IN RE; NATIONAL AND GRIDLAYS BACK LTD. MADRAS Vs. STATE
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
In Re; National And Gridlays Back Ltd. Madras
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P. Sathasivam, J. -
(1.) This office note raises an Important question on court fee. The point was whether estate duty payable on an estate, which vests in the executor, is an item to be deducted from the value for the estate in ascertaining the market value for the purpose of court fee under the Madras Court Fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1955 (Madras Act XIV of 1955) hereinafter referred to as the Act. The matter has arisen in this way. The petitioner, National and Grindlays Bank Ltd., Madras, has applied for the grant of probate of the Will of one Mrs. Canstance Lubeck dated 25th January 1968. Along with the petition, an affidavit of assets, as contemplated under S. 55 of the Act, is filed. In Annexure B, of the affidavit of assets a sum of Rs. 11,043 -46 is shown as provisional estate duty under the heading 'Amounts of debts due and owing from the deceased payable by law out of the estate'. The office felt a doubt whether estate duty is a debt due from the deceased and whether it can be deducted from the value of the estate for the purpose of payment of probate duty. When this position was pointed out, the advocate fro the petitioner relying upon the decision of the Mysore High Court in Mrs. Blanche Nathalia Pinto v/s. State of Mysore, (1964) 53 I.T.R. 64 contended that the estate duty is a debt and should be deducted from the market value of the estate. That decision no doubt supports the contention urged on behalf of the petitioner. The question is whether that decision lays down the correct law. The relevant provisions of the Act may be adverted to. Omitting sub -sec. (2) which is no: relevant, Sub -Sec. (1) of S. 55 reads thus : -
55 (1). Every application for the grant of probate or letters of administration shall be accompanied by a valuation of the estate in duplicate in the form set forth in part I of Schedule III.
(2.) Omitting portions which are not relevant, S.56 reads thus : -
"56 (1)(a). The fee chargeable for the grant of probate or letters of administration shall comprise -a fee at the rate or rates prescribed in Art. 6 of Sch. I, computed -(a) where the application is made within one year of the date of death of the deceased, on the market value of the estate on such date; or (b) where the application is made after the expiry of one year from such data, on the market value of the estate on the date of the application;...
(2) For the purpose of the computation of fee - - (a) the value of the items mentioned in Annexure B to part I of Sch. III shall be deducted from the value of the estate; (b)".
(3.) The form of valuation is prescribed and it is given in part I of Sch. III. The relevant portion of the affidavit reads thus:
1. I (A.B) solemnly affirm/Make oath and say that I am the executor or one of the executors or one of the next of kin of deceased and that I have truly set forth in annexure A to this form of valuation all the estate of which the abovenamed deceased died possessed or to which he was entitled at the time of his death, and which has come, or is likely to come, to my hands.;
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