Updated: Thursday January 14, 2010/AlKhamis Muharram 29, 1431/Bruhaspathivara Pausa 24, 1931, at 07:11:53 PM

Course Contents:

1.      The Court Fees Act (VII) of 1870 (as amended upto date) Section 4, 6 – 13, 17, 19, 19A–K (Excluding Schedules).

Book Recommended:

1.      The Court Fees Act and the Suits Valuation Act by Raja Said Akbar Khan.

This is federal law. Federal or provincial government may alter the rate of fee. Since the fee is financial matter and effects finance, therefore, its rate is changed during the presentation of annual finance bill. It may be either central or provincial. Provinces may alter provisions of it upto the extent of their authority. Provinces cannot touch central matters. Punjab government has made amendment and Court fee is exempted upto the suit value of Rs. 25,000/-. When we go to get justice in courts of law or for redressal of grievance, then Court Fees Act is applicable. It tells us as to how much fee is applicable on certain type of suits.

As far as Stamp Act is concerned, it is applicable where rights are transferred or conveyed. Documents, which are required to do so, require stamps. These stamps are dealt by Stamp Act and not under Court Fees Act.

Judicial stamps are those, which are affixed on pleadings (plaint and written statement) while stamps used to convey rights, are termed as non-judicial stamps. For the selling of property, Agreement to Sell or Agreement of Sale, non-judicial stamps are affixed

Fee on documents filed, etc., in High Court in their extraordinary jurisdiction u/s 4: High Court works in so many jurisdictions such as:

1.      Extraordinary original criminal jurisdiction: It is under Constitution like writs. Court fee prescribed in the Court Fees Act is not applicable under this case.

2.      Extraordinary original civil jurisdiction: It is under Constitution like writs. Court is not applicable as prescribed in Court Fees Act.

3.      Appellate jurisdiction against judgement of two or more judges of High Court or Division Bench: High Court cannot receive any document as prescribed in First or Second Schedule of the Court Fees Act.

4.      Appellate jurisdiction over subordinate courts: Documents produced before High Court under this head are not covered by the Court Fees Act.

5.      Revisional jurisdiction and as a Court of reference, when the proper Court fee prescribed by those schedules for such documents have been paid: It deals with only law matters and not facts in issue. Court fee is not applicable as prescribed in Court Fees Act.

This section deals with the matters of affixation of requisite Court fee whether it has been paid. If so, document is accepted otherwise returned for making it good (for the removal of deficiency).

Fee on documents filed, etc., in Muffasil Courts or in public offices u/s 6: All the documents submitted in courts should be properly stamped as described in the Schedule of the Court Fees Act. Where any document lacks proper fee is liable to return. Where no fee is paid, there is no case entertain-able in Court of law. Document without affixation of Court fee has no status until a fee is paid. Evidentiary value of document remains in vain until duly Court fee is paid.

Computation of fee payable in certain suits u/s 7: This sections lays down the rule for the computation of the Court fee to be affixed on certain documents.

1.            For money suits: Money may be involved in certain cases such as:

a)            Damages.

b)            Compensation.

c)            Arrears of maintenance.

d)           Annuities.

e)            Other sums payable periodically.

How calculated: In simple money suits, the Court fee is calculated on the amount claimed under such suits.

2.            For maintenance and annuities: It may involve following cases:

a)            Maintenance.

b)            Annuities.

c)            Other sums payable periodically.

How calculated: Court fee shall be calculated on subject matter.

3.            For moveable property having a market value: Although money is moveable property but this clause is applicable of all types of moveable properties other than cash or money.

How calculated: Market value of the subject matter shall determine the amount of Court fee where such moveable property has market value. Market value at the time institution of suit shall be considered. Prior market value is immaterial. For example, a property had market value Rs. 100,000/- when it was purchased but now it has market value Rs. 75,000/-, the last market value at the time of institution of suit shall be taken into consideration. Where moveable property had market value Rs. 200,000/- at its procurement but now its market value has been enhanced to Rs. 250,000/- at the time of presentation of plaint, therefore Court fee shall be calculated on Rs. 250,000/- which is the latest market value.

4.            Suits having no market value: Law recognizes the nature of suits having no market value. They have some different kinds such as:

a)            Movable property: There are certain types of moveable properties, which have some value, but their market value cannot be assessed. For instance, degree of law has importance for the student of law or lawyer but it has no market value. Documents containing title is another instance.

b)            Share in joint family system: It is applicable where the plaintiff has been ousted (expelled) from its enjoyment and seeks to be restored to joint enjoyment.

c)            Declaratory decree and subsequent relief: Plaintiff must seek consequential relief in declaratory decree where it is available.

d)           Suits of injunctions: Injunctions include to do or not to do something.

e)            Easement cases: It is a right to use of enjoyment on certain piece of land.

f)             Account: It has fixed value.

