Skip to content


Surat Goods Transport Pvt. Ltd. Co. Vs. Asharam Someshwar Suthar and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal Nos. 879 to 881 of 1982
Judge
Reported inAIR1983Guj147; (1984)1GLR63
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 110, 110A, 110B and 110D; Bombay Court Fees Act, 1959 - Sections 5, 7, 7(2), 14(1) and 18 - Schedule - Article 1; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 149 and 151 - Order 21 - Order 41; Bombay Motor Vehicles Rules, 1959 - Rules 291, 292, 294 to 305, 306, 307, 310, 312(1), 312(2) and 312(3); Court-fees Act, 1870 - Sections 4 and 17
AppellantSurat Goods Transport Pvt. Ltd. Co.
RespondentAsharam Someshwar Suthar and ors.
Advocates: B.J. Shethna, Adv.; M.B. Shah, Asstt. Govt. Pleader
Cases ReferredState of Orissa v. Sudhansu Sekhar Misra.
Excerpt:
motor vehicles - court fees - sections 5, 7, 14 and 18 of bombay court fees act, 1959 and sections 149 and 151 and orders 21 and 41 of code of civil procedure, 1908 - appeal arose out of common judgment in three claim petitions - earlier appeals adjourned on ground of non-compliance with provisions of court fees act - claim in each appeal should be valued according to leave claimed - appellant consolidated all three appeals for purpose of court fees and made aggregate valuation - procedure adopted by appellant not valid - provisions of court fees act not complied with - court fees chargeable and payable on each appeal. - - ..it is obvious that the claims tribunal's judgment has to be formally embodied in an award like civil court's decree and, therefore, the award has got to be drawn.....p.d. desai, j. 1. these three first appeals arise out of a common judgment delivered in three motor vehicle claim petitions. they were notified together for preliminary hearing and actually reached hearing on an earlier occasion. since it prima facie appeared to the court that the provisions of the bombay court-fees act. 1959 (hereinafter referred to as 'the court-fees act.') were not duly complied with because court-fees were not paid in two appeals (first appeal no. 880 of 1982 and first appeal no. 881 of 1982), the hearing of the appeals was adjourned. mr. b. j. shethna who appears on behalf of the appellant in each appeal was granted time to satisfy the court that the provisions of the court-fees act were duly complied with. mr. m. b. shah, learned assistant government pleader, who.....
Judgment:

P.D. Desai, J.

1. These three First Appeals arise out of a common judgment delivered in three Motor Vehicle Claim Petitions. They were notified together for preliminary hearing and actually reached hearing on an earlier occasion. Since it prima facie appeared to the Court that the provisions of the Bombay Court-fees Act. 1959 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Court-fees Act.') were not duly complied with because Court-fees were not paid in two appeals (First Appeal No. 880 of 1982 and First Appeal No. 881 of 1982), the hearing of the appeals was adjourned. Mr. B. J. Shethna who appears on behalf of the appellant in each appeal was granted time to satisfy the Court that the provisions of the Court-fees Act were duly complied with. Mr. M. B. Shah, learned Assistant Government pleader, who was present in the Court, was requested to waive service of the notice upon the Government pleader and he agreed to do so. We have now heard Mr. Shethna and Mr. Shah and for the reasons which follow, we are of the view that there is non-compliance with the provisions of the Court-fees Act inasmuch as the court fees have not been paid on the memoranda of appeal in the above-mentioned two appeals.

2. First Appeal No. 879 of 1982 arises out of Motor Vehicle Claim Petition No. 180 of 1979 which was instituted by respondents Nos. 1 to 5 who are the heirs/dependants of a person who met with his death in the course of an accident. The appellant who was the original opponent No. 1 is the owner of the vehicle involved in the accident. First Appeal No. 880 of 1982 arises out of Motor Vehicle Claim Petition No. 201 of 1979 which was instituted bv respondent No. 1 who was injured in the course of the same accident. The appellant was cited as opponent No. 1 in the said Claim petition. First Appeal No. 881 of 1982 arises out of Motor Vehicle Claim Petition No. 154 of 1980 which was instituted by respondent No. 1 who was injured in the course of the same accident. The appellant was cited as opponent No. 1 in the said Claim petition.

