Skip to content


Asit Baran Chaudhury and anr. Vs. Profulla Chandra Bose - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 3763 of 1981
Judge
Reported inAIR1984Cal366
ActsWest Bengal Court-fees Act, 1970 - Sections 7 and 11
AppellantAsit Baran Chaudhury and anr.
RespondentProfulla Chandra Bose
Appellant AdvocateC.N. Mukherjee, ;S.S. Chatterjee and ;G.S. Pal, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateMrinal Kanti Das, Adv.
Cases ReferredJitendra Nath Mukherjee v. Commissioners of Baduria Municipality
Excerpt:
- .....held that the suit was not properly valued and the court had no pecuniary jurisdiction to try the suit. thelearned munsif, accordingly, directed the return of the plaint. the opposite party challenged the said decision in misc. appeal no. 502 of 1977. the learned additional district judge 8th court, alipore allowed the appeal by his judgment dated february 21. 1978 and sent back the case to the learned court below for framing of a proper issue as to court-fee and jurisdiction. the said order came under challenge in civil rules nos. 1522 and 1523 of 1978 and the said rules were discharged on july 11, 1979. thereafter, by order dated april 21, 1980 the learned munsif held that the admitted valuation of the suit property, was rs. 60,000/- and as such, the court had no jurisdiction to try.....
Judgment:

S.N. Sanyal, J.

1. This revisional application at the instance of the defendants is directed against an order dated August 4, 1981 passed by the learned Additional District Judge, 14th Court, Alipore allowing Misc. Appeal No. 318 of 1980 and thereby setting aside the order returning the plaint passed by the learned Munsif, 4th Court, Seaidah in Title Suit No. 64 of 1974.

2. The opposite party instituted the suit under Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act for recovery of possession of the suit premises, being premises No. 167. Gopal Lal Thakur Road. P.S. Baranagar against the petitioners. The opposite party alleged that the petitioner No. 1 on behalf of the petitioner No. 2 proposed to sell the suit premises at the price of Rs. 60,000/- with certain conditions. The opposite party accepted the same and after getting possession of the suit premises from the tenant, renovated the house and remained in possession of the same. In spite of repeated requests the petitioners did not execute and register the conveyance. It is further alleged that the petitioners forciblydispossessed the opposite party and took possession of the suit premises on or about October 20. 1973. The opposite party prayed for recovery of possession after eviction of the petitioners. The opposite party valued the suit at Rs. 1,000/- under Section 7(vi)(a) of the West Bengal Court-fees Act, 1970; such valuation is the valuation for the purposes of Court-fees and jurisdiction.

3. The petitioners contested the suit by filing a written statement denying allegations made by the opposite party. The petitioners contended that thevaluation of the suit was too low and arbitrary. The said suit was to be valued at Rs. 60,000/-. The learned Munsif by order dated July 22, 1977 held that the suit was not properly valued and the Court had no pecuniary jurisdiction to try the suit. Thelearned Munsif, accordingly, directed the return of the plaint. The opposite party challenged the said decision in Misc. Appeal No. 502 of 1977. The learned Additional District Judge 8th Court, Alipore allowed the appeal by his judgment dated February 21. 1978 and sent back the case to the learned Court below for framing of a proper issue as to court-fee and jurisdiction. The said order came under challenge in Civil Rules Nos. 1522 and 1523 of 1978 and the said Rules were discharged on July 11, 1979. Thereafter, by order dated April 21, 1980 the learned Munsif held that the admitted valuation of the suit property, was Rs. 60,000/- and as such, the Court had no jurisdiction to try the suit. The learned Munsif directed the return of the plaint for presentation to the proper forum. The plaintiff again challenged the said decision in Misc. Appeal No. 318 of 1980. The learned Additional District Judge, 14th Court, Alipore allowed the appeal and set aside the order of the learned Munsif. The learned Additional District Judge held that the plaintiff's suit was against a trespasserand the plaintiff has liberty to value the suit on the relief sought for. According to the learned Additional District Judge, the plaintiff could not be compelled to value the suit according to the subject-matter of the suit. The plaintiff has liberty to value the suit on the relief claimed.

