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Sec.37 of A.P.C.F&S.V. Act – court fee on cancellation of sale deed – Court fee has to be paid on the value of the document but not on the value of market present at the time of filing of suit – as there is a specific word ” for which” the document was executed – Apex court set aside the judgments of High court and lower courts =Polamrasetti Manikyam & Anr. .. Appellants Versus Teegala Venkata Ramayya & Anr. .. Respondents = 2014(Feb.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41238

Sec.37 of A.P.C.F&S.V. Act – court fee on cancellation of sale deed – Court fee has to be paid on the value of the document but not on the value of market present at the time of filing of suit – as there is a specific word ” for which” the document was executed – Apex court set aside the judgments of High court and lower courts =

 

Since  we

      are in agreement with the reasoning in Satheedevi (supra),  which  has

      given its seal of approval to the  reasoning  of  the  learned  Single

      Judge judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Allam  Venkateswara

      Reddy (supra) the judgment of  the  Division  Bench  in  Lakshminagar

      Housing Welfare Association (supra) is no more good law.

 interpretation  of

      Section 37 of the Andhra Pradesh Court Fees and Suits  Valuation  Act,

      1956 (for short “the Court Fees Act”) as to 

whether it authorizes  the

      valuation of the suit on the basis of the sale consideration mentioned

      in the sale deed or to be valued on the basis of the market  value  of

      the property as on the date of presentation  of  the  plaint  for  the

      purpose of Court Fee and jurisdiction.       =

 

Learned Single Judge of the Andhra Pradesh  High  Court  in  the

impugned judgment placing reliance on the Full Bench judgment  of  the

      Madras High Court  in  Kolachala  Kutumba  Sastri  v.  Lakkaraju  Bala

      Tripura Sundaramma & Ors. AIR 1939 Mad. 462, and  the  Division  Bench

      Judgment of the Andhra Pradesh  High  Court  in  Lakshminagar  Housing

      Welfare Association v. Syed Sami @ Syed Samiuddin & Ors. (2010) 5  ALT

      96, 

held that in a suit for cancellation of sale deed, Court Fee  has

      to be determined on the market value of the property as on the date of

      presentation of the plaint and not the value shown in  the  registered

      sale deed, the legality of which is under challenge in these appeals. =

We are, in this  case,  concerned  with  the  interpretation  of

      Section 37 of the Court Fees Act, which reads as follows :-

           “37.  Suits for cancellation of decrees, etc. – 

(1)  In  a  suit

           for cancellation of a decree for money or other property  having

           a money value, or other document which purports or  operates  to

           create, declare, assign, limit or extinguish, whether in present

           or in future, any right, title or interest in money, movable  or

           immovable property, fee shall be computed on the  value  of  the

           subject matter of the suit, and such value shall be deemed to be

           :-

 

 

           a) If the whole  decree  or  other  document  is  sought  to  be

              cancelled, the amount or value of the property for which  the

              decree was passed or other document was executed;

 

 

           b) If a part of the decree or other document  is  sought  to  be

              cancelled, such part of the amount or of  the  value  of  the

              property.

 

 

           (2)   If the decree or other document is such that the liability

           under it cannot be split up and the relief claimed relates  only

           to a particular item of property belonging to the  plaintiff  or

           to the plaintiff’s share in any  such  property,  fee  shall  be

           computed on the value of such  property,  or  share  or  on  the

           amount of the decree, whichever is less.

 

 

           Explanation : A suit to set aside an award shall be deemed to be

           a suit for cancellation of a decree within the meaning  of  this

           section.”

 

The legislature  may

           have also,  instead  of  using  the  expression  “value  of  the

           property  for  which  the  document  was  executed”,  used   the

           expression “value of  the  property  in  respect  of  which  the

           document was executed”. However, the fact of the matter is  that

           in Section 40(1) the legislature has  designedly  not  used  the

           expression “market value of the property”.

 

 

      13.   Applying the above reasoning, this Court in  Satheedevi  (supra)

      upheld the view expressed  by  learned  Single  Judge  of  the  Andhra

      Pradesh  High   Court   in   Allam   Venkateswara   Reddy   v.   Golla

      Venkatanarayana AIR 1975 AP 122 and the Division Bench judgment of the

      Madras High Court in Venkata Narasimha Raju v. Chaandrayya   AIR  1927

      Mad 825, Navaraja v. Kaliappa Gounder (1967) 80 Mad  LW  19  (SN)  and

      Arunachalathammal v. Sudalaimuthu Pillai (1968)  83  Mad  LW  789  and

      ruled that those judgments have laid down the correct law.

