The Suits Valuation Act, 1887
This Blog is written by Riya Gupta from Jindal Global Law School, Haryana. Edited by Ravikiran Shukre.
The Valuation of suit has two purposes or types. One, it has to be valued in order to determine the pecuniary jurisdiction of the court for trying and disposing of the cases and second, for determining the amount of court fee to be paid.
The two statutes that regulate the valuation of the suits are The Court Fees Act of 1870 and the Suits Valuation Act of 1887. The valuation done in order to determine the jurisdiction is done under the Suits Valuation Act 1887 and the valuation to determine the amount of court fees payable is regulated under the Court Fees act 1870. For the objective of determining the court fee in particular classes of suits, the fee can be decided according to the rules under section 9 of the Suits valuation act.
In a likely circumstance the two valuations might be identical however it cannot be ascertained. The possibility of there being a difference between the valuation for jurisdictional purpose and for the court fees purpose is strong.
OBJECTIVES OF THE RESEARCH:
This work is neither argumentative nor is it based on the premise of a thesis statement. This work is to offer a reference to the members of the legal community to understand the aspects of valuation of suits.
HISTORY OF VALUATION OF SUITS:
The emergence of the valuation of suits as a codified law has happened in the nineteenth century.
Dating back to ancient India, during the Mughal rule and the period preceding that, the system of levying court fees was non-existent and unknown. No fees were imposed on the administration of Justice; as redressal of grievances was considered to be the basic task for the ruler as the guardian of the people. The British Rule introduced regulations for imposition of court fees in or around 1795. “Initially the amount of fees that was levied was minimal, but with course of time it boosted with a point of view that it would prevent the institution of baseless and frivolous lawsuit and as an effective deterrent to the abuse of process of courts, without causing obstruction to the institution of just claims.” From this very background the two acts came into being suits valuation act was assented by the Governor General of council on 11th day of February 1887.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS DEVELOPMENT:
This development came in to being in order to guard against the mistakes of valuing of suit for the purpose of jurisdiction and that of court-fee, every person was required to present the value of the suit for both jurisdictional purposes and for computing the court-fee as per the procedure. This information is essential for the court to determine whether the plaint should be admissible under order 7, Rule 10, of the code of Civil Procedure. In case the plaint fails to mention the value of the suit for jurisdictional purposes, the presenter is to be questioned and either asked to amend it right there or the reason for the same is recorded on the plaint.
LEGAL PROVISIONS REGULATING THE VALUATION OF SUITS:
The provisions of the Suits valuation act were divided into three parts and twelve sections thereby. Part one and two consisting of the provisions related to suits valuation in relation to certain matters. Thereof, the first part dealing with the valuation of suits relating to the land matters. Section two in that at first dealt with providing for extension and commencement of this part, in which it states that the provisions herein should extend to stated governments established areas and also it decided the date, the provisions herein should come into effect.
After the commencement of the Maharashtra extension and amendment act,1960 provisions of section 3-5 ceased to have any force in the state of Maharashtra except according to the state government’s discretion.
Section 3 states the power of the State Government to make rules, to ascertain the value of land in order to determine the jurisdiction of the court in order to figure out the suit’s connection and to deal with the provisions of the Court fees act,1870.
Section 4 talks about the valuation of relief, in connection with certain lawsuits related to land, it states that the valuation of relief must not exceed the value of land, for this purpose the valuation of relief is done under the aforesaid rule of state government. Further the process for formation and enforcement of such rules is given under the section 5 of the act, provided that the state government consults the High court at first and ensures gap of a month between the making and publishing period in the official gazette of such rules.
Initially the act vested the power as per the above-mentioned sections in the ‘Provincial Government’ but after the adoption of the act in the Independent India, this power was transferred to be vested with the ‘State Government’.
Moreover, Section 6 of the act states that when the rules are formed and implemented under this provision and extended to the territories where earlier the provisions of the Madras Civil Court,1873 were being extended. Now, under this provision the section 14 of that Act of 1873 was to be repealed in relation thereto. However, the Maharashtra act, 1960 has repealed this provision. 
Furthermore, second part of the act provides provisions as to valuation relating to other lawsuits. Section 7 presents the enforcement of this part on July 1st 1887.
Section 8 hold importance as it is related to the determination of valuation of the court fee and jurisdiction of the suit apart from the suits given underneath section 7, paragraphs V, VI, XI and X of the Court Fee Act, 1870.  The value should however be the same as ad valorem under the court fee act, 1870.
