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Manickam Pillai and anr. Vs. Sandanam Muthirian and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil;Tenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1958)2MLJ536
AppellantManickam Pillai and anr.
RespondentSandanam Muthirian and ors.
Cases ReferredSampath Kumara Ayyangar v. Perumal Dhasari
Excerpt:
- .....state to show that the larger quantum is leviable, and not the smaller one. in the end, therefore, i modify the order of the learned subordinate judge and hold that only a total court-fee of rs. 660 under section 30 of the court-fees act read with sections 6(3) and 7(2), on 22 holdings is payable for the relief of possession in this case. deducting rs. 213 paid already for that relief, only a balance of rs. 447 has to be paid. i direct the petitioners to pay this deficit of rs. 447 into the lower court within a month of the records reaching there. there will be no order as to costs in this civil revision petition,
Judgment:
ORDER

Panchapakesa Ayyar, J.

1. This is a petition by Manickam Pillai and Thandavaroya Pillai, the plaintiffs in O.S. No. 166 of 1956 on the file of the Subordinate Judge of Tiruchirapalli, for revising and setting aside the order of the learned Subordinate Judge directing an additional Court-fee of Rs. 1,977 t0 be paid on their plaint for recovery of possession of the lands held by the 85 defendants in 22 holdings, under them, and for past mesne profits of Rs. 2,250. The plaintiffs paid a Court-fee of Rs. 168-12-0 for the relief of mesne profits, and there was no dispute by the Court fee examiner regarding this. They paid a Court-fee of only Rs. 213 for the relief for recovery of possession, under Section 7 read with Section 7 (2)(b) of the Court-fees Act of 1955. According to them, they had got all the defendants dispossessed from the 22 holdings in which all the survey numbers sought to be recovered possession of were comprised. On the importunities of the 85 defendants, they were permitted to continue to cultivate their respective lands in the above 22 holdings. But, having lost their heads by recent agrarian legislation, the 85 defendants were alleged to have been misguided by agrarian leaders and agitators and to have refused to pay the waram due to the plaintiffs necessitating this suit. The plaintiffs contended that, as all the defendants who held the lands in the 22 holdings had been misguided by the agrarian agitators into non-payment of the waram, the cause of action against them can be considered to be one and the same, and the 22 holdings lumped together, and that a Court-fee on a valuation of Rs. 2,831-4-0 (30 times the assessment) under Section 30, read with Section 7 (2)(b) of the Court-fees Act, 1955, would do. That is how they paid Rs. 213 under this head. But the Court-fee examiner issued a check-slip pointing out that Court-fee had to be paid separately in respect of each holding, valuaing it at Rs. 400 under Section 30 of the Court-fees Act read with Sections 6(3) and 7(2). But, unfortunately for the plaintiffs, the Court-fee examiner considered that there were 73 holdings and said that Rs. 2,190 had to be recovered in respect of the relief for possession, instead of the Rs. 213 paid therefor. In other words, he wanted a deficit Court-fee of Rs. 1,977 to be collected from the plaintiffs. The learned Subordinate Judge agreed with the Court-fee examiner and directed a deficit Court-fee of Rs. 1,977 to be paid before 20th June, 1957. Hence this Civil Revision Petition.

2. I have perused the records and heard Mr. Srisailam (who took the place of Sri Section Ramachandra Iyer after his elevation to the Bench) for the Petitioners, and Mr. Ramaswami for the learned Government Pleader. Mr. Srisailam raised three main contentions. The first was that this was a case where the plaintiffs were the owners of the entire lands and so could sue to recover posession of the whole by paying 30 times the assessment of the entire lands. The argument is unsustainable. Mere ownership of the land by the same person, or grant of leases at the same time, is irrelevant for this purpose. If a person sues several lessees, who are recalcitrant, for recovering possession of the several holdings leased out to them, it is obvious that there are different and distinct causes of action relating to each lease and holding, and there must be a separate Court-fee paid in respect of each holding, even when the suits are clubbed, as here, under Section 6(3). The Court-fee payable is Rs. 30 per holding on a valuation of Rs. 400 under Section 30.

3. The second contention was that there was a conspiracy between the 85 defendants to defeat the right of the plain tiff to the waram, due to their being misguided by agrarian agitators. Reliance was placed on my ruling in Ramanatka Chettiar and others v. Somasundaram Pillai : (1958)2MLJ94 . But that suit was a case of a clear conspiracy between the tenants to carry away the entire crops in order to deprive the landlord of his share in the crop, and the prayer in the suit was for the appointment of a Receiver, after a declaration of the plaintiff's title to the lands, which was not disputed. It was not a suit for recovery of possession, as in this case. In this case, there is also no conspiracy between the tenants. Simply because all these tenants were misguided by agrarian agitators into refusing to pay the waram there cannot be said to be a conspiracy between them. It will be a case akin to ignorant people committing nuisance in a public place, without any common intention in pursuance of a conspiracy, but only having the same intention, in pursuance of their individual needs and whims. So, that case has no application to the facts of this case. So too, the ruling in Sampath Kumara Ayyangar v. Perumal Dhasari (C.R.P. No. 703 of 1957.) Since reported in : (1958)2MLJ412 by Ramachandra Iyer, J., will have no application as that too was a case of a suit for a. declaration and not for possession.

4. The last contention was that the lower Court erred in assuming that a deficit Court-fee of Rs. 1977 had to be paid for this relief as if it were 73 holdings when there were only really 22 holdings and a deficit Court-fee of Rs. 447 would be the proper deficit to demand, under Sections 6(3), 7 (2) and 30, even if Court-fee had to be paid for each holding. The lower Court has not stated anywhere in its order that there were 73 holdings. The fact that there were 85 defendants will not disprove the plaintiff's story of 22 holdings. It seems that the lower Court simply acted on the figures given by the Court-fee examiner. The duty, under our law, of assessing deficit court-fee rests on the Court, and not on the Court-fee examiner. The Court, while assessing the deficit Court-fee, ought to give full reasons for its assessment. As the lower Court has not stated that there are 73 holdings, much less given reasons for that finding, and as Mr. Srisailam assures me that there are only 22 holdings comprising all the lands regarding which relief for possession was asked for, I accept Mr. Srisailam's contention, and hold that there are only 22 holdings proved to exist and that only a deficit fee of Rs. 447 will be due under Section 30 read with Sections 6(8) and 7(2) of the Court-Fees Act, 1955. In any case of dispute regarding the quantum of a tax or any other financial burden between a subject and the State, the burden is on the State to show that the larger quantum is leviable, and not the smaller one. In the end, therefore, I modify the order of the learned Subordinate Judge and hold that only a total Court-fee of Rs. 660 under Section 30 of the Court-Fees Act read with Sections 6(3) and 7(2), on 22 holdings is payable for the relief of possession in this case. Deducting Rs. 213 paid already for that relief, only a balance of Rs. 447 has to be paid. I direct the petitioners to pay this deficit of Rs. 447 into the lower Court within a month of the records reaching there. There will be no order as to costs in this Civil Revision Petition,


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