This Court in Satheedevi (supra), therefore, gave  its  seal  of

      approval to the judgment of learned Single Judge of the Andhra Pradesh

      High Court in Allam Venkateswara Reddy (supra), wherein learned Single

      Judge took the view that in a suit for cancellation of sale deed which

      was executed for a specified amount, the Court Fee has to be  paid  on

      that amount and not on the basis of the market value of  the  property

      at the presentation of the plaint.

 

We are of the view, Section 37 of  the  Court  Fees  Act,  which

      deals with the suits for cancellation of decrees etc. is not  governed

      by other Sections of the Court Fees Act, such as Section 7  and  other

      related  provisions.   

 If  Section  37  of  the  Court  Fees  Act  is

      interpreted  in  the  light  of  the  expression  “save  as  otherwise

      provided” used in Section 7 of the Court Fees Act,  it  becomes  clear

      that the rule enshrined therein is a  clear  departure  from  the  one

      contained in Section 7 read with Sections 24, 26, 28, 29, 34,  35,  42

      and 45, which provide for payment of Court Fee on the market value  of

      the property.  

In that context, we are also of the view  that  Section

      37 is stand alone provision, wherein the  legislature  has  designedly

      not used the expression “market value of the property”.    

Section  37

      of the Court Fees Act, therefore, contains a special rule for  valuing

      the property for the purpose of Court Fee and jurisdiction and  we  do

      not see any reason why the expression “value of the property” used  in

      Section 37 be substituted with the expression  “market  value  of  the

      property”.

 

 

      17.   In such circumstances, we are inclined to set aside the judgment

      of the High Court and allow these appeals.   Consequently, the  orders

      passed by the appellate Court as well as the High  Court  would  stand

      quashed.   The trial Court is directed to proceed  with  the  suit  in

      accordance with law and the declaration made by this Court.

 

 

      18.   The Appeals are, accordingly, allowed.  However, there  will  be

      no order as to costs.

