1. We are invited in this Rule to allow the defendants in the Court below to lodge an appeal in this Court against the decree of the Subordinate Judge in a suit for redemption which was valued at Rs. 3,600 by the plaintiffs for purposes of jurisdiction. The petitioners contend that the real value of the subject-matter of the litigation exceeds Rs. 5,000 and that, consequently, the appeal from the decision of the Subordinate Judge lies to the High Court and not to the Court of the District Judge, We are of opinion that this contention is not well founded.
2. Section 20 of the Bengal Civil Courts Act, 1887, provides that an appeal from a decree or order of a District Judge or Additional Judge shall lie to the High Court; Section 21 then provides that, save as aforesaid, an appeal from a decree or order of a Subordinate Judge shall lie to the District Judge where the value of the original suit in which, or in any proceeding arising out of which, the decree or order was made, did not exceed five thousand rupees, and to the High Court in any other case. The determination of the question raised by the petitioners depends upon the construction of the expression 'the value of the original suit' which finds a place in Section 21. For this purpose, a reference to the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure on the subject of the valuation of suits is necessary.
3. Order VII, Rule 1, Civil Procedure Code, provides that the plaint shall contain among others the following particulars; namely, a statement of the value of the subject-matter of the suit for the purpose of jurisdiction and of Court-fees, so far as the case admits. This implies that the value of the subject-matter of the suit for purposes of jurisdiction may not in every case be identical with the value of the subject-matter of the suit for purposes of Court-fees. This is made clear by Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act, which provides that, except in the cases specified therein, the value as determined for the computation of Court-fees and the value for purposes of jurisdiction shall be the same. Consequently, the duty is cast upon the plaintiffs, in the first instance to value the subject-matter of the suit for the two-fold purpose, of jurisdiction and of Court-fees. His valuation, however, is not final, for, as was ruled by a Full Bench of this Court in Ijjatulla Bhuyan v. Chandra Mohan Banerjee 6 C.L.J. 255 : 34 C. 954 : 11 C.W.N. 1183, although ordinarily the valuation as made by the plaintiff is to be accepted, the plaintiff is not at liberty to make an arbitrary valuation with a view to alter the forum, either of the trial of the suit or the adjudication of the appeal. The valuation as made by the plaintiff may be challenged either by the Court of its own motion or by the defendant. In either event, there is a determination of the question of valuation. If, on such investigation, it transpires that the subject-matter of the suit has been under-valued or over-valued, the Court may call upon the plaintiff to amend the valuation of the suit. If the plaintiff does not carry out the order of the Court consequence described in Order VII, Rule 11, follows. That rule provides that where the relief claimed is under-valued and. the plaintiff on being required by the Court to correct the valuation within the time to be fixed by the Court fails to do so, the plaint shall be rejected. This, then, is the penalty for persistence in under-valuation. It the order of the Court is carried out, the statement of valuation for purposes of jurisdiction Court-fees or both, is amended and the amended valuation thereupon becomes the valuation of the suit. We are of opinion that when Section 21 of the Bengal Civil Courts Act refers to the value of the original suit, the reference is to the valuation as made by the plaintiff subject to such amendment as may have been made under the orders of the Trial Court: Nilmony Singh v. Jagabandhu Roy 23 C. 536 : 12 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 357, Abiur Rashid v. Qudratunnissa Bihi 57 Ind. Cas. 134 : 18 A.L.J. 741 : 2 U.P.L.R.(A) 316, Badrunnissa Bibi v. Shanker Lal 49 Ind. Cas. 687 : 17 A.L.J. 266 : 41 A. 384, Bandiram Mookerjee v. Puma Chandra Rev 43 Ind. Cas. 758 : 45 C. 926 : 27 C.L.J. 115. We are unable to hold that the Legislature intended that the expression 'the value of the original suit' in Section 21 means the real value of the subject-matter of the original suit, regardless of what may have happened in the Trial Court. Before the appellate state is reached, the suit must already have been tried and the value of the suit fixed either by agreement of parties or on adjudication by the Court. In the case before us, the plaintiff stated that the value of the subject-matter, of the suit for purposes of jurisdiction, as also of Court-fees, was Rs. 3,600. The defendants did not challenge this statement and the trial proceeded on the assumption that the valuation made by the plaintiffs was correct. It is after the defendants have been defeated that they now seek to change the forum of appeal by the assertion that the value of the subject-matter of the suit exceeds Rs. 10,000; in ether words, that if the suit had been properly valued, the appeal would have lain to this Court and not to the Court of the District Judge. We are of opinion that they should not be permitted to take recourse to such a. procedure.
4. In the view we take, it is needless to investigate at this stage how the value of the subject-matter of a suit for redemption should be determined for the purpose of jurisdiction of the Court. There is some divergence of Judicial opinion on the subject, as appears from the decisions in Mana Vikrama, Zamorin Maharaja Bahadur of Calicut v. Surya Narayana Bhaita 5 M. 284 : 2 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 158, Kubair Singh v. Atma Ram 5 A. 332 : A.W N. (1883) 47 : 3 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 318, Rupchand Khemchand v. Balvant Narayan 11B. 591 : 6 Ind. Dec (N.S.) (sic)89, Amrita v. Shamji 13 B. 489 : 7 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 325, Ramchandra Buba Sathe v. Janardan Apaji 14 L.B.R Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 471 Maung Kyew Dun v. Maung Kyaw 1 L.B.R. 96, Nga Tun Baw v. M(sic) Rye 8 Ind. Cas. 464 : 1 U.B.R. (1910) 10 : 4 Bur. L.T. 226. The judgment of Mahmood, J., in Amanat Begam v. Bhajan Lal 8 A. 438 : A.W.N. (1896) 146 : 5 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 217, indicates that in all suits for redemption the value of the subject-matter of the suit for purposes of jurisdiction may not be identical with the value of the subject-matter of the suit for purposes of payment of Court-fees. The later decision of the Allahabad High Court in Kedar Singh v. Matabadal Singh 1 Ind. Cas. 703 : 33 A. 44 : 5 A.L.J. 713 : A.W.N. (1908) 276 seems, however, to enunciate the rule in an inelastic form, namely, that in the case of a suit for redemption of a mortgage the value for purposes of jurisdiction is the amount of the principal mortgage-money and not the market-value of the property mortgaged. We are not now called upon to decide this question, for the forum, of appeal at this stage must be determined by reference to the valuation as set out in the plaint; that forum is the Court of the District Judge.
5. The result is that this Rule is discharged with costs, two gold mohurs.