1. In this case, a certain suit O.S. No. 704 of 1923 was filed in the Court of the Principal District Munsif of Ellore for the recovery of certain' properties. It was alleged that the suit had been undervalued and the District Munsif held a preliminary enquiry into the valuation of the items of property involved and came to the conclusion that the market value was over Rs. 5,000. The plaint was ordered to be returned to the plaintiff who was given 7 days' time for presentation to the proper Court. This order was made on the 31st March, 1924. On the 1st April, 1924, the plaintiff presented a petition asking for 15 days' time for filing the additional stamp for the plaint. No. notice of this application was given to the defendants and on the 2nd April, the Principal District Munsif purported to review his decision of the 31st March and granted the prayer in the petition of the 1st April, giving the petitioner 7 days' time in which to pay the additional Court-fee, I am of opinion that, as regards C.R.P. No. 500 of 1924, the learned District Munsif was clearly not entitled to review his order at least without notice to the other side. Therefore, C.R.P. No. 500 must be allowed with costs.
2. A more important question arises in C.E.P. No. 501 of 1924. On the 3rd April one day after the petition for review above referred to, the plaintiff asked to be allowed to withdraw his claim to 4 items of properties mentioned in the plaint schedules and to amend the plaint in such a manner that it would conform to the monetary jurisdiction of the District Munsif's Court, and the District Munsif by his order of the 26th April 1924, held that no final order had been passed on the plaint and that by his order of the 2nd April, the District Munsif intended to set aside the original order for the immediate return of the plaint. The petition was allowed and the plaintiff was permitted to withdraw his claims and amend his plaint accordingly. The question is, ' Had the learned District Munsif jurisdiction to pass the order he did ?' In passing, I may state that I am very doubtful whether the District Munsif was right in his view as to the effect of the order of the 2nd April and I am more than doubtful as to the correctness of his view that no final order had yet been passed on the plaint. In this connection, I am pressed with two decisions of this Court. The first is the one reported in Karumbayira Ponnapundan v. Authimoola Ponnapundan (1910) 33 Mad. 262, which is a decision by Mr. Justice Abdur Rahim in a case, which I am bound to say, strikes me as very similar to the present. In that case, there was an enquiry as to the value. It was found that the suit was undervalued and the plaint was returned for presentation to the proper Court. The plaintiff amended his plaint by correcting the valuation and striking off some of the properties, so as to leave the claim within the jurisdiction of the District Munsif. The District Munsif thereupon readmitted the plaint and the question for decision was ' had he power to do so ' The learned Judge decided that he had and his decision was confirmed in Letters Patent Appeal by a Bench of this Court. On the other hand, there are observations of Sadasiva Aiyar, J,, in Kannuswami Pillai v. Jagathambal (1918) 41 Mad. 701, in the course of which he says :
It also stands to reason and principle that a Court which has no jurisdiction over a suit cannot pass any valid orders in such a suit except orders which the statute expressly empowers it to pass, such as the order returning the plaint to be presented to the proper Court which it is specifically empowered to pass by Order 7, Rule 10 and orders as to costs incurred before it, as to which also, there is a special provision in Section 35.
the Court of first instance had no jurisdiction, to pass any other judicial order in the suit after it had once arrived at the conclusion that the suit as brought was beyond its jurisdiction except to return it for presentation to the proper Court
3. The other learned Judge (Oldfield, J.), does not base his judgment on these grounds. Therefore although, if I may say so, I am in entire agreement with the extracts that I have quoted from the judgment of Sadasiva Aiyar, J., and if the matter were res integra to me, I should certainly decide it in the same manner, I feel that I cannot distinguish the facts of the present case from Karumbayira Ponnapundan v. Authimoola Ponnapundan (1910) 33 Mad. 262 Mr. Chenchiah endeavoured to do so by saying that what we have in Karumbayira Ponnapundan v. Authimoola Ponnapundan (1910) 33 Mad. 262, was practically two suits. The plaint was returned, then the matter dropped and then it was amended and presented again as an entirely fresh matter. I do not think that the statement of the facts as narrated by the learned Judge in his judgment bears out this distinction. The case was referred to by Mr. Justice Sadasiva Aiyar and distinguished by him in Kannuswami Pillai v. Jagathambal (1918) 41 Mad. 701. It may be that it was distinguished on something like the same lines, as I have indicated. The learned Judge, in distinguishing the case, seems to lay stress on the fact that the plaintiff put in an unnecessary petition stating that he relinquished his claim to the first property. On the whole and not without hesitation, I have come to the conclusion that I am bound by the decision in KarumbayiraPonnapundan v. Authimoola Ponnapundan (1910) 33 Mad. 262, and that therefore this Civil Revision Petition must be dismissed with costs.