Discuss the Powers & Duties Of Judge under the Court Fees Act 1870.

(1) Introduction

Court Fees Act is a fiscal statute. Its main object is to secure revenue for benefit of state. However, court fee is considered a matter between state and suitor. Therefore, object of this Act is not to arm some litigant with weapon of technicality to harass his/her opponent. In addition to this, this Act has not only granted some powers to judge, but has also assigned some duties to judge.

(2) Powers & Duties Of Judge

Following points are important for explanation of powers and duties of judge under Court Fees Act:

(i) Duty of court

(ii) Dispute of court fee

(iii) Consideration of suit

(iv) Amendment of plaint

(v) Subject matter of suit

(vi) Determination of court fee by plaintiff

(vii) Bona fide payment of less court fee

(viii) Court fee in case of amended plaint

(ix) Inquiry in case of wrong value of suit Refund of court fee

 

(i) Duty Of Court

If defendant has raised or has not raised objection in respect of court fee, it remains duty of court to decide whether court fee has been properly paid or not.

(ii) Dispute Of Court Fee

When there is any dispute about court fee, court is to decide it in early stage of proceedings of suit.

(iii) Consideration Of Suit

As far as payment of court fee is concerned, court is to consider suit in light of those facts, which have been alleged in suit.

(iv) Amendment Of Plaint

Court possesses power to allow amendment of plaint for court fee.

(v) Subject Matter Of Suit

As far as payment of court fee is concerned, court is to consider subject-matter of suit and is not to consider remedy.

(vi) Determination Of Court Fee By Plaintiff

Court fee, which is determined by plaintiff, is considered correct. However, it cannot be considered correct when something is proved in contrary to it.

(vii) Bona fide payment Of Less Court Fee

If there is bona fide payment of less court fee, court has power to consider suit according to this paid court fee.

(viii) Court Fee In Case Of Amended Plaint

When plaint is amended, court is to order for payment of court fee according to amended plaint.

(ix) Inquiry In Case Of wrong value of Suit

If court feels that value of suit has not been determined properly, it can direct conducting of inquiry under Section No. 9 of Court Fees Act.

(x) Refund Of Court Fee

Under certain circumstances, court can refund court fee especially when court fee has been paid in excess.

(3) Conclusion

To conclude, it can be stated that court is not to reject plaint when it finds that suit has been undevalued and, therefore, court fee has not been properly paid. In this situation, court is to provide opportunity to palintiff to pay proper and full court fec. If plaintiff fails to avails this opportunity and does not pay proper and full court fee, then court can reject his/her plaint.

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