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Ramanatha Chettiar and ors. Vs. Somasundaram Pillai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Civil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1958)2MLJ94
AppellantRamanatha Chettiar and ors.
RespondentSomasundaram Pillai
Excerpt:
- - the court-fee examiner issued the check slip as he was of the opinion that court-fee should have been paid under section 7(iv)(c) of the court-fees act on one half the market value of the land, but as there were certain statutory difficulties in the matter, he thought that the best course would be to levy a fixed court-fee of rs. 15 under article 17(b) of the second schedule in respect of each of the 61 defendants, treating the suit as a bundle of 61 suits, and so he recommended the levy of the deficit court-fee of rs......of lands in their possession, for the appointment of a receiver in respect of the crops on those lands. the petitioners had alleged that the tenants had entered into a conspiracy to defeat them of their share of the produce on the lands and had resolved to carry them away without giving the varam due to them. they alleged that they were entitled to both the varams as the lands were irruvaram pannai. they paid a fixed court-fee of rs. 15, under article 17(b) of schedule ii of the court-fees act. the court-fee examiner issued the check slip as he was of the opinion that court-fee should have been paid under section 7(iv)(c) of the court-fees act on one half the market value of the land, but as there were certain statutory difficulties in the matter, he thought that the best course would.....
Judgment:

Panchapakesa Ayyar, J.

1. This Civil Revision Petition is by the plaintiffs in O.S. No. 79 of 1954 on the file of the District Munsif's Court, Sivaganga, for revising and setting aside the order of the learned District Munsiff passed on a check slip filed by the Court-fee Examiner. The Court-Fee Examiner issued a check slip stating that the suit should have been valued under the proviso to Section 7(iv)(c) of the Court-fees Act as the suit had been filed by the present petitioners against 61 sets of defendants (tenants) and in respect of 62 items of lands in their possession, for the appointment of a receiver in respect of the crops on those lands. The petitioners had alleged that the tenants had entered into a conspiracy to defeat them of their share of the produce on the lands and had resolved to carry them away without giving the varam due to them. They alleged that they were entitled to both the varams as the lands were irruvaram pannai. They paid a fixed Court-fee of Rs. 15, under Article 17(b) of Schedule II of the Court-fees Act. The Court-fee examiner issued the check slip as he was of the opinion that Court-fee should have been paid under Section 7(iv)(c) of the Court-fees Act on one half the market value of the land, but as there were certain statutory difficulties in the matter, he thought that the best course would be to levy a fixed Court-fee of Rs. 15 under Article 17(b) of the Second Schedule in respect of each of the 61 defendants, treating the suit as a bundle of 61 suits, and so he recommended the levy of the deficit Court-fee of Rs. 900 (61 into 15 minus 15). The lower Court did not agree with him, and it saw no difficulty, statutory or otherwise in applying the provisions of Section 7(iv)(c) to the case and so did not accept the recommendation of the levy of Rs. 15 in respect of each of the 61 defendants but directed levy of Court-fee under Section 7(iv)(c) on the market value of the land (and not the crops) and adjourned the matter for assessing the market value of the lands in the possession of the defendants, the tenants. Hence this Civil Revision Petition.

2. I have perused the records and heard the learned Counsel for the petitioners and the learned Additional Government Pleader for the State. The defendants remained ex parte probably because of their poverty and their inability to come to Madras, and incur heavy expenses and to engage Advocates to argue their case, especially as the Government Pleader would be there to fight out the petitioners.

3. I am of the opinion that the Court-fee examiner was wrong in treating the suit as a bundle of suits. If there were 61 sets of defendants, as he contended, then one suit would not lie even though the deficit Court-fee was paid. There was an allegation that the 61 sets of defendants had conspired to remove the crops from the lands in order to prevent the petitioners from getting their varam. So one suit would lie. It is clear to me that the correct way of valuing the suit would be to calculate the Court-fee by applying Section 7(iv)(c) on the value of the varam claimed by the petitioners. The value of the varam was estimated by the petitioners at Rs. 2,700 and the correctness of that estimate is not disputed. If one of half of the value of the varam (for declaration purposes Rs. 2,700 is the value) or Rs. 1,350 is taken as the basis for the ad valorem valuation of the suit and if we apply Section 7(iv)(c) in that manner, then the Court-fee payable would be Rs. 142-7-0 instead of Rs. 15 paid by the petitioners. The deficit Court-fee of Rs. 127-7-0 would have to be paid. I order accordingly modifying the order of the lower Court. There is no justification for ascertaining the market value of the land in question, as the title of the petitioners to the lands was not disputed, and it was only their right to the crops worth Rs. 2,700 and the question of their recovering the varam, that was at issue. The plaint allegation was that there was a conspiracy among the tenants to remove the entire crops and to defeat the petitioners of their share. So this is an extraordinary case and so an extraordinary method of valuation has to be adopted as urged by Mr. Sundaram Ayyar, by applying the provisions of Section 7(iv)(c) of the Court-fees Act in a peculiar way, in the circumstances of the case. The learned Government Pleader had no arguments to advance as to why I should not follow the above course in the peculiar circumstances of the case.

4. I may add that this Civil Revision Petition has been pending here for more than three years, and that the crops regarding which a receiver was sought to be appointed must have been harvested and removed long ago. But as pointed out by Mr. Sundaram Ayyar, learned Counsel for the petitioners, and the learned Additional Government Pleader that fact has nothing to do with the settlement of a general principle in such cases. There will be no order as to costs in this Civil Revision Petition. The petitioners will have three weeks time to pay the deficit Court-fee from the date of the receipt of the records in the lower Court. If they want to pay the deficit Court-fee, and proceed with the suit, they will have to file an amendment petition requesting for the appointment of a receiver in respect of the present crops, and they will have to bide by the order of the lower Court on such amendment petition

5. In view of the orders in the main Civil Revision Petition no separate order is-necessary en C.M.P. No. 7273 of 1954.


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