PADAN CHOWDHURY AND ANR. Vs. ADIKANDA KUANAR
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
Padan Chowdhury And Anr.
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G.K. Misra, C.J. -
(1.) DEFENDANTS are the Petitioners. In course of trial, Plaintiff opposite -party wanted to prove a lease -deed dated 23 -2 -1945 in support of his case. Petitioners raised objection that the document was unstamped and as such was not admissible in evidence.
The learned Munsif rejected this contention. Against the order of the learned Munsif dated 6 -9 -1973 the civil revision has been filed.
(2.) ARTICLE 35 of Schedule I of the Indian Stamp Act 1899 (2 of 1899) mentioned an exemption which thus
(a) Lease executed in the case of a cultivator and for the purpose of cultivation (including a lease of trees for the production of food or drink) without the payment of delivery of any fine or premium, when a definite terms expressed and such term does not exceed one year, or when the average annual rent reserved does not exceed one hundred rupees.
In case of such a lease no stamp duty is payable on he document.
This exemption clause is very inartistically drafted. It is not clear whether the lease is to be executed by one cultivator in favour of another cultivator. It merely says : "in the case a cultivator". That question, however, is not in issue here. Undisputedly the lease is for the purpose of cultivation and it the common case that no payment of fine or premium was made.
The controversy centres round the expression "when a definite term is expressed and such term does not exceed one year, or when the average annual rent reserved does not exceed one hundred rupees."
(3.) THE contention of Mr. P. Mohanty is that the expression "when a definite term is expressed" is mandatory, and the next clause "such term does not exceed one year, or when the annual rent reserved does not exceed one hundred rupees" is in the alternative. In other words, his contention is that unless a lease is for a definite term, it is not entitled to exemption. According to him a lease must b for a definite term and over and above it must satisfy one of the two alternative conditions, viz. that it would either be for less than one year or the annual rent reserved would be less than one hundred rupees.
The contention is unsound and is not borne out by the plain language of the article.
It would be important to notice that there in a comma after the word 'minimum ' and the clause when a definite term is expressed and such term does not exceed one year is between two commas and constitutes one single concept. It follows that the document of lease must not only be for a term, but it must be for a term or less than one year. That is one individual concept a before a document claims exemption it must be established that the document prescribes a term for less than one year. It may be that there would be some documents not prescribing any term for less than one year. In such a case the document would be for an annual rent of less than Rs. One Hundred to be entitled to exemption.;
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