2014(Feb.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41238

K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN, VIKRAMAJIT SEN

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 2456-2457 OF 2014
[Arising out of SLP (C) Nos.16353-54 of 2012)
Polamrasetti Manikyam & Anr. .. Appellants
Versus
Teegala Venkata Ramayya & Anr. .. Respondents
J U D G M E N T
K. S. RADHAKRISHNAN, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. We are, in this case, concerned with the interpretation of
Section 37 of the Andhra Pradesh Court Fees and Suits Valuation Act,
1956 (for short “the Court Fees Act”) as to whether it authorizes the
valuation of the suit on the basis of the sale consideration mentioned
in the sale deed or to be valued on the basis of the market value of
the property as on the date of presentation of the plaint for the
purpose of Court Fee and jurisdiction.
3. Learned Single Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in the
impugned judgment placing reliance on the Full Bench judgment of the
Madras High Court in Kolachala Kutumba Sastri v. Lakkaraju Bala
Tripura Sundaramma & Ors. AIR 1939 Mad. 462, and the Division Bench
Judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Lakshminagar Housing
Welfare Association v. Syed Sami @ Syed Samiuddin & Ors. (2010) 5 ALT
96, held that in a suit for cancellation of sale deed, Court Fee has
to be determined on the market value of the property as on the date of
presentation of the plaint and not the value shown in the registered
sale deed, the legality of which is under challenge in these appeals.
4. The Appellants/Plaintiffs filed O.S. No.114 of 2008 on 21.7.2008
before the Court of Junior Civil Judge, Kothavalasa, seeking, inter
alia, the following reliefs :-
“(a) to cancel the alleged sale deed dated 2.8.2002 which was got
registered as No.2496/05 by the Sub-Registrar, Kothavalasa on
dt. 30 July, 2005 as the orders of District Registrar dt.
26.07.2005 as it was obtained fraudulently;
(b) direct the defendants to pay the cost of the suit.”
5. Value of the suit for the purposes of Court Fee and jurisdiction
was shown as the value of the deed to be cancelled i.e. Rs.1 lakh.
Court Fee of Rs.3,426/- was paid under Section 37 of the Court Fees
Act, deposited vide Challan No.4239075 dated 29.7.2008. The
Appellants/Plaintiffs filed I.A. No.374 of 2008 under Order IX Rule 1
and 2 CPC for grant of temporary injunction restraining the
Respondents therein from interfering with peaceful possession and
enjoyment of the property and also filed I.A. No.375 of 2008 and
sought an order restraining the Respondents from operating the sale
deed until the disposal of the suit. During enquiry in I.A. No.375
of 2008, the Appellants/Plaintiffs got market value certificate dated
4.10.2002 as Exh.A-6 showing the market value of the property as
Rs.19,36,000/- by the year 2002 and contended that the alleged sale
for Rs.1 lakh was a fraudulent transaction. The Respondents raised
an objection that the Civil Judge has no jurisdiction to entertain the
suit since the Plaintiff’s case is that the market value of the
property is more than Rs.1 lakh. It was contended that for
cancellation of sale deed, Court Fee has to be calculated on the
current market value, but not as per value shown on the document.
Reliance was placed on the judgment of the Madras High Court in
Kolachala Kutumba Sastri (supra) and T.S. Rajam Ammal v. V.N.
Swaminathan & Ors. AIR 1954 Mad. 152, wherein it was held that in a
suit for cancellation of sale deed, Court Fee payable is on the market
value of the property involved as on the date of the plaint and not on
the consideration recited in it.
6. Learned Civil Judge vide his order dated 25.11.2008 took the
view that the Court Fee has to be calculated as per the market value
on the date of presentation of the plaint and not as per the value
shown on the document. Consequently, it was held that the Court has
no pecuniary jurisdiction to entertain the suit and the plaint was
returned under Order 7 Rule 10 CPC for presentation before the proper
Court.
7. The Appellants/Plaintiffs, aggrieved by the said order, filed
C.M.A. No.2 of 2009 in the Court of the Judge, Family Court-cum-
District and Sessions Judge, Vizianagaram. The appellate Court
dismissed the appeal vide its order dated 29.10.2009 holding that the
Court below has no jurisdiction to entertain the suit and the plaint
was correctly returned for presentation before the appropriate Court
holding that the Court Fee has to be calculated as per the market
value of the property as on the date of presentation of the plaint and
not on the value shown in the registered sale deed.
8. The Appellant, aggrieved by the said order, filed Civil Revision
Petition No.2539 of 2010 before the High Court of Andhra Pradesh,
Hyderabad. The learned Single Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High
Court, as already stated, placing reliance on the judgment of the
Madras High Court in T.S. Rajam Ammal (supra) and also the Full Bench
decision of the Madras High Court in Kolachala Kutumba Sastri (supra)
and also a Division Bench judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in
Lakshminagar Housing Welfare Association (supra), took the view that
under Section 37 of the Court Fees Act, for cancellation of the sale
deed the suit has to be valued on the basis of the market value of the
property governed by the sale deed on the date of presentation of the
plaint for the purposes of Court Fee and jurisdiction and not on the
