The Vishnu Pratap Sugar Works (P) Ltd.
Vs. The Chief Inspector of Stamps, U.P  INSC 142 (4 May 1967)
04/05/1967 SHELAT, J.M.
CITATION: 1968 AIR 102 1967 SCR (3) 920
Court Fees Act, 1870 (8 of 1870), S. 7
(iv-A), (a) and S. 7 (iv-B) (b)-Acts impositing tax-Suit for injunction on the
ground that Acts void-court fee payable.
The appellant-company filed a suit against
the State of U.P.
and Union of India for a permanent injunction
restraining the State from proceeding to realise cess and tax under the U.P.
Sugar Cane Cess Act 1956 read with U.P. Sugar Cane Cess (Validation) Act, 1961
and the Sugar Cane Purchase Tax Act, 1961 on the ground that the Acts were
invalid and void. On its plaint, the appellant paid court-fees under subs.
(iv-B) (b) of s. 7 on the footing that the relief sought was an injunction. The
respondent the Chief Inspector of Stamps objected, contending that court-fees
payable were under subs. (iv-A) of s. 7 on the ground that the suit was for a
declaratory decree, where consequential relief prayed for was an injunction or
of adjudging void an instrument securing money or other property having such
value. The trial Court rejected the respondent's objection, which the High
Court reversed. In appeal, this Court, HELD : The court-fees payable on the
plaint were tinder cl.
(b) of sub-s. (iv-B) of s. 7 and neither cl.
(a) of sub-s. (iv-A) of s. 7 nor sub-s. (iv-A) of s. 7 applied.
The plaint when read as a whole showed that
though the appellant alleged that the Acts were void and therefore nonest for
the reasons set out therein, it did not seek any declaration that they were
void. The plaint proceeded on the footing that the said Acts were void and that
therefore the State of U.P. or its authorities had no power to realise the tax
-and the cess. It may be that while deciding whether to grant the injunction or
not, the court might have to consider the 'question as to the validity or
otherwise of the said Acts. But that must happen in almost every case where an
injunction is prayed for. If for the mere reason that the court might have to
go into such a question, a prayer for injunction were to be treated as one for
a declaratory decree of which the consequential relief is injunction all suits
where injunction is prayed for would have to be treated as falling under cl.
(a) of sub-s. (iv) of s. 7 and in that view cl. (b) of sub-s. (iv) of s. 7
would be superfluous. [924E-H] Ramanbhai Ashabhai Patel v. Dabhi Ajitkumar
Fulsinji,  1 S.C.R. 712 : referred to.
Ordinarily a statute is not an instrument
unless as in the case of Conveyancing Act, 1881, the definition includes it or
as in the case of s. 205 (1) (viii) of the Law of Property Act, 1925, the
statute creates a settlement and such statute is for that 'reason treated as
-,in instrument, so, the Acts alleged in the plaint to be void are not
instruments within the meaning of sub-s. (iv-A) of s. 7.
[923 G-H] Mohan Chowdhury v. The Chief
Commissioner  3 S.C.R.
442, and Emperor v. Ravangouda Lingangouda
Patil, A.T.R, 1944 Bom. 259. referred to.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal
No. 1668 of 1966.
Appeal by special leave from the judgment and
order dated November 2, 1965 of the Allahabad High Court in Civil Revision No.
1095 of 1965.
G. N. Dixit, for the appellant.
Bishan Narain and 0. P. Rana, for the
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Shelat, J. The appellant-company filed suit No. 16 of 1963 against the State of
Uttar Pradesh and the Union of India, inter alia, praying for a permanent
injunction regaining the State of Uttar Pradesh, its servants and agents from
realising or from proceeding to realise sugarcane cess and purchase tax
amounting to Rs. 33 lakhs and odd charged under the U.P. Sugar Cane (Regulation
of Supply and Purchase) Act, 1953, the Sugar Cane Cess Act, 1956 read with the
U.P. Sugar Cane Cess (Validation) Act, 1961 and the U.P. Sugar Cane Purchase
Tax Act, IX of 1961. In the said suit, the appellant-company, inter-alia,
alleged that the Acts for the diverse reasons set out therein were invalid and
void and therefore the State was not entitled to levy, collect or recover the
said cess or the purchase tax and prayed, as aforesaid. that the State should
be restrained from proceeding to realise the said cess or tax. The appellantcompany
paid court-fees on its said plaint under sub-s. (ivB) (b) of S. 7 on the
footing that the relief sought in the suit was an injunction. The Chief
Inspector of Stamps objected to the court-fees being paid under cl. (b) of subs.
