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MEERA SAIBO v. OMEB LEBBE.
D. G., Batticaloa, 1,868.
Action for the whole amount of the bond instead of the moiety due—Unnecessarycosts—Liability of plaintiff to pay defendant the extra costs of action inwrong class.
If a plaintiff exaggerates his claim and thereby causes unnecessaryexpense to the defendant, the defendant is entitled, whatever the resultof the action be, to be recouped these unnecessary costs.
HIS was an action brought on the 28th March, 1898, for therecovery of Rs. 1,125 said to be due upon a deed wherein
defendant acknowledged himself to be indebted to the plaintiffin that sum. Rs. 562.50 'hereof was payable in September, 1897,and the balance Rs. 562.50 was payable in September, 1898.The District Judge entered judgment for the plaintiff for the firstinstalment, which became due on September, 1897, viz., Rs. 562.50,and costs.
Sam-payo, for appellant.
Wendt, for respondent.
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment on the merits, butmade order as follows as to the question of costs:—
22nd November, 1899. Bonser C.J.—
With regard to the question of costs, the action was broughtadmittedly for a larger amount than was due on the bond. Thebond was for Bs. 1,125, and the plaintiff admits that at the date ofaction only half of that sum was due; and that he was onlyentitled to judgment for half of that sum. The result of hisbringing the action for the whole amount of the bond instead offor the moiety which was due was to involve, not only himself,but the defendant in unnecessary costs: the defendant had toaffix stamps to his pleadings, his notices to witnesses, and theother documents necessary for his defence on a higher scale thanwould otherwise have been the case.
The question is one of some importance to litigants in this Island,where the practice is different to that prevailing in England. InEngland the Court fees do not depend on the value of the reliefsought, so this question does not arise there. But here this ques-tion must frequently arise, and we think it right to lay down thatif a plaintiff exaggerates his claim and thereby causes unnecessaryexpense to the defendant, the defendant is entitled, whatever theresult of the action be, to be recouped those unnecessary costs.
The order in the present case will be that the appeal be dis-missed with costs, as the appellant has failed on the merits of hisappeal, but we direct the plaintiff to pay to the defendant anyextra costs which may have been occasioned by his bringing theaction in the wrong class. The defendant will set off those costsagainst those which he will have to pay the plaintiff.
Withers, J., concurred.
MEEEA SAIBO v. OMEE LEBBE