basis of sale consideration mentioned in the sale deed. The
appellants then filed a review petition being Review CRP No.6557 of
2010 seeking review of the judgment based on the Judgment of this
Court in Satheedevi v. Prasanna and another (2010) 5 SCC 622. The
review petition was, however, dismissed on 19.1.2011. Aggrieved by
the same, these appeals have been preferred.
9. We are, in this case, concerned with the interpretation of
Section 37 of the Court Fees Act, which reads as follows :-
“37. Suits for cancellation of decrees, etc. – (1) In a suit
for cancellation of a decree for money or other property having
a money value, or other document which purports or operates to
create, declare, assign, limit or extinguish, whether in present
or in future, any right, title or interest in money, movable or
immovable property, fee shall be computed on the value of the
subject matter of the suit, and such value shall be deemed to be
:-
a) If the whole decree or other document is sought to be
cancelled, the amount or value of the property for which the
decree was passed or other document was executed;
b) If a part of the decree or other document is sought to be
cancelled, such part of the amount or of the value of the
property.
(2) If the decree or other document is such that the liability
under it cannot be split up and the relief claimed relates only
to a particular item of property belonging to the plaintiff or
to the plaintiff’s share in any such property, fee shall be
computed on the value of such property, or share or on the
amount of the decree, whichever is less.
Explanation : A suit to set aside an award shall be deemed to be
a suit for cancellation of a decree within the meaning of this
section.”
10. When the matter came up for hearing, the learned counsel for
either side brought to our knowledge a judgment of this Court in
Satheedevi (supra) and submitted that a similar issue came up for
consideration in the above-mentioned case while interpreting Section
40 of the Kerala Court Fees and Suit Valuation Act, 1959, which is
pari materia with Section 37 of the Andhra Pradesh Court Fees and
Suits Valuation Act, 1956. While interpreting the scope of Section 40
of the Kerala Act, this Court had occasion to examine the ratio laid
down by Full Bench of the Madras High Court in Kolachala Kutumba
Sastri (supra) and took the view that in the said the interpretation
of Section 7(iv-a) of the Court Fee Act, as case, the Madras High
Court was primarily concerned with amended by the Madras Act, which
refers to the value of the property simplicitor and the Court
interpreted the same as market value. It was pointed out that the
Full Bench was not called upon to interpret a provision like Section
40 of the Act. Consequently, it was held that the ratio of that
judgment cannot be relied upon for the purpose of interpretation of
Section 40 of the Act. While doing so, the Court also opined that
the Division Bench judgment of the Kerala High Court in Krishnan
Damodaran v. Padmanabhan Parvathy 1972 KLT 774, P.K. Vasudeva Rao v.
K.C. Hari Menon AIR 1982 Ker 35, Pachayammal v. Dwaraswamy Pillai 2006
(3) KLT 527 and the learned Single Judge judgments in Appikunju
Meerasayu v. Meeran 1964 KLT 895 and Uma Antherjanam v. Govindaru
Namboodiripad 1966 KLT 1046 do not lay down the correct law since the
High Court had failed to appreciate that the legislature has
designedly used a different language in Section 40 of the Act and the
term “market value” has not been used therein.
11. We have already indicated that Section 40 of the Kerala Act and
Section 37 of the Court Fees Act are pari materia provisions.
Consequently, the reasoning of this Court in Satheedevi (supra) could
be safely applied when we interpret Section 37 of the Court Fees Act.
12. In Satheedevi (supra), this Court while interpreting Section 40
of the Kerala Act held as follows :-
“17. Section 40 deals with suits for cancellation of decrees,
etc. which are not covered by other sections. If this section is
interpreted in the light of the expression “save as otherwise
provided” used in Section 7(1), it becomes clear that the rule
enshrined therein is a clear departure from the one contained in
Section 7 read with Sections 25, 27, 29, 30, 37, 38, 45 and 48
which provide for payment of court fee on the market value of
the property. In that sense, Section 40 contains a special rule.
18. Section 40(1) lays down that in a suit for cancellation of a
decree for money or other property having a money value, or
other document which purports or operates to create, declare,
assign, limit or extinguish, whether in the present or in
future, any right, title or interest in money, movable or
immovable property, fee shall be computed on the value of the
subject-matter of the suit and further lays down that such value
shall be deemed to be, if the whole decree or other document
sought to be cancelled, the amount or value of the property for
which the decree was passed or other document was executed. If a
part of the decree or other document is sought to be cancelled,
such part of the amount or value of the property constitute the
basis for fixation of court fee. Sub-section (2) lays down that
if the decree or other document is such that the liability under
it cannot be split up and the relief claimed relates only to a
particular item of the property belonging to the plaintiff or
the plaintiff’s share in such property, fee shall be computed on
the value of such property, or share or on the amount of the
decree, whichever is less.