3. The abovementioned three Claim Petitions were consolidated by the Tribunal and evidence was recorded in Motor Vehicle Claim petition No. 180 of 1979. There was a common hearing and the Claim petitions were disposed of by a common judgment by the Tribunal. However, in the operative part of the judgment, the Tribunal made separate awards in favour of each claimant and even separate awards, have been formally drawn up. The award in Motor Vehicle Claim petition No. 180 of 1979 was in the sum of Rs. 77,000/- with costs and interest. The award in Motor Vehicle Claim Petition No. 201 of 1979 was in the sum of Rs. 50,000/- with costs and interest. The award in Motor Vehicle Claim Pelition No. 154 of 1980 was in the sum of Rs. 50,000/- with costs and interest. The appellant amongst others was held liable to satisfy the award in each case.

4. The appellant, as. earlier stated, has filed three separate appeals challenging the award passed against him in each case. Along with the memorandum of appeal the appellant has filed a certified copy of the judgment of the Tribunal together with the relatable award in First Appeal No. 879 of 1982. So far as the other two appeals are concerned, the appellant has filed only the relatable award along with each memorandum of appeal.

5. For the purposes of Court-fees, the appellant has valued the claim in First Appeal No. 879 of 1982 at Rupees 1,27,000/-. the Claim in First Appeal No. 880 of 1982 at Rs. 50,000/- and the claim in First Appeal No. 881 of 1982 at Rs. 50,000/-. Whereas no Court fee stamps are affixed to the Memoranda of appeal in First Appeal No. 880 of 1982 and First Appeal No. 881 of 1982, stamps of the value of Rs. 3600/- have been affixed on the memorandum of appeal in First Appeal No. 879 of 1982. Para. 1 of the memorandum of appeal in the said appeal purports to explain the circumstances under which the appellant has acted accordingly. The material portion of para 1 reads as follows :--

'Being aggrieved by the common judgment and award passed by the learned Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Valsad at Navsari, awarding Rs. 77,000/- in Claim petition No. 180 of 1979, Rupees 50,000/- in Claim Petition No. 201 of 1979 and Rs. 50,000/- in Claim Petition No. 154 of 1980 and holding that the liability of the Insurance Company (Original opponent No. 3) in all the three Claim Petitions is Rs. 50,000/- and the full liability is assessed for the opponents Nos. 1 and 2. the present appellant (owner of the Truck) has preferred three separate appeals before this Hon'ble Court. However, the Court Fees Stamp of Rs. 3,600/- is affixed in this appeal on the total claim of Rs. 1,27,000/- .....'

It would thus appear that although there are three separate awards under each one of which the appellant is made liable for a specified amount (which, when aggregated, comes to Rs. 1,77,000/- and although three separate appeals have been instituted to challenge those awards individually, the appellant has consolidated those three distinct appeals for the purposes of court-fees. Accordingly, the claim in First Appeal No. 879 of 1982 has been valued at Rs. 1,27,000/- (even though the award under challenge in the said appeal is for Rs. 77,000/- only) and the Court-fees have been paid on such claim on the memorandum of appeal in the said appeal. In valuing the claim at Rs. 1,27,000/- in the said appeal, the appellant has deducted the sum of Rs. 50,000/- from the aggregate liability of Rs. 1,77,000/- incurred by him under three separate awards, because the Insurance Company has been made liable to satisfy the awards to the said extent. On the memorandum of appeal filed in the other two appeals, no Court-fees have been paid in view of the consolidation made as aforesaid.

6. It would be appropriate to mention at this stage that if the relief in each appeal had been valued at the full amount awarded in the concerned claim petition and if the Court-fees had been separately paid in each appeal on such valuation, the appellant would have been required to pay by way of Court-fees a total sum of Rs. 7980/- in place and stead of the sum of Rs. 3600/-actually paid as per the following particulars :

Sr. No.

