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Dwarkanath Mitra Biswas Vs. Sm. Hemangini Kar and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Reported inAIR1937Cal430
AppellantDwarkanath Mitra Biswas
RespondentSm. Hemangini Kar and anr.
Cases ReferredGopal Singh v. Indra Coomar Hazra
Excerpt:
- .....the pecuniary limit of his jurisdiction, the entire proceedings before him, including the decree passed, should be considered as being without jurisdiction. it would also lead to many other anomalies apart from the serious question that the plaintiff would be denied his proper remedy for no fault of his: per b, b. ghosh, j, in bidyadhar bachar v. manindra nath das : air1925cal1076 .3. the next contention of mr. bose is that in any view of the case the munsiff had no jurisdiction to pass a decree for an amount in excess of rs. 2,000. reliance was placed by him on a decision of this court in gopal singh v. indra coomar hazra (1909) 13 c w n 493. in that case it was observed:the jurisdiction of the court as determined by the value stated, is regulated by the amount at which the.....
Judgment:

Nasim Ali, J.

1. This is a judgment-debtor's appeal arising out of an execution proceeding. The objection of the judgment-debtor is that the decree cannot be executed, inasmuch as the Court which passed the decree had no jurisdiction to pass it. The decree under execution is a decree for about Rs. 3,500 passed by a Munsiff. The suit in which the decree was passed was a suit for accounts and was filed in the Court of a Munsiff as the value of the relief claimed in the suit was stated to be Rs. 510 in the plaint. The learned Munsiff passed a preliminary decree for accounts. An appeal was taken against this preliminary decree but it was dismissed for default. Thereafter a Commissioner was appointed to take accounts and as a result of accounting the defendants were found to be liable to pay about Rs. 3,500 to the plaintiff-decree-holder. The learned Munsiff thereupon passed a decree for that amount against the defendants.

2. The contention of Mr. Bose appearing on behalf of the defendant judgment-debtors is that the Munsiff had no jurisdiction to pass the decree under execution. By Section 19(1), Bengal N.W.P. and Assam Civil Courts Act, Act 12 of 1887, the jurisdiction of a Munsiff extends to all suits of which the value does not exceed Rs. 1,000. The Local Government however may empower a particular Munsiff to entertain suits the value of which does not exceed Rs. 2000. It is not disputed in this case that the Munsiff who tried the suits for accounts was vested with powers to try suits up to the value of Rs. 2,000. The value of a suit for accounts for purposes of jurisdiction is the same as its value for the purposes of Court-fees: see Section 8, Suits Valuation Act. By Section 7 Sub-section 4, Clause (f), Court-fees Act, the value of such a suit for purposes of Court-fees is the amount at which the relief sought is valued in the plaint. The value for purposes of jurisdiction of an account suit is therefore the amount at which the relief sought is valued in the plaint by the plaintiff for purposes of Court-fees. The suit was valued by the plaintiff at Rs. 510. The Munsiff therefore had jurisdiction to try the suit and to pass the preliminary decree. Mr. Bose's contention is that the value of that suit for purposes of jurisdiction must be the value of the relief as found by the Court ultimately and not the tentative value put by the plaintiff in the plaint. He however could not point out any statutory provisions under which the Court after it had passed the preliminary decree could revise the value of the suit for purposes of jurisdiction and return the plaint to another Court. Order 7, Rule 10, evidently contemplates cases where the Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit from the very beginning. It is true that under Section 11, Court-fees Act, if the amount decreed is in excess of the amount claimed in the plaint, the decree cannot be executed until the deficit court fee is paid. But that section simply deals with the realization of deficit court-fees. For purposes of court-fees it may be said that the value given by the plaintiff in an account suit in the plaint is a tentative one, but there cannot be tentative valuation of a suit for purposes of jurisdiction.

To hold that jurisdiction should depend on the amount for which the final decree should be passed would have this effect, that after the Munsiff passes a preliminary decree and it is found after accounts taken that the final decree must be for an amount exceeding the pecuniary limit of his jurisdiction, the entire proceedings before him, including the decree passed, should be considered as being without jurisdiction. It would also lead to many other anomalies apart from the serious question that the plaintiff would be denied his proper remedy for no fault of his: Per B, B. Ghosh, J, in Bidyadhar Bachar v. Manindra Nath Das : AIR1925Cal1076 .

