1. The question before us is whether one application stamped with a court-fee stamp of Rs. 2 or thirteen applications each stamped with a court-fee stamp of Rs. 2 is necessary. In cases similar to the case before us different views have been taken by this Court. In First Appeal No. 97 of 1937, Guha and Bartley JJ. held that one application is sufficient but in Civil Rule No. 5 of 1937 M.C. Ghosh J. held otherwise. In the orders passed by the said learned Judges however no reasons have been given. As the matter is important we directed notice to be served on the learned Senior Government Pleader, and the matter has now been fully argued by him and by Mr. Banerjee who appears for the petitioner.
2. The petitioner, Raja Kamala Ranjan, was a part proprietor of Estate No. 31 of the Tipperah Collectorate. That estate was under partition under the procedure of the Estates' Partition Act. The Collector made a partition but on appeal the Commissioner of the Division reversed the Collector's order. The Board of Revenue however reversed the Commissioner's and restored the Collector's order. Raja Kamala Ranjan thereupon instituted a civil suit for a declaration that the Commissioner's order was final and that the order of the Board of Revenue was ultra vires. He succeeded in this suit. He then brought fifteen suits for mesne profits against his co-proprietors - ten in the Munsif's Court at Brahmanbaria and five in the First Court of the Subordinate Judge, Tipperah. The ten suits filed in the Munsif's Court were later on transferred to the file of the aforesaid Subordinate Judge and the fifteen suits were tried analogously and are governed by the same judgment. All the suits have been dismissed by the Subordinate Judge. Two of the suits having been valued at more than Rs. 5000, two first appeals, Nos. 244 and 245 of 1938, have been filed by the petitioner in this Court. The remaining thirteen suits having been valued at less than Rs. 5000, thirteen appeals were filed before the District Judge, Tipperah, on 12th September 1938. The learned District Judge passed an order on 10th November 1938 for analogous hearing of the said thirteen appeals. One application beaded 'In the matter of an application under Section 24, Civil P.C. and In the matter of Appeal from Original Decrees Nos. 244 and 245 of 1938'
was made before us. In the said application the fact that the fifteen suits were tried together and are governed by the same judgment is stated and the prayer is for transfer of the thirteen appeals pending in the Court of the District Judge to this Court and for analogous trial of the same with the said two first appeals pending here.
3. The contention of the learned Senior Government Pleader is that as there are thirteen appeals pending in the Court of the District Judge thirteen applications for transfer must be made, each with a court-fee stamp of Rs. 2, and thirteen vakalatnamas must also be put in. He says the fact that the District Judge has ordered analogous hearing of the appeals or that the suits were tried together in the Court of first instance and were dealt with by one judgment cannot affect the amount of court-fee. The same court-fee, says he, ought to be paid if the cases were tried or ordered to be tried separately. In support of his contention, he relies upon Moosa Soleman v. Secretary of State : AIR1929Cal135 and In re Vythilinga Pandara Sanuadhi (1930) 17 A.I.R. Mad. 381. His contention in substance comes to this : that the application for transfer must be considered as an independent application, unconnected with the pending first appeal. It would accordingly require separate vakalatnama, the vakalatnama filed in the pending first appeal being insufficient. The pendency of the first appeal according to him only supplies the ground for transfer. The contention of Mr. Banerjee is that the vakalatnama which he has filed in the first appeal enables him to move the application, because it is an application filed in the first appeal and his prayer for transfer can at most be subdivided into thirteen prayers, each for the transfer of one appeal pending in the Court of the District Judge. If, says he, the applications for transfer had been in respect of suits or appeals which were not in any way connected with any appeal pending here the contention of the learned Senior Government Pleader may probably be right.
4. In our judgment the application for transfer of the said thirteen appeals to this Court and for their analogous trial with the two first appeals pending here must be considered not an independent application for transfer but as an application made in the first appeals pending here. The vakalatnama filed by Mr. Banerjee authorizes him to move the application which must be regarded as one application with thirteen prayers. The cases cited by the learned Senior Government Pleader are distinguishable, for the question before us is whether the application is to be regarded as an application in connexion with an appeal pending in this Court or not. We accordingly hold that proper court-fees had been paid by the petitioner.