Nasim Ali, J.
1. On 15th April 1936 the Certificate Officer of Nadia signed a certificate under Section 6, Public Demands Recovery Act, in the prescribed form stating that a sum of Rs. 2,03403-12-3 was due from the petitioners on a written requisition to him by the opposite party in the prescribed form. The petitioners thereupon filed objections to the certificate under Section 9 of the Act. These objections were rejected by a Certificate Officer on 9th March 1938 with remarks to the following effect; (i) that considering the principles laid down in Section 99 of the Cess Act, the certificates cannot be put to execution as long as Section 99 is in force ; (ii) that the consideration about the saleability of the patni according to the terms of the patni patta would be deferred till the execution stage; (iii) that the question of adjustment of the dues in the certificate would be deferred till the termination of the attachment under Section 99, Cess Act. The petitioners filed an appeal against this order of the Certificate Officer rejecting their objections to the certificate but they were unsuccessful. On 26th November 1938 the petitioners raised the suit out of which this rule arises. In the plaint of this suit the petitioners prayed for two reliefs: (1) that a decree might be passed in favour of the plaintiffs declaring that the certificate was not duly filed and was null and void; and (2) that, in case, it be held that the aforesaid certificate was duly filed a decree might be passed in favour of the plaintiffs for cancelling or modifying the said certificate. The opposite party is the sole defendant in the suit. He filed his written statement on 23rd January 1939 stating inter alia that the suit was not properly valued and that the court-fee paid was not sufficient. This issue was taken up for hearing by the learned Subordinate Judge on 7th July 1939. He has come to the conclusion that the valuation for the purposes of jurisdiction should be the amount mentioned in the certificate. and that the plaintiffs are bound to pay ad valorem court-fees on that amount. He accordingly directed the plaintiffs-petitioners to file the deficit court-fees within 21 days. The plaintiffs thereupon obtained the present rule. As regards the question as to what should be the valuation of this suit for the purposes of jurisdiction the learned Subordinate Judge appears to me to have come to a correct conclusion. On the materials before him the amount or value of the subject-matter of the suit must be taken to be the amount mentioned in the certificate. The order of the Subordinate Judge directing the plaintiffs to value the suit at the amount mentioned in the certificate must therefore stand.
2. As regards the amount of court-fees, the plaintiffs' ease is that the suit is a suit to set aside the summary decision or order of a Revenue Court and consequently a fixed court-fee is payable under Schedule 2, Article 17, Clause (1), Court-fees Act. This contention appears to me to be well-founded. There cannot be any doubt that the decision or order in question is the decision or order of a Revenue Court. The controversy at the Bar was on the question as to whether the-certificate which the plaintiffs want to be cancelled in the present suit could be called a summary decision or order of the Revenue Court. Mr. Mukherji, Assistant Government Pleader contended that the present suit was not only a suit for the cancellation of the certificate which was signed by the Certificate Officer under Section 6 but also a suit for cancelling the certificate as amended by the Certificate Officer after hearing the objections of the certificate-debtor under Section 9, Public Demands Recovery Act. There is no material before me to indicate that the certificate which was signed by the Certificate Officer under Section 6 has been, in any way, modified by the Certificate Officer after hearing the objections of the certificate debtor. I have already pointed out that he rejected the objections of the certificate debtors with certain remarks. These remarks do not in any way affect or modify the original certificate signed by him under Section 6. The learned advocate for the plaintiffs also stated before us that the suit was a suit for cancellation of the certificate signed by the Certificate Officer under Section 6 on 15th April 1936. The plaint also goes-to indicate that the plaintiffs in the present suit want the certificate signed by the Cerficate Officer under Section 6 to be cancelled.
3. The next question for consideration therefore is whether this certificate can be called the summary decision or order of a Revenue Court within the meaning of Article 17(1), Schedule 2 of the Court-fees Act. The relevant Sections of the Public Demands Recovery Act are these:
5(1) When any Public Demand payable to any person other than the Collector is due, such person may send to the Certificate Officer a written requisition in the prescribed form.
(2) Every such requisition shall be signed and verfled in the prescribed manner, and, except in such cases as may be prescribed, shall be chargeable with the fee of the amount which would be payable under the Court-fees Act, 1870, in respect of a plaint for the recovery of a sum of money equal to that stated in the requisition as being due.
