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Sengoda Nadar Vs. Doraiswami Gounder and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1970)2MLJ643
AppellantSengoda Nadar
RespondentDoraiswami Gounder and ors.
Cases ReferredBali Reddi v. Abdul Satar I.L.R.
Excerpt:
- .....principal subordinate judge returned the plaint to the petitioner, directing him to value the suit property according to the market value on the date of the suit. hence the petitioner has come forward with this revision petition.2. section 40 (1) of the madras court-fees and suits valuation act, 1955, is as follows:in a suit for cancellation of a decree for money or other property having a money value, or other document which purports or operates to create, declare, assign, limit or extinguish, whether in present or in future, any right, title or interest in money, movable or immovable property, fee shall be computed on the value of the subject-matter of the suit, and such value shall be deemed to be:if the whole decree or other document is sought to be cancelled, the amount or.....
Judgment:
ORDER

R. Sadasivam, J.

1. Petitioner presented a plaint in the Subordinate Judge's Court, Erode, praying for cancellation of the sale deeds executed by him on 20th August, 1962 and 1st February, 1967, in favour of the first defendant, on the ground that the defendants took him to Erode and provided him with intoxicating drinks and liquors and secured the documents. He correctly classified the claim as one falling under Section 40 of the Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1955, but paid the Court-fee on the amounts for which the sale deeds were executed. The learned Principal Subordinate Judge returned the plaint to the petitioner, directing him to value the suit property according to the market value on the date of the suit. Hence the petitioner has come forward with this revision petition.

2. Section 40 (1) of the Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1955, is as follows:

In a suit for cancellation of a decree for money or other property having a money value, or other document which purports or operates to create, declare, assign, limit or extinguish, whether in present or in future, any right, title or interest in money, movable or immovable property, fee shall be computed on the value of the subject-matter of the suit, and such value shall be deemed to be:

if the whole decree or other document is sought to be cancelled, the amount or value of the property for which the decree was passed or other document was executed;

if a part of the decree or other document is sought to be cancelled, such part of the amount or value of the property.

This is similar to Section 7 (IV-A), which was introduced by the Madras Amendment to the Court-fees Act (VII of 1870), which runs as follows:

In a suit for cancellation of a decree for money or other property having a money value, or other document securing money or other property having such value,

according to the value of the subject-matter of the suit, and such value shall be deemed to be:

if the whole decree or other document is sought to be cancelled, the amount or the value of the property for which the decree was passed or other document executed, if a part of the decree or other document is sought to be cancelled, such part of the amount or value of the property.

The only difference is in the place of the words ' or other document securing money or other property having such value ' in Section 7 (IV-A) of the old Court-fees Act, we have the words ' or other document which purports or operates to create, declare, assign, limit, or extinguish, whether in present or in future, any right, title or interest in money, movable or immovable property....' Evidently this amendment has been made as there were several cases under the old Court fees Act as to whether even sale deeds and other documents with regard to property would fall under Section 7 (IV-A) of the old Court-fees Act, as documents securing money or other property. In Bali Reddi v. Abdul Satar 69 M.L.J. 458 : I.L.R.(1936) Mad. 240 , Venkatasubba Rao, J., has held that so far as sale deeds are concerned, they would, as he had already held in Doraiswami v. Thangavelu : AIR1929Mad668 , that they are documents securing other property within the meaning of the section. This is what he has observed in the earlier case:

The words 'securing money or other property' are not happy; but the question is : Is this or is this not a suit for cancellation of a document securing property having money value? I think it clearly is. I have no doubt that the release deed in question is a document securing property; in other words, by that document the property covered by it is made secure to the defendants. Can there be any doubt that a sale deed comes within the terms of this section?

In the Full Bench decision in Kutumba Sastri v. Sundaramma : AIR1939Mad462 , it was held under Court-fees Act (VII of 1870), as amended by Madras Act (V of 1922), that in a suit for cancellation of a deed of conveyance, which the plaintiff had executed and for possession of the land covered by it, the Court-fee is payable under Section 7 (IV-A) and not under Section 7 (v) of the Court-fees Act (VII of 1870), and that the stamp fee to be paid must be based not on the amount stated in the conveyance but on the market value of the property at the date of the plaint.

