Mitter and Norris, JJ.
1. In this second appeal it has been urged that the defendants-respondents are not entitled to re-open the question of jurisdiction in the Appellate Court, they having not preferred any appeal against the Munsif's decision upon this point. We are of opinion that this contention is not valid. The defendants-respondents were entitled to answer the plaintiff's appeal upon the ground that the Munsif had no, jurisdiction to entertain the suit. We think, therefore, that there is no force in this contention.
2. The second ground that has been urged before us is that the finding of the Subordinate Judge, that the value of the property in dispute is more than Rs. 1,000, does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the Munsif had no jurisdiction to entertain this suit. It has been contended that the value of the property in dispute in this case is not necessarily the value of the subject-matter in dispute. The plaintiff offered to pay Rs. 700, the consideration money stated in the conveyance, to the defendant. That amount, at any rate, should be deducted from the value of the property in dispute in order to ascertain the value of the subject-matter in dispute.
3. We are of opinion that the subject-matter in dispute in this case is the right of pre-emption which the plaintiff asserts that he has in respect of the property in suit. The question for decision, in order to ascertain whether the Munsif had jurisdiction or not, is as laid down in Section 20 of the Bengal Civil Courts Act (VI of 1871) what is the value of this right? It is not very easy co lay down any general principle for ascertaining the value of a right of preemption in any given case. But it is clear to us that it is not the value of the property itself. For example, if a plaintiff seeks to recover possession of a property covered by his pottah, and the rent charged upon the property is of considerable amount, the value of the property itself would not be the value of the right which the plaintiff would seek to recover. Therefore, it seems to us that in determining the question whether the value of the subject-matter in dispute in this case is above Rs. 1,000, the lower Appellate Court has proceeded upon an erroneous principle. As already remarked, it is not possible to lay down any hard and fast rule for measuring the value of a right of pre-emption in any particular case. But the lower Appellate Court in this case, for reasons already given, was not right in measuring it by the value of the property itself without taking into consideration the fact that the plaintiff has offered to pay to the defendant Rs. 700, and would be bound to make the payment before he could succeed.
4. It has not been shown, therefore, that the Munsif was in error in holding that he had jurisdiction to entertain the suit. That being so, the Subordinate Judge's judgment cannot stand. We, therefore, reverse that judgment and send back this case to that Court to decide the appeal on the merits. Costs will abide the result.