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Pannalal Lala Vs. Abdul Gani and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Reported inAIR1930Cal473
AppellantPannalal Lala
RespondentAbdul Gani and ors.
Cases Referred and Bal Krishna Narayan v. Jankibai Sitaram
Excerpt:
- .....erroneous.2. as regards the first of these two grounds much need not be said because section 11, suits valuation act, affords answer which is conclusive in plaintiff's favour : there is not the faintest suggestion any where in this case that the under-valuation prejudicially affected the disposal of the suit on its merits.3. the salt as framed looking at its substance is to obtain an injunction with certain ancillary declarations and so comes under section 7, clause (iv) sub-clause (d), court-fees act. it may perhaps be also regarded against the plaintiff as a suit to obtain a declaratory decree with a consequential relief in the shape of an injunction and therefore coming within section 7, clause (iv), sub-clause (c) of the act. in either view the amount of fee payable should be.....
Judgment:

1. The plaintiff appellant sued the defendants for an injunction restraining them from erecting a building on a piece of land on declaration of his title therein in maurashi jamai right, it being alleged by him that the defendants were mere tenants-at-will He valued the suit at Rs. 15. The suit was decreed by the Munsiff. On appeal by the defendants the Subordinate Judge set aside the decree of the trial Court and ordered that the plaint be returned to the plaintiff for presentation to the proper Court. His reason was a two-fold one : 1st, that the plaintiff had asked for declaration of title to and injunction in respect of 13 cottas of land which was worth Rs. 1,300 and so the suit should have been valued at Rs. 1,300 and was beyond the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Munsif; and 2nd, that the plaintiff had really a8ked for two declarations one relating to his own title as a maurashi tenant and the other relating to the defendants' title as tenants-at-will and also for an injunction and consequently should have paid court-fee ad valorem the property. Both these grounds are challenged in this appeal as erroneous.

2. As regards the first of these two grounds much need not be said because Section 11, Suits Valuation Act, affords answer which is conclusive in plaintiff's favour : there is not the faintest suggestion any where in this case that the under-valuation prejudicially affected the disposal of the suit on its merits.

3. The salt as framed looking at its substance is to obtain an injunction with certain ancillary declarations and so comes under Section 7, Clause (iv) Sub-clause (d), Court-fees Act. It may perhaps be also regarded against the plaintiff as a suit to obtain a declaratory decree with a consequential relief in the shape of an injunction and therefore coming within Section 7, Clause (iv), Sub-clause (c) of the Act. In either view the amount of fee payable should be computed as the section states according to the amount at which the relief sought is valued in the plaint and in such a suit the section also states the plaintiff shall state the amount at which he values the relief. The plaintiff in this case valued the relief at Rs. 15.

4. So far as authorities are concerned it appears that there is strong divergence of judicial opinion on the question whether in cases coming under Sub-clauses (c) and (d), Clause 4, Section 7 of the Act, the plaintiff is absolutely at liberty to put his own valuation on the relief he claims. The High Courts of Allahabad and Bombay have preferred to give a strict meaning to the words of the Act while this Court and the Madras High Court have been inclined sometimes to take a different view. So far as this Court is concerned there is some authority for the view that the plaintiff is at liberty to put his own valuation : e.g. Hari Sankar Butt v. Kali Kumar Patra [1905] 32 Cal. 734 at p. 739; J.N. Sen v. Toriautunnessa A.I.R. 1922 Cal. 242 while there is also authority perhaps preponderant in favour of the view that although the plaintiff can always put his own valuation on the relief he claims the Court is also competent to exercise its powers conferred on it by Order 7, Rule 11, Civil P.C., e.g. Umatul Batul v. Nauji Kuar [1907] 6 C.L.J. 427 Krishna Das Laha v. Hari Charan Banerji [1911] 10 I.C. 865 and Raj Krishna Dey v. Bepin Bihari Dey [1913] 40 Cal. 245. The Judicial Committee, however, in a case from Bombay made some remarks which may not unreasonably be regarded as approving of the words of the statute being strictly applied : Sundara Bai v. The Collector of Belgaun A.I.R. 1918 P.C. 135, and which have been so understood in the case of the Official Trustee of Bengal v. Gobardhan Guchait [1929] 118 I.C. 357 and Bal Krishna Narayan v. Jankibai Sitaram [1920] 44 Bom. 331.

5. It seems to us that there is hardly any good reason why the words of Section 7 should not be applied as they are. If the plaintiffs' valuation of the relief may at times appear arbitrary or too low the assessment of the real value is often no less arbitrary and almost an impossibility. A plaintiff no doubt ought not to be permitted to have his relief without paying adequate court-fee but the remedy lies not in nullifying the words of the Act, but in the rule-making power of the High Court conferred on it by Section 9, Suits Valuation Act. Till such rules are framed a plaintiff in a suit coming under Sub-clause (c) or Sub-clause (d), Clause (4), Section 7, Court-fees Act, may justly say that his valuation of the relief is what he has to pay for. The result is that in our judgment the view taken by the Subordinate Judge is erroneous. The appeal is allowed and the case is remanded to his Court so that the appeal may be heard and disposed of on its merits. Costs, hearing-fee being assessed at 2 gold mohurs, will abide the result.


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