1. In this suit which was filed early in 1926, 14 issues were framed, but no question of jurisdiction was raised. On 29th March 1927(two days before the end of the quarter) the case came on and then a new issue (issue 15) was raised: 'Whether the suit is beyond the jurisdiction of this Court.' It does not appear on whose initiative this question arose. The District Munsif decided it at once by an order dated the same day in which he held that for purposes of jurisdiction the prayers in the plaint which was one for re-partition of family property and (1) to declare the former partition Exs. 1 and (2) to declare certain alienations, including Exs. 25 and 34 made by other members of the family not binding on the plaintiffs so far as their shares are concerned, must be valued on some footing not mentioned by him. He held without referring to any provision of law on which he acted that the suit was beyond his jurisdiction and ordered the plaint to be returned to the plaintiffs to be presented in the proper Court. On the plaintiffs' appeal the learned Subordinate Judge upheld the order taking the view that the declarations sought about the prior partition and the alienations are not accompanied by any prayer for consequential relief and that the proper value of those declaratory reliefs is the market value of the properties involved in the partition and alienations. Of the alienations Ex. 25 is a simple mortgage for more than Rs. 5,000 and Ex. 34 is a sale-deed for Rs. 4,000. As these amounts which apparently the learned Judge took to be an indication of the market value were above the Munsif's jurisdiction, he upheld the order relying on Vasireddi Veeramma v. Butchiah AIR 1927 Mad 563.
2. It seems to me both the lower Courts have fallen into error. In the first place the suit was for possession of plaintiffs' one-eighth share of family property. That was the main prayer. In order to get it the plaintiffs had to get rid, so far as their share was concerned, of certain obstacles, i.e., the prior partition and the alienations. Firstly, in such a case the plaintiffs' suit has not to be valued on the value of the whole of the family properties involved in the partition or alienation but only on plaintiffs' own share of it: see Govindan Nair v. Madhavi A.I.R. 1932 Mad. 491. Secondly, in this case the declarations sought were only ancillary to the prayer for possession and such a case is governed by Section 7(4)(c), Court-fees Act, as to which the Madras Amendment applies, i.e., the valuation for purpose of court-fees is one half of the value of the immovable property affected by the declaration, valued as provided by Section 7(5). The respondents's learned advocate argued that the declarations fell under Section 7(4)(a), introduced by the Madras amendment and that in the case the value must be fixed on the market value of the properties. He relied on the case cited by the Subordinate Judge, Vasireddi Veeramma v. Butohiah AIR 1927 Mad 563, for the general principle that in cases where a statutory method of valuation is not provided, the proper mode of valuation for jurisdiction under Section 12, Civil Courts Act, is the market value. I do not think this is a case falling under Section 7(4)(a). Even if it were the decision in Venkatanarasimha Raju v. Chandrayya AIR 1927 Mad 825 is a decision of a Bench directly in point which held that in such cases the valuation under Section 7(5) must be adopted. I am not competent, even if I were otherwise prepared, to differ from this ruling. According to Section 8, Suits Valuation Act, the value for court-fees is the same in this case as that for jurisdiction.
3. It follows that the proper mode of valuation of the declarations was to apply the Madras amendment to Section 7(4)(c) and value plaintiffs' share of the properties covered by each instrument as ascertained under Section 7(5). The plaintiffs' prayer for partition must also be properly valued. As there are no materials for ascertaining which Court has jurisdiction on the above footing the order of the lower Court must be set aside and the plaint returned to the District Munsif to carry out the direction above made. The petitioners must have their costs of this proceeding in this and in the lower Courts.