How calculated: In all above cases Court fee is determined on the value against relief is sought. It is obligatory on plaintiff that he must state the value against which he seeks relief.

New amendment: According to amendment by Finance Act, 1993, Court fee for the above cases shall be determined not less than for which Court fee shall be Rs. 15/- according the rate of Court fee. Current Court fee rate is 7.5% of the subject matter. It means minimum value of the suit should be Rs. 200/- on which Court of Rs. 15/- may be affixed.

Formula:   2  x 15* x 100 = 200               * variable amount as Court fee

                  15    1         1

How much Court fee is payable on principle amount of Rs. 133,400/-? Formula is as under:

Formula:   133,400* x 15 = 10,005                      * variable principle amount

                      100         2

5.            For possession of lands, houses, and gardens: Value of subject matter as per market value for the possession of houses, lands, and gardens is determinant factor for the computation of Court fee. It has some other provisions such as

a)            Land in question for which annual revenue has been assessed in the register of Collector, Court fee shall be computed on the revenue payable ten times.

b)            Where revenue is not assessed on land permanently, revenue payable five times is determinant factor for Court fee.

c)            Where land pays no land revenue or exempted from the payment of revenue or fixed payment is made in lieu of revenue, Court fee shall be paid on the profit arisen last year by multiplying with 15.

For instance, where Rs. 100,000/- has been earned as profits, Court fee shall be paid on Rs. 1,500,000/-.

d)           Where land does not earn profits, Court shall determine the value of the land on the basis of the profit arising from the neighboring land.

e)            Where land forms part of an estate paying revenue to government, but is not a definite share of such estate and is not separately assessed as above mentioned the market value of the land.

6.            Enforcement of right of preemption: For the purpose of preemption, Court fee is paid on the value of the subject matter as in market. Amount provided in sale deed is immaterial. Only agricultural land is subject of preemption.

7.            For interest of assignee of Land Revenue: Computation of Court fee for this purpose is fifteen times net profit. Net profit arises after deduction of cost from gross profit.

8.            To set aside an attachment: Upto the extent of interest lies in attachment is detrimental point for the purpose of fixation of Court fee. Order 21 of Code of Civil Procedure governs the execution of decree. Where decree is passed for an amount of Rs. 1,000,000/- and part of property attached belongs to third person being not party in case, shall pay Court fee for an amount for which he has interest, i.e., Rs. 500,000/-. He will not pay the Court fee on decree amount. Where decree is passed for Rs. 500,000/- and his property values Rs. 1,000,000/-, Court fee shall be payable on Rs. 500,000/-.

9.            Redemption cases: In the cases of mortgage, principle amount on which property was mortgaged shall decide Court fee. This amount is provided in mortgage deed.

10.        Specific performance: Suits for specific performance may involve certain types such as:

a)            Contract of sale: Amount of consideration in contract of sale determines Court fee.

b)            Contract of mortgage: In mortgage cases, amount secured is used to compute Court fee.

c)            Contract of lease: In lease cases rent of twelve months including the amount of fine or premium, if any.

d)           Award: Where award is made on property, the value of disputed property decides the payment of Court fee.

11.        Between landlord and tenant: It may involve certain types of cases such as:

a)            Delivery of counterpart by tenants having a right of occupancy.

b)            Enhancement of rent cases by tenant.

c)            Delivery of lease by landlord.

d)           Recovery of property from a tenant.

e)            Contest a notice of ejectment.

f)             Recovery of property against illegal ejectment.

g)            For the abatement of rent.

How calculated: Court fee is paid on amount equivalent to the rent of last one-year.

12.        All the other cases: Cases which are not expressly provided in S. 7 of this Act, Court fee shall be paid minimum Rs. 15/-.

Fee on memorandum of appeal against order relating to compensation u/s 8: Government may acquire land for public purpose. Collector assesses the amount payable on the land so acquired. Where landowner has an objection on the amount of award shall pay Court fee on difference of amount of award and amount so claimed.

For example, amount awarded is Rs. 500,000/- but the amount claimed is Rs. 700,000/-. Court fee shall be payable on the amount of difference, i.e., Rs. 200,000/-.

Power to ascertain net profits for market value u/s 8: Court is empowered to investigate the annual net profits or market value of any land, house, or garden. Court may issue a commission for the investigation of estimation. As an ordinary rule, when the Court considers it necessary to ascertain the market value, etc. of any property, the law requires the Court to hold the investigation in person.

