1. This rule was obtained by the pltf. against an order of the Subordinate Judge, 2nd Court, Midnapur, determining a question of C.F. The pltf. instituted a suit for a declaration that the properties described in Schedule Ka of the plaint which stood in the names of his two sons, the deceased husband of opposite party No. 1 & oppt. party No. 2, were really his own properties & purchased with his own money & that the deceased husband of opposite party No. 1 & opposite party No. 2 were the pltf's Benamdars. It is admitted that the properties which are included in Schedule Ka of the plaint were purchased by 65 documents. The pltf. filed the plaint with a single C.-F. stamp of Rs. 20 & on behalf of the defts. an objection was raised to the effect that as the properties were purchased by 65 documents the pltf. was required under the Court-Fees Act to pay a separate C.-F. of Rs. 20 in respect of each of those 65 documents. By a judgment dated 8-7-1950, the learned Subordinate Judge upheld the defence contention & ordered the pltf. to pay a C.-F stamp of Rs. 20 upon each of the 65 documents & against that order the pltf. has obtained the present rule.
2. On behalf of the pltf. petnr. it has been argued that the declaration asked for by the pltf. is really one & it is in respect of the properties included in Schedule Ka of the plaint and the declaration asked for is to the effect that the pltf. alone is the real owner of those properties & deft. Nos. 1 & .2 are his Benamdars It is argued that the manner of acquisition of the properties of Schedule Ka cannot be taken into account in a declaration of the pltf's. title in respect of those proper, ties for the purposes of C.-F. Prayer Ka of the plaint runs as follows :
'The properties described in Schedule Ka of the plaint may be held to have been acquired by the pltf. with his own money on the basis of different documents & the title of the pltf. may be declared in respect of those properties & his sons, Panchanam, deceased, & deft. 2 might be declared to be Benamdars in respect of those properties, & defts. 1 & 2 may be declared to have no title in respect of those properties.'
Although in this prayer there is a reference to the fact that the pltf. acquired the properties by different documents, the substantial relief asked for by the pltf. was for a declaration of his own title to the properties described in Schedule Ka. Prom this point of view, it seems to us that a single C.-F. stamp of Rs. 20 alone was required to be paid for the declaration asked for by the pltf.
3. On behalf of the opposite party, however, it has been argued that Under Section 17 of the C.-F. Act the present suit is one in which two or more separate or distinct causes of action have been joined and separate & distinct reliefs are sought in respect of each & therefore the plaint is chargeable with the aggregate amount of fees with which the plaint would be chargeable is separate suits were instituted & reliance, has been placed upon the decision of this Ct. in the case of Haru Bepari v. Rai Kshitish Bhusan, 39 C. W. N. 1146. We are of the opinion however that Section 17, Court fees Act, does not apply to the present case because apart from anything else the pltf. has not asked for separate & distinct reliefs in respect of different causes of action The relief asked for is only one & that is a declaration of his own title in respect of the properties which are the subject-matter of the suit. It may be that the properties were purchased by the pltf. on the basis of different documents of title but that is no part of the real relief which is asked for by the pltf. The declaration is one & for that reason, we hold that Section 17, does not apply to the facts of the present case.
4. With regard to Horu Bepari's case, refd. to above, it seems to us that the principle laid down in that case also does not apply to the facts of the present case. In that case 73 persons brought one suit in respect of 73 items of land praying for a declaration that each of them had a raiyati jote in one of the items. It was pointed out in that case that it was actually a case of 73 separate suits united in one suit under the provisions of Order 1, Rule 1 of the Civil P. C. & therefore each of the different pltfs. had a distinct & separate cause of action in respect of each of the properties in suit & the reliefs claimed by the pltfs. were also separate & accordingly, it was held that 73 separate C.-F. of Rs. 20 each would have to be paid by the pltfs. In the case before us the sole pltf. claims title to all the properties in the schedule & asks for a declaration of his title. We cannot say that there are separate & distinct reliefs asked for by the pltf. in respect of the properties in suit. We, accordingly, hold that the principle laid down in the case of Haru Bepari does not apply to this case.
5. Mr. Mukerjee appearing on behalf of the opposite party also reld. upon the decision of the Patha H. C in the case of Hare Krishna Das v. Sonamani Debi, A. I. R. (27) 1940 Pat 158. In that case it was held that where a reversioner challenges several alienations by a Hindu widow & asks for a declaration that those alienations do not bind the reversioners, the reversioners in fact ask for a number of declarations & must pay C.-F. in respect of each of the alienations. We are of the opinion that this is also distinguishable from the facts of the present case because the pltf. in that case was asking for distinct reliefs in respect of each of the different alienations made by the widow, whereas in the case before us the pltf. is really asking for only one relief, namely, declaration of his title, in respect of all the properties comprised in the schedule. We, accordingly, hold that the case of Hare Krishna Das does not help the opposite party.
6. For the reasons given above we hold that the pltf. is entitled to institute the present suit with a single C.-F. stamp of Rs. 20 & that he is not required to pay separate C.-F. for each of the 65 documents as ordered by the learned Subordinate Judge.
7. The Rule is accordingly made absolute. The order of the learned Subordinate Judge is set aside & the plaint is held to be sufficiently stamped. The pltf is entitled to the costs of this Rule, hearing fee being assessed at one gold mohur, against apposite party No. 1.