1. The plaintiffs sued for (1) a declaration that a certain decree was of no legal effect against them or the various properties in their hands, (2) possession of part of those properties, which had been sold in execution of the decree. No distinction need be drawn between the rights of each of the plaintiff to these reliefs, since they sued for them jointly without objection from the defendants, The learned District Judge held that Section 7(iv)(c) of the Court Fees Act applied and that therefore the valuation for purposes of jurisdiction was identical with the valuation for court fee and the plaintiffs' presentation of the plaint in the District Munsif's Court was proper. The District Munsif had held that the valuation should be baaed on the value of the property sold in addition to the amount of the decree, in respect of which declaration was asked For, in all Rs. 2,995.
2. The learned District Judge was clearly mistaken in his statement that Section 7(iv)(c) regulated the valuation of the whole suit, since part of the relief claimed was possession and it had to be valued in accordance with Section 7(v), notwithstanding that a declaration also was asked for. That is recognised in one of the cases cited by the learned District Judge, Chinnammal v. Madarsa Rowther I.L.R. (1904) Mad.480, In the circumstances it cannot be argued that Section 8, Suits Valuation Act, applies to more than the remainder of the relief claimed. The defendant contends here and the District Munsif has held that it is inapplicable even to that extent and that the remainder also is subject to ad valorem valuation on the amount of the decree, in respect of which declaration is asked for. The questions then are whether the two reliefs asked for are to be taken together, the one as consequential on the other, or, as the District Munsif took them, as independent of each other, and in the latter alternative whether the declaration is to be valued with reference to the amount of the decree.
3. Firstly, in the latter case it has not in our opinion been shown how such a valuation can be justified. The defendant's argument requires that the claim to declaration shall be valued without reference to its inclusion in a suit for another relief also. It has not been shown how, so regarded, the claim can be treated as involving a claim to further consequential relief also or what such further relief could be; and the case must on that ground be distinguished from Achammal v. Achammal : (1910)20MLJ791 . It is not suggested that it is covered directly by any section imposing an ad valorem valuation. The defendant contends for the application of some principle analogous to that relied on in the Full Bench decision, Krishnasami Naidu v. Somasundaram Chettiar I.L.R. (1907) Mad. 335 with reference either to the amount of the decree or the value of the property claimed, whichever is the less. But though the order of reference in that case assumed that Section 7(viii) was inapplicable, it is clear that the opinion given was based on its application, since there is no other provision for such an alternative valuation. There the question was only whether the suit property was liable to attachment, as the property of the judgment-debtor, and the clause was in terms applicable. Here it is not, since an attachment is not in question. And there is no reason hare for attempting to apply any analogous principle, when the dispute between the parties is different, relating only to the validity of the decree under execution. If the prayer for a declaration is to be regarded for the present purpose Independently of that for possession, Zinnatunnessa Khatun v. Girindra Nath Mukerjee I.L.R. (1903)Cal. 788 is clear authority against the defendant's contention.
4. But in fact we agree with the learned District Judge that the two prayers cannot be regarded separately. As he observes, the plaintiffs' failure to insert a prayer for a combined valuation is not conclusive, the Court's duty being to see whether they fire connected. We think that they were so. Possession is not asked for on any other ground than that the decree, in execution of which it was lost, should be declared invalid; and it is therefore asked for consequently on the grant of declaration.
5. It is conceded that unless the two reliefs claimed can be valued Independently and the prayer for declaration can be valued ad valorem the petition must fail. Deciding against both these contentions we dismiss the petition with costs.