Decided on February 27,1982

SUMITRA DEVI Respondents


- (1.) This is defendant's first appeal. It arises out of a final decree passed by the leraned District Judge, Jammu, on 28-5-1979 in a suit for recovery of Rs. 11400/- as principal amount and Rs. 3933/- as interest up to the date of suit, and future interest at the rate of 12%. In this appeal the defendant has challenged the correctness of the decree only to the extent of the award of interest of Rs. 3,933/- and future interest at the rate of 12% per annum and the judgment and decree has been not been assailed on any other account. Therefore, it is not necessary for us to deal with the facts of the case except in so far as the same are relevant for the purpose of deciding the limited issue.
(2.) Since the challenge is confined only to a part of decree for Rs. 3933/-, the defendant has paid court-fee of Rs. 423.50 on the said amount. At the very outset, therefore, a question has arisen as to whether this appeal should be heard by a single Judge or by a Division Bench of the High Court because Rule 14 (2) of the High Court Rules provides:-- "14 (2) (a) A civil first appeal from a decree or an order of a Subordinate Court when the value for the purpose of jurisdiction does not exceed fifteen thousand rupees. (b) A second appeal under Section 100 of the Code; (c) A revenue appeal; (d) Any other civil appeal under any law for the time being in force where the value of the subject matter does not exceed fifteen thousand rupees; (e) An appeal under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (Central Act 25 of 1955) as adopted by the Jammu and Kashmir Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (VIII of 1955); Indeed, it is not in doubt that under the Civil Courts Act, an appeal from the decree and judgment of the District Judge lies to the High Court. The precise question which requires consideration in this regard is whether the value for the purpose of jurisdiction of the appeal has to be according to the extent of amount challenged Or whether the valuation for the purpose of jurisdiction has to be as per value of the suit irrespective of the extent of challenge in appeal. To decide this controversy, recourse has to be made to the Court Fees Act and the Suits Valuation Act, Under Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act, in suits, other than those specified in the section, the court-fee payable under the Court- fees Act is ad valorem and the value for the purpose of court fee and jurisdiction has to be the same. The value of relief sought by the plaintiff settles the jurisdictional value and once the plaintiff has exercised his option, under Section 7 (iv) of the Court-fees Act, to assess his claim for a particular value, for the purpose of court-fees, that also becomes the value for jurisdictional purposes. In our view, therefore, in a suit for recovery of money, any reduction of the amount claimed by a decision of the court or even as a result of compromise between the parties to the suit, does not and cannot change the original jurisdictional value for the purposes of the appeal. However, where a decree is granted for an amount greater than that asked for in the plaint, the decretal amount would be the value for the purpose of appeal and the same would also determine the appellate forum. There is of course a fundamental difference between valuation of an appeal for purposes of court-fees and that for the purposes of jurisdiction. For the purpose of court-fees, it is the subject matter of the appeal that has to be considered but for the purpose of jurisdiction it is the value of the suit that has to be taken into account. In the view that we have taken we find support from a judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Mohinder Singh v. Jagjit Singh. AIR 1960 Punjab 434 wherein it was opined as follows.- "The jurisdictional value of a suit does not change with the form of the decree and the forum of appeal is to be determined by the value of the suit and not by the value of the decree."
(3.) Similar view has also been expressed by a Division Bench of our own High Court in (1936) 38 Pun LR (J&K) 88, wherein it was observed:-- "The value of the subject matter of a suit must be its valuation or at the time of its institution and the amount or the value of the subject matter as fixed in the plaint should determine the court to which the appeal lies.";

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