Decided on December 19,1969



- (1.) THIS order shall also govern the disposal of the point referred to the Full Bench in civil revisions Nos. 497/66, 498/66 and 521/67. In this case and cases Nos. 497/66 and 498/66 reference has been made by Krishnan, J. and in the last case by S. B. Sen, J. All these revisions were filed in the High Court by plaintiffs in different cases who were required to pay the deficit court-fee on market value under Section 7 (v) (d) of the Court-fees Act (hereinafter called the Act ). The references are confined to the question that whether for purposes of assessing the court-fee in a suit regarding a fraction or part of a holding the whole of which is assessed to revenue or to payment of the nature of rent in the absence of revenue, the plaintiff should be required to pay the court-fee on his claim on the market value of the land under Section 7 (v) (d) of the Court-fees Act, or whether the subject-matter should be allowed to be valued on the basis of the revenue payable on the entire estate and the plaintiff should be allowed to distribute the land revenue proportionately on the area claimed by him in the suit. In other words, the question for consideration is as to whether in such cases the claim of the plaintiff falls within Section 7 (v) (b) or Section 7 (v) (d) of the Act. These clauses read as follows:-- " (v) In suits for the possession of land, houses and garden--according to the value of the subject-matter; and such value shall be deemed to be where the subject-matter is land, and-- (b) where the land forms an entire estate, or a definite share of an estate, paying annual revenue to Government, or where the land forms part of such estate and is recorded as aforesaid; (d) where the land forms part of an estate paying revenue to government, but is not a definite share of such estate and is not separately assessed as above-mentioned the market value of land; explanation-- The word 'estate' as used in this paragraph means-- (i) any land subject to the payment of revenue, for which the proprietor or farmer or raiyat shall have executed a separate engagement to Government, or which, in the absence of such engagement, shall have been separately assessed with revenue;"
(2.) THERE is no specific provision, in Sub-clause (b) for the valuation of a fractional share of a part of an estate but in exercise of the powers vested in the State government under Section 35 for reductions and remissions of court-fees, the state Government has enacted the following rule:-- " (2) When a part of an estate paying annual revenue to the provincial government under a settlement which is not permanent is recorded in the Collector's register as separately assessed with such revenue, the value of the subject-matter of a suit for the possession of, or to enforce a right of pre-emption in respect of, a fractional share of that part shall, for the purposes of the computation of the amount of the fee chargeable in the suit, be deemed not to exceed five times such portion of the revenue separately assessed on that part as may be rateably payable in respect of the share. "
(3.) KRISHNAN. J. , in the order of reference, has mentioned the position which emerges on the basis of the Single Bench decisions in Dwarka Prasad v. Pyarelal, 1962 Jab LJ (SN) 376; Bidhichand v. Barelal, 1964 Jab LJ (SN) 83 and Santosh v. Lingraj, 1959 MPLJ (SN) 21 as anomalous because the litigant is required to pay ten or fifteen times more the court-fee if the suit is in respect of a part or fraction of the holding on the market value of the land claimed in the suit, but if he sues for the entire holding he is required to pay only a small fraction of what he had to pay in the suit for a part. The learned Judge also draws attention to the other anomaly which is the result of the first, that in case of a fraction or part of the land the plaintiff is required to file a suit in the Court of larger jurisdiction but he files a suit with regard to the entire holding, in a Court of lower status as in the former case the valuation arrived at on the basis of the market price is many times higher than the value which is calculated on the basis of the multiples of land revenue as stated in Clause (b) of Section 7 (v ). The learned Single Judge has suggested that the said anomaly can be removed by adopting one or other of the following two alternatives:-" in any case we can insist on the litigants evaluating the suit as if it is one for the entire holding; the hardship if any would be on him and the excuse obviously is that the fraction or the portion for which the suit is filed is to be deemed equal in value to the whole. A more logical way of doing it is that in the case of an un-demarcated fraction to value it on the basis of the proper multiple of the same fraction of the assessment; in the case of a definite portion to treat that portion as being so valued as to represent for our purposes the entirety of the holding. Either way, the multiple would be much less than the market value calculated according to (d ). This I would base upon the recognized principle that statutes on taxation should be applied in a manner most favourable to the citizen, and simply because he has been moderate enough to bring a suit in respect of a part instead of filing it as a whole, not to tax him excessively. One can never get over the absurdity of the present situation where the part becomes much more valuable than the whole and a suit for the part is to be heard by courts of a higher status than the suit for the whole. It is also of interest to note that a litigant who overstates his case and claims the entire holding will pay much less and need go only to a court of lower status. In fact he does not lose much except possibly in the matter of part of the costs because it would be open to the court in a suit for the entire holding to grant relief in respect of the portion or fraction to which the plaintiff has succeeded in proving his claim. ";

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