Procedure where net profits or market value wrongly estimated u/s 9: Where excess amount is affixed as Court fee, difference is refunded but where Court fee is deficient, Court orders to make good deficiency.

Case is stayed until the additional Court fee is paid within stipulated time period otherwise case shall be dismissed.

Decision of question as to valuation u/s 12: The decision as to Court fee is not final unless rendered after hearing the two sides. This section requires that the Court shall decide every question relating to valuation, etc. No one can challenge the decision of Court. Court can reassess it after report of commission issued for this purpose.

Refund of fee paid on memorandum appeal u/s 13: Court fee is also refunded where case is remanded.

Where case is partially remanded, partial fee is refunded upto the extent of case is upheld.

Where case is rejected, it can be filed again but where case is dismissed, it cannot be reopened.

Where fee is refunded, Court also issues a certificate indicating the refund of Court fee.

Multifarious suits u/s 17: Under Code of Civil Procedure two or more causes of actions can be joined.

1.      Multifarious suits: It contains two distinct matters.

2.      Court fee aggregate:

3.      How determined: If separate suit could be maintained.

4.      Where section is applicable: On suits and appeals.

5.      Benefit of government:

6.      Speedy justice:

7.      Joining of cause of actions:

8.      To prevent fraud:

9.      To avoid multiplicity:

Amount of Court fee: Court fee is paid on accumulated amount of relief, which is sought. Aggregate amount of subject matter is subject of the payment of Court fee.

Object of law: Object of law is to prevent government to suffer from pecuniary loss. Joining of causes of actions with single Court fee may cause loss to government. This section helps government to avoid such loss.

Scope of law: This law is applicable only in plaints and appeals arising out of plaints. It is not applicable on applications and its appeals.

Exemption of certain documents from payment of Court fee u/s 19: Following documents are exempted from the compulsory payment of Court fee:

1.      Power of attorney.

2.      Written statement.

3.      Probates of Wills.

4.      Letters of administration.

5.      Securities and Certificates.

6.      Supply of water for irrigation belonging to government.

Probate, letters of administration, and certification of administration: Sections 19 – A to 19 – K, are entirely related with the probate and administration. Probate is the certified copy of Will while letter of administration is related to execute the property of deceased.

Relief where too high a Court fee has been paid u/s 19 – A: Where probate is granted to administrator who has paid too high Court fee to obtain letter of administration, he may apply to Chief Controller Revenue Authority for the reimbursement of the excess Court fee.

Administrator has to prove the excess fee paid alongwith the entire details of inventory. When Court shall think fit, shall refund the excess Court fee paid as per procedure laid down for the purpose. Previous Stamp Paper is cancelled and fresh Stamp Paper is filled in to do so.

Six months’ limitation period are granted to bring into the knowledge of Court for refund of excess Court fee.

Relief where debts due from a deceased person have been paid out of his estate u/s 19 – B: Where Court fee has been calculated on the entire estate including the debts of deceased, are considered in excess of original.

Debts payable from the estate of deceased are not considered the estate of deceased person. They are not liable to payment of Court fee. If fee is paid on such debts, is liable to refund.

Limitation period for three years is provided to bring into the knowledge of Court for refund of excess Court fee. Limitation period can be extended upon the proof of lengthy proceeding to decide the payment of debt.

Relief in case of several grants u/s 19 – C: Letter of administration is issued for whole of the estate. Administrator has to administer the whole estate. Whenever administrator dies before the complete administration of the estate of deceased person, fresh probate is to be issued to new administrator. Such fresh letter of administration is not liable to payment of fresh Court fee.

When estate would has been alienated and then holder of the estate dies, then issuance of the fresh probate shall be subject to the compulsorily payment of Court fee. It is not covered under the former principle of exemption from the payment of Court fee.

Probate declared valid as to trust property though not covered by Court fee u/s 19 – D: Where deceased person holds trust property which is also to be administrated, it shall not be liable to compulsorily payment of Court fee. It is exempt under Court fee law.

Provision for case where too low a Court fee has been paid on probates, etc. u/s 19 – E: This section deals the with too low fee paid on the grant of probate or letter of administration.

Assessment of property value: Chief Controlling Revenue-authority of the area has power to ascertain the true value of the property on which probate or letter of administration is granted where the Court fee paid is too low.

Payment of full Court fee: Authority makes an orders the payment of full Court fee on the grant of probate or letter of administration according to the value of the property of deceased.

Imposition of penalty within one year: Authority imposes penalty five times on deficient value paid if the deficiency is made good within one year.

