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PERUMAL v. TERUNNANSE.
D. C., Colombo, 6,667.
Seduction of amount of claim—Fall of tuit from a higher clou to a lowerclan of etamp duty—Right of party to use stamps appropriate to thelower class.
Where a plaintiff, by reducing his claim by amendment of plaint,redaces the class of the case, the stamp duty payable on proceedingsafter snch amendment is as on an action in the lower class.
rpHE facts material to this case appear in the judgment ofthe Supreme Court.
Domhorst, for appellant.
Bawa, for respondent.
24th September, 1895. BONSBR, C.J.—
This is an appeal by the plaintiff against an order of Mr. Templer,Acting District Judge of Colombo, rejecting his amended plaint.The case illustrates the procedure of the District Court of Colombo.
The action was by the assignee of a lease against the lessee,claiming Rs. 200 as rent, and also damages Rs. 1,000 for breach of
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1IK. certain covenants in the lease as to the management of the land,f! j The case therefore was one for Rs. 1,000 damages and Rs. 200 forrent doe ; bnt in order to bring the case within class IV. of theStamp Ordinance, the plaintiff waived Rs. -200 of his claim, makinghis claim Rs. 1,000, which is the maximum amount of class IV.
On the 26th of March the case came on for trial, and the plaintiffthen wished to amend his plaint by abandoning his claim fordamages, and making his claim to one for rent only, and healso wished to make some merely verbal alterations to correctsome mistakes which were pointed out by the defendant’s counsel.Why these amendments were not made then and there, and whythe only issue left as to the rent was not- tried and determined atonce, I cannot conceive.
But that course was not adopted. The Acting District Judg^allowed the plaintiff time to amend his plaint, but ordered him topay all costs consequent on the amendment, while the costs of theday were ordered to abide the final result of the action.
Then, instead of a day being fixed for the trial, the case wasordered to be taken off the roll. That was an order which oughtnot to have been made. Then, on the 30th of April, a motion wasmade on behalf of the plaintiff to allow the amendment whichhad already been allowed.
That motion the Acting District Judge dealt with thus: heordered the matter to be listed for argument as to the sufficiencyof the plaint as amended, on the ground that the plaint had under-gone a complete transformation by being restricted to a claim forrent only. Why it should have been listed for argument I can-not understand. Then, when it came on for argument beforeMr. Templer as to the sufficiency of the amendment, he did nothold it insufficient, but he rejected it altogether, on the groundthat the original plaint was one for Rs. 1,000, whilst- the new plaint^was one for Rs. 200 only, and he appears to have assented to theargument of Mr. Bawa, that the defendant would be seriouslyembarrassed by having a lesser liability to answer. He seems tohave also thought that the defendant would have to pay for stampson all his processes as in an action for Rs. 1,000, and would notbe allowed to use stamps as in an action for Rs. 200. In this Ithink he was completely wrong. I asked counsel whether therewas any provision in the Stamp Ordinance which makes it neces-sary for parties sued for the recovery of Rs. 200 to use stamps asin an action for Rs. 1,000, and, as I expected, no such provisionwas forthcoming. We were told that this was the practice ofthe District Court. If so, the practice is clearly wrong, andthe sooner it is altered the better.
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The case should now be tried on the only issue left, that iay
the question of defendant’s liability to pay this sum of Rs. 200 Witbbis J.for rent. I cannot make the District Judge pay the costs of allthese useless proceedings. But no costs will be allowed of anyof the proceedings subsequent to the 26th of March, 1895, the daywhen the amendment was allowed either between party andparty, or between proctor and client, except the costs of thisappeal, which the respondents will pay.
I quite concur. The simple issue to be tried is, whether thedefendant is liable to pay a sum of Rs. 200 by way of rent underl contract of lease which has been assigned to the plaintiff. Theplaintiff originally sued not only for rent, but also for damages inbreach of one or more covenants in the lease. An answer wasput in and the case was fixed for trial. On the day of trial thedefendant’s counsel took exception to certain passages in theplaint. The pleader, on having the weak places pointed out tohim, asked the Court for leave to amend, which waB granted.
The amendment proposed was to introduce some apt wordswhich had been omitted from the part of his claim, which theplaintiff desired to maintain, and to strike out his cause of actionand prayer for damages. Why this could not have been donethen and there and the trial of the simple issue proceeded withI am at a loss to imagine. However, it was not done, andMr. Templer, who took up the case as judge, would not allow it tobe done for reasons which I am unable to appreciate. Why aparty who, having instituted an action in a higher class, reduces itlegitimately to a lower class before the trial takes place, should beobliged to continue to pay the duty of the original class, I fail tounderstand.
No costs will be allowed except costs of the appeal.
PERUMAL v. TERUNNANSE