No. of appeal

Valuation

Court-fees

1.

F.A. No. 879 of 1982

Rs.77,OO0/-

Rs. 2,980/

2.

F.A. No. 880 of 1982

Rs. 50,OOO/-

Rs. 2.500/

3.

F.A. No, 881 of 1982

Rs.50,000/-

Rs. 2.500/-

Rs. 7.930/

As a result of the consolidation as aforesaid for the purposes of Court-fees, the appellant has effected a net saving of Rs. 4380 (Rs. 7980 less Rs. 3600 Rs. 4380). In case the relief in First Appeal No. 879 of 1982 was valued at Rs. 27,000 in place and stead of Rs. 77,000/- in view of the fact that the Insurance Company has been made liable to satisfy the awards to the said extent, the appellant would have been required to pay by way of Court-fees a sum. Of Rs. 1765/- on the memorandum of appeal in place and stead of Rs. 2980/-. The total amount which the appellant would have been required to pay as and bv way of Court-fees in that event would have been RS. 6765/-. Even on that basis the appellant has effected a net saving of Rs. 3165/- (Rs. 6765/-less Rs. 3600/- = Rs. 3165/-).

7. The question which arises against the aforesaid background is whether there has been due compliance with the provisions of the Court-fees Act. In order to answer the question, it would be necessary to refer to a few provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. 1939 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'), the Bombay Motor Vehicles Rules. 1959 (hereinafter referred to as 'the rules') and the Court-fees Act.

8. Section 110A of the Act makes provision for the making of application for compensation by the persons therein referred arising out of accidents involving the death of or bodily injury to any person by the use of motor vehicles, or damage to any property of a third party so arising, or both. Every such application is required to be made to the Claims Tribunal constituted under Section 110 and having jurisdiction over the area in which the accident occurred and the application is required to be in such form and it is required to contain such particulars as may be prescribed.

9. Be it stated at this stage that Rule 291 provides that such an application shall be in Form Comp A annexed to the Rules and that it shall contain the particulars specified in the said form. The prescribed Form Comp A requires the following, amousgst others, particulars to be set out :--

1. Full name (s) of applicant (si with age.

2. If the accident has caused death :

(a) relationship of each applicant with the deceased, and

(b) age of deceased,

3. Monthly income of injured person or deceased.

4. Nature of injury sustained and disablement caused;

5. Quantum of compensation claimed and basis thereof; and

6. Grounds on which compensation is claimed.

10. The statutory scheme thus appears to provide for the making of separate applications by persons claiming compensation in respect of death or bodily injury sustained in the course of an accident involving a motor vehicle.

11. Section 110B, in so far as ft is relevent for the present purposes, provides that on receipt of an application or compensation, the Claims Tribunal shall, after giving the parties an opportunity of being heard, hold an inquiry into the claim and may make an award determining the amount of compensation which appears to it to be just and specifying the person or persons to whom compensation shall be paid. In making the award, the Claims Tribunal is required to specify the amount which shall be paid by the insurer or owner or driver of the vehicle involved in the accident or by all or any of them, as the case may be.

12. Turning to the relevant Rules, Rule 292 prescribes the fees payable on an application for compensation. Be it stated that the said Rule is a scheme by itself and that no other statutory provision is required to be looked at in order to determine the quantum of fees payable on such an application. Rules 294 to 305, 306 and 307 prescribe the procedure which the Tribunal is required to follow while holding an inquiry under Section 110B. Rule 306 provides that the Claims Tribunal, in passing orders, shall record concisely in a judgment the finding on each of the issues framed and its reasons to such findings. Rule 310 provides that in so far as these rules make no provision or make insufficient provision, the Claims Tribunal shall follow the procedure laid down in the Civil P. C., 1908 for the trial of suits.