3. Before considering the several decisions relied on by the petitioner in the lower Court and in this Court, it is convenient to refer to the plain provisions of Section 40 (1) of the Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1955, and understand the scope of the section. Section 40 (1) provides for cancellation of both decrees and documents. In respect of each of these classifications of suits for cancellation of decrees and cancellation of documents, there are two further classifications, namely, decrees or documents for money and decrees or documents in respect of property having money value. There is no difficulty as to the method of valuation in respect of a decree for money or a document securing money, as the section clearly provides that the value is the amount for which the decree was passed or document was executed. This is clear from the following passage in the judgment of Venkatasubba Rao, J., in Bali Reddi v. Abdul Satar I.L.R. (1936) Mad. 240 : 69 M.L.J. 458:

The amount of Court-fee payable depends upon ' the value of the subject-matter of the suit'--that is what the section says. Where a document securing money is sought to be cancelled, the section goes on to say that the value of the subject-matter shall be deemed to be ' the amount for which the document is executed '. In the case of a mortgage instrument, therefore, the Court-fee has to be computed on the amount for which the instrument is executed, in other words, the principle amount secured by it.

4. The difficulty arises only in cases of a suit for cancellation of decree or document dealing with property, movable or immovable. In Bali Reddi v. Abdul Satar I.L.R. (1936) Mad. 240 : 69 M.L.J. 458, Venkatasubba Rao, J., has referred to the question whether the section refers to the actual value of the property, that is to say, its market value, or its notional value prescribed in some of the sections of the Court-fees Act. He has observed that when the Legislature intends to prescribe an artificial method, it says so in express terms, and that in respect of cancellation of a sale deed under Section 7 (IV-A) of the Court-fees Act of 1870, the Court-fee payable must be computed on the market value. Section 7 (IV-A) of the Court-fees Act of 1870 as well as Section 40 (1) of the present Court-fees Act refer simply to the value of the property, which means value as generally understood. In fact, Veeraswami, J., (as he then was) has in C.R.P. No. 285 of 1965, on the file of this Court Navaraja v. Kaliappa Goundar (1967) 80 L.W. 19 (Short Notes), mentioned that value referred to in Section 40 (1) of the Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act is the market value, though he has taken the value mentioned in the decree as the market value. But it is clear from the Full Bench decision that the market value should have to be ascertained as on the date of the suit.

5. In Semba Goundar v. Alagia Goundar (1966) 79 L.W. 214, Venkatadri, J., had to consider the objections filed by the defendants in a suit filed by minor plaintiffs by next friend for partition, that Court-fee on the market value of the properties should be paid by the plaintiffs for a declaration that the decree in a prior suit was not binding on them. Having found that the minor plaintiffs were parties to the prior suit and that they should pay the Court-fee under Section 40(1) of Court-fees Act of 1955 to set aside the decree, the learned Judge held that the value must be arrived at on the basis of the value in the previous suit calculated according to the kist. With great respect to the learned Judge, I am unable to accept that view. The previous suit could have been filed under a different section of the Court-fees Act which permitted artificial or notional valuation and that is no ground for invoking the same valuation in a suit under Section 40(1) of the Madras Court-fees Act of 1955.

6. In Navaraja v. Kaliappa Goundar (1967) 80 L.W. 19 (Short Notes), Veeraswami, J., (as he then was) had to consider the Court-fee payable by the plaintiff who sought to set aside a compromise decree in an earlier suit. It was not disputed in that case that the plaint should be valued under Section 40 (1) of the Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1955. In the earlier suit, the properties were valued at Rs. 4,000. The learned. Judge observed that as the decree itself specified the value of the property, it will fall within the language of Section 40 (1), namely, the amount or value of the property for which the decree was passed and ordered that the Court-fee has to be paid calculated on the sum of Rs. 4,000, which is the value given in the decree, and not the market value of the properties on the date of the filing of the plaint. It is clear from this judgment that the value of the property should be the market value. I have already referred to the Full Bench decision, under a similar provision in the earlier Act that the value should be determined as on the date of suit. I have pointed out that even as regards decrees there is a distinction as in the case of documents as to whether it is in respect of money or property. If the decree is in respect of money the value shall be deemed to be the amount for which the decree was passed. But in the case of decree or document with regard to property, it is the value of the property for which the decree was passed or the document was executed. Thus it has to be ascertained whether the property which forms the subject-matter of the suit was dealt with by the decree or document. Once this is done, its value has to be ascertained for the purpose of the claim made in the plaint and this has to be done as on the date of suit. In fact, Section 7(1) of the Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1955, provides that save as otherwise provided, where the fee payable under the Act depends on the market value of any property, such value shall be determined as on the date of presentation of the plaint. Further, Section 7 (2) of the Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1955, provides for artificial value being taken as market value in respect of suits falling under particular sections and Section 4O is not one of the sections mentioned therein. If the decision in C.R.P. No. 285 of 1965 is merely intended to lay down that the value of the property as mentioned in the decree could be taken as the market value as on the date of the plaint in the absence of any other evidence, nothing could be said about the decision. But if it lays down that even if the market Value has increased or decreased as on the date of the plaint, the valuation that is given in the decree or document which is sought to be cancelled or set aside has to be taken it is against the provisions of the section, and with great respect I am unable to follow it.

