1. The petitioner was the first defendant in a suit for dissolution of partnership and accounts. A decree was passed against him to pay Rs. 52,958-15-4. In an appeal against this decree he tried to get away with court-fee on the appeal memorandum valued at Rs. 3,100 adopting the tentative valuation in the plaint. The appeal memorandum was objected to by the District Court office and ultimately the District Judge directed the appeal to be numbered. The Court-fee Examiner subsequently took objection to the valuation and the District Judge upholding his objection directed the appellant to pay a deficit court-fee of Rs. 1,522-7-0, ad valorem court-fee, on the decree he sought to avoid.
2. Mr. Somasundaram concedes that the court-fee on the appeal memorandum is correct and in accordance with the Full Bench decision in Dhanukoti, In re (1938) 1 M.L.J. 638 : I.L.R. 1938 Mad. 598. The only point he takes is that under Section 12(1) of the Court-Fees Act the District Judge had given a decision as regards the correct court-fee which is final between the parties when after the objections by the office were replied to by the advocate filing the appeal he directed it to be numbered. This order however is clearly not a considered order which is final and binding between the parties to the suit. If this view is accepted the Court-fee Examiner would be doing perfectly pointless work in the District. It is quite open for the question of court-fee to be raised at any time during a suit or an appeal and to be determined in a considered order after hearing the parties. It is only this kind of decision which is contemplated by Section 12(1) of the Court-Fees Act. The order of the District Judge is quite correct. There is no substance in this petition.
3. I should like however to observe here that the plaintiff and the defendants in a suit for dissolution of partnership and for accounts who ultimately obtain a decree cannot make it operative unless they pay suitable ad valorem court-fee on the amounts decreed to them. It is usual for a defendant appealing to seek to value his appeal memorandum in exactly the same way as the plaintiff valued his suit and the fact that the first defendant has sought in an appeal to get away with the same court-fee as in the plaint suggests that the deficit court-fee in accordance with Section 11 may not have been collected from the plaintiff. If that has not been done, steps should be taken immediately to collect the deficit court-fee under Section 11 of the Court-Fees Act.
4. The petition is dismissed with costs of the Government Pleader. Time for payment of court-fee two weeks from the date of the receipt of the records in the lower Court.