13. The statutory scheme with regard to the trial of applications for compensation shows that the Tribunal is governed by the relevant Rules in the matter of procedure to fee adopted at the trial of such applications and that the procedure laid down in the Civil P. C. in regard to trial of suits is to be followed where the Rules make no provision or make insufficient provision in respect of any procedural matter. At the conclusion of the inquiry the Tribunal has to pass a judgment and though the Act or the Rules do not appear to make any specific provision in that behalf, it is implicit that a format award has to be drawn up pursuant to such judgment, indeed, this point is no longer in doubt or dispute in view of the decision in Kishanchand, v. K. M. Satwani : (1975)16GLR749 , where this Court has held as follows:--

'Therefore, it is obvious that in such Motor Accident Claims proceedings which result in an award Of conpensation under Section 110D (sic). the Claims Tribunal has to pass a formal judgment, in accordance with which a formal award or jecree has to be drawn up as required by the provisions of the Code .....It is against such an award of the Claims Tribunal under Section 110B that an appeal is provided to this Court under Section 110D.....Therefore, there is not only a judgment and formally drawn up award against which an appeal had to be filed but the original decree or the decree in appeal could be executed by invoking the provisions under Order 21 of the Code.....it is obvious that the Claims Tribunal's judgment has to be formally embodied in an award like Civil Court's decree and, therefore, the award has got to be drawn up.....'(underlining supplied)

14. Section 110D makes provision in regard to appeals. In so far as it is relevant for the present purposes, the said section provides that any person aggrieved by an award of a Claims Tribunal may prefer an appeal to the High Court provided the amount in dispute in the appeal is not less than two thousand rupees.

15. Rule 312, Sub-rule (1), provides that every appeal against the award of the Claims Tribunal shall be preferred in the form of a memorandum signed by the appellant or an Advocate or Attorney of the High Court duly authorised in that behalf by the applicant and presented to the High Court or to such Officcer as it appoints in that behalf. The memorandum shall be accompanied bv a copy of the award. Sub-rule (3) provides that save as provided in Sub-rules (1) and (21 the provisions of Order XLI and Order XXI in First Schedule to the Civil P. C. 1908 shall mutatis mutandis apply to appeals preferred to the High Court under Section 110-D.

16. The aforesaid statutory provisions relating to appeal make it clear that the appeal lies against the award of the Claims Tribunal, that is to say, against the judgment and formally drawn up award, and that such appeal is required to be preferred in the form of a memorandum of appeal to which shall be annexed a copy of such an award.

17. Be it stated that so far as payment of Court-fees at the appellate stage is concerned, no provision is made either in the Act or in the Rules and that therefore, the matter will be governed by the provisions of the Court-fees Act.

18. Turning now to the relevant provisions of the Court-fees Act. Section 5, in so far as it is relevant, provides that no document of any of the kinds specified as chargeable in the first or second schedule to the Act annexed shall be filed, exhibited or recorded in any Court of Justice, unless in respect of such document there has been paid a fee of an amount not less than that indicated by either of the said schedules as the proper fee for such document. Section 7 deals with fees on memorandum of appeal against an order or award relating to compensation in certain cases, and Sub-section (2) thereof is material for the present purposes. The said subsection reads as follows :--

'(2) The amount of fee payable under this Act on a memorandum of appeal against an award of a Claims Tribunal preferred under Section 110-D of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, shall be computed as follows :--

(i) If such appeal is preferred by the insurer or owner of the motor vehicle -- the full ad valorem fee leviable on the amount at which the relief is valued in the memorandum of appeal according to the scale prescribed under Article 1 of Schedule I;

(ii) If such appeal is preferred by any other person -- one half of ad valorem fee leviable on the amount at which the relief is valued in the memorandum of appeal according to the said scale : Provided that if such person succeeds in the appeal, he shall be liable to make good the deficit, if any. between the full ad valorem fee payable on the relief awarded in the appeal according to the said scale and the fee already paid by him: and the amount of such deficit shall, without prejudice to any other mode of recovery, be recoverable as an arrear of land revenue.''

