This petition is filed by the plaintiff against the order of the lower Court directing the plaintiff to value separately the two 5 Horse Power motors and two 7 HP motors and pump sets which are in the land for which the relief of declaration of plaintiff's title to the property is prayed for. In the plaint the particulars of the lands are given to which the relief is asked for. In paragraph 15 it is stated that the suit is laid for declaration of plaintiff's title to the suit property and as a consequential relief thereof for permanent injunction restraining the defendant, his men and agent from in any way interfering with the plaintiff's peaceful possession and enjoyment of the suit property. There are ten items of suit property. As regards items 3 and 7, it is stated that in item 3 there is a well with 5 HP electric motor pump set in S. No. 113 and in item 7 there is a well with 5 HP electric motor pump set in S. No. 132. It is further stated that there are thulasi, thotti, veri, voiklal and with all its appurtenant rights in all the wells. The court-fee examiner issued check-ship requiring that the valuation in the suit should be revised to include the value of the pump sets, motors etc. The matter was argued before the District Munsif, Palani. The learned District Munsif held that the pumping installations are embedded to earth and therefore are immoveable properties and should be valued separately and court-fee paid for them. The petitioner has questioned the liability to pay court-fee separately on the engine and pump sets.
2. Section 7 of the Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act provides the mode of determination of market value. Section 7(2) requires that market value of land in suits falling under Section 25(b), with which we are concerned, and the other sections mentioned therein, shall be deemed to be where the land is ryotwari land--thirty times the survey assessment on the land. It is common ground that Section 25(b) is the section that is applicable and the market value to be arrived at for the purpose of payment of court-fees is 30 times the survey assessment on the land. Section 25(b) requires that in a suit for a declaratory decree or order, whether with or without consequential relief, where the prayer is for a declaration and for consequential injunction and the relief sought is with reference to any immovable property, fee shall be computed on one half of the market value of the property or on Rs. 300/- whichever is higher.
3. That the land for which the relief of declaration is prayed for is an immovable property and the court-fee is payable under Section 25(b) is not in dispute. As already stated, the relief is 'declaration of plaintiff's title to suit property and a consequential relief therein for a permanent injunction restraining the defendant from interfering with his peaceful possession and enjoyment of the suit property.' So far as the relief is concerned, it is strictly confined to immoveable property, that is land, and the valuation as given by the plaintiff is correct. The question arises as to whether the electric motor and pump set which is attached to the land should be separately valued. In the way in which the relief is asked for, it is not necessary to separately value the electric motor and pump set. This may be enough to dispose of the petition, but in order to obviate any difficulty as to relief relating to the electric motor and pump set in the absence of valuing it separately, the position may be examined a little further.
4. The scheme of the Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act is to follow a particular method in arriving at the market value with regard to land, that is, in the case of ryotwari land 30 times the survey assessment on the land; in the case of land in an estate under the Madras Estates Land Act, 30 times the land revenue payable on the land under Section 23 of that Act, but if a ryotwari settlement has since been effected in pursuance of Section 22 of that Act, 30 times the assessment as so fixed; in the case of land under the Madras Estates Land (Third Amendment) Act, 1936 (Madras Act XVIII of 1936), 30 times the rent payable for the land as fixed under the Madras Estates Land (Reduction of Rent) Act and where the land is an estate separate mode of valuation is given. So also the land in a minor inam and land in an inam village is to be valued as 30 times the rent payable in the respective cases. Thus it will be seen that the value is arrived at on the multiple of the assessment on the land and the assessment would vary according to whether the land is a wet, garden or dry land. In the case of wet land with direct flow facilities it will not be open to the State to contend that apart from the value of the land which is 30 times the assessment, the value should be fixed for the facility of direct flow of water to the land. The installation of an engine and pump set would not make things different. The motor and the pump set which is attached to the land for the purpose of enjoyment of the land cannot be required to be separately valued. If when the motor and pump set is embedded on earth and attached for the permanent beneficial enjoyment of that to which it is attached, that is the land, then it has to be considered as part of the immoveable property and the valuation of the land would include the machinery which would form part of the immovable property. In this view, the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner that even though the relief is valued only as regards the land, the relief would cover what is embedded on the land and intended for the permanent beneficial enjoyment of the land has to be accepted. It is, therefore, unnecessary to pay court-fee on the value of the engines and pump sets.
5. This petition is allowed and the order of the lower Court requiring the petitioner to pay additional court-fee is set aside. I place on record the assistance rendered by Sri K. S. Bhakthavatsalu as amicus curiae.