1. This appeal and the revision petition have been filed by the plaintiff in O.S. No. 433 of 1926 on the file of the District Munsif of Rajahmundry. The plaint was for a declaration that the release deed, dated 23rd March, 1924, executed by the plaintiff and some other defendants in favour of defendant No. 1 was not valid in law but fraudulent and void and that it could not bind the plaintiff, for dissolution of partnership, and for other consequential reliefs. The valuation put in the plaint was a sum of Rs. 100 (vide para. 13) and Court-fee stamp of the value of Rs. 11-4-0 was affixed to the plaint. On objection taken by the defendant, the Court under Section 12 of the Court Fees Act, enquired into the question of the proper valuation of the plaint and came to the conclusion that the valuation of Rs. 100 mentioned by the plaintiff was he t the correct valuation. The trial Court came to the conclusion that the valuation should be Rs. 56,919-2-3 in addition to another sum of Rs. 2,318-6-0. It accordingly passed the following order: 'Before the suit is returned for presentation to proper Court, the plaintiff will have to pay the Court fee on Rs. 56,919-2-3 mentioned above plus Rs. 2,318 6 0 the amount of consideration paid for the release deed,' and gave time to the plaintiff to comply with the said order. The plaintiff not having complied with the said order, the Court by an order of a later date rejected the plaint, and directed the plaintiff to pay the defendants' costs on the basis of the valuation in the plaint. The plaintiff preferred an appeal to the District Court of Rajahmundry. The learned District Judge agreed substantially with the decision of the District Munsif on the question of the proper valuation of the plaint. The learned District Judge, he wever, thought that instead of the plaintiff having to value the plaint and pay Court-fee on the sum of Rs. 56,919 2 3 as mentioned in the trial Court's order, it was enough for the plaintiff to value his plaint as five sixths of the said amount, being the shares of the plaintiff and the other defendants who executed the release deed in question in the partnership. He accordingly modified the trial Court's order in that respect, and directed that the case should go back to the District Munsif in order that the District Munsif might call upon the plaintiff to pay Court-fee calculated on that sum within a reasonable time. Against that order the plaintiff has preferred the present Civil Miscellaneous Appeal and in the alternative he has also filed a Civil Revision Petition. On his behalf the learned Advocate argued that having regard to the allegations in the plaint as a whole, the plaint should be taken to be 6imply one for the taking of accounts, and not to set aside or cancel a document within the meaning of Section 7, Court Fees Act, as recently amended. The learned Advocate took us through the substantial portions of the plaint, submitted that that must be taken to be the oral nature of the plaint. We are unable to agree with him in that contention. The first prayer asked for in the plaint makes it clear that the plaintiff wants 'a declaration that the release deed is not valid in law, that it is fraudulent and void and that it is not binding on the plaintiff.' With this prayer before us, it is impossible to dispute the finding of the lower Courts, and we accordingly accept the finding of the lower Appellate Court that the correct valuation of the plaint is the amount mentioned by the lower Appellate Court.
