1. This Revision Petition arises from the Order of the District Munsif of Sivaganga in O.S. No. 465 of 1957, directing the plaintiffs to pay a sum of Rs. 664-8-0 as additional Court-fee. The suit was one for a declaration of the plaintiffs' title to the property and for an injunction restraining the defendant from interfering with their possession. The defendant had obtained iruwaram rights under a cowle from the Zamindar of Sivaganga in certain properties. It is stated in the plaint that on 18th November, 1938 the defendant put into possession of the plaintiffs an extent of 17 acres, 63 cents of land for the purpose of reclamation and cultivation. It is the plaintiffs' case that since that agreement they have been in possession and enjoyment of the land after effecting improvements on the property at considerable expense. By arrangement entered into amongst the plaintiffs, each one of them held possession of definite portions out of the 17 acres, 63 cents which were given to them by the defendant; they were cultivating the same accordingly. It was alleged that while so, the plaintiffs' possession was interfered with by the defendant. The suit was therefore laid for a declaration of their title and for an injunction. The plaint valued the relief under Section 25(b) of the Court-fees Act: a Court-fee of Rs. 55-8-0 was paid. The Court-fee Examiner did not accept the valuation; he issued a check-slip stating that the valuation adopted by the plaintiffs was not correct as in his opinion the suit was really 24 suits rolled into one, each relating to one plaintiff. The learned District Munsif has accepted the view of the Court-fee Examiner and directed the plaintiffs to pay the additional Court-fee.
2. A reading of the plaint would show that the cause of action for the suit is based on the agreement, dated 18th November, 1938 under which the defendant on the one hand and the plaintiffs on the other agreed that the latter should enter into possession of the land and cultivate the same. Subsequent to the agreement, the plaintiffs have each divided the lands amongst themselves but that was only by an agreement inter se amongst themselves, to which the defendant was not a party. So far as the defendant was concerned, there is only one agreement, that is, that dated 18th November, 1938, and if there is an interference with the possession of the plaintiffs under that agreement, there can only be one cause of action. The circumstance that the plaintiffs got into possession of different parts of the 17 acres, 63 cents cannot affect the question so far as this matter is concerned. It is a joint right which the plaintiffs got and it is that which is interfered with by the defendant. There is therefore only one subject-matter, viz., the interference with the rights acquired by the plaintiffs under the agreement, dated 18th November, 1938. The learned District Munsif says that the suit is not one to enforce the agreement, dated 18th November, 1938. In this he is wrong as the suit is one intended to protect the rights obtained on 18th November, 1938 as against the grantor. The learned District Munsif further states that
prima facie in view of the lapse of time, the agreement cannot be made the basis of the suit or used for any purpose excepting to evidence the origin of the plaintiffs' possession and the right under which they continued such possession.
I am utterly unable to appreciate this. The agreement of 18th November, 1938 conferred a title on all the plaintiffs. It is not the case for the defendant that subsequent to the date of the agreement he entered into separate contracts or agreements with the various plaintiffs or the relationship between the parties had ceased. It should therefore be taken that the title of the plaintiffs was under the agreement of 18th November, 1938 and when there is an interference by the defendant, there can only be one cause of action. Under the circumstances, the order of the lower Court directing payment of Court-fee on the footing that the suit comprised as many subjects as there are plaintiffs is wrong.
3. The Civil Revision Petition is allowed. No order as to costs.