Section 9 also provides that the High court has the power to determine or decide the value of certain suits, where it is of the opinion that the suit was not appropriately and adequately valued such that the suit was not held admissible. Although the High court requires the mandatory sanction of the state government in order to direct such valuations.
Third part of the Suits valuation act provides supplementary provision, where section 11 mentions the procedure in case of concerns related to the valuation of the suit or appeal for the purpose of jurisdiction. It has been emphasised that the Appellate court or the upper appellate court should not accommodate objections such as the original court of jurisdiction or lower appellate court did not have the jurisdiction due to the over valuation or under valuation as the case maybe. The objection is to be entertained only when it is raised in front of the lower court or if this miss-valuation of the suit will affect the opinion of the upper courts, prejudicially. 
Vasanthi v. N. Ramani Kanthammal:
The Supreme court in the above mentioned case expressed that the “proper valuation of a suit property stands on a different footing than applicability of a particular provision of an Act under which court fee is payable. It is because the Act empowers the Defendant to raise the plea of jurisdiction on a different yardstick.” It cannot be said that evidence is the base for its determination and that it is a matter for the benefit of the revenue and the state and not to arm a contesting party with a weapon of defence to obstruct he trial of an action. 
Further the case of Suhrid Singh alias Sardool Singh v. Randhir Singh and Ors. Was mentioned and it was quoted that “where the executant of a deed wants it to be annulled, he has to seek cancellation of the deed. But if a non-executant seeks annulment of a deed, he has to seek a declaration that the deed is invalid, or non-Est, or illegal or that it is not binding on him.”
A few other Supreme court cases related to the Act:
- Distt. Sub-registrar Siliguri Vs. Pawan Kumar Verma and ors.
- G. Ghanshamdas and ors. Vs. Collector of Madras
- Church of South India Trust Association Vs. Telugu Church Council
- Commercial Aviation and Travel Company and ors. Vs. Vimla Pannalal
- Devasahayam (D) by Lrs. Vs. P. Savithramma and ors.
- Lakshmi NaraIn Vs. First Additional District Judge, Allahabad
- M/S Anita International Vs. Tungabadra Sugar Works Maz.Sangh and Ors.
- Maulavi Abdur Rub Firoze Ahmed and Co. Vs. Jay Krishna Arora
- Meenakshisundaram Chettiar Vs. Venkatachalam Chettiar
- Nawab John and ors. Vs. V.N. Subramaniyam
- Neelavathi and ors. Vs. N. Natarajan and ors.
- Nemi Chand and anr. Vs. the Edward Mills Co. Ltd. and anr.
- Rattan Lal and Co. and anr. Vs. the Assessing Authority and anr.
- Rm.Ar.S.Sp. Sathappa Chettiar Vs. S.Rm.Ar.Rm. Ramanathan Chettiar
- Shamsher Singh Vs. Rajinder Prashad and ors.
- Nandita Bose Vs. Ratanlal Nahata
- State of Himachal Pradesh and ors. Vs. Shivalik Agro Poly Products and
- State of Jammu and Kashmir and ors. Vs. Caltex India (Ltd.)
- Subhash Mahadevasa Habib Vs. Nemasa Ambasa Dharmadas (D) by Lrs.
- Sujir Keshav Nayak Vs. Sujir Ganesh Nayak
- Vasudev Dhanjibhai Modi Vs. Rajabhai Abdul Rehman and ors.
Objection to jurisdiction on the ground of valuation should be taken at the earliest possible time. It cannot be taken during the arguments.  Section 11 applies to all cases of over or under valuation however it may have occurred.  A party to a suit who has adopted a valuation cannot object to it in the same proceeding.  An objection as to under or over valuation cannot be taken before the executing court as a bar to the execution of the decree. 
(1) The Secretary to the Government … vs P.R. Sriramulu & Anr on 22 November, 1995, [(1996) AIR 767]
(4) The Suits Valuation Act, 1887
(6) Vasanthi and Ors. Vs. N. Ramani Kanthammal (D) Rep. by L.Rs. and Ors. [Civil Appeal No. 3396 of 2017]
(7) [(2010) 12 SCC 112]
(9) [AIR (1934) Pat 184]
(10) [AIR (1931) Cal 849]
(11) [PLD (1956) SC 38]
(12) [AIR (1938) Pesh 77]