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Madras High Court
Mallapudi Venkatarayudu vs Mallina Venkanna And Ors. on 11 March, 1927
Equivalent citations: AIR 1927 Mad 862


1. This is an application for leave to appeal to His Majesty in Council. The plaintiff succeeded in the Court of first instance but his suit was dismissed by this Court and he is the applicant before us. There is no dispute that the subject-matter of the suit was over Rs. 10,000. The question we have to decide is, what is the value of the subject-matter in dispute on appeal to His Majesty in Council? Is it Rs.10,000 or upwards or less than Rs. 10,000.

2. We called for a report from the lower Court and that report has now been received. According to it, the value of the subject-matter in dispute on appeal is only Rs. 7,066.

3. First dealing with Sch. A to the plaint, we are concerned with ten items. We shall first deal with four of them, namely, items 17, 20, 21 and 22 which are Zamindari Jeroyiti lands. In respect of these plots the plaintiff gave their market value in the plaint itself. He valued them at the date of the suit at Rs. 150 an acre. The question arises. Is the plaintiff bound by this valuation? Two views are possible. The first view is that the plaintiff is absolutely precluded from contending that his valuation in the plaint is wrong; secondly, that the Court will merely treat his admission as a strong piece of evidence against him. We think that the second is the correct view. In Kristo Indro Saha v. Huromonee Dassee [1873] 1 I. A. 81 the defendant taking advantage of the plaintiff’s valuation filed an appeal to the High Court. When the plaintiff applied for leave to the Privy Council, the defendant objected to the valuation. It will be observed that in that case if the plaintiff’s valuation had not been accepted, the defendant would not have had the right of filing an appeal to the High Court. Having taken advantage of the plaintiff’s valuation and having benefited by it, he was not permitted to allege that the original valuation was incorrect. Another case may be conceived where the plaintiff valuing his suit, say at Rs. 4,500, files it in the Sub-Court and carries his appeal to the District Court and a second appeal to the High Court. This is an a fortiori case, the person seekining to repudiate the original valuation being the plaintiff himself who fixed that value. He would not be permitted to allege that the subject-matter was really worth Rs. 10,000 or upwards. We think that the rule that the party is altogether precluded from disputing the original valuation must be confined to the class of cases dealt with by the Judicial Committee and cases analogous to them.

4. In Alagappa Chetti v. Nachiappan A. I. R. 1923 Mad. 125 no special circumstances existed and the rule was treated merely as a rule of evidence; that is to say, the statement being an admission, effect should be given to it as such; the party cannot be ordinarily allowed to go behind his own admission.

5. C. Rathayya v. A. Brahmayya A. I. R. 1925 Mad. 1223 was decided by this very Bench and in that case we were not dealing with the distinction between the two rival views which we are now called on to consider. No doubt we used the words in that judgment “The plaintiffs are therefore barred by their valuation”; but in the context, they do not imply any absolute prohibition and we pointed out that strong reasons existed for refusing to permit the plaintiff to show that his own valuation was wrong.

6. The position then is that the plaintiff valued these four items in his plaint at Rs. 150 an acre. Is there anything to show that the plaintiff can be allowed to go back on his admission? These four items as we have said, relate to zemindari jeroyiti lands. No independent evidence has been adduced to show what the value of such lands is. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the Court cannot lightly disregard the admission of the plaintiff to the effect that they were worth only Rs. 150 per acre. The plaintiff’s learned vakil asks us to value these lands in the light of the evidence adduced in respect of the other six items, with which we shall presently deal, which are Government jeroyiti lands. The plaintiff has not cared to place before the Court materials which would enable us to institute a comparison and adduce the value of the other category. It would be unsafe to speculate and hold that the value of the two sets of land is either equal or nearly equal. It is also significant that the plaintiff while under cross-examination, admitted that the value he gave in his plaint of these four items is correct, that is to say, that their proper value at the date of the suit was Rs. 150 per acre. (The judgment then discussed the evidence regarding the value of other items and proceeded).

7. It now remains to deal with the items in Sch. B regarding which there is very little controversy. They are sites and the plaintiff valued them in his plaint at Rs. 575 and at the higher figure of Rs. 700 in his memorandum of objections in this very Court. The learned Subordinate Judge has adopted the latter figure and he has not been shown to be wrong.

8. Lastly, the mesne profits have been fixed by the Judge at Rs. 1,185, but the plaintiff says that the correct figure is 1,200 and as this makes no difference, it is unnecessary to deal with the point.

9. The total of these various figures (making every allowance on behalf of the plaintiff) comes up only to Rs. 9,311-8-0 and as the value of the subject matter in dispute on appeal is less than Rs. 10,000 we must refuse leave to appeal to the Privy Council.

10. The petitioner shall pay the respondent his costs of this application including the costs of the enquiry in the lower Court.

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