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Venkatramayya and ors. Vs. Kristnayya - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1897)7MLJ257
AppellantVenkatramayya and ors.
RespondentKristnayya
Cases ReferredJainti Prasad v. Bachu Singh
Excerpt:
.....was 12 annas, when it ought to have been sections 15-12-0. this being the case, it was a document which, in view of the provisions of section 6 of the court fees act, could not lawfully have been filed by the court to which it was presented moreover, it was a document which, according to the 28th section of the same act, possessed no validity. the act not only imposes a restriction or disability on the court with reference to an inadequately-stamped document. in other words, a plaint inadequately stamped is, in point of law, no plaint at all. the object of that clause is to give the party who has presented a defectively-stamped plaint an opportunity of supplying the defect. that section which became law on the 29th july 1892 refers, like the second paragraph of section 5 of the..........dismissed. this suit, therefore, ought to have been dismissed, if, in point of law, there was no plaint presented on the 29th march 1893. the document presented as a plaint satisfied the requirements of the civil procedure code, but it did not satisfy the requirements of the court fees act, inasmuch as the stamp affixed was 12 annas, when it ought to have been sections 15-12-0. this being the case, it was a document which, in view of the provisions of section 6 of the court fees act, could not lawfully have been filed by the court to which it was presented moreover, it was a document which, according to the 28th section of the same act, possessed no validity. the act not only imposes a restriction or disability on the court with reference to an inadequately-stamped document. it also by.....
Judgment:

1. The question is whether the plaint having been presented with an insufficient court stamp on the last day allowed by the law of limitation, viz., 29th March 1893 and subsequently within the time fixed by the Court presented again with a proper stamp, can be said to have been duly presented within the time limited by the Act of limitation. According to the 4th section of that Act a suit is instituted when the plaint is presented to the proper officer, and, unless the suit is so instituted within the period prescribed by the schedule, it must be dismissed. This suit, therefore, ought to have been dismissed, if, in point of law, there was no plaint presented on the 29th March 1893. The document presented as a plaint satisfied the requirements of the Civil Procedure Code, but it did not satisfy the requirements of the Court Fees Act, inasmuch as the stamp affixed was 12 annas, when it ought to have been Sections 15-12-0. This being the case, it was a document which, in view of the provisions of Section 6 of the Court Fees Act, could not lawfully have been filed by the court to which it was presented Moreover, it was a document which, according to the 28th section of the same Act, possessed no validity. The Act not only imposes a restriction or disability on the court with reference to an inadequately-stamped document. It also by declaring the invalidity of such document makes the proper stamping of a document purporting to be a plaint an essential condition for the existence of a valid plaint. In other words, a plaint inadequately stamped is, in point of law, no plaint at all. I can find nothing in Section 54 of the Civil Procedure Code to conflict with this view of the law. We are not concerned with the case of improper valuation, the case contemplated in clause (a) of Section 54 of the Civil Procedure Code and Sections 9 and 10 of the Court Fees Act. Nor are we concerned with the case of mistake or inadyertence on the part of the court--the case for which the proviso to Section 28 of the letter Act is applicable. The case before us is the one provided for in clause (b) of Section 54 of the Civil Procedure Code. The object of that clause is to give the party who has presented a defectively-stamped plaint an opportunity of supplying the defect. Instead of rejecting the plaint, the Court must fix a time for the supply of the requisite stamp paper. But for this saving., provision, a fresh plaint would have been indispensable, as it is if the requisite stamp paper is not supplied within the time fixed. It appears to me that this provision of the law is in no manner inconsistent with the construction which I place upon the Court Fees Act. Because the law makes that provision in favour of the party whose plaint is defective in the matter of stamp, I cannot see why it should be said that the law empowers the court to enlarge the period allowed by the limitation Act, or gives retrospective validity to a document which, at the time when it was first presented, was invalid. Seeing that the Legislature had before them the proviso to the 28th section of the Court Fees Act which declares in favour of retrospective validity in the case therein provided for, it is not to be supposed that in framing Section 54 of the Code, they intended that principle to be extended to cases not within the proviso. A still stronger argument of a similar character is furnished by Section 582 A of the Civil Procedure Code. That section which became law on the 29th July 1892 refers, like the second paragraph of Section 5 of the Limitation Act, to appeals and applications for review of judgment. The section provides for the case of an insufficiency of stamp ' caused by mistake on the part of the appellant as to the amount of the requisite stamp.' It declares that notwithstanding the insufficiency, the memorandum of appeal ' shall have the same effect and be as valid as if it had been properly stamped.' This section probably owes its origin to the decision of the Full Bench in Balkaran Rai v. Gobind Nath Tiwari I.L.R., 12 A., 129. It was there held that the practice of giving an appellant time to supply a deficiency of court-fee stamp and treating the memorandum of appeal as validly presented on the day when it was presented with the defective stamp, was erroneous. This practice was one which generally prevailed in this and other courts, and the effect of the new section was to legalize it subject to the condition that the deficiency of stamp was due to mistake on the appellant's part. In the absence of any such mistake it is clear now that in the case of appeals the decision of the Allahabad Court must prevail. The appeal must be rejected, unless the memorandum adequately stamped is presented within due time. Since the Legislature has by this new section extended a limited indulgence to appellants, it cannot be supposed that it was intended to give plaintiffs in respect of their plaints the same indulgence in unqualified terms. To hold in favour of the plaintiff in the present case' would mean that, whereas an appellant can take advantage of S, 582-A' only on proving mistake, a plaintiff may deliberately and with his eyes open affix an inadequate court-fee stamp and, on the balance being furnished within a time fixed, demand to have his plaint treated as if at institution it had been properly stamped. This cannot possibly have been the intention of the Legislature, for the section already mentioned and the latter part of S, 5 of the Limitation Act show that appellants, not plaintiffs, are regarded as parties in whose favour the rigour of the law of limitation should be relaxed.

2. The ease of Stuart Skinner v. William Ordei, is relied upon' in this as in other cases as containing a dictum of the Judicial Committee in favour of the view advocated by the respondent's vakil. Skinner V Orde is, however, easily distinguishable from the present case. There the petition as originally presented by the plaintiff was complete and valid, and only required the order of the Court under Section 308 of the. Code then in force to make it. fully efficacious as a plaint. After the filing of the petition, the plaintiff acquired the means requisite for paying the court-fee, and accordingly the proper stamp was affixed. The question was whether the plaintiff was, as regards the date of the presenting of his plaint to be placed on the footing oh which he could have been, had the order above mentioned been made, or whether the plaint, should have been rejected altogether. There was no question in that case of validating a point which was in its inception invalid; In the present case on the contrary that is precisely the contention which must be raised, and it clearly is not admissible, because a transaction ab initio void cannot be validated.

3. I have already given reasons for holding that the plaint as presented, was of no legal force or effect whatever I. agree with the decision in Jainti Prasad v. Bachu Singh . I reverse the I.L.R., 15 A., 65decree of the District, Judge and restore that of the District Munsif with costs.

Movies, J.

4. I entirely concur.


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