19. The deeming clause contained in the substantive part of
Section 40(1) makes it clear that in a suit filed for
cancellation of a document which creates any right, title or
interest in immovable property, the court fee is required to be
computed on the value of the property for which the document was
executed. To put it differently, the value of the property for
which the document was executed and not its market value is
relevant for the purpose of court fee. If the expression “value
of the subject-matter of the suit” was not followed by the
deeming clause, it could possibly be argued that the word
“value” means the market value, but by employing the deeming
clause, the legislature has made it clear that if the document
is sought to be cancelled, the amount of court fee shall be
computed on the value of the property for which the document was
executed and not the market value of the property. The words
“for which” appearing between the words “property” and “other
documents” clearly indicate that the court fee is required to be
paid on the value of the property mentioned in the document,
which is the subject-matter of challenge.
20. If the legislature intended that fee should be payable on
the market value of the subject-matter of the suit filed for
cancellation of a document which purports or operates to create,
declare, assign, limit or extinguish any present or future
right, title and interest, then it would have, instead of
incorporating the requirement of payment of fees on the value of
subject-matter, specifically provided for payment of court fee
on the market value of the subject-matter of the suit as has
been done in respect of other types of suits mentioned in
Sections 25, 27, 29, 30, 37, 38, 45 and 48. The legislature may
have also, instead of using the expression “value of the
property for which the document was executed”, used the
expression “value of the property in respect of which the
document was executed”. However, the fact of the matter is that
in Section 40(1) the legislature has designedly not used the
expression “market value of the property”.
13. Applying the above reasoning, this Court in Satheedevi (supra)
upheld the view expressed by learned Single Judge of the Andhra
Pradesh High Court in Allam Venkateswara Reddy v. Golla
Venkatanarayana AIR 1975 AP 122 and the Division Bench judgment of the
Madras High Court in Venkata Narasimha Raju v. Chaandrayya AIR 1927
Mad 825, Navaraja v. Kaliappa Gounder (1967) 80 Mad LW 19 (SN) and
Arunachalathammal v. Sudalaimuthu Pillai (1968) 83 Mad LW 789 and
ruled that those judgments have laid down the correct law.
14. This Court in Satheedevi (supra), therefore, gave its seal of
approval to the judgment of learned Single Judge of the Andhra Pradesh
High Court in Allam Venkateswara Reddy (supra), wherein learned Single
Judge took the view that in a suit for cancellation of sale deed which
was executed for a specified amount, the Court Fee has to be paid on
that amount and not on the basis of the market value of the property
at the presentation of the plaint.
15. The Andhra Pradesh High Court in the impugned judgment, while
interpreting Section 37 of the Court Fees Act, placed reliance on the
Division Bench judgment in Lakshminagar Housing Welfare Association
(supra), wherein the Bench, as already indicated, placed reliance on
the Full Bench judgment of the Madras High Court in Kolachala Kutumba
Sastri (supra), though a reference was made to the learned Single
Judge Bench judgment in Allam Venkateswara Reddy (supra). Since we
are in agreement with the reasoning in Satheedevi (supra), which has
given its seal of approval to the reasoning of the learned Single
Judge judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Allam Venkateswara
Reddy (supra), the judgment of the Division Bench in Lakshminagar
Housing Welfare Association (supra) is no more good law.
16. We are of the view, Section 37 of the Court Fees Act, which
deals with the suits for cancellation of decrees etc. is not governed
by other Sections of the Court Fees Act, such as Section 7 and other
related provisions. If Section 37 of the Court Fees Act is
interpreted in the light of the expression “save as otherwise
provided” used in Section 7 of the Court Fees Act, it becomes clear
that the rule enshrined therein is a clear departure from the one
contained in Section 7 read with Sections 24, 26, 28, 29, 34, 35, 42
and 45, which provide for payment of Court Fee on the market value of
the property. In that context, we are also of the view that Section
37 is stand alone provision, wherein the legislature has designedly
not used the expression “market value of the property”. Section 37
of the Court Fees Act, therefore, contains a special rule for valuing
the property for the purpose of Court Fee and jurisdiction and we do
not see any reason why the expression “value of the property” used in
Section 37 be substituted with the expression “market value of the
property”.
17. In such circumstances, we are inclined to set aside the judgment
of the High Court and allow these appeals. Consequently, the orders
passed by the appellate Court as well as the High Court would stand
quashed. The trial Court is directed to proceed with the suit in
accordance with law and the declaration made by this Court.
18. The Appeals are, accordingly, allowed. However, there will be
no order as to costs.
eard Hear……………………………..J.
(K. S. Radhakrishnan)
eard Hear……………………………..J.
(Vikramajit Sen)
New Delhi,
February 19, 2014.

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