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Port Canning and Land Improvement Co., Ltd. Vs. Roson Ali Mollah - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported in15Ind.Cas.46
AppellantPort Canning and Land Improvement Co., Ltd.
RespondentRoson Ali Mollah
Cases ReferredHari Sankar v. Kali Kumar
Excerpt:
valuation of suit - suit for lease, annual rent being rs. 71--suit to be valued at rs. 71--jurisdiction of munsif--court fees act (vii of 1870), section 7 clause x, sub-clause (c)--suits valuation act (vii of 1887), section 8--civil procedure code (act v of 1908), section 115--decision on facts--failure of court below to grasp real, point--judicial decision--interference by high court--prejudice to neither party--question of prejudice, if arises. - .....should not be set aside as not in accordance with the provisions of the law as 'laid down in the suits valuation act and the court fees act. it appears that the opposite party instituted a suit in the 3rd subordinate judge's court at alipur in which he prayed that his maurasi mokarari right in certain lands be declared and a decree passed against the present petitioners for directing them to grant him a lease. the yearly rent payable on the lease was rs. 71 but the plaintiff, opposite party in this rule, valued the suit for the purposes of jurisdiction at rs. 1,100. the subordinate judge, when the suit came before him, held that the valuation was incorrect. he held that, under the provisions of section 7 clause (x) sub-clause (c) of the court fees act, the proper valuation in a suit.....
Judgment:

1. This Rule was obtained on the opposite party to show cause why the judgment and order of the Additional District Judge of 24-Pergannahs complained against should not be set aside as not in accordance with the provisions of the law as 'laid down in the Suits Valuation Act and the Court Fees Act. It appears that the opposite party instituted a suit in the 3rd Subordinate Judge's Court at Alipur in which he prayed that his maurasi mokarari right in certain lands be declared and a decree passed against the present petitioners for directing them to grant him a lease. The yearly rent payable on the lease was Rs. 71 but the plaintiff, opposite party in this Rule, valued the suit for the purposes of jurisdiction at Rs. 1,100. The Subordinate Judge, when the suit came before him, held that the valuation was incorrect. He held that, under the provisions of Section 7 Clause (x) Sub-clause (c) of the Court Fees Act, the proper valuation in a suit between a landlord and tenant for delivery by the landlord of a lease was to be determined according to the amount of the rent of the land payable for the first year of the term in respect of which the lease was claimed; and that, as the suit was, in fact, a suit for a lease and as the rent for the land in respect of which the lease was claimed was Rs. 71, the suit should have been valued at Rs. 71 only, and that under Section 8 of Suits Valuation Act that would be the valuation for purposes of jurisdiction. He, therefore, directed that the plaint be returned to the plaintiff to be filed in the Court of the Munsif. Instead of complying with the directions of the Subordinate Judge, the plaintiff, the opposite party in the present proceedings, appealed to the District Judge. The District Judge set aside the judgment and order of the Subordinate Judge and, holding that the valuation of Rs. 1,100 was correct, directed that the suit should be filed in the Subordinate Judge's Court. The petitioners then came to this Court and obtained the present Rule.

2. There can be no doubt, under the provisions of the law as laid down in the Court Fees Act, Section 7, Clause (x), Sub-clause (c), and Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act, that the view taken by the Subordinate Judge was correct and that the suit ought to have been valued for the purposes of jurisdiction as well as for the determination of the Court-? fee stamp at Rs. 71. Neither in the plaint nor before the Subordinate Judge, nor apparently before the District Judge, does any attempt appear to have been made by the opposite party, the plaintiff, to explain on what basis he arrived at the conclusion that, the proper valuation of the suit was Rs. 1,100. The learned Pleader who has appeared to oppose this Rule has not attempted before us to dispute the correctness of the decision of the Subordinate Judge with reference to the valuation of the suit nor has he attempted to assist us in understanding on what materials the plaintiff arrived at the valuation of the suit at R3. 1,100 but he has confined his arguments mainly to two points, first, that this Court is unable to interfere, having regard to the previous decisions of the Court and secondly that even if this Court has power to interfere, it should not interfere.

