1. S.A. No. 703 of 1943: The suit out of which this appeal arises was one for a declaration that a certain will was true, valid and binding on all parties concerned and for a partition of the one-fourth share of the testator that had fallen to the plaintiff as a result of the will. The first Court found that the will was not executed by the testator while in a sound disposing state of mind, though a question of jurisdiction was also raised, which was decided in favour of the plaintiff. The appellate Court held that the will was genuine. The question of jurisdiction seems not to have been argued in the lower appellate Court; but in this Court the decree of the lower appellate Court has been canvassed on two grounds, the first being that the finding of the lower appellate Court was not justified by the evidence; and the second being that the District Munsif had no jurisdiction to try this suit. The first point is a question of fact. It is argued that the conclusion is inconsistent with the evidence of the doctor who examined the testator 15 or 20 minutes after he is alleged to have executed the will, and it is said that if his evidence is accepted, then the will cannot be genuine. I however find that the evidence of the doctor is not specific on this point. He admits that it is possible that the testator may have become unconscious only a few minutes before he examined him. If so, it was possible that the testator was in a sound disposing state of mind at the time when the will is said to have been executed by him. Under Section 9, Suits Valuation Act, the High Court may make rules for valuing suits in cases where the subject-matter of the suit does not admit of being satisfactorily valued. According to the decision in Ramaswami v. Rangachariar A.I.R. 1940 Mad. 113 a partition suit is one of such suits, but I understand that the High Court has made no rules Under Section 9, Suits Valuation Act, with regard to partition suits. Section 12, Madras Civil Courts Act, however, says that:
The jurisdiction of a District Munsif extends to all like suits... of which the amount or value of the subject-matter does not exceed Rs. 3000.
The value of the property covered by the will is said in the will to be Rs. 8000; and of that, the plaintiff is entitled under the will to a one-fourth share. The learned advocate for the appellant contends that the subject-matter of the suit is the whole of the property which the plaintiff seeks to have divided; because every bit of that land has to be divided. It seems to me, however, that the value of the suit is a one-fourth share in that land; because the plaintiff asks that the undivided one-fourth share should be converted into a divided one-fourth share, the value of the property before partition and after being precisely the same. This was the view held by this Court in Sukkira v. Palani A.I.R. 1938 Mad. 666 where the learned Judges had to consider whether an appeal lay to the Privy Council. The value of the joint family property was more than Rs. 10,000; but the plaintiff's share was worth only Rs. 5000, and it was held that the subject-matter of the suit was the plaintiff's share in the estate in the family property and not the value of the family property. The wording used in Section 110, Civil P.C., is precisely that to be found in Section 12, Madras Civil Courts Act, from which it follows that if the value of the property was Rs. 8000, then the District Munsif had jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
2. It is however argued that in fact the property was worth very much more; and the evidence of the plaintiff's husband is referred to in support of that contention. The fact that one of the plaintiff's witnesses even though that witness be her husband, happened to say in cross-examination that the value of the property is more than what the plaintiff stated in her plaint, would not oust the jurisdiction of the Court, unless an issue were raised whether the Court had jurisdiction and as the result of that issue, the Court gave a judicial finding that the subject-matter of the suit was beyond the jurisdiction of the Court. The District Munsif found that he had jurisdiction and that a one-fourth share of the property would not exceed Rs. 8000. It would seem from Section 11, Suits Valuation Act, that it is not open to the appellant in second appeal to question the jurisdiction of the trial Court. It is however unnecessary for me to consider this question more fully; because I have come to the conclusion that the trial Court had jurisdiction to try the suit. The appeal is dismissed with costs.