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Ramanujam Vs. Forest Range Officer, Padugai Range - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1966)2MLJ375
AppellantRamanujam
RespondentForest Range Officer, Padugai Range
Cases ReferredKuppuswami Rao v. The King
Excerpt:
.....article 11(a) of the old act, that the well-known commentators of the court-fees act, krishnamurthi and mathrubutham, in the 1955 edition of the guide to the law of court-fees at page 209, observed that in the case of appeals commenced before 19th may, 1955, article 11 of schedule ii of the old act would not apply, but they should be charged a court-fee of twelve annas under article 1 of schedule ii of the old act. according to the learned counsel, the criminal procedure code uses the words 'order 'and 'judgment' in distinct contexts, that one cannot be mistaken for the other, that since article 3(1) is silent about a judgment, it should not be held to apply to an appeal from a judgment, and that a memorandum of appeal from a judgment should be stamped with a court-fee appropriate to an..........inclusive of an order determining any question under section 47 or section 144 of the code of civil procedure, 1908, and not otherwise provided for when presented to any court other than the high court or to any executive officer, other than the board of revenue or chief executive authority... one rupee.11. (g) application or petition presented to any court, or to any magistrate in his executive capacity and not otherwise provided for in this act... twelve annas.in the view of the learned district magistrate the former provision applied, whereas the accused, who is the petitioner before me, contends that it is the latter provision that will apply. against the decision of the district magistrate, the accused has filed the present revision.2. in the schedule to the court-fees act,.....
Judgment:
ORDER

P. Ramakrishnan, J.

1. This revision case raises a short but interesting question on the interpretation of the law of Court-fee. The question that arose before the learned District Magistrate, from whose decision the present revision case is filed, is whether a memorandum of appeal presented by the accused in a criminal case, against his conviction and sentence, should be affixed with a Court-fee label of one rupee under Article 3(i) of Schedule II of the Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1955, or seventy-five paise under Article 11(g) of Schedule II of the Act. These two articles are extracted below:

3. (i) Memorandum of Appeal from an order inclusive of an order determining any question under Section 47 or Section 144 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and not otherwise provided for when presented to any Court other than the High Court or to any Executive Officer, other than the Board of Revenue or Chief Executive Authority... One rupee.

11. (g) Application or petition presented to any Court, or to any Magistrate in his executive capacity and not otherwise provided for in this Act... Twelve annas.

In the view of the learned District Magistrate the former provision applied, whereas the accused, who is the petitioner before me, contends that it is the latter provision that will apply. Against the decision of the District Magistrate, the accused has filed the present revision.

2. In the Schedule to the Court-fees Act, 1870, before the amendment by the Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1955, there were two provisions which may be referred to Article 1(b) of Schedule II stated that an application or petition when presented to a civil, criminal or revenue Court or to a Collector, or any Revenue Officer having jurisdiction equal or subordinate to a Collector or to any Magistrate in his executive capacity, and not otherwise provided for by this Act, in the case of criminal complaint, should be affixed with a Court-fee stamp of one rupee, and in other cases with Court-fee stamp of twelve annas. Article 11(a) of the former Act provided for a Court-fee of one rupee in the case of a memorandum of appeal when the appeal is from an order inclusive of an order determining any question Under Section 47 or Section 144 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and is presented to any civil Court other than a High Court or to any Revenue Court or Executive Officer other than the High Court or Chief Controlling Revenue or Executive Authority. This latter provision in the old Court-fees Act, 1870, restricted the levy of one rupee Court-fee on a memorandum of appeal to cases where it is presented to a civil Court or a Revenue Court or Executive Officer, etc. But in the new Act when dealing with a memorandum of appeal in Article 3(i) the above restriction is left out, and the words ' any Court' is substituted. The provision of Court-fee of twelve annas in the case of application or petition found in Article 1(b) of Schedule II of the old Act is repeated in Article 11(g) of the new Act. Because of this wider scope given in Article 3(1) of the new Act to a memorandum of appeal after deleting the restriction to particular Court mentioned in Article 11(a) of the old Act, that the well-known commentators of the Court-fees Act, Krishnamurthi and Mathrubutham, in the 1955 Edition of the Guide to the Law of Court-fees at page 209, observed that in the case of appeals commenced before 19th May, 1955, Article 11 of Schedule II of the old Act would not apply, but they should be charged a Court-fee of twelve annas under Article 1 of Schedule II of the old Act. But after 19th May, 1955, when the new Act came into force, the language of Article 3 of Schedule II would apply to appeals, filed in Criminal Courts also.

3. Learned Counsel for the petitioner referred to the fact that Article 3(i) of Schedule II of the new Act refers to a Memorandum of Appeal from an ' order,' and in his view, an order in a criminal case would not include a judgment of conviction or acquittal. According to the learned Counsel, the Criminal Procedure Code uses the words 'order ' and 'judgment' in distinct contexts, that one cannot be mistaken for the other, that since Article 3(1) is silent about a judgment, it should not be held to apply to an appeal from a judgment, and that a memorandum of appeal from a judgment should be stamped with a Court-fee appropriate to an application or petition as provided in Article 11(g). As against this contention, the learned Government Pleader as well as the learned Public Prosecutor stress that the Criminal Procedure Code uses the words ' order' and ' judgment' in a common footing, in several provisions. It is also pointed out that the Criminal Procedure Code does not define what a judgment means unlike the Civil Procedure Code, which defines a 'judgment' in Section 2, as a statement given by the Judge of the grounds of a decree or order. Section 404 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides that no appeal shall lie from any 'judgment' or ' order ' of a criminal Court except as provided for by that Code or by any other law for the time being in force. Section 419 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that every appeal shall be made in the form of a petition in writing presented by the appellant, or his Pleader, and every such petition shall be accompanied by a copy of the ' judgment' or ' order ' appealed against. Section 367(6) of the Criminal Procedure Code states that for the purposes of this section an order under Section 118 or Section 123, Sub-section (3) shall be deemed to be a judgment. The learned Public Prosecutor referred me to a decision of the Federal Court in Kuppuswami Rao v. The King (1948) I M.L.J. 103 : 1947 F.C.R. 180 : 1947 F.L.J. 110 where certain useful observations in this connection are found. The question that arose before the Federal Court was with reference to the scope of Section 205 of the Government of India Act, 1935, which provided for an appeal to the Federal Court from any judgment or decree or final order of a High Court. While referring to the fact that the Civil Procedure Code has defined ' judgment' for civil suits, the Federal Court observed that in India, in the Criminal Procedure Code, though the word ' judgment' is not defined that term is used to indicate the termination of a case by an order of conviction or acquittal. It is therefore reasonable to assume that in the context of an appeal from a conviction as in this case, it is irrelevant to make a distinction as to whether it is against a judgment or an order. From one point of view it can be looked at as against a judgment in so far as it terminates the case, by an order of conviction. From the operative part of the judgment, namely, the conviction (or acquittal) it can be described as an appeal against the order of conviction (or the order of acquittal). It is therefore reasonable to hold that, when in the amended Court-fees Act the scope of appeal for the purpose of Court-fees was widened and made applicable generally to all Courts, civil and criminal, the Legislature did not specifically refer to judgments, but contented themselves with the word ' order', bearing in mind that the word ' order' in the context of a criminal appeal, will include a judgment leading to an order of conviction or acquittal. I am therefore of the opinion that the view of the lower Court that a Court-fee of one rupee has to be paid on the memorandum of appeal is correct and calls for no interference by way of revision. The revision case is therefore dismissed.


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