1. The question that has been raised in this Civil Revision Petition is one of jurisdiction. The suit is brought for possession of a plot of land which forms part of a zamindari estate, by one ryot against another and the question which arose and which was tried as a preliminary point by the first Court was, ' Is the suit properly valued for purposes of Court-fee and jurisdiction? ' The District Munsif held that Section 7 (v) (d) of the Court Fees Act applied as the land formed part of an estate paying revenue to Government but was not a definite share of such an estate and was not separately assessed as mentioned in Clauses (a) to (c), and that therefore court-fee should be paid on the market value of the land. But, without fixing the market value, he directed the plaint to be amended and the ad valorem court-fee to be paid on such value. That order was not obeyed and, instead of rejecting the plaint, what he did was this. He considered that the market value of the land plus the value of the other reliefs claimed made the subject matter of the suit exceed his jurisdiction and directed the. return of the plaint to be presented to the proper Court. On appeal, the District Judge held that the suit fell within Clause 7 (v) (a) of the Court tees Act as the land was in his opinion a definite share of an estate paying annual revenue to Government under Clause (a).
2. The construction of Section 7, Clause V (a) to (d) has been the subject of consideration both in this Court and in the Allahabad High Court. In Godavarty Sundaramma v. Godavarty Mangamma 8 L.W. 88 it was held that Sub-clause (a) referred only to a definite fraction or share of an estate and not to any piece of land which formed a plot defined by metes and bounds included in an estate: in other words, that the clause would apply only when the suit was for a half, one-third or any other fractional share of the entire estate. That view was followed in two unreported cases of this Court, S. A. Nos. 886 of 17 and 711 of 1915, and also in Chandan v. Bishan Singh 8 ALJ 798. It seems to me that that view is correct and I respectfully follow it. If that is correct, this suit should have been valued under Sub-clause (d) and not under Sub-clause (a) of Section 7 of the Court Fees Act. It is clearly excluded from the second part of Sub-clause (a) because it is not recorded in the Collector's register as separately assessed with annual revenue, the paimash register being not such a register as the collector's register referred to. In these circumstances the suit should have been valued, as held by the District Munsif, under Sub-clause (d) of 7 (v) of the Court Fees Act.
3. But the District Munsif should not have returned the plaint to be presented to the proper Court at the stage he did as that was not a proper order there. He should have first called upon the plaintiff to state what the market value of the land was and after taking evidence as to that value if disputed which may be adduced on either side, he should have himself determined what the market value was, and then he should have called upon the plaintiff to pay the proper Court Fee on that valuation giving him a reasonable time to make the payment; and, if he then tailed to make the payment, he should have rejected the plaint, but if he made the payment and if it was found that the valuation of the suit went beyond his jurisdiction, then returned the plaint for presentation to the proper Court. The Munsif was not justified in returning a plaint which was not properly stamped.
4. I must therefore set aside the orders of both the lower Courts and remand the case to the Court of first instance and direct that Court to decide what the market value of the land is and then dispose of the case in the light of the observations above made.
5. As regards costs, if the District Munsif rejects the plaint or finds finally that he has no jurisdiction to try the suit, the petitioner will have his costs of this revision petition and of the appeal in the lower Court : and the costs before the District Munsif will he disposed of by the District Munsif himself. If, on the other hand, the District Munsif finds that he has jurisdiction to try the suit and tries it, all costs here and below will abide and follow the final result of the suit.