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N. Kandaswami Pillai Vs. T.J. Arunachalam Pillai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject Civil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1932Mad656
AppellantN. Kandaswami Pillai
RespondentT.J. Arunachalam Pillai
Cases Referred and Sellamuthu Servagaran v. Ramaswami Pillai
Excerpt:
- - 3,750 before 20th november 1931. 2. the plaintiff has preferred this civil revision petition against that order, and on his behalf it was argued that in a suit for accounts the plaintiff was entitled to value the relief in any way he liked ordinarily, and that when the defendant did not raise any objection to the same the court was not entitled to clutch at every piece of evidence that may be let in relation to the relief that the plaintiff may ultimately be entitled to and to direct the plaint valuation to be amended. and in such a suit it is prima facie open to the plaintiff to value the relief at any figure he liked......let in relation to the relief that the plaintiff may ultimately be entitled to and to direct the plaint valuation to be amended. on behalf of the respondent it was argued that this was not really a suit for accounts but a suit to establish the plaintiffs' right as a partner, or a suit to record a definite amount. i am unable to agree with that contention. a reading of the plaint makes it clear that it is a suit for accounts within the meaning of section 7, clause 4(f), court-fees act; and in such a suit it is prima facie open to the plaintiff to value the relief at any figure he liked. assuming that it was open to the defendant to raise objection to the valuation, the present defendant has not chosen to adopt that course in his written statement; and as already remarked, the only two.....
Judgment:

Anantakrishna Ayyar, J.

1. This revision petition has been filed by the plaintiff in O.S. No. 136 of .1929 on the file of the District Munsif's Court of Dindigul. The suit was for winding up the affairs of a partnership, for taking accounts and for recovery of 3/8ths share of the profits alleged to be due to the plaintiff from the partnership. The defendant denied that the plaintiff was a partner. Two issues were framed in the suit: (1) Whether the plaintiff was a partner of the defendant? (2) What, if any, is the amount due on the taking of accounts'? In para. 8 of the plaint the plaintiff stated that though large amounts were due to the plaintiff, as the account books wore with the defendant and the plaintiff had no access to the same, the plaintiff valued the ralief claimed in the plaint Under Section 7, Clause 4(f), of the Court-fees Act at Rs. 100, and paid the court fee due thereon. The defendant in his written statement did not object to that valuation or to the jurisdiction of the District Munsif's Court to entertain the plaint. It would appear that after the plaint was filed the plaintiff had applied for the issue of a commission to seize the account books from the defendant's residence or place of business--wherever it was--and to bring thorn to the Court, and also for permission to inspect the accounts. When in due course the plaintiff had to adduce evidence in support of the allegations in the plaint, the plaintiff was examined as a witness on his side, and he then stated that the profits due to him would be about Rs. 7,000 or Rs. 3,750. At that stage the learned District Munsif thought that if that bo the result of the plaintiffs inspection of the accounts, then the value of the relief which the plaintiff would be on titled to would be more than Rs. 3,000; and accordingly he directed the plaintiff to amend the plaint by putting at least Rs. 3,750 as the valuation of the suit. To use his own words:

I direct the plaint to be amended by correcting the valuation as required Under Order 7, Rule 2, Civil P.C., at Rs. 3,750 before 20th November 1931.

2. The plaintiff has preferred this civil revision petition against that order, and on his behalf it was argued that in a suit for accounts the plaintiff was entitled to value the relief in any way he liked ordinarily, and that when the defendant did not raise any objection to the same the Court was not entitled to clutch at every piece of evidence that may be let in relation to the relief that the plaintiff may ultimately be entitled to and to direct the plaint valuation to be amended. On behalf of the respondent it was argued that this was not really a suit for accounts but a suit to establish the plaintiffs' right as a partner, or a suit to record a definite amount. I am unable to agree with that contention. A reading of the plaint makes it clear that it is a suit for accounts within the meaning of Section 7, Clause 4(f), Court-fees Act; and in such a suit it is prima facie open to the plaintiff to value the relief at any figure he liked. Assuming that it was open to the defendant to raise objection to the valuation, the present defendant has not chosen to adopt that course in his written statement; and as already remarked, the only two issues framed in the case do not raise any question either as regards the valuation of the plaint or the jurisdiction of the Court.

3. It would be highly inconvenient if at any stage of the evidence let in the case during trial, either the defendant, or--for the matter of that--the plaintiff, could insist upon the valuation of the plaint being changed. For example, if such a thing be permissible the plaintiff may, after the Commissioner had examined the account books and after filing objections to the Commissioner's report, and claiming a very large amount as due for his share say that with the further opportunity given to him to examine the accounts and consider his position he would substitute another valuation for the relief claimed in the plaint. The defendant may choose to contest the valuation at a late stage similarly, and the result would be that such a procedure, may--to say the least,--cause the greatest amount of inconvenience and embarrassment in the disposal of suits.

4. The legislature has, by the provision of law already quoted, given the plaintiff the right to fix the valuation of the relief he claims in respect of suits for accounts, and, as I said, even assuming that under Order 7, Civil P.C., it is open to the defendant to have that valuation revised, the defendant has not in the present case sought to take advantage of the same in proper time by making definite allegations in his written statement. That the plaintiff is ordinarily entitled to put his own valuation in respect of such suits has been consistently held in this Court vide Arogya Udayan v. Appachi Rowther [1902] 25 Mad. 543 and Sellamuthu Servagaran v. Ramaswami Pillai : (1902)12MLJ66 . The Court-fees Act makes separate provisions regarding the obligations of such a plaintiff to pay extra court-fee in certain particular contingencies, and the Court is not entitled to impose heavier obligations on the plaintiff than what the legislature has thought proper. My attention was also drawn to the fact that Jackson, J., has very recently, in C.R.P. 1411 of 1930 after giving notice to the Government Pleader on the question of court-fee, come to the same conclusion as has been reached in the cases cited by me. I have therefore come to the conclusion that the lower Court in this particular case has acted illegally and with material irregularity in the exercise of its jurisdiction in directing the plaintiff to amend the plaint at that stage of the trial of the suit in the result the order of the District Munsif, dated 14th November 1931, directing the plaintiff to amend the plaint, is set aside. The respondent will pay the costs of the plaintiff in this petition, and costs in the lower Court will abide and follow the result of the suit.


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