Court cannot be a silent spectator when any party manifestly under estimates the valuation on estimation of relief: Bombay High Court

The value as determinable for computation of court fee and value for the purposes of jurisdiction shall be the same. No party to the litigation is given any absolute right to put any valuation whatsoever on such relief even though the estimation of relief and valuation submitted by the party is required to be ordinarily accepted. However, if any party deliberately under values the valuation on the estimation of relief, the court is not supposed to be a silent spectator thereto and has clear jurisdiction to interfere. A division bench of Kathawalla J and Milind Jadhav J, while adjudicating the matter in Maqbool Ansar v. M/s Devkaran & Co; [APPEAL (L) NO.3786 OF 2020] dealt with the issue of determination of pecuniary jurisdiction.

A suit had been filed by the respondent-plaintiff claimed himself to be the owner of suit premises. That the Plaintiff had permitted Respondent Nos. 4 and 5 / original Defendant Nos. 4 and 5 to occupy the suit premises for the purpose of carrying on their respective businesses. According to the Plaintiff, sometime in the year 2018, Respondent No. 2 / original Defendant No. 1 attempted to forcibly trespass upon the suit premises, claiming that he had purchased the same. Thereafter Defendant No. 1 once again tried to illegally take possession of the suit premises with the help of Defendant No. 2. This led to Defendant Nos. 4 and 5 filing a police complaint with the Powai Police Station, and a First Information Report (FIR) came to be registered against Defendant Nos. 1 and 2. Subsequently, upon Defendant Nos. 1 and 2 and giving assurances that they would not interfere with the suit premises, Defendant Nos. 4 and 5 agreed for quashing of the FIR. Defendant Nos. 1 and 2 filed Writ Petition before this Court for quashing the FIR, in which they admitted that Defendant No. 1 was not the owner of the suit premises. According to the Plaintiff, Defendant No. 2 with the help of his goons attempted to forcibly take possession of the suit premises.

The Court upon considering the aforesaid facts dismissed the appeal and stated that “A perusal of the aforesaid extracted portions of the plaint show that the suit is not merely for cancellation of the Agreement for Sale between Defendant Nos. 1 and 2. The same is for a declaration of the ownership right, title and interest in the suit premises which the Plaintiff claims solely unto itself. The plaint has narrated several instances of how Defendant Nos. 1 and / or 2 have attempted to claim title to the suit premises adverse to that of the Plaintiff, as well as instances of Defendant Nos. 1 and / or 2 attempting to take over forcible possession of the suit premises from Defendant Nos. 4 and 5. The Plaintiff has stated that the proceedings is a suit for land in respect of the suit premises. Plaintiff has also prayed for permanent injunction against the Defendant Nos.1 and 2 from in any manner relying upon the agreement for sale and disturbing the possession, right and interest of the Plaintiff in the suit premises. In view of the above discussion, we are unable to accept the Appellant’s contentions that the present suit is principally one for cancellation of the agreement for sale or that the other reliefs in the suit are consequential or incidental to the same, or that the suit must be valued”

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