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Mahaveerchand Vs. Town Panchayat Rep. by Its Executive Officer - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1984)2MLJ45
AppellantMahaveerchand
RespondentTown Panchayat Rep. by Its Executive Officer
Cases ReferredNadar and M.N.P. Tholamalai Nadar Firm v. Union of India and Ors.) C.R.P. No.
Excerpt:
- .....based on the market value of the property, on the date of the plaint,7. when a plaintiff filed a suit for declaration that the previous decree obtained against him was void and for setting aside the decree, and if necessary for recovery of immovable property covered by the decree, a division bench of this court in venketasiva rao v. satyanarayana chetty : air1932mad605 held, that it was not a suit for declaration and consequential reliefs, but essentially a suit for cancellation of the previous decree, and hence court-fee is payable under section 7(iv-a) of act vii of 1870. in neerkanthal ingam nadar and m.n.p. tholamalai nadar firm v. union of india and ors.) c.r.p. no. 783 of 1978 it was held, that section 40 of act xiv of 1955 would apply, when the relief asked for was to set aside.....
Judgment:
ORDER

T. Sathiadev, J.

1. Revision petitioner contends that the decision of the Court below on issue No. 5 in O.S. No. 753 of 1981 on the file of the District Munsif, Tiruvallur, that the court-fee is payable 'ad valorem' on Rs. 15, 649. 20 and hence the said Court has no jurisdiction to try the suit, is erroneous.

2. In the plaint, in paragraph 8, it is stated that the cause of action for the suit arose, when defendant served the demand for recovery of Rs. 15,649.20 on the plaintiff, and hence, he has sought for a declaration that the demand under assessment by defendant Town Panchayat, Sriperumbudur, is invalid and unenforceable, and also for consequential injunction.

3. Mr. K.N. Balasubramanian, learned Counsel for petitioner, by adverting to the order passed, submits that the decision in A.P.S. Electricity Board v. Ramachandra Reddy : AIR1977AP200 relied upon could have no application, because of the different wordings adopted in Sections 24(d) and 26(c) of Andhra Pradesh Court-fees Act. Section 25(d) of Tamil Nadu Act XIV of 1955, having used the expression 'whether the relief is capable of valuation or not', the valuation adopted by the plaintiff, is correct.

4. As contended by him, provisions of Section 25(d) of Tamil Nadu Act XVI of 1955, being not similar to those contained in Sections 24(d) or 26(c) Andhra Pradesh Court-fees Act, the decision rendered in A.P.S, Electricity Board v. K.R. Reddy (1977) 2 A.W.R. 366 : A.I.R. 1977 A.P. 240 cannot be a direct answer.

5. Yet the answer to the question, whether the calculation made by the petitioner could be correct or not, would depend upon the nature of relief asked for in the plaint, which has to be deciphered by taking into account the entirety of the plaint averments and the demands made which was sought to be declared as invalid. By astute drafting, the real relief prayed for may be camouflaged as to make it fall under a different section, so that lesser court-fee may become payable. But a court must be guided by the substance of the relief asked for by taking into account entirety of the pleas raised and reliefs prayed the for in the plaint. If plaintiff is to succeed in securing a declaration that the demand under Assessment No. 1866 is invalid or unenforceable, the liability on his part to pay Rs. 15,649.20 would be avoided by him. It is because of the said demand made, the suit was filed, and according to plaintiff, it formed the cause of action for filing the suit. It is precisely this much of demand which he wants to avoid by instituting the suit. Hence, in effect, to cancel the assessment made, he has filed the suit.

6. In Athmaram Chettiar v. Saraswathi Ammal : (1936)70MLJ542 where a declaration was sought for, that the will in question was a forgery and invalid, and consequential relief for possession was asked, it was held that the claim relating to properties was for declaration and had to be valued under Article 17-A of Schedule-II to Court-fees Act as it then stood. In Raju v. Venkataswarm I.L.R. (1959) Mad. 436 : (1959) 1 M.L.J. 118 it was held that it is obligatory on the part of minor plaintiffs to have valued the property on the basis of the consideration mentioned in the sale deed, when they filed a suit to set aside a sale deed, and that Section 40 of Act XIV of 1955 would apply. A Full Bench of this Court in Kutumba Sastry v. Sundardamma : AIR1939Mad462 held that in a suit for cancellation of added of conveyance and for possession, the plaintiff should value his relief based on the market value of the property, on the date of the plaint,

7. When a plaintiff filed a suit for declaration that the previous decree obtained against him was void and for setting aside the decree, and if necessary for recovery of immovable property covered by the decree, a Division Bench of this Court in Venketasiva Rao v. Satyanarayana Chetty : AIR1932Mad605 held, that it was not a suit for declaration and consequential reliefs, but essentially a suit for cancellation of the previous decree, and hence court-fee is payable under Section 7(iv-A) of Act VII of 1870. In Neerkanthal ingam Nadar and M.N.P. Tholamalai Nadar Firm v. Union of India and Ors.) C.R.P. No. 783 of 1978 it was held, that Section 40 of Act XIV of 1955 would apply, when the relief asked for was to set aside an order passed by the Assistant Collector of Central Excise, in and by which plaintiff in the suit was called upon to pay certain penalties and fines Imposed upon them.

8. Mr. K.N. Balasubramanian learned Counsel for revision petitioner, contends that, in the last of the decisions since the demand pertained to certain fines imposable under the Central Excise Act, taking into account the nature of the claim made, applicability of Section 25(d) was ruled out, and hence, the said decision would have no relevance to the present case. This is no fitting answer because when the demand for taxation is made under the Panchayat Act, it again emanates out of a statute, and the demand as made is sought to be avoided by filing the present suit. Though the Court below, by relying upon the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Act, had adopted a different reasoning,. its conclusion that Court-fee is payable under Section 40 and not under Section 25(d) is sustainable, in view of the above-mentioned decisions, wherein it has been held that when the relief claimed is to cancel a decree or other document which purports to ereate or declare any interest in money, then, such value would be relevant for the computation of court-fees. This is not a suit wherein the relief is not capable of valuation, particularly when plaintiff unhesitatingly states that the cause of action was in respect of a demand made for payment of Rs. 15,649.20 covered by Assessment No. 1866-dated 3rd August, 1981.

9. Therefore, the revision petition is dismissed and it was new for revision-petitioner to take necessary steps as directed by the Court below. No costs.


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