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S.M.N.R.M. Lakshmanan Chettier Vs. S. Rm. Ar. Ramanathan Chettiar, and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1935Mad115; (1935)68MLJ23
AppellantS.M.N.R.M. Lakshmanan Chettier
RespondentS. Rm. Ar. Ramanathan Chettiar, and anr.
Cases ReferredSitarama Aiyar v. Ramanuja Mudaliar
Excerpt:
- - an equitable set-off is a legally recognised one and we fail to see why any distinction should be drawn between that and a legal set-off......thus comes before us. we are quite unable to see why in reason a written statement or a defence pleading a legal set-off should have to bear a court-fee and one pleading an equitable set-off not be liable to do so also. in the former case the set-off pleaded may be of a very small amount and in the latter case of a very large amount, it is conceded by mr. patanjali sastri that beyond what he suggests as a technicality no reason can possibly be advanced for this distinction between the two classes of set-off. an equitable set-off is a legally recognised one and we fail to see why any distinction should be drawn between that and a legal set-off. the matter is somewhat bare of authority. so far as this high court is concerned, the only decision since the amendment of the court-fees act.....
Judgment:

1. The question raised in this Civil Revision Petition is whether under Article 1 of Schedule I of the Court-Fees Act as amended a court-fee is payable on the equitable set-off claimed by the defendant in the suit. The principal Subordinate Judge of Devakottai held that a court-fee was payable tentatively. The matter thus comes before us. We are quite unable to see why in reason a written statement or a defence pleading a legal set-off should have to bear a court-fee and one pleading an equitable set-off not be liable to do so also. In the former case the set-off pleaded may be of a very small amount and in the latter case of a very large amount, It is conceded by Mr. Patanjali Sastri that beyond what he suggests as a technicality no reason can possibly be advanced for this distinction between the two classes of set-off. An equitable set-off is a legally recognised one and we fail to see why any distinction should be drawn between that and a legal set-off. The matter is somewhat bare of authority. So far as this High Court is concerned, the only decision since the amendment of the Court-Fees Act is the decision of Sundaram Chetty, J., in Sitarama Aiyar v. Ramanuja Mudaliar (1931) 142 I.C. 719. In that case he expresses the opinion although possibly it may be obiter that there is nothing to show that the set-off mentioned in this article, namely, Article 1, Schedule I of the Court-Fees Act, is confined only to legal set-off coming under Order 8, Rule 6, Civil Procedure Code and that prima facie the expression set-off used in this article might include an equitable set-off also. With that opinion we entirely agree and we must, therefore, hold that the set-off pleaded in this suit must bear the appropriate court-fee. This Civil Revision Petition must, therefore, be dismissed with costs.


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