4. The petitioners have challenged the said order in the present revision case.

5. Mr. Mukherjee, learned Advocate for the petitioners, has contended that the petitioners are the owners of the suit property. There was an agreement for sale for Rs. 60,000/- as mentioned in para 5 of the plaint. Mr. Mukherjee argues that according to Section 7(vi)(a) of the Court-fees Act, the suit is undoubtedly to be valued at which the relief sought is valued in the plaint e plaint but the same is subject to the provision of Section 11 of the Court-fees Act. Mr. Mukherjee argues that the Court has jurisdiction to hold an inquiry if the Court is of opinion that the subject-matter of any suit has been wrongly valued; and the Court is thus entitled to revise the valuation and determine the correct valuation. According to Mr. Mukherjee, in the instant case, there is an objective standard and the same appears from the statement in the plaint and as such the learned lower appellate Court was wrong in holding that the opposite party was entitled to value the relief sought according to his own will. Mr. Mukherjee contends that the learned lower appellate Court has made a wrong interpretation of Section 11 of the Court-fees Act. Referring to the case of Sambhu Nath Singh v. Sankarananda Banerjee, : AIR1981Cal196 , Mr. Mukherjee argues that in view of this decision as the objective standard of the valuation is provided in the plaint the valuation of the suit cannot be less than Rs. 60,000/- at which price the property was agreed to be sold as alleged by the plaintiff. Mr. Mukherjee has also referred to the case of M/s. Hind Wire Industries v. M. P. S. Electricity Board 1977 Cal HN 829. In this case it has been held that though the plaintiff is entitled to put his own valuation, he cannot put any arbitrary valuation of his own and the valuation so put would be subject to revision by the Court under Section 11 of the Court-fees Act. It has been further held that if there be noobjective standard for valuation of the relief, notwithstanding the power of the Court to revise the valuation, the Court will never do so where there is no material before it from which it could adjudge the valuation as given by the plaintiff to be erroneous. In this case, the Court held that reading the plaint in its substance it was quite evident that the plaintiff was seeking to avoid forfeiture of a sum of Rs. 91,900/-which on terms of the contract the defendant No. 1 had forfeited. When the plaintiff was seeking to avoid forfeiture of such a liquidated amount that amount really represented the value of the relief claimed. The relief claimed is in respect of a liquidated amount and to value such relief at any figure other than the said amount would, be patently illogical. Another decision referred to by Mr. Mukerjee is Tarai Tea Co. Pvt. Ltd. v. Life Insurance Corpn. of India : AIR1979Cal84 . In this decision it is laid down that in a suit for declaration where consequential relief is prayed and the plaintiff has stated the amount at which he values the relief the Court ordinarily does not interfere with the plaintiff's determination unless the Court is of opinion that the valuation is illegal, palpably absurd, manifestly illogical or arithmetically wrong. Mr. Mukherjee thus argues that in the instant case as the objective standard is provided in the plaint the suit must be valued at Rs. 60,000/- the suit cannot be valued at a figure less than Rs. 60,000/-.

6. Mr. Das, learned Advocate for the opposite party, has argued that the suit is covered by Section 7(vi)(a) of the Court-fees Act. In the instant case, no declaration of title to properly is either prayed for or necessary for disposal of the suit. The plaintiff is thus entitled to value the suit at the amount at which the relief sought is valued in the plaint. 'The plaintiff is at liberty to value the relief sought; the said valuation is distinct from the valuation of the subject-matter of the suit. In such circumstances, there is no objective standard and the Court is not entitled to revise the said valuation under Section 11 of the Court-fees Act. In this connection, Mr. Das has referred to Amritalal Chatterjee v. Hiralal Chatterjee (1966) 70 Cal WN 857. Ithas been held in this decision that the Court-fees Act expressly and impliedly makes a distinction between value of 'relief and value of 'subject-matter' according to the nature of suits described in the Act. It has been further held that valuation of the 'relief sought', therefore, is not the same thing as valuation of the 'property' itself or the 'subject-matter' of the suit. The value of the relief is now the value of the suit. Mr. Das also referred to Jitendra Nath Mukherjee v. Commissioners of Baduria Municipality : AIR1967Cal423 . It has been held that the value of the relief claimed cannot be equated with the value of the subject-matter itself.

7. It appears that in a suit under Section 7(vi)(a) of the Court-fees Act the suit is to be valued according to the amount at which the relief sought is valued in the plaint subject to the provisions of section 11 of the Court-fees Act. The plaintiff is thus at liberty to put his own valuation as regards the relief sought. If there be no objective standard the plaintiff's valuation must be accepted. The Court, however, has power under Section 11 of the Court-fees Act to revise the value if the Court is of opinion that the subject-matter of any suit has been wrongly valued. The Court may revise the valuation and determine the correct valuation and for this purpose may hold such inquiry as it thinks fit. The Court can only act in this respect if there be material before it from which it can be determined that the valuation given by the plaintiff is erroneous. The objective standard in the present case is provided in the plaint. In the plaint, it has been stated that the defendant No. 1 on behalf of the defendant No. 2 wanted Rs. 60,000/- as the price of the premises; certain terms and conditions were also imposed. It has been further stated that the plaintiff agreed to the proposal. In such circumstances, there is every reason for the Court to hold that in view of the admitted valuation the Court is entitled to revise the valuation under Section 11 of the Court-fees Act, the objective standard of valuation being provided in the plaint itself. The learned Additional District Judge has committed jurisdictional error and his decision thus cannot be sustained.

8. The revisional application thus succeeds. The impugned order of the learned Additional District Judge dated August 4, 1981 is set aside and the order of the learned Munsif returning the plaint is upheld. The Rule is thus made absolute. There will, however, be no order as to costs.

Let the records be sent below forthwith.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //