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Sailendra Nath Mitra Vs. Ram Charan Pal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported in66Ind.Cas.268
AppellantSailendra Nath Mitra
RespondentRam Charan Pal and ors.
Cases Referred and Matra Mondal v. Hari Mohun Mullick
Excerpt:
court fees act (vii of 1870,) section 7, (x) clause (c) - suits valuation act (vii of 1887), section 8--court-fee, payable in suit for specific performance of contract to grant lease--principle. - .....was taken by the stamp reporter to the valuation on the ground that, under section 8 of the suits valuation act, the court-fee was payable on the value of the appeal as stated for purposes of jurisdiction. as this view was controverted on behalf of the appellant, the matter wan placed before the taxing officer, who referred the question to the chief justice, as it was, in his opinion, one of general importance. the determination of the point in controversy depends upon the true construction of section 7, sub-section (x), clause (c) of the court fees act and section 8 of the suits valuation act.2. section 7, sub-section (x), clause (c) of the court fees act provides that the amount of fee payable in a suit for specific performance of a contract of lease shall be computed according.....
Judgment:

Asutosh Mookerjee

1. This is a Reference under Section 5 of the Court Fees Act, in an appeal from an appellate decree which arises out of a suit for specific performance of a contract to grant a lease. The suit, which was instituted on the 27th August 1915 in the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Midnapur, was valued at Rs. 1,200 for the purpose of determining the jurisdiction and at Rs. 32 for the purpose of payment of Court-fee. The claim was decreed in the Court of first instance and the first defendant was directed to execute in favour of the plaintiffs a lease for the disputed land on a fixed rental of Rs. 32. On appeal to the District Judge, the decision of the primary Court was reversed on the 17th January 1918 and the suit was dismissed. On second appeal to this Court, the decree of the District Judge was set aside and the case was remanded for re-trial. After remand, the District Judge re heard the appeal and affirmed the decree of the Court of first instance. Against this decree a second appeal has been preferred to this Court. The appeal has been valued at Rs. 32, which is the amount of rent annually payable for the contract of tenancy sought to be specifically enforced. This valuation was based on Section 7, Sub-section (a;), Clause (c) of the Court Fees Act. Objection was taken by the Stamp Reporter to the valuation on the ground that, under Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act, the Court-fee was payable on the value of the appeal as stated for purposes of jurisdiction. As this view was controverted on behalf of the appellant, the matter wan placed before the Taxing Officer, who referred the question to the Chief Justice, as it was, in his opinion, one of general importance. The determination of the point in controversy depends upon the true construction of Section 7, Sub-section (x), Clause (c) of the Court Fees Act and Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act.

2. Section 7, Sub-section (x), Clause (c) of the Court Fees Act provides that the amount of fee payable in a suit for specific performance of a contract of lease shall be computed according to the aggregate amount of the fine or premium, if any, and of the rent agreed to be paid during the first year of the term. Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act provides that where, in suits other than those referred to in the Court Fees Act, 1870, Section 7, paragraphs V, VI, IX and paragraph X, Clause (d), Court-fees are payable ad valorem, under the Court Fees Act, 1870, the value as determinable for the computation of Court fees and the value for purposes of jurisdiction shall be the name. The view taken by the Stamp Reporter is that, as the suit has been valued for purposes of jurisdiction at Rs. 1,200, the value as determinable for We computation of Court fees must also be deemed to be Rs. 1,200. I am of opinion that this position cannot be supported, as it ignores the provision in Section 7 of the Court Fees Act which is brought into conflict with the provision is Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act. If the construction put upon Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act, namely, that the valuation for purposes of jurisdiction is to be determined by the market-value of the property and that valuation is to be taken for the purposes of payment of Court-fees, were correct, the effect would be to nullify the provisions of Section 7 of the Court Fees Act. The right construction of Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act is that the valuation for the purposes of jurisdiction should, in the oases mentioned there, follow and be the same as the valuation for Court-fees. This view is supported by the decision in Hari Sanker Butt v. Kali Kumar Patra 32 C. 734 : 9 C. W. N. 690, which approved the earlier cases of Bai Varunda Lakshmi v. Bai Manegavri 18 B. 207 : 9 Ind. Dec. (n. s.) 646, and Velu Goundan v. Kumaravelu Goundan 20 M. 289 : 7 M. L. J. 30 : 7 Ind. Dec. (n. s.) 206. The procedure to be adopted in eases of this character is obvious; first value the suit for payment of Court-fees in accordance with the rule embodied in Section 7, Sub-section (x), Clause (c) of the Court Fees Act; then adopt the value so determined for the computation of Court-fees, as the value for purposes of jurisdiction. There is a manifest danger of conflict between the provisions of the two Statutes if the process is reversed; in other words, the substance of the matter is that the valuation for assessment of Court-fees controls the valuation for purposes of jurisdiction. I hold accordingly that, in the, present case, the value for the purpose of payment of Court-fees was correctly assessed at Rs. 32 under Section 7 of the Court Fees Act and that the value for the purpose of jurisdiction is, consequently, only Rs. 32 under Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act. This no doubt leads to the conclusion that the suit was not instituted in the Court of the lowest grade competent to try it, in contravention of Section 15 of the Civil Procedure Code: bat Section 11 of the Suits Valuation Act affords the plaintiffs adequate protection: see also Nidhi Lal v. Mazhar Husain 7 A. 230; A. W. N. (1885) 1 : 4 Ind. Dec. (n. s.) 452, and Matra Mondal v. Hari Mohun Mullick 17 C. 155 : 8 Ind. Dec. (n. s.) 642. In my opinion, the memorandum of appeal bears the requisite amount of Court fees and must, if otherwise in order, be registered.


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