Decided on September 27,1900



- (1.) The principal question referred to U8 for. decision is whether the instrument presented to the Collector comprises or relates to several distinct matters so as to be chargeable accordingly under Section 5 of the Indian Stamp Act. The instrument; is not complete, inasmuch as only one landholder is named, whereas the case shows, and it is admitted by counsel on behalf of Messrs. Best & Co., that the intention is to have it executed by several landholders, each severally interested in the piece of land mentioned against his name in the schedule.
(2.) This mere statement of the facts is almost sufficient to show that the instrument is chargeable with the aggregate amount of the duties with which separate instruments relating to the same matters would be chargeable, for it is plain that agreements which two or more raiyats not jointly interested in the same land for the purchase or lease of their lands are distinct agreements which may give rise to different rights of action by or against the several raiyats. It was argued, however, on the strength of some English cases, that there is a community of interest between the several land-holders of a village who, as it is proposed, are to be made parties and that therefore only one stamp is required. The strongest case cited was Deod. Croft V/s. Tidbury [1854]14 C.B. 304 at p 320, where it was held that a dead executed by several encroachers in respect of their several encroachment did not need to be impressed with several stamps. In effect it was considered that because the parties conveying joined in conveying all the encroachments community of interest was established between them as to the same subject-matter. In Wills V/s. Bridge [1849] 18 L.J. Ex. 384, there was a deed of transfer executed by three persons jointly in respect of sixty shares in a company, of which thirty shares belonged to one person, twenty to another, and ten to the third. It was held that although the deed conveyed the separate interest of three persons, three stamps were not required. Wills V/s. Bridge [1849] 18 L.J. Ex. 384 is cited by Kelly, C.B., with apparent approval in Freeman V/s. Commissioners of Inland Revenue L.R. 6 Ex. 101 at p. 106.
(3.) The latter case has no direct bearing on the question now before us. It is probably the last reported case decided under the Stamp Law as it stood before the Consolidated Act, 33 & 34 Vict., cap. 97, was passed. In considering such cases it has to be borne in mind that the law was then expressed with much less distinctness than it has been since 1870. In the statute of Anne the provision on which the case above cited turns was as follows: "Where more than one of the matters or things (i.e., indentures, leases, bonds or deeds) thereby charged with any stamp duty "should be engrossed on one piece of vellum, the duties should "be charged on every one of such matters." This provision as was observed by Coltman, J. Bushbrook V/s. Hood 17 L.J. C.P. 58 at p. 60 referred to different deeds having different objects inserted in the same parchment.;

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