Krishnaswami Nayudu, J.
1. The plaintiffs instituted O. S. No. 309of 1950 in the District Munsif's Court, Tuticorin,a representative suit on behalf of themselves andother owners of properties within the TuticorinMunicipality in respect of which the defendantswho are the Tuticorin Municipality published ascheme for the area covered by these propertiesas the area of Town Planning Scheme 'D' of theTuticorin Municipality. The suit was for a declaration that the 'D' scheme 'propounded by thedefendants under the Town Planning Act wasillegal and 'ultra vires' and for a permanent injunction prohibiting them from enforcing all orany provisions of the scheme against the plaintiffs.
2. The plaintiffs valued the suit for purposes of court-fee and jurisdiction at Rs. 110 and paid a court-fee of Rs. 15 for declaration under Schedule II Article 17, Court-fees Act and for injunction at Re. 1-1-0 under Section 7(iv)(d), Court-fees Act. An issue was raised as to the correctness of the Court-fee paid which was tried as a preliminary issue.Besides, the Court-fee examiner also issued a checkslip that the suit should have been valued underthe proviso to Section 7 Clause iv-c, Madras Court-feesAct. Section 7 Clause iv-c relates to suits toobtain a declaratory decree or order where consequential relief is prayed and a proviso is addedby the enactment of Madras Act V of 1922. Thatproviso is in the following terms:
'Provided that in suits coming under Sub-clause (c)(of Section 7-iv) in cases where the relief sought iswith reference to any immoveable property, suchvaluation shall not be less than half the valueof the immoveable property calculated in themanner provided for by paragraph (v) of thissection.'
3. The learned District Munsif upheld the contention of the Court-fee examiner and held thatthe proviso to Section 7 Clause iv-c was applicable tothe present case.
4. Section 4, Madras Town Planning Act (VII of 1920), says that a town planning scheme may provide for several matters including the laying out the roads etc. the construction, alteration, removal or demolition of buildings, bridges and other structures, the acquisition, by purchase of any land within the area included in the scheme the construction or houses, the allotment or reservation of land for streets, roads, squares, houses, buildings etc. On the publication of a draft scheme and its sanctioning by the local Government no person shall erect, or proceed with, any building or work or without the permission of the Municipal Council and persons intending to put up buildings, shall conform to the directions or the Council, and the Council has, under Section 19, the power to remove, pull down, or alter, any building or to execute the work themselves. Persons injuriously affected may, under Section 20, apply for compensation.
Since the area covered by the scheme published by the Municipal Council, affects, to a large extent, the rights of owners of these properties and confers powers on the Municipality to interfere with such ownership of immoveable properties, the argument that found support with the lower court is that the scheme concerns immovable properties, and the declaration asked for viz., that the scheme is 'ultra vires' and illegal, is a declaration in respect of immovable properties and, injunction being the consequential relief, the suit must be valued under the proviso to Section 7(iv)(c) as a suit for declaration with consequential relief, as the relief is sought with reference to immovable properties. The lower court took the view that, in substance, the suit was for a declaration of the rights of the plaintiffs in the properties covered by the D scheme and the injunction prohibiting the defendants from enforcing all or any of the provisions of the scheme meant that the defendants were prohibited from altering the structures or interfering with the possession of the suit properties which again are the immovable properties, and as such both the declarations and the injunction asked for were with reference to immovable properties.
In -- Re., Venkatakrishna Pattar : AIR1927Mad348 ', where it was a suit in respect of an easementary right, Jackson J. observed that inasmuch as the relief sought was the declaration of theright of easement, the relief might be said to bewith reference to immovable property. And hefurther observed.
'The proviso should be read with the clause so as to make 'with reference to mean' involving the possession of land, house and/or garden, and then the proviso would not be applicable to easements at all.'
This observation of Jackson J. was referred to by Varadachariar J. in -- 'Gurunatha Chettiar v. Secretary of State AIR 1936 Mad 201 (B), who observed that it seemed to him that the 'prima facie' interpretation of that expression, namely,
'the relief sought is with reference to any immovable property was that the dispute should in some sense relate to the title to the immovable property'.
