1. The petitioner's suit was dismissed for want of evidence showing the plaintiff's title to sue. The want of evidence was due to the fact that the assignment in his favour of the promissory note which he sued on was not properly stamped. Prior to the filing of the suit, the petitioner had taken the assignment to the Collector for his opinion under Section 32 of the Stamp Act. The Collector expressed his opinion that no stamp duty was necessary and sent the petitioner a letter to that effect. The petitioner relied on that letter from the Collector and contended that even though the assignment should have been stamped, yet the Collector's certificate was final and could not be questioned by a Civil Court. The District Munsif however, found that the Collector's decision that no stamp duty was necessary was wrong. He also found that even though the Collector's decision might be binding on him, the Collector had no jurisdiction to entertain the application under Section 32, because it was sent to him more than a month after the execution of the assignment. He also found that the Collector's certificate was of no avail ; because it was not of the nature of the certificate referred to in Section 32, in that it was not endorsed on the instrument itself.
2. I am quite satisfied that even though the Collector erred in thinking that no stamp was necessary, his decision would have been final if he had granted a certificate on the document in question; because the very object of this section is to protect persons who are not sure what duty is payable and yet are anxious to stamp their documents properly. It is more difficult to decide whether the fact that the Collector entertained this application more than a month after the document was executed would invalidate the certificate. It might be argued that he acted without jurisdiction and that therefore his certificate could be of no avail. I am inclined to think, however, that it is not open to a Civil Court to question an endorsement on the instrument, even though the Collector ought not to have granted the certificate because it was out of time. However, the respondent is certainly on firm ground in contending that the Collector's letter is not the certificate referred to in Section 32 (2) and that therefore it is not binding on the Civil Court. If the fact that the endorsement was made separately and not on the paper had been the only defect in the plaintiff's case, the Court might have given him an opportunity of getting an endorsement on the document itself before disposing of the case ; but I think the fact that the Collector could not rightly have given an endorsement after such a lapse of time justified the Court in not returning the document for obtaining such an endorsement. In fact, the petitioner did not not ask the Court for such an opportunity. On the contrary, he persisted that the endorsement was in order and that the Court was bound to accept it. The Court pointed out to the plaintiff on the day of hearing immediately preceding the date of disposal that he was deciding that point against him and that the petitioner had better be ready at the next day of hearing' with the necessary money to pay the stamp duty and penalty. A fortnight's time was given; but the plaintiff persisted in his attitude and so his suit was dismissed. Mr. Desikan for the petitioner contends that even so, this revision petition ought to be allowed; because the District Munsif impounded the document and sent it to the Collector under Section 38 and because the Collector had made an endorsement on the document that it was properly stamped, which endorsement made the document admissible in evidence. Such an argument seems to have been accepted in Umda Bibi v. Takai Ram (1907) 27 An.W.N. 38 but we do not know for what reason the learned Judges thought it necessary to require the Subordinate Judge to take account of what happened after the disposal of the suit. As I have already said, if there had been a mere formal defect and the plaintiff had not persisted in his attitude that the endorsement was right and must be acted on, I think the learned District Munsif might well have granted some indulgence to the petitioner. Under the circumstances, however, I am satisfied that the learned District Munsif granted to the petitioner every reasonable concession and was justified in dismissing the suit.
3. The petition is therefore dismissed, but under the circumstances without costs.