1. This petition arises out of an appeal, A.S. No. 8 of 1942, filed before the learned District Judge of Madura from the decree in a suit filed by one of the heirs of a deceased Mahomedan. It is admitted that although the primary object of the suit is for the plaintiff to obtain her own share of the deceased's estate, the suit must be regarded as a suit for the administration of that estate. It is further conceded that the value of the estate is Rs. 41,000 or more and that the plaintiff's share will come to less than Rs. 5,000. The question which was raised as a preliminary point before the learned District Judge was whether he had jurisdiction to hear the appeal or whether the appeal should be filed in this Court. The learned Judge after discussing various cases held that there was no direct authority of the Madras High Court on this matter and decided to follow an authority of the Rangoon High Court which held that the subject-matter of the suit for purposes of jurisdiction was the value of the share claimed by the plaintiff. This petition has been filed against that decision.
2. It seems to me that the Madras High Court will supply sufficient guidance for the decision of this matter without recourse being had to Rangoon. The principal case which deals with the manner in which suits in general should be valued for the purposes of jurisdiction is Vasireddi Veeramma v. Butchayya (1926) 52 M.L.J. 381; I.L.R. 50 Mad. 646. In that case the learned Judges say:
The general principles deducible for valuation for purposes of jurisdiction where no special method of valuation has been provided by statute would seem to be. (1) that where the subject-matter of a suit is wholly unrelated to anything which can be readily stated in definite money terms, then the plaintiff, having to put some money value for the purpose of jurisdiction, must put a more or less arbitrary value, and, there being no factors in the case from which the Court can say his valuation is wrong, or dishonest, the Court will accept that valuation . . ., and (2) that where the subject-matter is so related to things which have a real money value that the relief asked for will 'affect these, then the value of the suit for the purpose of jurisdiction is to be taken as the market value of the property affected.
The learned Judges also give instances of types of suits which fell under both of these heads, though amongst them they did not mention either suits for partition or suits for administration. It is common ground that the present case must fall under the second head 'where the subject-matter is so related to things which have a real money value that the relief asked for will affect these'', the only question being whether the relief asked for affects the money value only of the plaintiff's share or the money value of the whole estate. It seems to me that this question can be very easily answered. Although the plaintiff's main object is merely to obtain her own share, an administration suit must necessarily deal with the administration of the whole estate. It provides for payments of debts, payments to legatees and the division of the estate amongst the heirs. It seems to me therefore beyond all argument that the relief asked for, that is to say, the administration of the estate, must affect the whole estate and therefore that estate being valued at Rs. 41,000 the only Court which could have jurisdiction to hear an appeal is the High Court. I have been, referred in answer to this to another case in Madras which has also been referred to by the learned District Judge and has been reported in Kattiya Pillai v. Ramaswamia Pillai : AIR1929Mad396 There the suit was to set aside a will and the learned Judges observed that the value of the interest that would be lost to the plaintiff if the will were left outstanding would be the difference between the benefit he takes under the previous will relied on by him and the will he attacks in this suit. That case no doubt suggests at first sight that the decree will affect only the plaintiff's interest in the will and it might perhaps be argued that if a decree is granted setting aside a will it would also necessarily affect the interests of other persons who stand to benefit under that will. I do not think however that I need regard this as any authority binding upon me or in any way necessarily inconsistent with 50 Madras or with my application of 50 Madras to the present facts because I find that in Kattiya Pillai v. Ramaswamia Pillai : AIR1929Mad396 , it was not necessary for the learned Judges to decide this particular question, namely, whether the decree to be granted would affect the plaintiff's interest in the will only or the whole property conveyed by the will. In either case the suit was beyond the jurisdiction of the District Munsiff. That decision therefore is not based upon the application of any principle which is at variance with what I have now said, namely, that in a suit for the administration of an estate the decree must necessarily affect the value of the whole estate. I am accordingly of opinion that the learned District Judge's order is not correct and must be set aside and that the appeal which has been filed can be heard only in the High Court. The respondents must pay the petitioner's costs.