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Santa Prosad Saha Vs. Sm. Mrinalini Saha and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Reported inAIR1937Cal748
AppellantSanta Prosad Saha
RespondentSm. Mrinalini Saha and anr.
Cases ReferredSale and Supply Society Ltd. v. Mafijuddin Ahmed
Excerpt:
- .....but observed as to question 1:but so long as there are no rules framed under section 9, suits valuation act (7 of 1887), the court would have no standard before it on which it may regard the plaintiff's valuation as an undervaluation, and its powers of correction would have to be exercised on that footing.4. as to question 2 his lordship observed:the case was correctly decided in so far as it laid down that it is within the power of the court to revise the plaintiff's valuation, but the valuation made by the court, though it may have not been unreasonable, was not a valuation made in accordance with a standard having the force of law.5. costello, j. agreed with that judgment and observed:having regard to the unsatisfactory position which in my opinion exists in matters of this.....
Judgment:

M.C. Ghose, J.

1. This is an application under Section 115, Civil P.C., in the matter of a title suit in the Court of the Munsiff at Dacca. The facts are that the plaintiff opposite party No. 1 filed a suit in the Court of the Munsiff at Dacca against the petitioner and another person opposite party No. 2 for a declaration that three documents, namely a registered deed of sale of certain immovable property for Rs. 15,000, a registered mortgage bond for Rs. 10,000, and a promissory note for Rs 4,000 which purported to be executed by the plaintiff and opposite party No. 2, were fraudulent, without consideration, vitiated by coercion and undue influence and inoperative against them, and for setting aside and cancellation of the same. She stated that her suit was one for a declaration with consequential relief under Section 7, Clause (iv)(c) and valued it at Rs. 150. The defence of the petitioner was that the documents in question were genuine, that the consideration for the same was a previous existing debt of Rs. 30,000 by the petitioner's deceased husband and opposite party No. 2, that the subject matter of the suit, being Rupees 29,000 was beyond the jurisdiction of the Munsiff. The Court heard the parties on the preliminary point and came to the conclusion that on the state of the law existing at present, it could not be said that the plaintiff had wrongfully valued the subject matter of the suit. It is urged in this Court that the learned Munsiff failed to appreciate the effect of the newly added Section 8-C, Court-fees Act, that on a proper consideration of that section it) should be held that the suit has been undervalued by the plaintiff and the Court ought to correct the valuation. Section 8-C came into operation in 1935. Before that, the relevant section was in these terms:

The amount of fee payable under this Act in the suits next hereafter mentioned shall be computed as follows:.. (7)(c) in suits to obtain a declaratory decree, where consequential relief is prayed, according to the amount at which the relief sought is valued in the plaint.

2. There is a section in the Code of Civil Procedure relating to the matter, namely, Order 7, Rule 11, the relevant portion of which is as follows:

The plaint shall be rejected in the following oases... (b) where the relief claimed is undervalued, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to correct the valuation within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so.

3. In Umatul Batul v. Nauji Kuer (1907) 11 C W N 705 Mookerjee and Holmwood, JJ. held that the Court had jurisdiction to ascertain whether the valuation made by the plaintiff was proper. In that case there was a mortgage decree of Rs. 10,000 in respect of property of which the value was stated to be Rs. 80,000. The plaintiff sued for a declaration that the mortgage decree was fraudulent and for an injunction that the decree might never be executed and the suit was valued at Rs. 100. It was held on the facts that the suit must be valued at Rs. 10,000. The view taken in Umatul Batul v. Nauji Kuer (1907) 11 C W N 705, cited above, was criticised by Rankin, C.J. in In re Kalipada Mukerjee : AIR1930Cal686 . It was observed that Order 7, Rule 11 was mere procedure; it was not meant to enlarge any taxing section but only to ensure the proper application of the Court-fees Act and other Acts; that there was no such provision in the Court-fees Act itself; further that in cases falling under Section 7(iv)(c) no real objective basis of valuation will in general be possible. Both the cases were considered in the Full Bench case in Narayangunj Central Co-operative Sale and Supply Society Ltd. v. Mafijuddin Ahmed : AIR1934Cal448 . In that case two questions were referred to the Full Bench: (1) Whether in suits to obtain a decree or order where consequential relief is prayed for, and in suits to obtain an injunction where the Court finds the relief claimed is undervalued, it is entitled under Order 7, Rule 11, Civil P.C., to require the plaintiff to correct the valuation stated by him in accordance with the provisions of Section 7, Court-fees Act? and (2) whether the case in Umatul Batul v. Nauji Kuer (1907) 11 C W N 705 was correctly decided? Mukherjee, J. in his judgment in the Full Bench case answered both the questions in the affirmative, but observed as to question 1:

But so long as there are no rules framed under Section 9, Suits Valuation Act (7 of 1887), the Court would have no standard before it on which it may regard the plaintiff's valuation as an undervaluation, and its powers of correction would have to be exercised on that footing.

4. As to question 2 his Lordship observed:

The case was correctly decided in so far as it laid down that it is within the power of the Court to revise the plaintiff's valuation, but the valuation made by the Court, though it may have not been unreasonable, was not a valuation made in accordance with a standard having the force of law.

5. Costello, J. agreed with that judgment and observed:

Having regard to the unsatisfactory position which in my opinion exists in matters of this kind and having regard to the necessity for the framing of some kind of rules which will serve as a criterion for valuing the suits, It seems to be highly desirable that the attention of the Legislature should be called to this matter and the Legislature ought to declare what they really meant to be done in cases such as in the present.

6. Jack, J. observed:

There may be cases in which the valuation is perfectly obvious on the face of it, and in that case it would be open to the Court to correct a clearly wrong valuation even before the framing of the rules.

7. The learned Munsiff thought that the Legislature under Section 8-C gave the same power as the Court previously possessed under Order 7. Rule 11(b) of the Code. In this he was in error. In the Civil Procedure Code the words are to be taken as matters of procedure, but the new Section 8-C, which was enacted by the Legislature after the Full Bench case stated, in the taxing statute in Section 8-C, is as follows:

If the Court is of opinion that the subject matter of any suit has been wrongly valued, it may revise the valuation and determine the correct valuation and may hold such inquiry as it thinks fit for such purpose.

8. This being a section in the taxing statute, it is the duty of the Court when the defendant pleads that the suit has been wrongly valued by the plaintiff, to hold a necessary enquiry and come to a decision after necessary enquiry whether the suit has been wrongly valued. It is true, where there is no objective valuation, it is not possible to say that the plaintiff's valuation is wrong but every case must be judged on its own facts. In the present case the plaintiff has sued to set aside three documents. Take the last one of them, the promissory note of Rs. 4,000. As there is no objective value of a promissory note, the plaintiff may put any value. Suppose the defendant obtains a decree of Rs. 4,000 upon the promissory note and the plaintiff has no assets whatsoever. The decree will be worthless. The value of the decree will be the value of what can be realized from the assets of the debtor. This was the fact in the Full Bench case in Narayangunj Central Co-operative Sale and Supply Society Ltd. v. Mafijuddin Ahmed AIR 1934 Cal 448 where the plaintiff sought for a declaration that a decree of Rs. 11,000 against him was inoperative and he valued the suit at Rs. 49. The Court held that the value would depend upon the assets of the plaintiff.

9. But in the case of the mortgage deed of Rs. 10,000, there is an objective, namely the immovable property which is the subject of the mortgage. If it be found on enquiry that the market value of the immovable property is Rs. 10,000 or more, then clearly the value of the declaration sought by the plaintiff is Rs. 10,000. If the market value of the property be less than Rs. 10,000 then the value of the declaration would be the market value of the immovable property. Similarly, with respect to the deed of sale of the immovable property at Rs. 15,000, if the property transferred by this document has a market value of Rs. 15,000 then the value of the declaration sought by the plaintiff is clearly Rs. 15,000. If the market value of the immoveable property covered by the deed of sale be less than Rs. 15,000 the value of the suit will be the market value. In these two cases the Court can come to a conclusion even though no rules have been framed under Section 9, Suits Valuation Act. The Rule is made absolute and the trial Court is directed to make an enquiry on the lines stated above as to the correct valuation of the suit, and if it finds that the value is such that it cannot try the suit, it will return the plaint for filing it in the proper Court. The petitioner will get his costs of this Court; hearing fee two gold mohurs.


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