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Kolachala Kutumba Sastri Vs. Lakkaraju Bala Tripura Sundaramma and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1939Mad462; (1939)1MLJ702
AppellantKolachala Kutumba Sastri
RespondentLakkaraju Bala Tripura Sundaramma and ors.
Cases Referred and Venkatasiva Rao v. Satyanarayanamurthi
Excerpt:
- - it may very well be that on that date the market value was rs......court on the question whether on a suit of this nature the valuation should be according to the market value or whether the relief should be valued in accordance with one of the methods mentioned in para. (v).2. in dantuluri venkatanarasimha raja v. dantuluri chandrayya (1926) 53 m.l.j. 267, krishnan and odgers, jj., held that the value contemplated in section 7(iv)(a) was not the market value. it was said that where it was sought to set aside a decree affecting immovable property, the value of the relief should be calculated on the basis of a suit falling within para. (v). the reason given was that as the act itself contained rules for the valuing of suits for possession of immovable property it was proper to take a method indicated by the act in preference to any other method. a.....
Judgment:

Alfred Henry Lionel Leach, C.J.

1. The question which the Court is called upon to consider in this case is whether in a suit for the cancellation of a deed of conveyance and for possession of the property the plaintiff should value his relief in accordance with the provisions of Section 7(iv)(a) or those of Section 7(v) of the Court-Fees Act. The plaintiff in this case filed a suit in the Court of the District Munsif of Tenali for a decree setting-aside a conveyance which he had executed and for possession of the land covered by the deed, pleading that he had been induced to sign the instrument as the result of undue influence and fraud. On the basis that the plaint fell for the purpose of valuation within para, (v) of the section he affixed a stamp fee of the value of Rs. 34-13-0. The District Munsiff considered that para. (iv)(a) applied, which meant a court-fee of Rs. 119-15-0. Para. (v), as amended by the Madras Act of 1922, requires that in a suit for the possession of land the relief shall be valued at ten times the annual revenue payable to Government where such revenue is settled but not permanently; and that is the position here. By the amending Act para. (iv)(a) was inserted. This paragraph requires the court-fee in a suit for the cancellation of a conveyance to be calculated on the value of the property. The case has been placed before a Full Bench because there are conflicting decisions of this Court on the question whether on a suit of this nature the valuation should be according to the market value or whether the relief should be valued in accordance with one of the methods mentioned in para. (v).

2. In Dantuluri Venkatanarasimha Raja v. Dantuluri Chandrayya (1926) 53 M.L.J. 267, Krishnan and Odgers, JJ., held that the value contemplated in Section 7(iv)(a) was not the market value. It was said that where it was sought to set aside a decree affecting immovable property, the value of the relief should be calculated on the basis of a suit falling within para. (v). The reason given was that as the Act itself contained rules for the valuing of suits for possession of immovable property it was proper to take a method indicated by the Act in preference to any other method. A decision to the same effect was given in Venkatasiva Rao v. Satyanarayanamurthi : AIR1932Mad605 , by a Division Bench consisting of Reilly and Anantakrishna Aiyar, JJ., but the judgments in that case do not add anything to what was said in the earlier case. These decisions were followed by King and Stodart, JJ., in a recent unreported case (S.A. No. 592 of 1932).

3. The same question was raised before Venkatasubba Rao, J., in Bali Reddi v. Abdul Satar : AIR1935Mad863 . The learned Judge considered that the proper method of calculating the value of the subject matter of a suit falling under para. (iv)(a) was the market value. He felt that he was not bound by the previous Bench decisions because the case before him related to mortgages and sale deeds whereas Dantuluri Venkatanarasimha Raju v. Dantuluri Chandrayya (1926) 53 M.L.J. 267 and Venkatasiva Rao v. Satyanarayanamurthi : AIR1932Mad605 related to decrees affecting immovable property. The decision of Venkatasubba Rao, J., was followed by Wadsworth, J., in Venkatakrishnayya v. Sheik Ali Sahib (1938) 48 L.W. 277.

4. We consider that the view taken by Venkatasubba Rao, J., in Bali Reddi v. Abdul Sattar : AIR1935Mad863 is preferable to that taken in Dantuluri Venkatanarasimha Raju v. Dantuluri Chandrayya (1926) 53 M.L.J. 267. Para. (iv)(a) deals with suits where it is necessary for the plaintiff to seek the cancellation of a decree or of a deed. Para. (v) relates merely to suits for possession. In a suit for possession it is not always necessary to set aside a decree or a document. Where a suit is merely for possession the Act says how the value of the subject-matter shall be arrived at. When adding para. (iv)(a) to Section 7 the Legislature did not say that in a suit falling within the new paragraph the valuation of the subject-matter should be arrived at in accordance with the method indicated in para. (v). It said that a suit within para. (iv)(a) should be valued according to the value of the property, and the value of the property, unless there is an indication to the contrary, must mean its market value. By the amending Act of 1922, para. (iv)(c) was also amended. Before the amendment this paragraph provided that in a suit to obtain a declaratory decree or order, where a consequential relief was prayed, the value should be according to the value of the relief sought by the plaintiff. The Amending Act inserted the proviso to the effect that in a suit coming under this paragraph in a case where the relief sought is with reference to immovable property the valuation shall not be less than half the value of the immovable property calculated in the manner provided for by para. (v). There the Legislature expressly provided that the method of calculation was to be in accordance with para. (v) but in adding para. (iv)(a) no such direction was given. The court-fee is to be calculated on the amount or the value of the property and to give the wording of para. (iv)(a) its plain meaning the valuation must be the valuation based on the market value of the property at the date of the plaint. We consider that Dantuluri Venkatanarasimha Raju v. Dantuluri Chandrayya (1926) 53 M.L.J. 267 and Venkatasiva Rao v. Satyanarayanamurthi : AIR1932Mad605 were wrongly decided and will therefore be overruled.

5. It follows that the District Munsif was right in requiring the suit to be valued under Section 7(iv)(a) of the Court-Fees Act, but we do not agree that it necessarily follows that the stamp fee shall be based on the amount stated in the conveyance. It must be based on the value of the property at the time of the suit. It may very well be that on that date the market value was Rs. 900, the amount stated to be the consideration, but this question is not before us. All we need say is that the plaintiff will have to stamp his suit according to the market value of the property before the plaint is received.

6. In view of the earlier decisions we consider that there should be no order as to costs.


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