Section 14, Sub-section (1) provides that every question relating to valuation for the purpose of determining the amount of any fee chargeable under Chapter III on a plaint or memorandum of appeal shall be decided bv the Court in which such plaint or memorandum, as the case may be is filed, and such decision shall be final as between the parties to the suit. Section 18, in so far as it is material, provides that where a suit embraces two or more distinct subjects, the plaint or memorandum of appeal shall be chargeable with the aggregate amount of the fees to which the plaints or memoranda of appeal in suits embracing separately each of such subjects would be liable under the Act.

19. The foregoing provisions clearly manifest the legislative policy in regard to the computation of Court-fees. There is a clear injunction against the filing, exhibiting or taking on record in any Court of Justice of any document (including a memorandum of appeal), which is specified as chargeable with Court-fees, unless in respect of such document there has been paid a proper Court-fee as indicated by either the first or the second schedule to the Act. So far as an appeal against an award of a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal is concerned, the amount of Court-fee payable on the memorandum of appeal is to be computed in two different modes depending upon the person or the party who has instituted the appeal. If the appeal is preferred by the insurer or owner of the motor vehicle, the full ad valorem fee leviable on the amount at which the relief is valued in the memorandum of appeal is payable according to the scale prescribed under Article 1 of Schedule I. If the appeal is preferred by any other person (including the original claimant), one-half of ad valorem fee leviable on the amount at which the relief is valued in the memorandum of appeal according to the said scale is payable. If such appeal succeeds, however, the appellant is liable to make good the deficit, if any, between the full ad valorem fee payable on the relief awarded in the appeal according to the said scale and the fee already paid by him.

20. The question posed for determination in the earlier part of the judgment is required to be answered against the backdrop of the aforesaid statutory provisions contained in two different statutes and bearing in mind the facts and circumstances governing the case in hand.

21. Herein we are concerned with three different appeals instituted by the owner of a motor vehicle involved in the accident. Such appeal is directed against a distinct and separate award made pursuant to a common judgment delivered in three Motor Vehicle Claim Petitions which were consolidated few the purpose of trial as they arose out of a single accident even though they were separately instituted by different claimants. The award in each case determines the amount of compensation payable to the claimant/s. The amount which is payable by the appellant and by the insurer to the concerned claimant/s is also specified in clear words. In each appeal, the challenge is directed against the finding on the issue of negligence and the quantum of compensation. The challenge is also directed against that part of the award whereunder the liability of the insurer to satisfy the awards passed in all the three claim petitions is fixed at Rs. 50,000/- and the appellant is made fully liable to satisfy the awards. In the aforesaid fact situation there is no manner of doubt that each memorandum of appeal was required to be separately valued for the purpose of determining the amount of Court-fee payable thereon and that on each of such memorandum, the appellant (owner of the motor vehicle) was required to pay the full ad valorem fee leviable on the amount at which the relief is valued. Unless both these steps were taken, the memorandum of appeal could not have been filed and taken on record. Of course, having regard to Section 149 of the Code of Civil Procedure, even if the whole or any part of the Court-fee is not paid on the memoranda of appeal, such memoranda will not be treated as having ,no force or effect under all circumstances. The Court has the discretion at any stage to allow the appellant to pay the whole or part, as the case may be. of such Court-fee and, upon such payment, the memoranda will have the same force and effect as if such fee had been paid in the first instance. For the present purposes, however, when the question under consideration is one of consolidation of appeals for the purposes of Court-fees, this provision is not relevant and it may be kept out of consideration. In the cases in hand the appellant has taken the first step. Each appeal has been valued for the purpose of determining the amount of Court-fees. However, on the memoranda of appeal in two appeals, the amount of Court-fees payable under Section 7(2) have not been paid. Besides, for the purposes of computation of Court-fees, the appellant has valued one appeal (main appeal) at a higher amount than that at which the relief was required to be valued in the said appeal, having regard to the real relief which could have been claimed therein, and in so doing, the appellant has purported to effect consolidation by making in the said appeal an aggregate valuation of the claim in all the three appeals. In our opinion, in view of the fact that there are three appeals and in the absence of any provision in the Court-fees Act with regard to the consolidation of such three distinct appeals for the purposes of Court-fees, it was not open to the appellant to adopt such a procedure. Section 18 is apparently not attracted in such cases and once the said section is out of the way, there is no other provision in the Court-fees Act permitting such aggregation or consolidation.