Imposition of penalty after one year: Authority imposes penalty twenty times on deficient value paid if the deficiency is made good after one year.

Remittance of penalty upon satisfaction: Only Chief Revenue Controlling authority has power to remit the penalty imposed.

Conditions of such remittance: Chief Revenue Controlling-authority may remit the penalty imposed on the following clarification:

1.      Limitation for application: Penalty imposed can be remitted if the application is made within six months after the ascertainment of the correct value of the property.

2.      Bona-fide mistake: Where administrator proves that the payment of too low Court fee is result of bona-fide mistake and without intention, authority may remit the penalty imposed either five or twenty times.

3.      Later discovery: Where payment of too low Court fee is result of the later discovery from the estate of deceased and administrator satisfies the authority, authority may remit the penalty imposed.

4.      Lack of fraud intention: Where a too low fee is paid without having any fraudulent intention and authority is satisfied, penalty can be remitted.

5.      Lack of delay intention: Some time too low fee is paid with the intention of delay the payment and also to evade the correct payment. Where administrator satisfies authority that there is no intention to cause delay or defeat to pay proper Court fee, authority may remit the penalty.

Administrator to give proper security before letters stamped under section 19 – E u/s 19 – F: This section provides that the revenue authority shall not cause the letters of administration to be duly stamped, if too low a Court fee has been paid in respect of then, and the security required by the law has not been given to the Court issuing such letters of administration.

Executors, etc., not paying full Court fee on probates, etc. within six months after discovery of under payment u/s 19 – G: Where administrator discovers under payment and does not make it good within six months, authority may impose penalty.

Rupees one thousand are forfeited at once and subsequently @ 10% on deficient value fine is charged.

Notice of applications for probate or letters of administration to be given to Revenue authorities and procedure thereon u/s 19 – H: Following procedure is adopted:

1.      Where application for the grant of probate or letter of administration is made to lower Court, Court shall cause notice to Collector.

2.      Where application for the grant of probate or letter of administration is made to High Court, Court shall cause notice to Chief Controlling Revenue-authority.

3.      Collector is bound to inspect the property to determine its value and if administrator has estimation of undervalued, Collector shall call him to take evidence to ascertain its actual value. Collector shall require to petitioner for the amendment in valuation.

4.      Where petitioner fails to amend the value of the property to the satisfaction of Collector, Collector shall move application to Court of original jurisdiction for holding of the inquiry for determination of true value of the property.

5.      Court shall make Collector as party and shall order to hold an inquiry for the ascertainment of true value of property. Also Court shall record its finding about the true value of property.

6.      Person designated by the Court is bound to make an inquiry. He shall take oath from petitioner and shall take evidences to reach on the conclusion. He shall furnish report to Court and Court shall record evidences and findings.

7.      Findings of the Court are binding on petitioner and Collector.

Payment of Court fee in respect of probate and letters of administration u/s 19 – I: Grant of the probate or letter of administration follows two conditions such as:

1.      Petitioner must file an inventory before the grant of probate or letter of administration.

2.      Correct Court fee has been paid.

Recovery of penalties etc. u/s 19 – J: This section deals with the recovery of arrears of Court fee from either administrator or executor. Means to do so are as the recovery of arrears of Land Revenue provided under Land Revenue Act.

Sections 6 and 28 not to apply to probates or letters of administration u/s 19 – K: Section 6 is not applied for the grant of probate or letter of administration. U/s plaint is returned until or unless it is not properly affixed the Court fee. But in case of probate or letter of administration, application is not returned but required to make good the deficiency of Court fee. If the proper Court fee is not paid, deficiency is made good by the Court as the arrears of Land Revenue are recovered.

Object of Court Fees Act: Following are the objects:

1.      Income of the government:

2.      Protection of rights:

3.      Awareness:

4.      Legalization:

5.      Evidentiary value:

6.      Proper remedy:

7.      Self help:

Concept of Court Fee at punitive level u/ss 10, 19 – A, and 19 – E:

1.      Where market value wrongly assessed: s

2.      Responsibility of Court: s

3.      Where estimate is excess: It shall be refunded.

4.      Where estimate is deficient: It is required to make good.

5.      Consequences of deficiency: Suit is stayed until is made good.

6.      Proceedings on suit: Started when is made good.

7.      When fail to make good: Suit is dismissed.

Comprehensiveness of S. 7:

1.      Broad:

2.      Not fully exhaustive:

3.      Changing circumstances:

4.      Time to time exceptions:

5.      Mostly described:

6.      Rs. 15/- where no description specified:

7.      Prevent effects of fraud against government:

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