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Bhupat Singha and ors. Vs. Jnanendra Kumar Chowdhury and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberA.F.O.D. Tender No. 2097 of 1953
Judge
Reported inAIR1955Cal341,58CWN1049
ActsSuits Valuation Act, 1877 - Sections 8 and 11; ;Court-fees Act - Section 7
AppellantBhupat Singha and ors.
RespondentJnanendra Kumar Chowdhury and ors.
Appellant AdvocateBasanta Kumar Panda, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateHemendra Kumar Das, Adv.
Cases ReferredKiran Singh v. Chaman Paswan
Excerpt:
- .....put two valuations for jurisdiction and for court-fees. it was pointed out that under section 8, suits valuation act the valuation for the purpose of jurisdiction must follow and be the same as the valuation for the purpose of court-fees, and that, at any rate, there must be a single valuation both for the purpose of jurisdiction and for the purpose of court-fees.2. the stamp reporter has further suggested that in this case as the over-valuation made by the plaintiffs has resulted in the suit being tried by a subordinate judge, the plaintiffs must be directed to amend the valuation to a figure which is -above the maximum limit of the pecuniary jurisdiction of the munsif. the matter was then considered by the taxing officer and upon a review of the authorities on the point, the taxing.....
Judgment:

Lahiri, J.

1. This is a reference under Section 5, Court-fees Act. The plaintiffs who are the appellants in this Court filed a suit in the Court of the Subordinate Judge, Second Court, Midnapore, praying for (a) a declaration that they had an occupancy right in the disputed land on the strength of a settlement and also on the ground of possession for more than twelve years; and (b) for a permanent injunction restraining defendants 1 and 2 from interfering with the plaintiffs' possession on the strength of a decree which had been obtained by them, In para. 14 of the plaint the plaintiffs allege that the present market value of the properties in dispute is Rs. 5500/- and the net profits from the properties amount to Rs. 175 and fifteen times the net profits will be equivalent to Rs. 2625/-. The aforesaid amounts were mentioned for the purpose of determining the jurisdiction of the Court, but the plaintiffs were in possession of the disputed lands and that defendants 1 and 2 were merely threatening to dispossess the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs, therefore, valued the relief for an injunction against defendants 1 and 2 at Rs. 100/- and paid court lees upon that amount. In the trial Court an issue was raised as to whether the plaint had been sufficiently stamped.

At the trial however, this issue was not pressed and it was decided in favour of the plaintiffs. As a result of the trial, the learned Subordinate Judge has dismissed the plaintiffs' suit and against that decree the plaintiffs have brought this appeal. The memorandum of appeal, which has been presented to this Court, has been valued by the plaintiffs at Rs. 5500/- presumably on the basis of the valuation which was given by the plaintiffs in para. 14 of the plaint as to the market value of the properties in dispute. The court-fees, however, were paid by the plaintiffs on the valuation of Rs. 100/-. The Stamp Reporter took an objection to the manner in which the plaintiffs have put two valuations for jurisdiction and for court-fees. It was pointed out that under Section 8, Suits Valuation Act the valuation for the purpose of jurisdiction must follow and be the same as the valuation for the purpose of court-fees, and that, at any rate, there must be a single valuation both for the purpose of jurisdiction and for the purpose of court-fees.

2. The Stamp Reporter has further suggested that in this case as the over-valuation made by the plaintiffs has resulted in the suit being tried by a Subordinate Judge, the plaintiffs must be directed to amend the valuation to a figure which is -above the maximum limit of the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Munsif. The matter was then considered by the Taxing Officer and upon a review of the authorities on the point, the Taxing Officer came to the conclusion that in view of the judg ment of Sir Asutosh Mookerjee in the case of --'Salendra Nath Mitra v. Ram Chandra Pal', AIR 1921 Cal 84 (A), there was some difficulty in asking the plaintiffs to value the appeal or the plaint at a figure higher than Rs. 100/- and as the question is a question of general importance, he placed the matter before the learned Chief Justice fov being considered by a Judge.

3. Mr. Panda appearing in support of the plaintiffs-appellants has conceded that the case comes under Section 7(iv) but he contends that it comes under Section 7(iv)(d), Court-fees Act. On behalf of the State, tiie learned Senior Government Pleader has contended that the case really comes under Section 7(iv)(c), Court-fees Act; On a consideration of the prayers made by the plaintiffs in their plaint, it seems to me that the prayer for injunction is really a consequential relief which flows from or is ancillary to the prayer for declaration made by the plaintiffs in their plaint. I therefore hold that the present case comes under Section 7(iv)(c) but the question whether the case comes under Clause (c) or Clause (d) is of no practical importance in this case, because in either case the plaintiffs will have a right to value their own relief subject, of course, to the provisions of Section 8, Court-fees Act under which the Court is given the power to revise the valuation put by the plaintiff, if it appears to the Court to be grossly inadequate.

In view of the Full-Bench decision of this Court however in the case of -- 'Narayangunj Central Co-operative Sale and Supply Society, Ltd. v. Mafizuddin Ahmad : AIR1934Cal448 , and the decision of this Court in the case if --'Saroje Mohan Chatterjee v. Jiban Mull Babu', : AIR1954Cal26 , it cannot now be disputed that having regard to the fact that according to the plaintiffs', allegations they are in possession of the land in dispute, the valuation given by the plaintiffs for the relief asked for by them cannot be revised by the Court in the absence of rules framed for that purpose. The valuation of the relief for injunction which has been given by the plaintiffs in their plaint cannot, therefore, be revised or altered by this Court. Since however the suit comes under Section 7, para, (iv) it is governed by Section 8, Suits Valuation Act which requires that in a suit of this description 'the value as determinable for the computation of court-tees and the value for purposes of jurisdiction shall be the same'. It has been established by a series of decisions that this provision of the Suits Valuation Act means that there must, be a single valuation both for the purpose of jurisdiction and for the purpose of court-fees and further that the valuation for the purpose of jurisdiction shall be determined by the valuation for the purpose of court-fees, but not vice versa. (Vide AIR 1921 Cal 84 (A) and -- 'In the matter of Kalipada Mukharji : AIR1930Cal686 ). If that be so, the valuation of the present suit and the present appeal must be Rs. 100/-but in that case neither the Subordinate Judge would have jurisdiction to try the suit, nor will this Court have the jurisdiction to entertain this appeal, because I am informed that the Munsif of Jhargram, where the disputed properties are situate, has pecuniary jurisdiction up to the value of Rs. 3,500/-. If the suit had been properly valued by the plaintiffs in the trial Court, the Munsif of Jhargram would have been competent to try the suit and the appeal to this Court would be incompetent, because the value of the subject-matter of the appeal is below the minimum pecuniary jurisdiction of this Court. So tar as the decision of the Subordinate Judge is concerned, the plaintiffs are perhaps protected by the provision of Section 11, Suits Valuation Act which provides that

'an objection that by reason of the over-valuation* * * * of a suit * * * a Courtof first instance * * * which had notjurisdiction with respect to the suit * * *exercised jurisdiction with respect thereto shallnot be entertained by an appellate Court unless the objection was taken in the Court of firstinstance at or before the hearing at which issueswere first framed * * or the appellateCourt is satisfied, for reasons to be recorded byit in writing, that the suit * * was overvalued or under-valued and that the over-valuation or under-valuation thereof has prejudicallyaffected the disposal of the suit.'

In the present case the defendants did not raise any objection as to the jurisdiction of the Subordinate Judge to try the suit. Therefore, under Section 11, Suits Valuation Act they are precluded from challenging the decision of the Subordinate Judge on the ground of absence of jurisdiction. So far as the appeal to this Court however is concerned, Section 11 will not apply because the appeal has riot yet been heard and the respondents have not yet entered appearance and it will be open to the respondents to take a preliminary objection as to the maintainability of the appeal in this Court on the ground that the valuation of the appeal is only Rs. 100/-. In a situation like this it seems to me that the procedure recommended by Sir George Rankin in : AIR1930Cal686 , should be followed. In that case his Lordship made the following observations at p. 689: 'But the figure at which he (plaintiff) values it is not to be less than Rs. 2000 in view of the fact that he has represented the value for purposes of jurisdiction to be a figure which has resulted in the case being already 'tried by a Subordinate Judge. It will be open to the plaintiff to value it at less than Rs. 5000-0-0 or at more than Rs. 5000-0-0 and, according as he does that or not, he will have an appeal to the High Court or somewhere else.'

Applying this principle to the circumstances of the present case, I think the fairest thing for me to do will be to require the plaintiffs to amend the valuation in the memorandum of appeal as well as in the plaint, but the figure at which the plaintiffs will value the plaint and the memorandum of appeal must be over Rs. 3500-0-0 which, I am told is the maximum limit of the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Munsif of Jhargram. In this case also the plaintiffs will have, the liberty to value the relief asked for in the plaint and in the memorandum of appeal at less than Rs. 5000-0-0 or more than Rs. 5000-0-0 and according as they do that or not, they will have a right of appeal in this Court or elsewhere. The Taxing Officer refused to make this order, because according to him the decision of Sir Asutosh Mookerjee in AIR 1921 Cal 84 (A), stood in the way. In that case Mookerjee J. was dealing with a second appeal and the objection as to jurisdiction had not been raised either in the Court of the first instance or in the lower appellate Court and there was no doubt that a second appeal would lie even upon the valuation which the plaintiffs were required to give and for that reason Mookerjee J. observed that Section 11 would protect the plaintiffs.

In the case before me, however, although Section 11, Suits Valuation Act, will protect the plaintiffs' right so far as the decision of the Subordinate Judge is concerned that section will be of no assistance to the plaintiffs with regard to the appeal in this Court. For that reason I have come to the conclusion that Section 11, Suits Valuation Act will have no application to the present appeal and if Section 11 stands out of the way, the only decision which will govern the rights of the parties will be the decision of Sir George Rankin in : AIR1930Cal686 .

4. Mr. Panda appearing for the appellants has invited my attention to a decision of the Supreme Court in the case of -- 'Kiran Singh v. Chaman Paswan', : [1955]1SCR117 . In this decision their Lordships have considered the effect of Section 11, Suits Valuation Act as well as of Sections 21 and 99, Civil P. C. After considering those sections, their Lordships laid down the following principle: 'The policy underlying Sections 21 and 99, Civil P. C. and Section 11, Suits Valuation Act is the same, namely, that when a case had been tried by a Court on the merits and judgment rendered, it should not be liable to be reversed purely on technical grounds, unless it had resulted in failure of justice and the policy of the Legislature has been to treat objections to jurisdiction both territorial and pecuniary as technical and not open to consideration by an appellate Court, unless there had been a prejudice on the merits.' This decision certainly assists Mr. Panda's clients so far as the decision of the Subordinate Judge is concerned and, as I have already pointed out, it will not be open to the respondents to challenge the decision of the Subordinate Judge on the ground of want of pecuniary jurisdiction in view of the fact that they did not raise that point in that Court; but this judgment of the Supreme Court will not help the appellants so far as the present appeal is concerned, because in my view, if the memorandum of appeal in this Court is valued at Rs. 100/- only, it cannot be entertained by this Court.

5. For the reasons given above, I direct thatthe appellants should be given time till 30-11-1954,to file an application for the amendment of thevaluation in the memorandum of appeal as wellas in the plaint on the lines indicated above, andthey will also pay deficit court-fees on the amendedvaluation within the aforesaid time. I have giventime till the end of November, 1954, at the specialrequest of Mr. Panda, who has represented to methat his clients being agriculturists cannot at thisseason of the year, collect sufficient funds for payment of deficit Court-fees. If the valuation in thememorandum of appeal and in the plaint be amended and the deficit court-fees paid as directed above,the memorandum of appeal will be registered,failing which it will be returned to the learned Advocate.


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