(6) On receipt of any such requisition, the Certificate Officer, if he is satisfied that the demand is recoverable and that recovery by suit is not barred by law, may sign a certificate, in the prescribed form, stating that the demand is due; and shall include in the certificate the fee (if any) paid under Section 5, Sub-section (2); and shall cause the certificate to be filed in his office.
4. These provisions clearly indicate that the Certificate Officer declares that a certain amount is due from a certificate debtor and signs the certificate under Section 6 if he is satisfied from the statements which are made in the written requisition in the absence of the certificate-debtor. The Act then provides for a notice to the certificate debtor and for the hearing of his objections within a certain time. The Act also gives power to the Certificate Officer to set aside, modify or vary the certificate after hearing the objections of the certificate-debtor. There is a farther provision in the Act viz., Section 34 under which the certificate-debtor has been given the right to bring a suit in the Civil Court for cancelling or modifying the certificate. From this provision it is clear that the Legislature contemplated that the decision of the Certificate Officer is not final but is liable to be questioned in the Civil Court. The point for consideration therefore is whether an ex parte decision which is liable to be questioned by a regular suit in the Civil Court can be called a summary decision or order within the meaning of Article 17(1), Schedule 2 of the Court-fees Act. The word 'summary' has not been defined in the Court-fees Act. In Maharaja Dhiraj Mahatab Chand Roy Bahadur v. Bacharam Hazra (1870) 5 Beng. L.R. 162, Sir Richard Couch, C.J. observed as follows:
It is the decision of a Court which hears and determines the matter, but does not finally conclude the parties, a proceeding in which the Court makes an order and determines the matter in issue, if I may so describe it, for the present occasion.
5. I respectfully agree with the observations of the learned Chief Justice in that case as regards the meaning of the word 'summary.' Evidently powers under the Public Demands Recovery Act have been conferred upon certain zamindars for speedy realization of rent from their tenants. Chap. 13-A, Ben. Ten. Act, (now repealed) points to the conclusion that the procedure for recovery of rent under the Public Demands [Recovery Act is a summary procedure. The Act gives power to the Certificate Officer to decide for the present the question of the liability of rent. His decision does not conclude the parties as his decision can be questioned in a regular suit. The Certificate Officer before signing the certificate does not hear the certificate debtor at all. The certificate debtor is saddled with liability before he is heard. The mere fact that subsequently the certificate debtor has been given a right to file his objections to the [certificate or that he has got a right of appeal before a superior Revenue Officer does not take away the summary character of the decision arrived at by him under Section 6 of the Act as the certificate debtor has got a statutory right to have the question of his liability decided in the Civil Court. I am therefore clearly of the opinion that the present suit so far as it relates to the plaintiffs' prayer for cancellation of the certificate is a suit which comes within Article 17, Clause (1) of Schedule 2, Court-fees Act and only a fixed court-fee is payable. I therefore set aside the order of the learned Subordinate Judge directing the plaintiffs to pay ad valorem court-fees on the amount mentioned in the certificate. The result therefore is that this rule is made absolute in part. The order of Subordinate Judge directing the plaintiffs to amend the valuation for the purposes of jurisdiction on Rs. 2,03403-12-3 is affirmed. The order of the Subordinate Judge directing the plaintiffs to pay ad valorem court-fees on the said amount is set aside. There will be no order as to costs.
Narsing Rau, J.
6. I agree in the order proposed. The main argument on behalf of the Crown is that since Sections 7, 9 and 10, Public Demands Recovery Act, provide for the original certificate being modified by a Certificate Officer after hearing the certificate debtor before the certificate can be executed under Section 13, it cannot be said that the certificate in its effective form or at its effective stage represents a summary decision of a Revenue Court. To my mind, the very fact that Section 34 of the Act provides for the cancellation or modification of the certificate by the Civil Court, subject doubtless to certain-limitations, is an indication that the certificate even in the form in which it ultimately emerges from the Revenue Court is regarded as embodying no more than a summary decision liable to be set aside or modified upon a regular suit. As already mentioned by my learned brother, in the heading to Chap. 13-A, Ben. Ten. Act, a chapter which was only recently repealed by the Bengal Tenancy Amendment Act 1938, the procedure for recovery of rent under the Bengal Public Demands Recovery Act was described as a summary procedure, so that there is legislative sanction for this description.