1. This is an appeal against an order of the Subordinate Judge of Tellicherry returning the plaint filed in his Court in O.S. No. 44 of 1920 for presentation to the proper Court. The Subordinate Judge held that the suit was designedly over-valued in order to bring it within his jurisdiction and that, if properly valued, it fell within the jurisdiction of the District Munsif. The suit was for a declaration that the plaintiff was liable to pay Achu palisha, only at the rate of 150 seers of paddy per annum in respect of the plaint-mentioned 5 1/2 hills, and that he was not liable to pay 359 3/8 seers of paddy which the defendant was claiming. What the origin of this liability to pay Achu palisha is not stated but the liability itself is admitted. It would seem from the plaint that the total 509 3/8 seers of paddy is charged upon 16 hills of which the plaintiff has become the owner of 5 1/2 hills, the defendant apparently being now the owner of some of the other hills. The defendant's right to this Achu palisha is not based upon his ownership of any property, but it is conceded that the defendant in his capacity as the head of his Kalliatt Thazhatha Veedu tarwad and as Uralan of Kalliatt Vayathur Kalias Devaswarn is entitled to be paid Achu palisha by everyone who is the owner or jenmi of the hills in question. The Subordinate Judge treated the suit as one falling under Section 7, Clause 11, Sub-clause (f) of the Court Fees Act as a suit for abatement of rent, and applying the Suits Valuation Act he estimated the jurisdiction value at the value of the amount of the rent payable for a year. Thus valued he held the suit was for a sum far below the maximum amount fixed for the jurisdiction of the District Munsif and directed the plaint to be returned. This view of the Subordinate Judge can hardly be, and has not been attempted to be, supported, as Clause 11 applies only to suits between the landlord and tenant. It is impossible to say that there is any such relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant in this case. The plaintiff is the full owner or jenmi of the 5 1/2 hills he claims, and whatever the exact nature of Achu palisha may be, it is not rent. It seems to be some kind of royalty that is payable to the defendant's family from these hills.
2. It was attempted by the plaintiff to bring the case under Section 7, Clause 4 (e) as a suit for a right to some benefit which will arise out of land. We do not think that the suit can well be considered as falling under that clause either, for there is no benefit involved in this case arising out of land in favour of the plaintiff. If there is any benefit at all it is one that goes to the defendant and the clause refers to a suit for a right to some benefit. The Subordinate Judge was, therefore, right in overruling that contention.
3. It was further contended before us by the defendant-respondent that the suit may be held to fall under Section 7, Clause (1) as one for money or other sums payable periodically. Here again the argument fails. The suit by the plaintiff does not claim any sum of money at all. Shazadi Begum v. Mahbub Ali Shah ILR (1920) A 353, cited by the defendant is thus clearly distinguishable as that was for a sum of money payable to the plaintiff. After careful consideration we have come to the conclusion that this is a suit for a declaratory decree without any consequential relief. What the plaintiff really prays for is that the Court should declare that he is liable to pay only 150 seers of paddy as Achu palisha on a proper apportionment of the total amount payable on all the hills. The question thus is how is such a suit as that to be valued for purposes of jurisdiction? The Suits Valuation Act does not help us to settle this question. But we have come to the conclusion that in a suit for a declaratory decree the jurisdiction value cannot be held to be higher than the value of the subject-matter in dispute between the parties. This was the view taken in Ganapati v. Chathu ILR (1889) M 223 and we adopt that view and hold that the jurisdiction value of this suit must be determined by the value to be put upon the subject-matter in dispute in this suit. The subject-matter in dispute here is the difference between what the plaintiff admits is a proper charge on his property and the amount he says the defendant is insisting upon being paid, namely, the difference between 150 seers and 359 3/8 seers. That comes to 209 3/8 seers of paddy a year. The declaration which the plaintiff seeks, if allowed to him, will relieve him from the liability to pay the difference between these two sums for all time, and, therefore, in estimating the value of the subject-matter in dispute we think we must take the capitalised value of that right. Assuming that 5 seers of paddy is worth a rupee, which is itself a high commutation rate, and assuming that 20 years' purchase or even 25 years' purchase is the capitalised value of the yearly payment, the total value of the subject-matter would not come to more than about Rs. 1,000. In this view the case would clearly fall within the jurisdiction of the District Munsif. It was not open to the plaintiff to put the jurisdiction value at Rs. 5,000 so as to bring it within the cognizance of the Subordinate Judge apparently with the object of defeating the plea of res judicata by the defendant. In the result, we uphold the order of the Subordinate Judge though not for the reasons given by him and dismiss the Civil Miscellaneous Appeal with costs.
4. I agree.