Punjab and Haryana High Court recently held that as per Section 7(i) of the Court Fees Act, 1870, where the suit is for money including suits for damages, compensation or arrears of maintenance, of annuities, or of other sums payable periodically, the Court fee is payable according to the amount claimed.
Where the suit is for money including suits for damages or compensation or arrears of maintenance, of annuities, or of other sums payable periodically, Section 7(i) lays down, as to how the amount of Court fee payable is required to be calculated. Thus, from the aforesaid, it is evident that whenever the suit is for money, the Court fee is payable according to the amount claimed.
In the facts of instant case, the bench comprising Justice Archana Puri said that since it is apparent that the suit is for the recovery of a specified amount of money, the ad valorem court fee will be payable, according to the amount claimed.
The court was dealing with a case where under the garb of suit for declaration with mandatory injunction, the petitioner/plaintiff was seeking recovery of Rs.15,00,000/-, as damages for the poor work of construction that the defendants undertook on the expenses of the plaintiff.
The court noted that the amount of Court fee is regulated by the Court Fees Act, 1870 wherein Section 7 of the said Act prescribes the procedure to compute the amount of fee payable in a suit and according to Section 7, in a suit for money, the Court fee is payable according to the amount claimed.
The Court is entitled to carefully examine the contents of the plaint to arrive at a conclusion as per the mandate of Order VII Rule 11 CPC, the court added.
As far as the facts and circumstances of the instant case are concerned, the court observed that even though the plaintiff filed a suit for declaration and mandatory injunction but careful reading of the plaint makes it clear that it is a suit for recovery.
As such, it is evident that it is the specified amount of Rs.15,00,000/-, which is sought for by the petitioner/plaintiff. It is apparent that the petitioner/plaintiff is seeking recovery of the amount of Rs.15,00,000/-. However, it is only on account of clever drafting, he had filed a suit for declaration and mandatory injunction, but under this garb, it is in fact, a suit for recovery. Thus, from the reading of the contents of the plaint, it stands established that the suit is for recovery of Rs.15,00,000/-, although cleverly projected as declaratory suit with consequential relief of mandatory injunction.
The court placed reliance on Apex Court's judgement in 'State of Punjab and others Vs. Dev Brat Sharma' wherein it was held that in a suit for recovery as damages, ad valorem court fee would be payable on amount of damages claimed.
Adverting to the case in hand, the court concluded that the suit is for the money and therefore, as per Section 7(i) of the Court Fees Act, 1870, the ad valorem court fee is payable, according to the amount claimed.
Accordingly, the present revision petition is dismissed.
Case Title : Surender Kumar @ Salender Kumar v. Abid Khan And Others
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (PH) 223