Raghava Rao, J.
1. An interesting question of law has been argued at some length with his usual ability and emphasis by Mr. B. V. Viswanatha Aiyar in this case. The question is one of court-fee payable on a plaint transferred from the Original Side of the High Court to the Madras City Civil Court under Section 16 proviso (2) of the Madras City Civil Courts Act. The petitioner was called upon after the transfer to pay the additional court-fee which would have been payable on the plaint, had it been filed even at the inception in the City Civil Court. It is objected for the petitioner that the course adopted by the Court below is not valid.
2. The pith and substance of the argument of Mr. Viswanatha Aiyar is that there is no charging section in the City Civil Court Act or in the Court-fees Act which warrants the levy of the additional court-fee. My attention has been drawn by learned counsel to the language of Section 16, proviso (3) of the Act which, it is said, contains no such language as is to be found in Section 14. The contention is that Section 16, proviso (3) cannot be regarded as a taxing section, as Section 14 can be. Mr. Viswanatha Aiyar argues that in the absence of any clear specific taxing section in the City Civil Court Act or elsewhere it is not open to the Court to seek to levy the extra court-fee, as though the suit in question had been even originally instituted in the City Civil Court itself.
3. Section 14 deals with cases removed to the High Court from the City Civil Court. Section 16, proviso (3) deals with a suit or other proceeding transferred from the High Court on its original side to the City Civil Court. In the former section there is a definite provision, it is true, to the effect that fees on the scale for the time being in force in the High Court as a Court of ordinary original civil jurisdiction shall be payable in that Court in respect of the suit and proceedings removed to it for trial; and there is a proviso to the section which says further that in the levy of any such fees which according to the practice of the Court are credited to the Government, credit shall be given to the plaintiff in the suit for any fee which in the City Civil Court he has already paid under the Court-fees Act, 1870 on the plaint. In Section 16 what is said so far as material to the present case is that,
'Nothing in this Act contained shall affect the original civil jurisdiction of the High Court: Provided that
2. in any suit or other proceeding pending at any time in the High Court, any Judge of such Court may at any stage thereof make an order transferring the same to the City Court if in his opinion such or proceeding is within the jurisdiction of that Court and should be tried therein;
3. in any suit or other proceeding so transferred, the Court-fees Act 1870 shall apply, credit being given for any fees levied in the High Court'.
It is said by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the words 'The Court-fees Act, 1870 shall apply' are not themselves sufficient to imply the result contended for by the Government in regard to the extra court-fee payable after the transfer in the City Civil Court. The argument, however, overlooks the immediately following words 'credit being given for any fees levied in the High Court.' It is perfectly clear that the object and purpose of Section 16, proviso (3) are to authorise the levy of further. court-fee in accordance with the requirements of the Court-fees Act as if the suit was one instituted in the City Civil Court itself at the inception. This, in fact, is not disputed by learned counsel for the petitioner; but what is contended is that the object and purpose have not been effectuated by the language used. Mr. Viswanatha Aiyar has further contended, that in the Court-fees Act there is no provision once the plaint has been accepted, as stamped with the amount of court-fee, for the Court thereafter to levy any extra court-fee, although under Section 12 of the Court-fees Act the appellate Court may have such jurisdiction. It is also urged that in the case of a transferred suit too there is no provision for the collection of any extra court-fee. That may be; but if the obvious intendment of Section 16, proviso (3) of the Madras City Civil Courts Act is that after the transfer of the suit from the file of the High Court the Court fees Act should be treated as thereafter applicable credit being given for any fees levied in the High Court, there is no substance in my opinion, in the considerations relied upon by the learned advocate for the petitioner. In view of the plain intendment of the proviso to Section 16 I do not think that there is any force in the contention of the learned advocate for the petitioner that a taxing statute must be construed strictly, or that in the absence of any specific charging provision no levy should be allowed as against the subject. The object and purpose of the provision which are perfectly clear have been, in my opinion, sufficiently effectuated by the language used, which is not merely to the effect that to the suit or proceeding transferred the Court fees Act, 1870 shall apply but to the further effect that credit shall be given for any fees levied in the High Court. The application of the Court fees Act, 1870 to such a case with due credit given for the fees already levied in the High Court means by irresistible implication that the plaint shall be treated after the transfer as if it were a plaint even originally filed in the City Civil Court itself for the purpose of the amount of court-fee payable. In fact Mr. Viswanatha Aiyar was not able to suggest when question was put to him in what other way the Court fees Act, 1870 should apply to a suit or proceeding transferred from the High Court than that the amount of extra court-fee should be levied from the plaintiff. The rule of strict construction of penal and fiscal enactments has been emphasised by Mr. Viswanatha Aiyar, but the rule, in my opinion, requires no more than that the language shall be so construed that no cases shall be held to fall within it which do not fall both within the reasonable meaning of its terms and within the spirit and scope of the enactment (Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes, 9th Edn. pages 268 and 269).
4. It may be that as contended by Mr. Viswanatha Aiyar the ruling of a single Judge of the Bombay High Court reported in 'Raghunath Ganesh v. Vaman Vasudev', : AIR1950Bom234 which is relied upon by the learned Government Pleader before me is not correct in so far as it seeks to justify the levy of further court-fee with reference to Section 6 of the Court-fees Act. I am rather inclined to agree with Mr. Viswanatha Aiyar that the learned Judge of the Bombay High Court has not correctly interpreted the words of Section 6 in holding that they have application to cases of transferred plaints. The learned Judge observes :
'The fact that it is not by reason of a voluntary act on the part of the plaintiff that the plaint was transferred but in pursuance of an order of the Court that the plaint was transferred is also not relevant in considering the application of Section 6.'
That, perhaps is to subject to an undue strain the language of Section 6 which has reference only to documents received, filed or used in any Court or office without being properly stamped unless the word 'received' is to be understood as wide enough to complaints received by transfer. Whatever that may be, I feel clear that the language of Section 16, proviso (3), is itself sufficient to imply with reasonable clearness the intention of the legislature that after the transfer of the plaint from the original side of the High Court effect must be given to the provisions of the Court fees Act which would have applied, had the plaint been filed in the first instance itself in the City Civil Court due credit of course being given to the fees already levied in the High Court.
5. Several cases have been cited before me by learned counsel on both sides with which it is really unnecessary to deal in view of the definite conclusion that I have come to against the petitioner for the reasons that I have already given. I need only add that the view I am taking is supported by what has been said by Satyanarayana Rao J. in the course of his judgment in the Full Bench in V. Rama-mirtham v. Rama Film Service', C. S. No. 303 of 1947 : : AIR1951Mad93 F B which pronounced in favour of the validity of transfers to the City Civil Court of suits instituted in the High Court on its original side before the date of the Notification G.O.M.S. No. 4175 (Home) dated 11th November 1948.
6. In these circumstances this civil revision petition must be dismissed with costs.Time for payment of deficit court-fee up to theend of July 1951.