(iv-B) of S. 7 contending that the court-fees payable were as provided under
sub-s. (iv) (a) of s. 7 or under subs. (iv-A) of S. 7, that is to say, on the
footing that the suit was for a declaratory decree where consequential relief
prayed for was an injunction or on the footing that the suit involved
cancellation of or of adjudging void an instrument securing money or other
property having such value. The trial Judge rejected the objections and held
that the court fees payable were adequate as cl. (b) of sub-s. (iv-B) of S.
7 applied. The Chief Inspector of Stamps
thereupon filed a revision application before the High Court reiterating the
said objections. The High Court rejected the contention that s. 7 (iv) (a)
applied but held that sub-s. (iv-A) of S. 7 applied as the said Acts were
instruments securing money within the meaning of that subsection and that
though the relief claimed in the suit was injunction, in substance and effect
the suit involved ad judgment of the said Acts as void. Hence this appeal by
Sub-s. (iv-A) of S. 7 reads as follows:"For
cancellation or ad ' judging void instruments and decree-In suits for or
involving cancellation of or 922 adjudging void or voidable............ an
instrument securing money or other property having such value".
The question which falls for determination is
whether an Act passed by the Central or the State Legislature can be said to be
an instrument and, if so, an instrument securing money or other property having
such value. The Court-fees Act does not define the word 'instrument'. That
being so we have to turn for the connotation of the word 'instrument' to its
ordinary dictionary meaning. According to Stroud's Judicial Dictionary, 3rd Ed.
Vol. 11, p. 1472, 'instrument' means 'a writing, and generally imports a
document of a formal legal kind. Semble, the word may include an Act of
Parliament (see Deed of Settlement) so in the Trustee Act, 1925 (15 Geo. 5, c.
18), S. 68........... (11) Conveyancing Act, 1881 (44 & 45 Viet. c. 41) S.
2(xiii), "'instrument' includes deed, will, in closure, award, and Act of
Parliament". Thus, an 'instrument' may include a statute enacted by
Parliament if the particular statute in its context includes it as an instrument.
According to Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law,, p. 984 "Instrument'
means "a formal legal writing, e.g., a record charter, deed of transfer or
agreement". It is, however, observed that under the Law of Property Act,
1925, S. 205(1) (van), 'instrument' for the purposes of this Act does not
include a tatute unless the statute creates a settlement. "An instrument
is a writing and generally means a writing of a formal nature.
But where there is a power to appoint by any
deed or instrument o by will, any writing, such as a letter, which refers to
the power, or which can have effect only by operating on the fund (such as a
cheque or other order for payment), is an instrument. A telegram is an
instrument within the meaning of the Forgery Act, 1912, s. 7, and so is an
envelope with a postmark falsified for the purposes of a betting fraud".
According to the same dictionary, the word 'enact' means to act, perform or
effect; to establish by law; to decree and an 'enactment' means an Act of
Parliament or statute or any part thereof. A statute, according to Maxwell on
Interpretation of Statutes, 11th Ed. p. I is -the will of the legislature, i.e.
an edict of the legislature.
A statute is, however, different from a
statutory instrument as defined by -the Statutory Instruments Act (9 & 10
Geo. 6, c. 36) 1946 where power to make, confirm, or approve orders, rules,
regulations or other subordinate legislation is conferred on His Majesty in
Council or on any Minister of 'the Crown., a document by which that power is exercised
is a statutory instrument. Similarly, where by an Act passed before the
enactment of the Statutory Instrument Act, 1946, power to make statutory rules
is conferred on any rulemaking authority, any document by which that power is
exercised is a statutory instrument. Thus, whereas a statute is an edict of the
legislature, a statutory instrument as distinguished from such an edict is a
document whereby the rule making power 923 is expressed. In Mohan Chowdhary v.
The Chief Commissioner Tripura(1) the question arose whether the order dated
November 3, 1962, passed by the President under Art. 359(1) of the Constitution
suspending the right of any person to move any court for the enforcement of
rights conferred by Arts. 21 and 22 during the Proclamation of Emergency was an
instrument withinthe meaning of s. 8(1) of the General Clauses Act, 1897.