3. In support of the first contention, the learned Pleader for the opposite party has invited our attention 10 the decision of the Privy Council in the case of Amir Hassan v. Sheo Baksh Singh 11 C. 6 : 11 I.A. 237 and the decision of this Court in the case of Mathura Nath v. Umesh Chandra 1 C.W.N. 626 and, on the basis of these decisions, he has contended that, even if the decision of the District Judge in this case was wrong, this Court shall not interfere under the provisions of Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure. We do not think that the decisions in those two cases can be taken to apply to the facts of the present case at all. In these two cases, their Lordships of the Privy Council and the learned Judges of this Court following them, held that where, under the law the lower Court had power to arrive at a decision but arrived at a wrong decision, it could not be said that that Court excercised its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity so as to justify an interference from the Appellate Court under Section 92 of Act XII of 1879, corresponding with Section 115, Civil Procedure Code. In both those cases, the decisions were arrived at either on the facts or on a proper judicial consideration of the matters placed before the lower Courts. In the present case, however, the learned Judge admits in his judgment that he is unable to appreciate the reasons which led the Subordinate Judge to hold that he had no power to take cognisance of the suit, and to return the plaint to the plaintiff. Obviously, the learned Judge in this case failed to grasp the point which really had to be determined, namely, whether, under the provisions of the Court Fees Act and the Suits Valuation Act, the valuation of the suit for the purposes of jurisdiction ought not to be Its. 71 as found by the Subordinate Judge. The learned Judge has simply accepted the valuation given by the plaintiff without attempting to ascertain the materials on which that valuation is based; in fact without arriving at a judicial decision at all. In our opinion, this is a very different case from those contemplated in the two decisions referred to above and is certainly one in which this Court should interfere, if satisfied that the decision of the lower Appellate Court is wrong.

4. It has next been contended, on the basis of the decision of this Court in the case of Hari Sankar v. Kali Kumar 32 C. 734 : 9 C.W.N. 690, that the Subordinate Judge was bound to accept the valuation given by the plaintiff and that he ought to have decided that the valuation of the suit was Rs. 1,100. The case relied on is one in which the plaintiff gave certain data for arriving at the value at which the suit was valued and this Court held that, when those data or materials were given, there was no reason why this Court should interfere and, on the basis of other data or materials, should arrive at a different conclusion. That is, however very different from the present case in which the plaintiff has given no materials or data to support the valuation put forward for the purposes of jurisdictions In our opinion, therefore the two points, which have been taken in support of the view that this Court has not the power under the law to interfere with the decision of the lower Appellate Court cannot be sustained.

5. The learned Pleader has then contended that, even if this Court has the power to in-terfere, it should not exercise that power, first, because neither party would be materially prejudiced if the order of the lower Court were allowed to stand and, secondly, because, though the plaintiff has not stated the materials on which the value was arrived at, still there are grounds for holding that that valuation was not excessive. So far as the first point is concerned, we do not think that in this case we should decline to interfere because neither party would be prejudiced. As a matter of fact, the law requires that suits of certain values should be tried in certain Courts and the question of prejudice does not, in our opinion, arise. As regards the second point, it appears to us that the contention advanced on behalf of the plaintiff is not sound. The learned Pleader admits that his client's case is that he had taken an agreement from the present petitioners under which he was to clear and bring under cultivation a certain piece of land and then, after a certain number of years and when the land had been brought under cultivation, he was to obtain a maurasi mokarari lease of the land at a certain rental. The learned Pleader contends that the effect of this agreement was to create, from the time when the agreement was entered into, a maurasi mokarari title in the land and that, therefore, the valuation which the plaintiff gave of the suit was not excessive. We do not think that it is possible to accept this view. The agreement was one of the ordinary agreements for the purpose of clearing jungle lands and the lease, either permanent or temporary, which was to be granted to the lessee after the land had been cleared, was one which would commence to take affect from the time when the land was brought under cultivation. The suit was brought by the plaintiff in order to obtain that lease from the landlords and we think, in these circumstances and under the provisions of the law, that the proper valuation of the suit both for the purposes of Court-fees and for the purposes of jurisdiction was that laid down in Section 7. Clause (x), sub. Clause (c), of the Court Fees Act.

6. The result, therefore, is that the Rule is made absolute. We set aside the judgment and decree of the lower Appellate Court and direct that the plaint be returned to the plaintiff to be filed by him in the Court having jurisdiction to try the suit. The petitioners are entitled to their costs in this Rule which we assess at three gold mohurs.


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