3. The next contention of Mr. Bose is that in any view of the case the Munsiff had no jurisdiction to pass a decree for an amount in excess of Rs. 2,000. Reliance was placed by him on a decision of this Court in Gopal Singh v. Indra Coomar Hazra (1909) 13 C W N 493. In that case it was observed:

The jurisdiction of the Court as determined by the value stated, is regulated by the amount at which the plaintiff values the relief sought. But this does not conclude the question, whether a Court of restricted pecuniary jurisdiction like the Court of the Munsif is competent to make a decree in a suit for accounts valued at less than Rs. 1,000 for an amount in excess of Rs. 1,000 which is the pecuniary limit of its jurisdiction. Upon first principles we are of opinion that the Munsif has no power to do this. This jurisdiction of a Court is the authority to hear and determine a cause.

4. The observations in this case are not binding on us in view of the observations in Bidyadhar Bachar's case1 referred to above. We are therefore of opinion that the Munsiff had jurisdiction to pass the decree under execution. Again the preliminary or the final decree in the suit was not challenged by the defendants on the ground that the Munsiff had no jurisdiction to make them at any time before proceedings were taken for executing the final decree. By Section 11, Suits Valuation Act, an objection that by reason of under-valuation of a suit a Court of first instance which had no jurisdiction with respect to the suit exercised jurisdiction with respect thereto cannot be entertained by the appeal Court or by the revisional Court unless the objection was taken in the Court of first instance at or before the hearing at which the issues were first framed and recorded or the under-valuation had prejudicially affected the disposal of the suit. The judgment-debtors did not take any objection at any stage of the suit that it was under-valued. It was not suggested by Mr. Bose that the under-valuation in this case has in any way prejudicially affected the disposal of the suit on its merits. Mr. Bose however contended that Section 11, Suits Valuation Act, does not preclude the executing Court from entertaining an objection that the Court had no jurisdiction with respect to the suit as the real value of the suit was in excess of the pecuniary limit of its jurisdiction. I am unable to accept this contention. The objection under Section 11, Suits Valuation Act, is to give finality to the decree in the suit and if a Court of revision is not entitled to interfere with the decree, the implication is that the executing Court also cannot go behind the decree and say that the decree is without jurisdiction as it was made in a suit which was under-valued. For the aforesaid reasons I am of opinion that the judgment-debtors are precluded from attacking the decree on the ground that it was passed without jurisdiction. The result therefore is that this appeal is dismissed with costs, hearing fee being assessed at three gold mohurs.

R.C. Mitter, J.

5. I agree in this judgment delivered by my learned brother and I desire to add the following: In my judgment the words 'value as determinable for the computation of court-fees' used in Section 8, Suits Valuation Act, have reference in a suit for accounts to Section 7, Sub-section (4), Clause (f), Court-fees Act. Section 11, Court-fees Act, does not enter upon the picture at all, for, that section deals with the stage after the decree has been passed, namely, the stage of execution. In view of the fact that the present suit for accounts was valued at Rs. 510 the Munsiff's Court was the proper Court in which the suit could be filed. Up to the stage of the preliminary decree there was no indication whatsoever that the extent of the liability of the defendant would exceed the amount of Rs. 2,000. There cannot, in my judgment, be any doubt that the suit thus instituted in the Munsiff's Court was a good suit at least up to the first stage, that is to say the preliminary decree passed by the Munsiff was a decree passed with jurisdiction. It would seem to me to be incongruous that a particular Court should have jurisdiction in one suit up to a certain stage, namely, up to the preliminary decree and thereafter lose jurisdiction at the later stage. There is no provision in the Code for the return of the plaint, in such a case. For, in my judgment, the provisions of Order 7, Rule 10 deal with the case, where, from the very beginning, the Court to which the plaint was presented had no jurisdiction. If the preliminary decree passed in the present suit was a decree passed by a Court having jurisdiction, there is no provision for the carriage of these proceedings in any other Court of first instance, as the plaint could not be returned after the preliminary decree for being presented to the Court of the Subordinate Judge. In these circumstances it would seem to me unreasonable to hold that the Munsif had no jurisdiction to pass a decree for Rs. 2,500 odd in this case. I would accordingly hold that the decree passed in the present case was a decree passed by a Court which had jurisdiction and that the objection of the judgment-debtor at this stage is not maintainable.


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