7. In C.R.P. No. 2007 of 1966 on the file of this Court, Ramaprasada Rao, J., had to deal with a case where a plaintiff in a suit for partition was ordered by the trial Court to pay Court-fee on the market value of the properties as on the date of suit in respect of a prayer for setting aside a release deed. The petitioner-plaintiff in that case contended that he was entitled to pay Court-fee on the amount for which the document was executed. The learned Judge relied on the decision of Veeraswami, J., in C.R.P. No. 285 of 1965 and held that the trial Court erred in directing the plaintiff to pay Court-fee on the market value of the property in question which formed the subject-matter of the released deed. He has observed that he was unable to agree with the ratio in Kudumba Sastri v. Sundarammal : AIR1939Mad462 . It is not open to me, sitting as a single Judge, not to agree with the ratio of a Full Bench decision of this Court.

8. C.R.P. No. 1817 of 1968 on the file of this Court was a revision petition filed by defendants 1 to 3 in O.S. No. 132 of 1967 on the file of the Subordinate Juge's Court Tirunelveli, where the plaintiff was allowed to pay Court-fee for the cancellation of a settlement deed executed by the first plaintiff and the first defendant on the value of the document, namely, Rs. 3,500. Kailasam, J., dismissed the civil revision petition filed by the contesting defendants. He referred to the various kinds of suits provided for in Section 40 (1) of the Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1955. He has observed that the section provides for suits (1) relating to cancellation of a decree for money, (2) cancellation of a decree for other property having a money value and (3) cancellation of other document which purports or operates to create, declare, assign, limit or extinguish rights in movable or immovable property. He has failed to take note of one other classification of suits, cancellation of documents in respect of money. He has pointed out in the course of the judgment that except for describing in detail the documents in respect of property, the provisions of Section 40 (1) of the present Court-fees Act are almost identical with Section 7 (IV-A) of the old Court-fees Act. The learned Advocate for the petitioners in that case rightly relied on the decision Kutumba Sastri v. Sundarammal : AIR1939Mad462 , where it was held that in a suit for cancellation of a deed of conveyance, the valuation must be the valuation based on the market value of the property at the date of the plaint. The learned Judge referred to the doubt entertained in the earlier decisions whether the third part of the section relating to other document securing money or other property would include sales and he has referred to the Judgment of Venkatasubba Rao, J., in Bali Reddi v. Abdul Satar I.L.R. (1936) Mad. 240 : 69 M.L.J. 458, that the last part of Section 7 (IV-A) would include sale deeds. But he has proceeded to observe that this doubt need not detain him as Section 40 (1) of Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1955, is worded differently. He has observed that when the Full Bench was considering the value of the property, it did not appear to have taken note of the words ' the other document executed.' With respect, I need hardly add that this is not the correct reading of the Full Bench decision. He has concluded by stating that obviously in suits for cancellation of ' other documents' referred to in Section 40 (1) of the present Act, the valuation should be the value of the other document executed. I have already pointed out that in the documents just as in the case of decrees, the distinction is between those that dealt with money and those that dealt with property. The amount mentioned in the decree or the document is relevant only when the question is with regard to the decree for money or document securing money. But in the case of decrees or documents dealing with property of money value, the Value of the subject-matter of the suit should be computed on the value of the property for which the decree was passed or the document was executed. I need not repeat that the Valuation in respect of the property dealt with by the decree or document should be the market value and such a market value should be as on the date of suit.

9. For the foregoing reasons, I find the principal Subordinate Judge has rightly returned the plaint directing the petitioner to value the suit under Section 40 (1) of the Madras Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1955, by giving the market value of the properties covered by the sale deeds as on the date of the plaint. There is no ground to interfere in revision. The civil revision petition is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs as the other side has not entered appearance.


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