THE COURT FEES ACT, 1870

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The system of payment of court fee was developed for the adjudication of disputes after the institution of Courts, but the rates at which stamp fees was imposed was not affordable by the local people. Hence after two years the Government decided to reduce the court fee rate for the institution of civil suits. For this purpose The Court Fees Act was enacted in 1870 which came into force on April 1, 1870. The need of settled valuation that is to be applied for certain groups on suits were not inclined of complete determination and have led to ambiguity and difference in the process applied by several courts with regard to such cases. For this reason there was a critical need for the modification of the prevailing legal standards. There was also strong opposition from the local authorities for the purpose of withholding of the fee inflicted on the submission of petition in the Courts of criminal jurisdiction, and therefore, the fee was reduced accordingly.

The Court shall be paid in the manner prescribed under the Act for the clerks and officers High Courts and the Courts of Small Causes. The records prescribed under the Schedule to the Act that are charged with fees shall not be filed, revealed or recorded and shall not be obtained or provided by any High Courts for a case that is filed before it under its extraordinary original civil or criminal jurisdiction. This shall also not be done where the court exercise its appellate jurisdiction, supervisory jurisdiction, reference or revision petition unless prescribed fee has been remitted. If any difference of opinion arises between the officer, suitor or the attorney of the High Courts regarding the fees to be paid, the matter shall be referred to the taxing officer whose assessment shall be absolute. But where the question is of general importance, the case shall be forwarded to the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court or a Judge qualified to be the Chief Justice for his final decision. In case the differences occurred in the Courts of Small Causes, the question shall be decided by the Clerk of such Court and he shall further refer the matter to the first judge of that Court whose assessment shall be ultimate.

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The Act further provides for the mode of computing the fee that is to be paid in each case. For the money suits like damages, maintenance compensation etc, the fee shall be as per the amount involved. In case of maintenance and annuities, the fee shall be paid according to the value of the matter of the suit. The litigation dealing with moveable property having market value, the value shall be ten times of the amount involved that is to be paid for one year. For injunction, easement and account, the plaintiff is under a duty to prescribe the amount at which the matter is involved. The Act also provides the mode of computation for land, estates, house, enforcement of the right of redemption, setting-aside an attachment, redemption, specific performance, dispute between landlord and tenant etc.

The fee that is to be paid for the memorandum of appeal against the order dealing with compensation for the acquirement of land for the purposes of the public, the fee shall be calculated by finding the difference between the awarded amount and amount alleged by the appellant. The question regarding the valuation of fee on a plaint or memorandum of appeal shall be determined by the Court where such case is filed and the decision of the Court shall be absolute. The fee paid shall be refunded in cases of memorandum of appeal, judgment review, quashing of earlier judgment by the court on mistake etc as provided under the Act. The Act also exempts certain class of documents from the purview of fees. Where the fee paid is higher than the actual amount, the authority shall annul the stamp, substitute the stamp to denote the court that is actually payable and grant allowance for the spoiled stamp or refund the amount.

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The High Court is empowered under the Act to formulate rules for to collect fee for costs of processes and such other matters specified under the Act. The Act also provides the different modes under which the fee shall be collected. The Court Fees Act, 1870 was amended several time before independence and afterwards in 1948, 1950 and by the Adaptation of Laws Order, 1956.