History of the Court Fees Act, 1870 –
The Courts are institutions where the aggrieved go to seek justice. With the establishment of Courts in India, a system evolved for the payment of fees for the adjudication of cases. The rates of stamp fees leviable in courts and offices established beyond the local jurisdiction of the ordinary original civil jurisdiction of the High Courts of Judicature at Fort William in Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay and in proceedings on the appellate jurisdiction of High Courts were governed by the Act XXVI of 1867. However, within a span of about two years, it was considered necessary to make a general reduction in the rates on the institution of civil suits and to rely on the principle of maximum fee which was obtained under the previous law. Also, in order to rectify the repressive effect and to avoid future confusion between stamp-revenue proper and the revenue derived, a comprehensive bill known as the Court Fees Bill was introduced in the Legislature. Now it is known as the Court Fees Act, 1870.
The Court Fees Act, 1870 –
The Act extends to the whole of India except the territories comprised in Part B states before the 1st of November, 1956. The Act came into force on 1st April 1970. It contains 6 chapters, 37 sections, and 3 schedules.
Types of Court Fees –
There are two kinds of court fees under the Court Fees Act –
- Ad Valorem Court fees (Schedule 1) – it means according to the valuation. Ad valorem duties are always estimated at a certain percent, on the valuation of the property as opposed to fixed or specific duties.
- Fixed or specific court fees (Schedule 2).
Computation of Court Fees –
Section 7 of the Act contemplates three types of valuation of the subject-matter of a suit.
- By valuing it according to its market value.
- By ascribing to the subject-matter an artificial value based simply on the certain fixed rule of calculation.
- By requiring the plaintiff himself to value the relief he seeks.
This section only applies where the ad valorem fee is payable.
Here is the detailed breakdown of the rule of computation of court fees in these kinds of suits –
- Suits for money – According to the amount claimed.
- Suits of maintenance and annuities or other sums payable periodically – Ten times the amount claimed to be payable in a year.
- Suits for movable property where the subject matter has a market value – According to the market value at the date of presenting the plaint.
- Suits for the possession of land, buildings or gardens – According to market value or (net profit x 15 times), whichever is higher.
- Suits for Pre-emption – If instituted under Muslim Personal Law, then according to the market value of the land.
- Suits for partition – According to the market value of the share in respect of which the suit has been instituted.
- Suits for the interest of an assignee of land revenue – Fifteen times of net profit.
- Suits to set aside an attachment of land – According to the amount for which the land was attached.
- Suits to redeem mortgaged property and suit for foreclosing – According to the principal money
- Suits for injunction or for a right to some benefit to arising out of the land – In such suits, the plaintiff shall state the amount at which he values the relief sought.
Section 35 of the Court Fees Act –
The 1[Appropriate Government] may, from time to time by notification in the Official Gazette, reduce or remit, in the whole or in any part of 2[the territories under its administration], all or any of the fees mentioned in the First and Second Schedules to this Act annexed,—The 2[Appropriate Government] may, from time to time by notification in the Official Gazette, reduce or remit, in the whole or in any part of 3[the territories under its administration], all or any of the fees mentioned in the First and Second Schedules to this Act annexed,” and may in like manner cancel or vary such order.
The Section states that the appropriate government, whether Central Government or respective State Governments from time to him, has the authority to reduce or remit fees as mentioned in the First and Second Schedules of the Act. It may in like manner also cancel or vary such an order.