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Nripendra Ballav Pal and ors. Vs. Kamal Prasad Rai and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberA.F.O.D. No. 237 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1970Cal479
ActsCourt-fees Act, 1870 - Sections 7 and 8C; ;Court-fees (Amendment) Act, 1935; ;West Bengal Suits Valuation Act, 1887 - Section 8
AppellantNripendra Ballav Pal and ors.
RespondentKamal Prasad Rai and ors.
Appellant AdvocateAshutosh Ganguly, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateB.K. Panda, Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Cases ReferredShashi Bhushan v. Manindra Chandra
Excerpt:
- .....at rs. 5,100/-. this, the plaintiffs cannot do in view of the provisions under section 8 of the suits valuation act, 1887, read with the decisions of this court referred to earlier. 3. in view of the provisions under sub-sec, (iv) (c) of section 7 it is incumbent upon the court to come to a definite finding on this point as to what should be the proper valuation of the plaint and not a suit for account under section 7(iv)(f). without coming to such a finding, the court cannot ask the plaintiffs to pay the deficit court-fees on the sum of rs. 5,100/- which valuation had been put, though, on a wrong impression by the plaintiffs solely for the purpose of jurisdiction. of course, the fault was of fhe plaintiffs in not appearing when the court had given the opportunity for a hearing on.....
Judgment:

D. Basu, J.

1. In this case the plaintiffs who are the appellants before us filed a plaint in other Suit No. 62 of 1951 in the Court of the Munsif of Midnapore for administration of the estate left by one Brajendra Nath Rai. The prayers in the plaint were to have the property administered and to direct the defendants to make over the plaintiffs their respective shares of the suit property. The plaintiffs paid the Court-fees under Section 7(iv)(f) of the Court-fees Act and valued the suit at Rs. 2,000/-, provisionally taking it to be a suit for account for the purpose of Court-fees. The learned Munsif, however, assumed that the valuation of the plaint would be much higher than his pecuniary jurisdiction which at that time was Rs. 3,500/-. He therefore returned the plaint to the plaintiffs on 22nd February, 1954. The plaintiffs preferred an appeal against that order but lost. The result was that the plaintiffs were obliged to present the plaint to the Subordinate Judge having jurisdiction over the suit. While presenting the plaint in the Subordinate Judge's Court, the plaintiffs did not strike out the original valuation of the suit for the purpose of Court-fees but inserted a new valuation for the purpose of jurisdiction namely Rs. 5,100/-. There is no doubt that after having lost in the appeal on the question of jurisdiction, the suit would have to be valued at any sum not less than Rs. 3,500/-. When the Subordinate Judge took up the matter, he asked the plaintiffs to pay ad valorem Court-fees on the sum of Rs. 5.100 on the assumption that the valuation of the suit and the Court-fee should be raised to Rs. 5,100 from Rupees 3,500 and asked the plaintiffs to pay the deficit Court-fee after several adjournments. The plaintiffs did not eventually turn up and the plaint was rejected on the ground that the deficit Court-fee asked for by the Court had not been put in by the plaintiffs.

2. In determining whether the plaint was properly rejected, we have first to determine what Court-fee was payable on the plaint, because, unless there was a deficit under law it cannot be rejected. Though there has been some controversy as to how the suit for administration would have to be valued for the purpose of Court-fees, so far as the Calcutta High Court is concerned, it has been already decided in various cases, namely, in the case Shashi Bhushan v. Manindra Chandra, ILR 44 Cal 890 = 21 Cal WN 310 = (AIR 1918 Cal 883 (2)) that an administration suit was to be treated as a suit for accounts within the meaning of Sub-clause (f) of Clause (iv) of Section 7 and that its valuation for jurisdiction should be the same as that of Court-fees. Now, a suit for accounts is to be valued under Section 7(iv)(f) of the Court-fees Act. The result is that the plaintiffs had the liberty of putting their own valuation for the purpose of Court-fees but the Court had the power to interfere with that valuation if considered arbitrary. In this case, the plaintiffs had valued the plaint for the purpose of Court-fees at Rs. 2,000/- but valued it separately for the purpose of Jurisdiction at Rs. 5,100/-. This, the plaintiffs cannot do in view of the provisions under Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act, 1887, read with the decisions of this Court referred to earlier.

3. In view of the provisions under Sub-sec, (iv) (c) of Section 7 it is incumbent upon the Court to come to a definite finding on this point as to what should be the proper valuation of the plaint and not a suit for account under Section 7(iv)(f). Without coming to such a finding, the Court cannot ask the plaintiffs to pay the deficit Court-fees on the sum of Rs. 5,100/- which valuation had been put, though, on a wrong impression by the plaintiffs solely for the purpose of jurisdiction. Of course, the fault was of fhe plaintiffs in not appearing when the Court had given the opportunity for a hearing on this point. But the penalty had been more serious than what the plaintiffs deserved, for, the plaintiffs' default may be atoned for by themselves with costs. But without a proper determination under Section 7(iv)(c), the Court cannot reject the plaint on the ground that the plaintiffs had not paid the Court-fee on the sum of Rs. 5,100/-. The Court might have dismissed the plaint for non-pro-sccution or non-co-operation of the plaintiffs. But rejection of the plaint on the ground of deficit Court-fee is different altogether.

4. In the view we have taken in the matter, we think it would be proper to allow this appeal subject to a consolidated cost assessed at six gold mohurs to be paid to the respondents through his learned Advocate within a period or one month from the date, failing which this appeal will stand dismissed. On payment of the costs, the plaint will be remitted to the Court below for proceeding in accordance with law and in the light of the observations made herein for a proper determination of the valuation which should be put on this appeal for the purpose of Court-fees as well as for jurisdiction under Section 7(iv)(o) read with Section 8-C of the Court Fees Act and Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act, after which the plaintiffs should be called on to pay the deficit Court-fees whatever the amount might be.

5. There will be no separate order for Costs of this hearing.

Ajay K. Basu, J.

6. I agree.


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