0

The benefit of Section 69-A of the Court fees Act, 1955 extends to all methods of out-of-court dispute settlement between parties: High Court of Delhi

The parties who have agreed to settle their disputes without requiring judicial intervention under Section 89 CPC deserves the benefit of court fees refund. There is no justifiable reason why Section 69-A of Court fees Act should only incentivise the methods of out-of-court settlement stated in Section 89 CPC and afford step-brotherly treatment to other methods availed of by the parties. Thus, even though a strict construction of the terms of Section 89 CPC and Section 69-A of the 1955 Act may not encompass such private negotiations and settlements between the parties, the participants in such settlements will be entitled to the same benefits as those who have been referred to explore alternate dispute settlement methods under Section 89 CPC and the same upheld by High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait in the case of V GUARD INDUSTRIES LTD vs. RAMESH KUMAR & ANR. [CS(COMM) 556/2021] on 11.02.2022

The facts of the case are that the plaintiff filed a suit against the defendants seeking permanent injunction restraining infringement of trademark “V-GUARD”, copyright and designs, passing-off, unfair competition, rendition of accounts of profits, delivery up, etc. The plaintiff and defendants have amicably resolved their disputes out of court. Plaintiff prays that in terms of settlement, the present suit be decreed against defendants.

The present application has been jointly filed by plaintiff and defendants praying for issuance of decree in terms of prayer of the present suit and for refund of entire Court fees.

The plaintiff’s counsel submitted that in terms of settlement, the present suit should be decreed against defendants. Counsel further submitted that since the subject matter of the suit stands amicably resolved, therefore, in terms of Section 16 of the Court Fees Act, the entire court fees should be refunded to the plaintiff.

According to facts and circumstances of the case, the Court held that the plaintiff shall be entitled to refund of entire court fees as the benefit of Section 69-A of the 1955 Act extends to all methods of out-of-court dispute settlement between parties that the Court subsequently finds to have been legally arrived at. The Registry was directed to issue necessary authorization in favour of the plaintiff to seek refund before the appropriate authorities.

The Court observed that “the parties who have agreed to settle their disputes without requiring judicial intervention under Section 89 CPC are deserving of the benefit of court fees refund. There is no justifiable reason why Section 69-A of Court fees Act should only incentivise the methods of out-of-court settlement stated in Section 89 CPC and afford step-brotherly treatment to other methods availed of by the parties. Thus, even though a strict construction of the terms of Section 89 CPC and Section 69-A of the 1955 Act may not encompass such private negotiations and settlements between the parties, the participants in such settlements will be entitled to the same benefits as those who have been referred to explore alternate dispute settlement methods under Section 89 CPC.”

Click here to read the Judgment

Judgment reviewed by – Shristi Suman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat