Decided on March 25,1901

MATI MAHTO Appellant
HCSTUDD Respondents


- (1.) These appeals arose out of suits brought by the plaintiffs respondents in the Court of the Munsif of Mozafferpur praying that certain deeds of Navistakbhand (or agreements to cultivate certain of their land with indigo), which purported to have been executed by them in favour of the proprietors of the Dhooli Indigo Factory, should be declared by the Court to be fabricated and spurious, that the plaintiffs were not bound by them as they were wholly invalid and null, and that the Court would also cancel and set aside the deeds. The plaintiffs in each case put in their plaints stamped with the ad valorem stamps calculated on the value of the lands, and one of the first objections taken by the defendants in their written statements in each case was that "the Court fee paid by the plaintiff is insufficient in law, and unless the plaintiff pays sufficient Court fee required by law, the suit cannot be proceeded with." The Munsiff does not appear to have taken up this objection, until he delivered judgment. He then came to the following finding: "As regards the Court fee stamp I am of opinion that it is insufficient. I have heard on this point the pleaders of both parties. The plaintiffs should make up the deficit." He then proceeded to go into the merits of the case, and finding the plaintiffs had failed to make out their cases he dismissed all the suits, but gave no costs to the defendants.
(2.) On appeal to the Sub-Judge of Muzafferpur, that officer reversed the findings of the Munsiff, both as regards the Court fees and on the merits, and gave the plaintiffs decrees against the defendants with costs.
(3.) Against these decrees, the defendants have appealed. The learned Counsel has confined his arguments to one point only in this Court, viz., to that stated in the second ground of appeal, which runs as follows: "For that, inasmuch as the Munsiff decided that the Court fee paid by the plaintiff was insufficient, such decision was final under Section 12 of the Court Fees Act (VII of 1870), and the learned Subordinate Judge had no jurisdiction to interfere with such decision and, therefore, committed an error of law in deciding that point.";

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