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Appala Raja and ors. Vs. Rangappa Naicker and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1918Mad632; (1917)33MLJ481
AppellantAppala Raja and ors.
RespondentRangappa Naicker and ors.
Cases ReferredIn De Silva v. De Silva
Excerpt:
.....and injunctions do not afford in all cases the proper criteria for finding out the value of the subject-matter in dispute for purposes of ascertaining whether the requirements of the first paragraph of section 110 are satisfied. i am not, however, satisfied that the persistence and keenness may not be due more to sentimental considerations and to the not uncommon spirit of factious rivalry between landholders of neighboring villages. venkatarama sastriar, however, argues on the second point that the case falls within the words of the second part of section 110 of the code of civil procedure and that the 'decree or final order involves directly or indirectly some claim or question to or respecting property of like amount or value. 8. thirdly, i am not satisfied that any question of law..........suit. the application for leave is based on the ground that the decree of this court relates to a subject-matter whose value was rs. 10,000 or upwards in the court of first instance and the subject-matter in dispute on appeal to his majesty in council is also of the same value and that therefore the application fulfils the requirements of the first paragraph of section 110, civil procedure code. it is further alleged that the decree involves directly or indirectly some claim or question to or respecting property of like amount or value and hence it further or in the alternative, satisfies the requirements of the second paragraph of section 110. civil procedure code. it is finally contended that even if neither of the above requirements' is fulfilled, the application satisfies the.....
Judgment:

Sadasiva Aiyar, J.

1. This is an application by the plaintiffs (who were respondents before us in S.A. No. 1198 of 1914) for leave to appeal to the Privy Council against the judgment of this Court which reversed the decision of the Subordinate Judge of Sivaganga and dismissed the plaintiffs' suit. The application for leave is based on the ground that the decree of this Court relates to a subject-matter whose value was Rs. 10,000 or upwards in the Court of first instance and the subject-matter in dispute on appeal to His Majesty in Council is also of the same value and that therefore the application fulfils the requirements of the first paragraph of Section 110, Civil Procedure Code. It is further alleged that the decree involves directly or indirectly some claim or question to or respecting property of like amount or value and hence it further or in the alternative, satisfies the requirements of the second paragraph of Section 110. Civil Procedure Code. It is finally contended that even if neither of the above requirements' is fulfilled, the application satisfies the conditions of paragraph 3 of Section 110, Civil Procedure Code namely, that there is a substantial question of law involved in the suit on which it is advisable that there should be a pronouncement by their Lordships of the Privy Council.

2. It may be remarked that in the plaint, the subject matter in dispute in the suit is valued at Rs. 300 for purposes of jurisdiction. The Court-fee paid on the plaint is Es. 11-8-0 which would cover a subject matter of a value of about one hundred and forty rupees only. No doubt, the value for the purpose of calculation of court-fees and the value fixed for the purpose of jurisdiction in respect of claims for declarations and injunctions do not afford in all cases the proper criteria for finding out the value of the subject-matter in dispute for purposes of ascertaining whether the requirements of the first paragraph of Section 110 are satisfied. Now the subject matter in dispute, in this case is the right of the plaintiffs to have the water of the Thalaigidanga pond and of the channel B for the irrigation of their fields. The real value of that right can be properly ascertained only on the basis of the detriment or injury which the plaintiffs would suffer if that fight is negatives as it has been. The affidavit in support of the application for leave mentions in paragraphs 14, 15 and 16 that the plaintiffs have suffered (either by the decreased value of the lands or by the decrease of the annual average income) an injury of which the pecuniary equivalent amounted to very much more than Rs. 10,000. But the finding of the District Munsif (to whom this question was referred by this Court for his opinion which we accept) is that the actual detriment or injury caused to the plaintiffs does not amount to Rs. 10,000 and is negligible so far as pecuniary value is concerned. It seems to me therefore that so far as the first paragraph of Section 110 is concerned, this case does not fulfil the requirements thereof.

