Benefit Of Refund Of Court Fee Would Extent To All Methods Of Out-Of-Court Settlement: Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court has passed on 18-03-2021 in the case of Shiv Kumar Gupta vs pooja & Anr. CM(M) 106/2021 & CM No.4573/202. Justice Navin Chawla dismissed the petition.
FACTS OF THE CASE
The petition have been filed by the petitioner(s) challenging the order(s) passed by the learned Trial Court(s) in their respective Suits calling upon the petitioner(s) herein, who are the plaintiffs in the Suit(s), to deposit the deficit court fee. The Suits filed by the petitioner(s) are claiming damages qua their alleged defamation.
The question that arises for consideration in the present petitions is as to whether the court fee payable on such Suits claiming damages for defamation is ad valorem according to the amount claimed or whether the petitioners, as plaintiffs, can value the Suit for purposes of court fee at a value different from the amount claimed in the Suit and pay the court fee according to the said amount, with an undertaking to pay the court fee upon the amount which is finally determined by the learned Trial Court(s) in the Suits as damages payable to the petitioners.
In support of their submission that the petitioners are entitled to put their own valuation to the relief of damages and pay court-fee at such value, with an undertaking to deposit more court fee when the actual damages are awarded by the court, the learned counsels for the petitioners have placed reliance on the judgments of the Supreme Court as well as of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
In the present case, the objective and positive material for the correct valuation of the relief claimed was available in the relief itself. The petitioners have claimed a specific amount in their respective Suit. They cannot therefore, arbitrarily value the Suit for the purposes of court fee and pay a lesser amount as court fee.
In this case court took reference of many cases, out of which in the case of Ranjit Kaur & Ors. v. Punjab State Electricity Board & Ors., 2006, it was held that in Suit claiming damages ad valorem court fee needs to be affixed.
In view of the above, Court found no infirmity in the orders passed by the learned Trial Court(s) in the present petitions. However, as both the Suits are at an initial stage, it shall be open to the petitioners to file applications seeking amendment in their respective plaints, if so advised to claim a lower amount of damages and pay ad valorem court fee on the amount which may be so claimed. The petition are therefore dismissed.
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JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY ABHINAV CHATURVEDI
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