22. True it is that the Court has inherent powers under Section 151 of the Civil P. C. to consolidate suits or appeals. Under the circumstances, for purposes of hearing and deciding appeals including appeals under Section 110D of the Act, it would be competent to the Court to consolidate appeals even is the absence of an express provision to that effect in the Act. Rules or in the Code. Different considerations will prevail, however, if the consolidation is to be made for the purposes of valuation for determining the amount of Court-fees payable on the memoranda of appeal, it is settled law that inherent powers cannot be exercised then their exercise is prohibited or excluded by the Code or any other statute. Therefore, if the consolidation has the effect of overriding or coming in conflict with the provisions of the Court-fees Act, inherent powers cannot be exercised for the purpose of consolidation for the said purpose. The combined effect of Section 5 and Section 7(2) of the Court-fees Act, as earlier pointed out, is that unless a memorandum of appeal against an award of a Claims Tribunal preferred by an owner of a motor vehicle involved in the accident is affixed with the full ad valorem fee leviable on the amount at which the relief is valued in the said memorandum according to the scale prescribed bv Article I of Schedule I of the Court-fees Act, such memorandum cannot be filed in or taken on record by the registry of the Court. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to see how the appellant could have adopted the procedure which it has done for the purposes of the valuation and payment of Court-fees in this group of appeals.

23. There are two decisions which support the view which we are taking. In In re. G. Krishnayachandrulu. : AIR1930Mad376 , the , facts were that the plaintiff had filed 118 suits against 118 sets of tenants for recovery of arrears of rent. The suits were tried together and were disposed of by a common judgment whereunder they were dismissed. Separate decree was drawn up in each suit. The plaintiff thereupon filed 118 appeals in the District Court from those decrees which also were dismissed. The plaintiff preferred separate second appeals in the High Court and made an application under Section 151 C. P. C. to consolidate the appeals so filed for the purposes of (1) treating the Court-fee payable as the Court-fee on the entire valuation of the suits and (2) filing only one Vakalatnama in all the suits. Kuma-raswami Sastri, J., speaking for the Full Bench, held that there was no doubt as to the inherent power of the Court to consolidate suits or appeals. However, such consolidation could be for various purposes. The main object of consolidation is to prevent unnecessary delay in the disposal of the suits or appeals and to prevent unnecessary costs being incurred. The costs so saved, however, are costs as between party and party and cannot mean saving of stamp duty payable to the state under the specific enactment. The learned Judge referred to Section 4 of the Court-fees Act 1870 which in its material part is in pari materia with Section 5 of our Court-fees Act and held that the power of consolidation could not be extended in a manner so as to conflict with the provision of the Court-fees Act.

In terms, it was observed as follows at page 379 :--

'It seems to me that consolidation can only be asked when there are suits or appeals properly instituted and on the file, Where the legislature lays down certain requirements necessary to be satisfied before it can be seized of the suit or appeal, e. g. a plaint or memorandum of appeal on a proper stamp it is difficult to see how an order can be passed consolidating suits or appeals for the purpose of getting over the stamp duty payable.'