2. The second question raised by the learned Advocate was this: Even assuming the valuation fixed by the lower Appellate Court to be correct, he argued that the proper order to be passed in this case is not to direct the plaintiff to amend his plaint and to pay Court-fee on the valuation arrived at by the lower Appellate Court under Section 12, and then to return the plaint for presentation to the proper Court. The learned Advocate argued that on a proper construction of Order VII, Rules. 10 and 11, Civil Procedure Code, the preliminary point which the Courts have to consider is to see whether having regard to the proper valuation, either mentioned in the plaint or arrived at by it, the Court has got jurisdiction to entertain the plaint. If it finds that it has no jurisdiction, then the proper provision of law to be proceeded under, is Order VII, Rule 10, which states that the plaint shall be returned to be presented to the Court in which the suit should have been instituted having regard to its proper valuation. It was, he wever, argued on behalf of the respondent that that was not the view apparently taken by a learned Judge of this Court in the case reported in Kandaswami Goundan v. Sub-bai Goundan 77 Ind. Cas. 781 : A.I.R. 1924 Mad. 646 : 46 M.L.J. 345 : 34 M.L.T. 92 : (1924) M.W.N. 338. We are not clear that the exact point that we are called upon to decide at present in this case was the point that had to be decided by the learned Judge in that case. We find, he wever, that the view of the Bombay High Court in Ganesh Tavanappa v. Tatya Bharnappa 101 Ind. Cas. 343 : A.I.R. 1927 Bom. 257 : 51 B. 236 and that of this Court in Kandu v. Konda 8 M. 62 supports the contention of the learned Advocate for the appellant. When a Court finds that on the correct valuation, the plaint is not cognizable by it, it seems to us that the proper thing to be done is to return the plaint so that it may be presented to the Court having jurisdiction. It will be time enough for the Court having jurisdiction to entertain the plaint to consider whether proper Court-fee has been paid, and if not paid, to proceed in accordance with the powers conferred upon it by law for that purpose. If a Court finds that it has no jurisdiction, then to say that it has jurisdiction to ask the plaintiff to amend his valuation with a view to direct him to pay additional Court-fee and then return the plaint, would seem to suggest that a Court not having jurisdiction has got jurisdiction to do something which is prima facie the duty and function of the proper Court, This question seems to have been decided in effect in the case reported in Kandu v. Konda 8 M. 62. That was somewhat similar to the present one. There the learned Sir Charles Turner, C.J., and Muthuswami Iyer, J., had a case where the District Munsif, on finding that the value of the relief claimed in the plaint was understated by the plaintiff arrived at his own conclusion regarding proper valuation under Section 12, Court Fees Act. Then on finding that on the proper valuation, the plaint was not cognizable in his Court, he directed that the plaint should be returned to the plaintiff for presentation in a superior Court. On appeal, th8 learned Subordinate Judge was of opinion that in the circumstances the District Munsif should have dismissed the suit. The matter came up before the High Court. This was what their Lordships said at page 63 Page of 8 M.--[Ed.] 'A Commissioner was appointed to make evaluation of the property in the possession of the anandravan; he reported that the value was Rs. 6,400. The Munsif accepted the Commissioner's valuation, and he lding that the value of the subject-matter was in excess of the pecuniary limits of his jurisdiction, returned the plaint for presentation in a superior Court.'
3. Then after observing that the Subordinate Judge held that the Munsif should have dismissed the suit, their Lordships say that the decision in Jagjivan Javhardas Seth v. Magdum Ali 7 B. 487 on which the Subordinate Judge relied, has been overruled by a Bench of three Judges of the same Court in Prabhakar Bhat v. Visvanatha Pandit 8 B. 313 in accordance with the decision of this Court, in Jivraju v. Purushotham 7 M. 171. They held that the Munsif when he found that on a proper valuation he had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit was right in having directed the return of the plaint, and that the Subordinate Judge was wrong in he lding that the Munsif ought to have dismissed the suit. This is also what the learned Judges of the Bombay High Court say in the case reported in Ganesh Thavanappa v. Tatya Bharnappa 101 Ind. Cas. 343 : A.I.R. 1927 Bom. 257 : 51 B. 236. We, therefore, think that the proper order that should be passed in this case, as we accept the finding of the learned District Judge as regards the proper valuation of the splaint in question, is this. The orders of the lower Courts will be modified; the records will be sent to the District Munsif's Court, so that the District Munsif may return the plaint on the finding already referred to that on a proper valuation of the reliefs claimed in the plaint, the same is beyond his jurisdiction; and it would be open to the plaintiff to do what he likes with the plaint so returned to him.
4. As the main dispute in the case was as regards the proper valuation, and as the appellant has failed in that point we direct that he should pay the respondents costs of the appeal in this Court. We do not interfere with the order as to costs passed by the lower Courts. We pass no order as to casts in the revision petition.