Inconsidering that question this Court approved the meaning of the word
'instrument' given by Stroud and observed:"The expression is also used to
signify a deed interparties or a charter or a record or other writing of a
formal nature. But in the context of the General Clauses Act, it has to be
understood as including reference to a formal legal writing like an Order made
under a statute or subordinate legislation or any document of a formal
character made under constitutional or statutory authority. We have no doubt in
our mind for the expression 'instrument' in S. 8 was meant to include reference
to the Order made by the President in exercise of his constitutional
The President's Order having been made under
power conferred upon him by Art. 359 that Order would have the same connotation
as the Statutory instrument defined by the statutory Instruments Act 1946 and
therefore was an instrument within the meaning of s. 8(1) of the General
Clauses Act. That does not mean that a statute like the U.P. Court-fees Act
which is an edict of the legislature is an instrument. In Emperor v. Rayangouda
Lingangouda Patil(1) the High Court of Bombay considered whether an order of
the Government delegating its power to District Magistrates under the Defence
of India Rules was an instrument within the meaning of s. 8(1) of the General
Clauses Act. The High Court held that an instrument, generally speaking, means
a writing usually importing a document of a formal legal kind. in but it does
not include Acts of Parliament unless there is a statutory definition to that
effect in any Act. There is thus ample authority to hold that ordinarily a
statute is not an instrument unless as in the case of Conveyancing Act of 1881,
the definition includes it or as in the case of s. 205 (I ) (viii) of the Law
of Property Act, 1925, the statute creates a settlement and such statute is for
that reason treated as an instrument. It would not therefore be correct to say
that the Acts alleged in the plaint to be void are instruments within the
meaning of sub-s. (iv-A) of s. 7. In this view, it does not become necessary to
decide whether the Acts are instruments securing money or other property having
such value. Sub-s. (iv-A) of s. 7 would not, therefore, apply and the High
Court was not right in calling upon the (1)  3 S C.R. 442.
(2) A.I.R. 1944 Bom, 259.
924 appellant-company to pay additional
court-fees under that subsection.
Mr. Bishan Narain, however, argued that even
if these Acts are not instruments, the plaint if read in substance rather than
in form is for a declaratory decree with injunction as the consequential relief
and therefore subs. (iv) (a) of s. 7 would apply and the court-fees paid merely
on the footing of the suit being for an injunction would not be adequate. As
stated earlier, the High Court rejected this contention as untenable. Mr.
Bishan Narain, contended that he was nonetheless entitled to argue that the
High Court was in error and that sub-s. (iv) (a) would apply and not cl. (b) of
sub-s. (iv-B). For this purpose he relied on some observations in Ramanbhai
Ashabhai Patel v.
Dabhi Ajitkumar Fulsinji(l), where it has
been held that as soon as special leave is granted this Court has the power to
decide all the points arising from the judgment appealed against and even in
the absence of an express provision like
0. XLI, r. 22 of the Code of Civil Procedure
it can devise appropriate procedure to be adopted at the hearing.
Assuming that Mr. Bishan Narain can urge the
contention that S. 7 (iv) (a) applies in the present case the contention still
fails. It is true that for purposes of the Court fees Act, it is the substance
and not the form which has to be considered while deciding which particular
provision of the Act applies. It cannot, however, be gainsaid that the actual
relief prayed for in the plaint was an injunction restraining the State and its
authorities to realise from the appellant-company the aforesaid cess and the
purchase tax. It is clear from the plaint when read as a whole that though the
appellant-company alleged that the Acts were void and therefore non-est for the
reasons set out therein, it did not seek any declaration that they were void.
The plaint procedure on the footing that the said Acts were void and that
therefore this State of U.P. or its authorities had no power to realise the tax
and the said cess. It may be that while deciding whether to grant the
injunction or not, the court might have to consider the question as to the
validity or otherwise of the said Acts. But that must happen in almost every
case where an injunction is prayed for. If for the mere reason that the court
might have to go into such a question, a prayer for injunction were to be
treated as one for a declaratory decree of which the consequential relief is
injunction all suits where injunction is prayed for would have to be treated as
falling under cl. (a) of sub-s. (iv) of S. 7 and in that view cl.
(b) of sub-s. (iv-B) of s. 7 would be
superfluous. The contention urged by Mr. Bishan Narain, therefore, cannot be
For the reasons aforesaid, we are of the view
that neither cl. (a) of sub-s. (iv-A) of s. 7 nor sub-s. (iv-A) of s. 7 would
1) 19651 1 S.C.R 712.
925 apply and the court-fees payable on the
plaint were under cl. (b) of sub-s. (iv-B) of S. 7. The appeal, therefore, has
to be allowed. The order of the High Court is set aside and the order of the
trial court is restored. The respondent will pay the appellant-company the
costs of this appeal.
Y.P. Appeal allowed.