3. Then Mr. Venkatarama Sastriar argued that the requirements of the second paragraph are fulfilled because though the subject-matter of the suit and the subject-matter in dispute on appeal to His Majesty in Council may be less than Rs. 10,000 in value, the decree of this Court involves a claim ' respecting' irrigation of lands which lands are worth more than a lakh of rupees. If the word 'property' in the second paragraph of Section 110 be given the widest meaning, and if the word 'respecting' is also given a very wide interpretation, the above argument has no doubt much force. But in construing the word 'property' in the second paragraph, we cannot lose sight of the first paragraph of Section 110 to which the second is an alternative. I think 'property' in the second paragraph of Section 110 means rights in property inferior to full ownership where such inferior rights alone are the subject-matter in dispute. Hence the second paragraph means that the suit must, to satisfy its conditions, involve rights and claims to property which rights and claims are worth Rs. 10,000 an I upwards. I am fortified in this view by the decision of Sir Lawrence Jenkins, C.J., and Mr. Justice Russel in De Silva v. De Silva (1907) 6 Bom. L.R 103. The case in Ajnas Kooer v. Luteefa (1873) 18 W.R. 21 also lends support to this view as being the only reasonable view of the law on this point. No doubt, the provisions of the second paragraph of Section 110 had not been enacted on the date of that decision but I think the second paragraph only intended to extend the privilege given by the first paragraph (in so far as it enabled an appeal to be filed even though the dispute directly involved in the litigation sought to be taken up to the Privy Council was less than Rs. 10,000) only to cases where a claim regarding rights of Rs. 10,000 or upwards in value is involved indirectly, though not directly. Whether directly or indirectly involved, on the question however, as to what is the thing which should be Rs. 10,000 or upwards in value so as to justify an appeal to the Privy Council, I think that the case in Ajnas Kooer v. Luteefa (1872) 18 W.R. 21 furnishes an authority which is entitled to great respect.

4. Coming to the third paragraph of Section 110, I have considered in Raghunatha Thathachariar v. Thiruvengada chariar (1915) 2 L.W. 992, the question as to what should be the nature of the substantial point of law of general interest involved which would justify a certificate being granted under Order 45, Rule 3, last clause of Sub-section 1 read with Section 109, Clause (c) and the last paragraph of Section 110. In this case, the only questions of law really involved seem to come under a few heads, one of them being whether Old-field, J., and myself were right in stating in our first judgment in this case that no plea of lost grant was put forward by the plaintiffs. The other questions as to the extent of the right of the Government to regulate the flow of water for irrigation and as to whether the plaintiffs are entitled to a prescriptive right by sufficiently long enjoyment are questions which (so far as they involve questions of law) have been considered in several cases both by the Privy Council and by this High Court and I do not think that any new question is involved in this case which makes it desirable to have a fresh pronouncement from their Lordships of the Privy Council.

5. Mr. Venkatarama Sastriar argued that the persistence and keen fighting spirit displayed by both his clients and their opponents in this litigation show that large substantial interests are really involved in the suit, substantial both as regards the pecuniary value of the interests and the legal questions of general importance involved. I am not, however, satisfied that the persistence and keenness may not be due more to sentimental considerations and to the not uncommon spirit of factious rivalry between landholders of neighboring villages. I would therefore refuse this application and dismiss it with costs.

Spencer, J.

6. On the first point it is clear that the subject-matter in dispute in this case is not of the value of Rs. 10,000 or upwards. It was found by both the lower courts, whose decisions of fact are binding on this Court in second appeal, that no material diminution of water supply to which the plaintiffs were entitled, had been caused by the defendants' acts, and that no damage had been caused thereby to the plaintiffs' lands. I think that the extent to which the property would be deteriorated in value by the decision of this Court remaining unreversed is the proper criterion by which the value of the subject-matter of this suit should be tested see Ajnas Kooer v. Luteefa (1872) 18 W.R. 21.

7. Mr. Venkatarama Sastriar, however, argues on the second point that the case falls within the words of the second part of Section 110 of the Code of Civil Procedure and that the 'decree or final order involves directly or indirectly some claim or question to or respecting property of like amount or value.' In De Silva v. De Silva (1907) 6 Bom. L.R.403, an extreme case was suggested of a suit for a share of the value of Rs. 100 in an estate of the value of Rs. 10,000 being taken to the Privy Council. It was considered by the court that if such an interpretation were placed upon the section, it would defeat the object of the section which is to prevent small claims from going to the Privy Council. I consider that it was not intended by the legislature that claims of trifling value should be taken up to the Privy Council unless the property directly or indirectly involved in the result of the litigation is of Rs. 10,000 in value or upwards, and unless some substantial question relating to the right, title and interest in such property is directly or indirectly decided thereby. I do not think it can have been intended that when some subsidiary interest, such as an easement of inconsiderable value attached to property of great value, is in dispute, the value of the property affected rather than the value of the subject-matter of the suit should determine the right of appeal. The claim must be one 'to or respecting property' of Rs. 10,000 in value, not a claim merely affecting property of such value.

8. Thirdly, I am not satisfied that any question of law of general interest or importance is involved in this case. What the Judges had to consider was rather the application of the law to the particular facts of the case that was before them. I therefore agree in refusing the leave to appeal.


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