5. Myself and Govinda Menon J. had occasion to consider a case arising from the Madras Town Planning Act in -- 'Ahmed Hussain Sahib v. Ghani Veeri Chettiar', (C). There we held that the mere fact that a particular area was included in a Town Planning scheme would not justify holding the owner of a property within the Municipality as incompetent to sell the same or that his title to deal with it was affected, and, as such, the publication or notification of the scheme with reference to these properties would not have the effect of interfering with title to the properties covered by the scheme.
The declaration that is asked for is with reference to the proposed scheme on several grounds mainly on the ground that the defendants had no authority to start the scheme and that they had not complied with the provisions of the Act, especially relating to the preparation of and publishing of the scheme with special reference to Sections 8 and 9 of the Act. The suit was mainly, therefore, for declaring that the scheme decided upon and sought to be published was in contravention of the provisions of the Act and was therefore illegal and 'ultra vires', and not binding on the plaintiffs. The consequence of bringing into effect the proposed scheme would no doubt entitle the Municipality to interfere with the rights of ownership and possession of immovable properties and if a declaration and injunction are asked for in respect of the scheme, it is to prevent the municipality from interfering with the right of the plaintiffs to own and enjoy the immovable properties concerned. In that manner, the relief asked for may be indirectly connected or may he held to affect the plaintiffs' right to the possession and ownership of the immovable properties. But could it be said that the relief asked for concerns title to immovable properties?
In -- 'Turlapati Venkateswara Rao v. Municipal Council Masulipatam', : AIR1954Mad284 (D), where a suit filed In a representative capacity for a declaration that a resolution passed by a Municipal Council relating to a market was illegal, 'ultra vires' and void, was held to fall under Article 17-B of Schedule II, Court-fees Act and that it was not a case where court-fee should be paid on the value of the market itself. The learnedChief Justice held that the opinion of the Subordinate Judge that as the declaration asked forwas in respect of a resolution which related tothe market the subject matter in dispute shouldbe deemed to be the market whose valuation wasabout Rs. 7 lakhs, was wrong, that the subjectmatter of the suit was not market but the resolution whose validity was being impeached and thatthough no doubt, the resolution related to themarket that would not make it the subject-matterof the suit.
Even in the present case the initiation of a scheme for a particular area arises by resolution under Section 9 of the Madras Town Planning Act under which the Municipal Council may by resolution, decide to prepare a scheme. This publication of the resolution, the subsequent publication of the scheme and other matters consequent are provided under the Act. What is questioned here is about the right of the Municipal Council to publish a scheme applicable to the area within the Municipality in which the properties of the plaintiffs are, situated and on the ground apart from its being 'ultra vires' and illegal, as not being in conformity with the requirements of the Act. The mere fact that the scheme decided upon by a resolution of the Municipal Council relates to immovable properties would not make the properties covered in the suit the subject-matter of the suit and the declaration asked for is in respect of the proposed scheme and not in respect of the immovable properties which may be affected by the scheme.
So also is the consequential relief of injunction which is to prohibit the Municipal Council from enforcing the scheme even though the ultimate effect of such a prohibition is to prevent the Municipal Council from interfering with the ownership and possession of the immovable properties belonging to the plaintiffs. Both the substance of the plaint and the relief asked for relate only to the proposed scheme and are not directed against any immovable properties. In valuing plaints of this nature, one has to see what the real subject-matter of the suit is. No title to or right to possession of the immovable property is in question in the sense that such a right or title has been denied by the defendants and that the declaration and injunction had become necessitated thereby. The scope of the suit is confined to the defendants' rights to exercise the powers under the Madras Town Planning Act. Though the relief asked for may be some way connected to the immovable properties they cannot therefore amount to reliefs with reference to immovable properties. The declaration and the injunction asked for could not, therefore be with reference to immovable properties, when alone Court-fee under the proviso to Section 7(iv)(c) has to be paid. The valuation put up by the plaintiffs and the Court-fee paid thereon are correct.
6. In the result the civil revision petition isallowed with costs.