byany other judicial orexecutive authority.(a) If the amount orvalue of the subjectmatter is fifty rupeesor less than fiftyrupees. 4 annas(b) If such amountor value exceeds fiftyrupees. 8 annnaWhen each judgmentor order is passed bythe High Court. One rupee* * *10. Copy of any For every three hund-revenue or judicial red and sixty wordsproceeding or order or fraction of threenot otherwise pro- hundred and sixtyvided for by this Act words. 8 annas.or copy of any account,statement, report, orthe like taken out ofany Civil or Criminalor Revenue Court oroffice or of any ChiefOfficer charged withthe executive admini-stration of a Division.* * *
2. These Articles correspond to Articles 6 and 9 of the Indian Court Fees Act and Articles 4 and 7 of the Cochin Court Fees Act, II of 1080 as amended by Act 24 of 1122. Clauses (a) and (b) and the third clause in Col. 2 of Article 7 would shew that the same could apply only when the judgment or order related to a subject matter which could be pecuniarily valued. So far as Travancore and Cochin are concerned, it can be seen that this Article will apply only to civil Proceedings. It was argued that, as regards criminal proceedings also, sometimes the subject matter could be valued; for example, proceedings under Section 145, Criminal P.C., where it would be possible to value the subject matter of the dispute. Unlike the Civil Courts, the jurisdiction of the Criminal Courts is not determined with reference to the market value of the subject matter at least in some cases. It could not, therefore, be argued or staled that this Article would apply to proceedings in Criminal Courts. Necessarily, therefore Article 7 of Schedule I of the Court Fees Act will not apply to this case.
3. Before the present Court-fees Act was enacted, the provision governing such cases was Article 4(a) of the Cochin Court-fees Act and the residuary Article 9 of the Travancore Court-fees Act. The Indian Court-fees Act corresponded to the present Article 10 and, since this caused hardship to parties, it would appear that the Legislatures in Cochin and Madras introduced a new Article, i.e. Article 4(a) in Cochin and Article 6(a) in Madras, which specifically provided for a fee of eight annas for a copy or translation of Criminal Court judgments or orders. In Travancore, the residuary Article 9 of Act 6 of 1087 provided generally a fee of half a rupee, irrespective of the number of words in the order or judgment. It was this residuary Article that was being made use of with regard to Criminal Court orders and judgments; and, as pointed out in - Ijjatulla Bhuyan v. Chandra Mohan Banerjee 34 Cal 954 at p. 959 (A) the working rule is that, where a statute used language of a doubtful import and has been interpreted in a particular manner for a term of years, the interpretation given to that obscure meaning may reduce the uncertainty to a fixed rule. Thus, the judicial proceeding mentioned in the present Article 10 find the repealed Article 9 of the Travancore Court Fees Act in 'copy of any revenue or judicial proceeding or order not otherwise provided for by this Act' would apply to the judgments and orders of Criminal Courts. 'Judgment' is not defined in the Criminal P.C. But 'Judicial Proceeding' is mentioned in Section 4(m) to include any proceeding in the course of which evidence is or may be legally taken on oath. The proceeding terminates in a judgment or order; and so the judicial proceeding would cover a judgment or order of a Criminal Court. It necessarily follows that it is Article 10, Schedule I, Court-fees Act that will apply to cases of this kind. The argument, that no stamp used need be affixed on orders or judgments of Criminal Courts, does not, under the circumstances, call for consideration. The party will have to affix the necessary stamps on the copy of the order produced as provided for in the present Article 10, Schedule I, Court-fees Act.
4. It may, however, be mentioned that this would cause undue hardship to the parties; and recently the State itself had to pay a large amount on this account when they filed an appeal against the judgment in a Sessions Case acquitting the accused. It is also not proper to make a distinction between judgments of Criminal Courts and Civil Courts. As regards judgments and orders of Civil Courts, Article 7, Schedule I, Court-fees Act, prescribes a fixed fee. It was because of the hardship mentioned above that the Legislatures in Madras and Cochin thought of introducing a new Article to govern the decisions of Criminal Courts. In Travancore, there was no such difficulty; for, irrespective of the number of words, a fixed fee of half a rupee has been prescribed. Anyhow, this is a matter for the Legislature to consider. We are to interpret the Articles as they appear in the Act.