T. Sathiadev, J.
1. Petitioner being aggrieved with the orders of the first respondent holding that the deed, dated 20th August, 1975, executed by Palaniswamy Pillai and three others, is only a settlement, within the meaning of Section 2(24)(c) of the Indian Stamp. Act, has filed this writ petition. The first respondent rejected the plea of the petitioner that stamp duty is leviable only under Article 64 in Schedule I of the said Act.
2. Mr. Balathandapani, learned Counsel for the petitioner, contends that when orders have been passed by first respondent, determining that the duty is leviable only under Section 2(24)(c) of the Indian Stamp Act, and that only one half of the duty, would be payable in the light of the orders issued under (item 47) G.O.Ms. No. 1225, Revenue, dated 25th April, 1964, it is for this Court to construe the document and decide the nature of the document, in exercising its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
3. According to him, in the light of the decision of the Division Bench in The Chief Controling Revenue Authority v. Muthukumar : AIR1979Mad5 , there could have been no difficulty for the respondents to understand the nature of the document.
4. Additional Government Pleader would resist this claim by stating that when the statute itself contemplates a reference to be made to the Court under Section 57 of the Act, if the petitioner had been aggrieved, he should have asked for a reference and having failed to do so, he is precluded from raising this plea in this petition. Even on the merits of the claim made, the Additional Government Pleader contends that the nature of the document had been correctly determined, taking into account the recitals contained therein.
5. In Rustom Mussewang Patel v. State of Madras : AIR1962Mad397 , it has been held that if the matter is very plain and incapable of any arguments, then the guiding principle for the authority, would be, to make the reference when the aggreived party seeks for such a reference. In the instant case, petitioner had not asked for any reference and the first respondent has already rendered its decision.
6. As to whether, while filing this writ petition, a direction could be secured for making a reference under Section 57, in the light of the decision rendered in Banarsidas Ahluwalia v. The Chief Controlling Revenue Authority, Delhi : 1SCR685 , even in a case where no such relief had been asked for, and order had been already passed by first respondent, and not pending before him, a reference could be asked for by the affected party, it was held therein as follows:
Section 57 affords a remedy to the citizen to have his case referred to the High Court against an order of a revenue authority imposing stamp duty and/or penalty provided the application involves a substantial question or law and imposes a corresponding obligation on the authority to refer it to the High Court for its opinion. Such a right and obligation cannot be construed to depend upon any subsidiary circumstance such as the pendency of the case before the authority.
Therefore, even after the, orders have been passed, respondents could be asked to make a reference under Section 57 of the Act, by the affected party.
7. In Saradambal v. C.C.R. Authority : (1959)2MLJ339 , it was held that when the affected party approaches the Court under Article 226 of the Constitution to quash the orders of the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority, a direction can be given, in spite of the matter having been finally disposed of.
8. A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court in Union of India v. S. Sarup Singh A.I.R. 1960 Delhi 219, held that there is no need for any application to be made for making the reference and that the Revenue Authority can act suo motu.
9. Therefore, when the petitioner has the remedy to ask for a reference to be made under Section 27 in spite of orders having been passed by the first respondent, and since he has already filed a writ petition in this Court to quash the orders, it is now for him to make an application to first respondent to make a reference under Section 57 of the Act.
10. Regarding the nature of the document, in matters of this nature, it is the document which will have to be looked into as pointed out in P. Kulasekara Naidu and three Ors. v. Board of Revenue (Land Revenue by its Member), Madras-5 W.P. No. 3600 of 1979, and therefore, the Revenue Authority should invariably refer to the decisions rendered by this Court in the earlier references made by it land disclose how the recitals tally with documents already interpreted by Court so that it may absolve the need for making further references. It will also assist the affected party, to realise that the conclusion arrived at that no substantial question of law is involved, is based on decisions of this Court and therefore, the affected party may not be driven to the need of further litigating the matter.
11. Instead, the authority had merely looked into the document, and the grounds stated in paragraph 4 in the impugned order itself shows that there is need for proper interpretation of the document, thus involving a sustantial question of law.
12. Therefore, the writ petition is allowed resulting in the setting aside of the impugned orders of the first respondent and it is for the petitioner to file the necessary application for a reference to be made and on receipt of such application, the first respondent is to refer the matter under Section 57(1) of the Act to this Court. No costs.