24. In Moosa Suleman Salehji v. Secretary of State : AIR1929Cal135 , the facts were that the same set of appellants had filed four appeals against the decision of the District Judge in four land acquisition matters relating to the compensation awarded for acquisition of four plots of land. There was a common respondent in each appeal, viz. the Secretary of State. The appellants made an application praying that all the four appeals may be consolidated: in effect, the prayer was that the memoranda of appeals in all those cases should be considered as one memorandum of appeal and that after having done that, Section 17 of the Court-fees Act, 1870, which is in pari materia with Section 18 of our Court-fees Act, should be applied and that they should be allowed to pay Court-fees on the consolidated value of all the four appeals instead of paying Court-fees for each appeat separately, as they were bound to do under ordinary circumstances. The Division Bench, which considered the application, observed that there was no objection to consolidating a number of appeals in the exercise of the inherent jurisdiction oi the Court, if the matter for consideration in a number of appeals was the same and the parties also were the same. However, it was another matter when the aid of Section 17 was sought to be invoked on the allegation that the memorandum of appeal in each of those four cases should be consolidated into one memorandum of appeal and treated as if it was one memorandum embracing two or more distincts subjects. Such consolidation could not possibly be permitted in terms, the Division Bench observed as follows at page 136 :--

'We are also of opinion that we are unable to treat the memorandum in each of these appeals as one memorandum for a single appeal. The appeals may be consolidated for the purpose of hearing them but Court-fees must he paid separately for each according to the provisions of the Court-fees Act.'

25. Both these decisions support the view which we are taking herein. As observed in the Full Bench decision in In re. G. Krishnayavhandrulu's Case(AIR 1930 Mad 376) (supra) the power of consolidation cannot be exercised in a manner so as to conflict with the provisions of an enactment like the Court-fees Act. And once Section 18 of the Court-fees Act is out of the way in a case like the present where more than one appeal is filed, consolidation for the purpose of Court-fees would inevitably result in conflict with the provisions of Section 5 of the Court-fees Act.

26. On behalf of the appellant, considerable reliance was placed on a common order made in Civil Application No. 2125 of 1979 First Appeal St. No. 10513 of 1979 and Civil Application No. 2126 of 1979 in First Appeal St. No. 10514 of 1979. Those Civil Applications were instituted by the original appellant (Insurance Co.) who had insured the vehicle involved in the accident. Those First Appeals were directed against a common judgment but distinct awards made by the Tribunal in two out of a group of three Claim Cases which arose out of a single accident. In those two cases, the question with regard to the insurer's liability qua third party was involved.

Under the policy, the insurer's liability in respect of third party's claim was restricted to Rs. 50,000/- The insurer's contention before the Tribunal in the two cases involving third party claims was that it could be held liable for an aggregate or total amount of Rs. 50,000/- only and that it was not liable to satisfy the award to the extent of Rs. 50,000/- in each of the said two cases. The Tribunal rejected the said contention and held the insurer liable to satisfy the award to the extent of Rs. 50,000/- in each of the said two cases. Be it stated that the award in one of such cases was in the sum of Rs. 33,000 and in the other it was in the sum of Rs. 42,000. The insurer was, therefore, held liable to satisfy fully the award passed in each of the two said cases. The submission which the insurer made in the two Civil Applications filed in the two First Appeals directed against the said awards was that it was held liable to satisfy two independent awards aggregating to Rs. 75,000/- ignoring the limits laid down in the policy and that that was a common challenge in both the appeals and that it was required to file two separate appeals only because there were two separate awards passed by the Tribunal the insurer farther submitted that it was not possible to apportion the amount in dispute in each appeal and to specify the claim for the purpose of payment of Court-fees separately. Under the circumstances, the insurer submitted that both the appeals might be consolidated and heard together and for the purpose of levying Court-fees, the amount in dispute might be permitted to be computed to the extent of the challenge in both the appeals together. The prayer was 'to direct the office to consolidate these appeals and treat them as one appeal for the purpose of charging Court-fees.' The Division Bench, which heard the application, passed the following order: 'We have heard the learned Advocate for the appellant-Insurance Company and the learned Government Pleader for the State. Having regard to the overall aspects of the question of Court-fees, we are of the opinion that all these appeals should be consolidated for the purpose of Court-fees since they are to be heard together and are arising out of the same accident The appellant shall pay Court-fees on the aggregate amount of difference in dispute in all these anneals,'

