MAHENDRASINGH PRATAPSINGH Vs. THE RAJKUMAR MILLS LTD. AND ANR.
HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
The Rajkumar Mills Ltd. And Anr.
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Chaturvedi, J. -
(1.) THIS appeal had come in the first instance before a Single Judge of this Court who passed an order that this be put up before a Division Bench. This was not a proper order of reference, but considering that it involved several important points of law, under verbal orders of the officiating Chief Justice, it was heard by us. This appeal is directed against a preliminary decree in a suit for rendition of accounts of a dissolved partnership.
The Plaintiff had valued the suit at Rs. 24,000/ -. While filing this appeal the Defendant -Appellant made fresh valuation for the purposes of the appeal at Rs. 5,000/ - only. An objection has been taken by the Respondents that the Defendant in this appeal is bound by the valuation of the plant of the trial Court.
The main question is: whether in a suit coming under Clause (iv)(f) of Section 4 of Indore Court -fees Act (Which corresponds to Section 7(iv)(f) of the Indian Court -fees Act), when the Plaintiff has Valued the relief prayed for and the Plaintiff has obtained a preliminary decree for accounts and the Defendant appeals against the decree, the Defendant is bound by the valuation of the plaint of the trial Court or is at liberty to make a fresh valuation for the purposes of the appeal?
(2.) THERE is great divergence of opinion on this point and the following account at page 224 of Chitale's Commentaries on the Court -fees Act (1949 Edition) succinctly summarizes the conflict of opinions on this point:
The view of the Lahore and the Madras High Courts and the Sindh Judicial Commissioner's Court is that the Defendant is bound to accept the Plaintiff's valuation of the suit for the purpose of the appeal and pay Court -fee accordingly. The contrary view has been taken by the High Courts of Allahabad, Bombay, Patna and Rangoon, which have held that the Defendant is entitled to put his own valuation on the appeal for the purpose of Court -fee in such cases.
The decisions of the Nagpur High Court are conflicting. The two views may be explained thus: According to what may be termed the Madras view, the words in the paragraph "in all such suits the Plaintiff shall state the amount at which he values the relief sought" apply also to s appeals and indicate that the right of the Appellant to -fix his own valuation of the appeal -applies only to cases where the. Plaintiff is the Appellant.
In cases where the Defendant is the Appellant, he is bound by the value fixed by the Plaintiff in the trial Court. According to the other view, which may be called the Allahabad view, the words above referred to have not the effect of curtailing the force of the words "according to the amount at which the relief sought is valued in the plaint or the memo of appeal" which are general and are not confined to an appeal by the Plaintiff.
In order to understand clearly the relief sought for in the plaint and the relief sought for in the appeal it seems proper to give the facts of the case. The Plaintiffs used to take contracts for supply of tents to the Government of India War Department during the period 1940 to 1945. Formerly the Plaintiffs had formed a partnership with the father of Defendant 1 and Defendant 12 for manufacturing and supplying tents to the Government of India War Department. In April 1941 the father of Defendant 1 retired and new partnership was formed between the Plaintiffs and Defendants 1 and 2 in which the Plaintiffs and Defendant 2 each had 6 1/2 annas share in a rupee and Defendant 1 had 3 annas share.
It was alleged that the partnership was in the first instance for one year and it was then extended upto the end of 1945. The partnership accounts were settled upto 31 -21 -1944 but accounts for the period between December 1944 to the end of 1945, as also the final account of the partnership could not be settled. It was further said that the cause of action accrued to the Plaintiffs in December 1945 when the partnership was dissolved. Plaintiffs tentatively valued the claims at Rs. 24,000/ -.
(3.) DEFENDANT 2 admitted the claim but the Appellant -Defendant 1 resisted the claim on several grounds. He admitted his partnership with Defendant 1 alone, but not with Defendant 2. He further admitted that the arrangement was initially agreed to be for one year, but this was later extended upto 31 -3 -1945. Thereafter he was a partner on the previous terms. From 1st April to the end of December 1945, there was an agreement that the Defendant would receive 3 percent commission on the value of the orders of Government of India carried out during this period.
It was stated that the accounts were final and completely adjusted upto 31 -12 -1944; but no accounts had been made in respect of the period between 1 -1 -1945 to 31 -3 -1945. The Defendant states that he was entitled to 3 percent commission on the value of the order of Government of lndia carried out during this period.;
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