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Kalla Surayya and Sons Represented by Kalla Venkataraju Vs. the Province of Madras Represented by the Collector of East Godavari and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1949)1MLJ379
AppellantKalla Surayya and Sons Represented by Kalla Venkataraju
RespondentThe Province of Madras Represented by the Collector of East Godavari and anr.
Cases ReferredJ. In Govinda Chetliar v. Uthukottai Co
Excerpt:
- - , as he felt that there was a necessity for an authoritative decision as to the correct court-fee payable on plaints like the one before him. we respectfully adopt the reasoning of venkataramana rao, j coming to the conclusion that an order like the one in question is not a decree and therefore section 7(iv-a) does not apply. the plaintiff was certainly responsible for the present trouble as he valued these reliefs independently instead of valuing the reliefs under section 7(c) to of the court-fees act which clearly applies to the facts of the present case......valuation act. the argument of the learned government pleader that as the plaintiff in the present plaint valued the suit for purpose of jurisdiction in paragraph 8 of the plaint at rs. 2,165, the same should also be the: value for purpose of court-fee under section 7(iv) to cannot be. accepted the plaintiff valued the plaint on a particular basis and that basis is now found to be erroneous. if section 7(iv) to is the proper section applicable to the plait, the plaintiff is entitled to put his own valuation for purposes of court-fee and ha-value will al so be the value for purposes of jurisdiction in respect of suits of that kind. the plaintiff will be given liberty to amend his plaint for valuing the reliefs in paragraph10of the plaint under section 7(iv)(c) of the court-fees act. that.....
Judgment:

Satyanarayana Rao, J.

1. This civil revision petition was referred to a Bench by Mack, j., as he felt that there was a necessity for an authoritative decision as to the correct Court-fee payable on plaints like the one before him.

2. The petitioner filed the suit in the lower Court (in the Court of the District Munsiff, Rajahmundry) (a) for a declaration

that the order of assessment of the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer dated 24th March, 1946', was illegal so far as it related to the plaintiff's commission business for the year 1944-45 (b) and for an injunction restraining the defendants from collecting sales-tax on the plaintiff's commission business for 1944-45 (c) and for a further injunction restraining the defendants from lowing sales-tax for the subsequent years on the plaintiff's commission business.

In respect of relief (a) he paid a Court-fee of Rs. 15 under Article 17-A(i) and in respect of reliefs (b) and (c) he paid a Court-fee under Section 7(iv) valuing the subject-matter at Rs. 10 each. In other words, he paid a Court-fee in respect of relief (b) Rs. 1-2-0 and for relief (c) Rs. 1-2-0. When the matter came up before the learned District Munsiff, he was of opinion that Court-fee should be paid under Section 7(iv-A) as he thought that the order of the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer was practically a decree and called upon the plaintiff to pay Court-fee on Rs. 2,165 on the ad valorem basis.

3. When the revision petition came on for hearing before Mack, J., the petitioner contended on the strength of the decision of Venkataramana Rao, J., in Govinda Cettiar v. Uthukoltai Co-operative Society : AIR1937Mad604 , that the view of the District Munsiff that the order of the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer was a 'decree' was wrong and the learned Judge thought that the word 'decree' used in the Section was capable of a wider meaning and is not restricted to the meaning given to it by Venkataramana Rao, J. In Govinda Chetliar v. Uthukottai Co-operative Society (1937) M.L.J. 640 : I.L.R. 1938 Mad. 63, Venkataramana Rao, j., held that the word 'decree' in the Section connotes

a final order of a Court, whether civil or revenue, in a suit, and an order passed by an officer or a body which is not a Court but is invested with judicial powers in pursuance of which a liability is fixed on a person to pay a sum of money, will not come within its purview.

4. The case before the learned Judge was a case in which the plaintiff instituted a suit for a declaration that an order of a liquidator of a co-operative society deter-mining the amount of contribution payable by him under Section 42(2)(b) of the Co-operative Societies Act is null and void. There was no prayer in the plaint, however, asking for a consequential relief. The amount of contribution determined was a sum of Rs. 8,000. The plaintiff paid a Court-fee in respect of the declaration under Article 17-A(i) of Schedule II to the Court-Fees Act of Rs. 100. When the matter came before the learned District Judge who heard the matter in the first instance, he was of opinion that Section 7(iv-A) of the Court-Fees Act introduced by the Madras Amending Act of 1922 applied to the case. The learned Judge Venkataramana Rao, J., disagreed with the view of the trial Court and held that as the order of the liquidator was not a ' decree ' the Court-fee paid by the plaintiff on the plaint as one for declaration was correct. The new Section 7(iv-A) was introduced by the Amending Act in the year 1922 and the Legislature must have been aware when enacting the amending section that the word 'decree' had acquired a special significance and does not bear the dictionary meaning referred to by Mack, J., in his judgment. A decree always connotes as understood in law a final order of a Court in a suit, whether in a civil or revenue Court. As the proceeding before the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer was not a suit the order passed by him cannot be treated as a decree, and Section 7(iv-A) does not apply to the present case. We respectfully adopt the reasoning of Venkataramana Rao, J coming to the conclusion that an order like the one in question is not a decree and therefore Section 7(iv-A) does not apply.

5. In the present case, besides the declaration, there were also two consequential reliefs asked for by the plaintiff in the plaint. The plaintiff was certainly responsible for the present trouble as he valued these reliefs independently instead of valuing the reliefs under Section 7(c) to of the Court-Fees Act which clearly applies to the facts of the present case. He asked for a declaration and as consequential to that declaration prayed also for two injunctions to prevent the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer from enforcing his order in any manner If Section 7(iv)(c) applies as we hold it does, the plaintiff is entitled to value the relief under-that section and to pay Court-fee on the value so fixed by him. The value fixed by h m for the purpose of Section 7(iv) to will also be the value for purpose of jurisdiction under Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act. The argument of the learned Government Pleader that as the plaintiff in the present plaint valued the suit for purpose of jurisdiction in paragraph 8 of the plaint at Rs. 2,165, the same should also be the: value for purpose of Court-fee under Section 7(iv) to cannot be. accepted The plaintiff valued the plaint on a particular basis and that basis is now found to be erroneous. If Section 7(iv) to is the proper section applicable to the plait, the plaintiff is entitled to put his own valuation for purposes of Court-fee and ha-value will al so be the value for purposes of jurisdiction in respect of suits of that kind. The plaintiff will be given liberty to amend his plaint for valuing the reliefs in Paragraph10of the plaint under Section 7(iv)(c) of the Court-Fees Act. That value will also be the value for purposes of jurisdiction and lie will be given liberty also to amend the valuation which he has already given for purposes of jurisdiction.

6. It is unnecessary for us at this stage to consider the question that was raised by the Government Pleader that if the plaintiff puts an arbitrary valuation which is grossly inadequate, the Court would be entitled to ask him to place a proper valuation. The question does not arise for consideration at this stage and we therefore do not propose to consider the same.

7. In the result, this civil revision petition is allowed and the order of the District Munsiff set aside and the plaintiff will value the claim in the manner indicated in this judgment. There will be no order as to costs in this civil revision petition.


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