On behalf of the appellant, it was submitted that the order amounts to a judicial decision holding that consolidation of appeals for the purposes of Court-fees was permissible in cases where appeals arise out of the same accident and they are to be heard together,

27. Now, in the first place, the cases before us and the cases in respect of which the aforesaid order came to be made are not comparable. The appeals with which the Division Bench was there concerned raised a limited common dispute as to the liability of the insurer to satisfy the awards made in cases arising out of a single accident to the extent of Rs. 50,000/- only in the aggregate when such cases were heard and tried together and disposed of by a common judgment and where, according to the appellant it was not possible to apportion the amount in dispute and to value the claim in each appeal separately. It was precisely on that basis that the relief with regard to the consolidation of appeals for the purpose of Court-fees was made and granted. Herein we are concerned with three appeals instituted by the owner of one of the vehicles involved in the accident and the challenge is not a limited one as in those two cases. The awards made in three different claim cases are also challenged on merits, i. e., the decision on the issue of negligence as as welt as on the issue of assessment of compensation is also challenged. There is, therefore, no question of any difficulty arising in the matter of apportionment of the amount in dispute in each appeal, as was the case in the group of appeals with which the Court was concerned in the matters in which the abovequoted order was passed, it was substantially contended in the said group of appeals by the insurer that it was agreeable to satisfy the award to the extent of Rs. 50,000/-, so far as third party risk was concerned and that its dispute was limited only to the extent of the additional liability of Rs. 25,000/- which was sought to be imposed upon it under the two awards and that under those circumstances it could not be made to pay Court-fees on the basis of the relief to be valued in each appeal separately. Such a question does not arise in a case where the owner of the vehicle challenges the award passed in each claim case even on merits. Under the circumstances, we do not read the order passed in the said group of appeals as a judicial precedent which is to be treated as binding on this Court in matters which do not have any identical fact-situation. It is well settled that every decision must be read as applicable to the particular facts existing in the case in hand and that the generality of expressions, if any, which may be found in such decision are not intended to be expositions of the whole law, but governed and qualified by the particular facts of the case in which such expressions are to be found. They cannot be pressed into service in a totally different case in aid of an argument which may seem to follow logically from those observations (see Quinn v Leathern. 1901 AC 495 quoted with approval by the Supreme Court in State of Orissa v. Sudhansu Sekhar Misra. : (1970)ILLJ662SC ). In the next place, the question as to the power of the Court to permit consolidation of appeals for the purposes of court-fees does not appear to have been fully argued and the attention of the Court does not appear to have been drawn to all the relevant provisions of the Court-fees Act and the Motor Vehicles Act & Rules. The order, therefore, is apparently made per incuriam Under those circumstances, even if the order were to be regarded as a Judicial decision of general applicability, it would not still bind as a precedent which we must follow.

28. For the foregoing reasons, we are of the opinion that the claim in each of these three appeals should be valued on the basis of the amount at which the relief is claimed in each memorandum of appeal and that Court-fees would be chargeable and payable on such valuation in each appeal. Since the appellant has consolidated all the three appeals for the purposes of Court-fees and made an aggregate valuation of the amount in dispute in all the appeals in the memorandum of only one appeal, namely, First Appeal No. 879 of 1982 and has paid consolidated Court-fees on the memorandum of appeal in the said appeal only and has not paid any Court-fees on the memorandum of appeal in the other two appeals, namely, First appeals Nos. 880 of 1982 and 881 of 1982, the provisions of the Court-fees Act have not been complied with. We allow time to the appellant to pay Court-fees at the prescribed scale on the memorandum of appeal in First Appeal No. 880 of 1982 and First Appeal No. 881 of 1982 within four weeks from today. The appellant may apply for corresponding reduction of claim in First Appeal No. 879 of 1982 and for refund, if any, in respect of the excess Court-fees paid, if any, on the memorandum of the said appeal.

29. The matters to be posted for preliminary hearing after the Court-fees have been paid as directed.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //