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Fali Phirojshah Contractor Vs. Phirojshah Pestonji Contractor - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Appln. No. 340 of 1961
Judge
Reported inAIR1963Guj207; (1963)GLR836
ActsSuits Valuation Act, 1887 - Sections 11(1) and 11(4); Court-fees Act, 1870 - Sections 7 and 8A; Bombay Court-fees (Amendment) Act, 1954; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 115
AppellantFali Phirojshah Contractor
RespondentPhirojshah Pestonji Contractor
Appellant Advocate C.K. Shah and; S.C. Shah, Advs.
Respondent Advocate N.V. Karlekar, Adv.
DispositionRevision allowed
Cases ReferredRathnavarmaraja v. Smt. Vimla
Excerpt:
civil - valuation - section 115 of code of civil procedure, 1908, sections 11 (1) and 11 (4) of suits valuation act, 1887, section 7 and 8a of court-fees act, 1870 and bombay court-fees (amendment) act, 1954 - suit for declaration that government securities of rs. 2 lakhs in joint names of petitioner and opponent was under his sole ownership - relief sought valued at rs. 99 - value for purpose of jurisdiction taken to be rs. 99 - subject matter of suit had standard of valuation - plaintiff can put his own valuation as per section 7 (iv) (c) - valuation can be revised by court if requirements of section 8a not satisfied - valuation in present case not properly made by plaintiff - fresh enquiry under section 8a directed. - - but there may also be cases as the instant one in which there..........value for the purposes of court-fees placed by the plaintiff is the same under section 8 of the suits valuation act, he conceded that under section 8-a of the bombay court-fees act of 1954, the court can revise the valuation made if it felt that the suit was wrongly valued. he also observed as follows :'the inquiry into the valuation contemplated by section 8-a is to be made where there is a standard by reference to which the valuation of the relief claimed could be arrived at and if by reference to that standard the valuation put by the plaintiff is found to be erroneous, the court can revise it. however, there is no such objective standard to revise the value put by the plaintiff in a suit for declaration and injunction, as in the present suit, where the fight claimed by the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

V.B. Raju, J.

1. In a suit by the opponent for a declaration that Government Securities worth Rs. 2,00,000/- and odd, standing in the joint names of the opponent and the petitioner were of his sole ownership and that he alone had a right to operate the account of the securities and for a consequential Injunction, the relief sought was valued at Rs. 99/-. The value for purposes of jurisdiction was also taken as Rs. 99/-, and the suit was filed in the Court of the 3rd Joint Civil Judge, Junior Division, Baroda. An objection was taken on the ground of jurisdiction and it was contended that the value for the purposes of, jurisdiction should be Rs. 2,00,000/- and odd and that the Court of the Joint Civil Judge, Junior Division, Baroda, had no jurisdiction.

2. The learned 5th Joint Civil Judge, Junior Division, Baroda, observed that the suit admittedly fell under Section 7(iv)(c) of the Court-fees Act of 1870. He also observed that the Court has got powers to inquire Into the matter and revise the valuation under Section 8-A of the Bombay Court-fees Act of 1954, and he discussed various authorities, namely, Chhotalal v. Laxmidas : AIR1959Bom517 , Bhikhandas v. Motilal : AIR1958Bom307 , Amirchand v. Hakim All, AIR 1924 Lah 364 and Rama Kalinga v. Balapoa Kalinga, AIR 1942 Bom 203. He observed that In the light of the above authorities, the correct position of law Is thatin a suit failing under Section 7(iv)(c) of the Court-fees Act, it is the value of the relief claimed as put by the plaintiff that governs the jurisdiction, as the value for the purposes of court-fees placed by the plaintiff is the same under Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act, He conceded that under Section 8-A of the Bombay Court-fees Act of 1954, the Court can revise the valuation made if it felt that the suit was wrongly valued. He also observed as follows :

'The inquiry into the valuation contemplated by Section 8-A is to be made where there is a standard by reference to which the valuation of the relief claimed could be arrived at and if by reference to that standard the valuation put by the plaintiff is found to be erroneous, the Court can revise it. However, there is no such objective standard to revise the value put by the plaintiff in a suit for declaration and injunction, as in the present suit, where the fight claimed by the plaintiff is an abstract right. This is therefore but natural that the plaintiff would put a notional value for the relief claimed by him, as it would not be possible to evaluate the relief claimed by him at any particular figure. Section 8-A of the Court-fees Act, no doubt, restricts the plaintiff in valuing the relief to some extent, but this restriction does not in any way prevent the plaintiff from doing so where the relief claimed by him is an abstract right and the valuation of which would vary according to individual views.'

3. The learned Judge relied on Burjor v. Nariman : AIR1953Bom382 . But that was a case before the amendment of Court-fees Act in 1954 by inserting Section 8-A. The learned Judge observed as under :

'It would appear that Section 8-A which has been Inserted by the amendment in the Court-fees Act in the year 1954 only restricts the plaintiff from valuing the relief claimed in his own way in such cases where there is a standard by reference to which the relief claimed could be valued. It is, therefore, not possible to attract the previsions of that section so far as the facts of the present case are concerned. It is, therefore, clear that it does not affect the plaintiff's right to put his own valuation for the reliefs claimed by him in cases where there is no standard oy reference to which the value of the relief claimed could be ascertained.'

4. For the purposes of pleader's fees, the plaintiff had valued the suit at Rs. 2,00,800/-, and with reference to this the learned Judge observed as follows :

'I would lastly refer to the authority in : AIR1958Bom307 on which much reliance was placed by Mr. Chimanlal for the defendant. This authority can be distinguished on point of facts also, as in that matter the valuation put by the plaintiff for the purpose of court-fees was Rs. 265/-and that for the purposes of jurisdiction was put at Rs. 22500/-, whereas in the present suit, the value put by the plaintiff for, the purposes of court-fee is Rs. 99/- and the same value has been put for the purposes of Jurisdiction. It appears that the amendment in the plaint was sought merely in order to clarify the position that the pleaders' fee was to be faxed on the amount of Rs. 2,00,800/-. It has been clarified by the plaintiff in the Purshis Ex. 75 that the Court could not tax more than Rs. 9999/- by way of pleaders' fee, as it would amount to exercising pecuniary jurisdiction in excess the statutory limit provided by Section 24 of the Bombay Civil Courts Act. It has been argued on behalf of the defendant that that the Purshis Ex. 75 could not in any way change the averments in the plaint and that on the plaintiff's admission in the plaint itself, the suit was beyond the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Court as it involved subject-matter of Rs 2,00,800/-. I am unable to accept this view and I find that the plaintiff has valued the suit correctly for the purposes of jurisdiction and pleaders' fees; and that this Court has jurisdiction to try the suit.'

The learned Judge, therefore, held that the valuation as made by the plaintiff was correct and he held that his Court had jurisdiction. This order is now challenged in revision.

5. It is difficult to agree with the lower Court that in the instant case there is no standard for putting a valuation of the subject-matter of the suit. The subject-matter of the suit is not a wall or an easement or an abstract thing. The subject-matter of the suit is Government Securities of the value of Rs. 2,00,800/-. There may be cases falling under Section 7(iv)(c) of the Court-fees Act, in which there is no standard of valuation. But there may also be cases as the instant one in which there is clearly a standard of valuation.

6. Section 11 of the Suits Valuation Act, reads as follows :

'(1) Notwithstanding anything in Section 573 of the Code of Civil Procedure, an objection that by reason of the over-valuation or undervaluation of a suit or appeal a Court of first instance or lower Appellate Court which had not jurisdiction with respect to the suit or appeal exercised jurisdiction with respect thereto shall not be entertained by an Appellate Court unless --

(a) the objection was taken in the Court of first instance at or before the hearing at which issues first framed and recorded, or in the lower Appellate Court in the memorandum of appeal to that Court, or

(b) the Appellate Court is satisfied, for reasons to be recorded by it in writing that the suit or appeal was overvalued or undervalued and that the overvaluation or undervaluation thereof, has prejudicially affected the disposal of the suit or appeal on the merits.

(2) if the objection was taken in the manner mentioned in Clause (a) of Sub-section (1), but the Appellate Court is not satisfied as to both the matters mentioned in Clause (b) of that sub-section and has before it the materials necessary for the determination of the other grounds of appeal to itself, it shall dispose of the appeal as if there had been no defect of jurisdiction in the Court of first instance or lower Appellate Court.

(3) If the objection was taken in that manner and the Appellate Court is satisfied as to both those matters and has not those materials before it, it shall proceed to deal with the appeal under the rules applicable to the Court with respect to the hearing of appeals; but if it remands the suit or appeal, or frames and refers issues for trial, or requires additional evidence to be taken, it shall direct its order to a Court competent to entertain the suit or appeal.

(4) The provisions of this section with respect to an Appellate Court shall, so far as they can be, made applicable, apply to a Court exercising revisional jurisdiction under Section 622 of the Code of Civil Procedure or other enactment for the time being in force.

(5) This section shall come into force on the first day of July 1837.'

Sub-section (4) of this section refers to a Court exercising revisional jurisdiction under Section 622 of the Code of Civil Procedure of 1882, which corresponds to Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure of 1908. The Court must, therefore, bear in mind the provisions of Section 11 of the Suits Valuation Act.

6. It is contended by the learned counsel for the opponent that Section 11 of the Suits Valuation Act cannot be applied unless the suit has been disposed of end that after the suit has been disposed of, the provisions of Sub-section (1) of Section 11 should be borne in mind. The contention cannot be accepted, because there is nothing in Sub-section (4) to show that the revisional jurisdiction can be exercised only after the suit has been disposed of. But if the suit has been disposed of, then the condition mentioned in Clause (b) of Sub-section (1) should be borne in mind. These requirements need not be borne in mind if the suit or appeal has not been disposed of. The first requirement contained in Clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of Section 11 of the Suits Valuation Act is obviously satisfied in this case, because objection has been taken at or before the hearing at which issues were framed. The objection was admittedly taken in the written statement of the defendant itself before issues were first framed. The requirements of Clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of Section 11 are, therefore, satisfied, and Clause (b) of Sub-section (1) of Section 11 does not come into operation, because the suit was not decided. There is, therefore, nothing in Section 11 of the Suits Valuation Act to prevent the High Court from exercising revisional jurisdiction under Section 115, Civil procedure Code.

7. But the learned counsel for the opponent relies on the judgment of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Rathnavarmaraja v. Smt. Vimla, AIR 1961 SC 1299, where it is observed as under :

'Whether proper court-fee is paid on a plaint is primarily a question between the plaintiff and the State. The jurisdiction in revision exercised by the High Court under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure is strictly conditioned by Clauses (a) to (c) thereof. The defendant who may believe and even honestly, that proper court-fee has not been paid by the plaintiff has still no right to move the superior Courts by appeal or in revision against the order adjudging payment of court-fee payable on the plaint. Section 12 (2) of the Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act only enables the defendant to raise a contention as to the proper court-fee payable on a plaint and to assist the Court in arriving at a just decision on that question. There is no provision in the Madras Court-fees Act or any other statute which enables the defendant to move the High Court in revision against the decision of the Court of first instance on the matter of court-fee payable in a plaint. The anxiety of the Legislature to collect court-fee due from the litigant is manifest from the detailed provisions made in Ch. Ill of the Madras Act, but those provisions do not arm the defendant with a weapon of technicality to obstruct progress of the suit by approaching the High Court in revision against an order determining the court-fee payable.'

In that case, there was no question of jurisdiction involved, but merely a question of court-fees. But in the instant case before me, the question of jurisdiction is involved, and, therefore, the decision of their Lordships of the Supreme Court cited above does not govern the facts of this case. In my opinion, to hold that there is no standard of valuation in the instant case is definitely erroneous and amounts to material irregularity in the exercise of jurisdiction. Where the subject-matter of suit consists of Government Securities of the value of Rs. 2,00,800/-, it would be wrong to say that there is no standard of valuation of the subject-matter of the suit. As I have observed earlier, there may be cases where there is no standard of valuation, for instance, where the subject-matter of the suit relates to an easement or to a construction of a wall etc. But inmy opinion, the subject-matter of the suit in the instant case has clearly a standard of valuation.

8. It is also contended by the learned counsel for the opponent that Section 8-A of the Bombay Court-fees Act of 1954 does not apply to the facts of the case. That section reads as follows :

'If the Court is of opinion that the subject-matter of any suit has been wrongly valued it may revise the valuation and determine the correct valuation and may hold such inquiry as it thinks tit for such purpose.'

It is contended that the suit has not been wrongly valued because under Section 7(iv)(c) of the Court-fees Act of 1870, the plaintiff has put his own valuation. It is because of the provisions of Section 7(iv)(c) of the Court-fees Act of 1870 that Section 8-A has been added by the Bombay Court-fees Act of 1954. Although under Section 7(iv)(c) of the Court-fees Act of 1S70 the plaintiff can put his own valuation, that can be revised by the Court if the requirement of Section 8-A of the Bombay Court-fees Act of 1954 is satisfied. This is clearly a case in which the Court should form the opinion that the valuation made by the plaintiff under Section 7(iv)(c) of the Court-fees Act of 1870 has been wrongly made by the plaintiff. It has been valued at only Rs. 99A for the purposes of jurisdiction and for the purposes of pleader's fees the plaintiff has valued the suit at Rs. 2,00,800/-. I, therefore, reject the contention of the learned counsel for the opponent.

9. The revision application is, therefore, allowed, the order of the lower Court is set aside and the lower Court is directed to make a fresh inquiry under Section 8-A of the Bombay Court-fees Act of 1954 after applying the correct principles to the matter. There will be no order as to costs.


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