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Calcutta High Court
The Official Trustee Of Bengal vs Gobardhan Guchait And Ors. on 10 May, 1928
Equivalent citations: 118 Ind Cas 357
Author: B Ghose
Bench: B Ghose, Garlick


B.B. Ghose, J.

1. These two appeals arise out of two suits. One (Appeal No. 2034 of 1925) was brought by the respondents for declaration of their right to certain lands as shebaits and also for a declaration that the Record of Rights is null and void. The other Appeal No 2035 of 1925 arose out of a suit brought by the appellants as plaintiffs for recovery of rent with regard to those very lands. Both the suits were tried together and the learned Judge modified the judgment and decree of the Subordinate Judge. The result was that he decreed the suit of the respondents and dismissed the rent suit of the appellants in the other appeal.

2. The substantial point argued before us by the learned Advocate for the appellants is that the title suit was under-valued. He took the plea before the Munsif. The learned Munsif, however, refused to take evidence on the ground that the plaintiffs were entitled to put their own valuation to the suit and as they had valued it at Rs. 100 the Court had nothing to do with the question of valuation. The Munsif was of opinion that it was a declaratory suit with a consequential relief. Having come to that conclusion on the question of undervaluation of the suit he tried both the suits and after having considered the matters in dispute in an elaborate judgment, decreed the title suit, in part and also decreed the rent suit of the appellants in S.A. No. 2025 of 1925. On appeal the Additional District Judge has decided as I have set forth above. The point was taken before the lower Appellate Court that the Munsif was wrong in shutting out evidence with regard to the question of valuation of the property in the title suit. The learned District Judge came to the conclusion with reference to Section 99 of the Civil Procedure Code and Section 11 of the Suits Valuation Act that no prejudice has been caused to the appellants before us by the course taken by the Munsif. He, however, thought that the Munsif’s procedure was erroneous and he ought to have allowed evidence to be given on the question of valuation raised by the defendants and the learned Judge was of opinion that the learned Munsif had acted in the matter under a mistaken view of the case decided by the Privy Council to which I shall refer immediately. Bat he said this was a case of irregular exercise of jurisdiction. From the view I take of the case it seems to me that the learned Munsif was quite right in what he did. It has been decided by this Court in the case of Midnapur Zemindary Co. v. Secretary of State for India 40 Ind. Cas. 96 : 44 C. 352 : 21 C.W.N. 834 that a prayer for a declaration that the entry in the Record of Rights was a nullity was a prayer for consequential relief. That being so, the present suit of the respondents was a suit for a declaratory decree in which consequential relief has been prayed for. That being so, the respondents were entitled to put their own valuation to the suit and according to the provisions of the Suits Valuation Act the jurisdiction of the Court would be in accordance with the valuation put by the plaintiffs. The case then directly falls within the decision of the case of Sunderbai v. Collector of Belgaum 52 Ind. Cas. 897 : 23 C.W.N. 753 : (1919) M.W.N. 254 : 43 B. 376 : 21 Bom. L.R. 1148 : 46 I.A. 15 (P.C.). That being so, the Munsif had jurisdiction to entertain the case and he decided it in the exercise @f his proper jurisdiction. The main argument, therefore, of the appellants before us that the Munsif’s procedure being erroneous the case should be sent back for taking evidence on the question of valuation, fails. The other questions discussed by the Additional District Judge in his judgment are questions of fact which are unassailable in second appeal.

3. These two appeals must, therefore, stand dismissed with costs.

Garlick, J.

4. I agree.

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