1. This Rule is directed against an order holding that the plaint is undervalued, and directing the plaintiff to put in deficit court-fees according to the valuation fixed by the court. The history of the case is that in 1919 the defendant brought a suit against the plaintiff being Suit No. 106 of 1919 in which a solenama was purported to have been filed by the plaintiff in this suit, admitting the defendant's claim and stating that she was the defendant's benamidar in respect of the property in that suit. That suit was valued at Rs. 6,000. The plaintiff has brought the present suit (in 1921) in which she prays for a declaration that the decree obtained by the defendant is Suit No. 106 of 1919 was fraudulently obtained and for declaration of her title to the property in suit. One of the objections taken by the defendant was that the suit was undervalued and the plaint insufficiently stamped. The suit was originally valued at Rs. 2,100, Rs. 2,000 being the value of the declaration sought and Rs. 100 value of the relief claimed by way of injunction. On this objection being taken by the defendant, the plaintiff filed an application to the court for amendment of the plaint by raising the valuation to Rs. 6,100. The defendant was allowed to file additional written statement after the amendment was allowed, and in his additional written statement he again took the objection that; the suit was undervalued and the plaint was insufficiently stamped. Fresh issues were framed relating to valuation, which are issues Nos. 6, 15 and 16. They were tried first, and the court below passed the following order : 'I have considered the evidence adduced by the parties and I may mention that the properties might fetch Rs. 20,000 at the time of the institution of this suit. The plaintiff is directed to put in the deficit court-fee at once.' Against this order this Rule has been obtained and it is contended that the new valuation put upon the plaint and the court-fee paid upon it are sufficient and that the order of the court below is wrong in law. In order to determine whether a suit is properly valued or not, it is necessary to confine our attention to the plaint itself and not to look to other circumstances which may subsequently influence the judgment of the court as to the true value of the relief sought. The plaintiff says in the plaint that she bought these properties with her own money in the name of the defendant, who was her paramour. She further says that the decree, obtained against her was fraudulent. On these allegations she makes the following prayer (1);
That the aforesaid decree in title suit No. 106 of 1919 obtained by the defendant from this Court having been fraudulent, it may be so declared and that the plaintiff's title to the said property be established after setting aside that decree and holding that no right or title has accrued to the defendant in respect of the property in schedule; (2) That it may be declared that the defendant has no right in or title to the property in Schedule and that the plaintiff has right or title to the said property; (3) that a decree be passed in favour of the plaintiff for delivery of possession if during the pendency of the suit she is dispossessed from the property in suit, (4) that a permanent injunction be granted against the defendant so that he may not interfere with the plaintiff's possession of the property in suit.
2. In the body of the plaint she says that all these properties are in her possession. Para. 18 of the plaint is in these terms : - 'That the property in suit having been in the possession of the plaintiff, she brings this suit only for the declaration of her title thereto as she has once lost her confidence in the defendant. It is necessary for her to sue for declaration and to get a declaration of her title to the property mentioned in schedule Kha. Looking at the plaint it is clear that it is a suit firstly for a declaration that the decree obtained by the defendant is fraudulent and secondly, for an injunction against the defendant, restraining him from interfering with the plaintiff's possession of the property in suit; thirdly for consequential relief confirming plaintiff's possession. In our judgment the valuation now put upon the plaint by the plaintiff is sufficient. The [suit, the decree in which is sought to be set aside was valued at Rs. 6,000 and the plaintiff says that she is in possession of the property in suit. We therefore see no reason why she should value her claim according to the value of the property in suit. A point very similar to this came up for the consideration of this Court in the case of Umatul Batul v. Nanji Koer (1907) 11 C.W.N. 705. There the suit was for declaration that a mortgage decree of Rs. 10,000 obtained by the defendant against the plaintiff was fraudulent and for an injunction restraining the defendant from executing it by sale of the mortgaged properties. It was held that the prayer for injunction was for a consequential relief within Section 7, Sub-section (4) and Clause (c) of the Court-fees Act and that the valuation to be put upon it should be the valuation of the decree which the plaintiff sought to have set aside in that suit, namely, Rs. 1,000. We are aware of the numerous cases in which it has been held that under Section 7, Sub-section 4, Clause (e) of the Court Fees Act the plaintiff is not entitled arbitrarily to value the relief he seeks; but at the same time, as has been observed in the case of Mohendra Sundar Thakur v. Dinabandu Thakur (1913) 19 C.L.J. 15 that the sub-clause provides that in a suit for injunction the amount of court-fee to be paid on the plaint is to be computed according to [the amount at which the relief sought is Valued in the plaint. In that case the suit was for an injunction to restrain the defendant from interfering with the plaintiff in the management of the endowed property of which he was the sole Shebait. As the suit was valued at Rs. 1,000 and the plaintiff put in a court-fee of Rs. 10 on the plaint, the court below held that the property in suit was worth Rs. 5,000 and it accordingly asked the plaintiff to supply deficit court-fees. This court-held that the suit was properly valued at Rs. 100 and the court-fee paid was sufficient. The view we take of the law is that the value to be put by the plaintiff on the plaint in a suit like the present should be taken as the proper value, unless it appears that the value so put in arbitrary and inconsistent with the value of the reliefs sought. The learned vakil for the opposite party has invited our attention to the case of Rajkrishna Dey v. Bepin Behary (1912) 40 Cal. 245. There the plaintiff put one value for purposes of jurisdiction and another for purposes of payment of court-fee. It was held that under Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act that could not be done; and further in that case the plaintiff brought a suit for a declaration that he was the sole Shebait of the debutter and that the defendant was in joint possession of the endowed property under an erroneous order of the revenue authorities. The suit was for removing the defendant. It was there held that the plaintiff' ought to value his suit according to the value of the property involved in the suit. To the same effect is the decision in the case of Krishna Das Laha v. Hari Charan Banerjee (1911) 14 C.L.J. 47. There the Settlement Officer had recorded the defendant as the person who was entitled to collect rent from the raiyats and the plaintiff brought a declartory suit, with consequential relief and valued the suit at Rs. 500. The learned Judge held that the order of the Settlement Officer, which the plaintiff sought to have set aside virtually dispossessed the plaintiff from the property, and the suit was practically one for recovery of possession and the value of the relief was the value of the property. These cases therefore are not authorities for the proposition, which has been so broadly stated by the learned vakil for the opposite party, that in a suit for injunction the value of the property involved must be the value put upon the plaint for purposes of ascertainment of the proper court-fee payable. We hold that the valuation given by the plaintiff is the proper valuation and that the issue relating to the valuation should have been decided in her favour, At the same time we should observe that our decision is based upon our reading of the plaint. If, in future, circumstances come to light as the case progresses, the court will be at liberty to revise the order regarding the valuation.
3. The result is that this Rule is made absolute and the order of the Lower Court set aside. The petitioner is entitled to the costs of this Rule. We assess the hearing fee at 2 gold mohurs.
4. As the case is an old one, the court will, we hope, take it up as soon as it is convenient for it to do so.