Read Order: Mrs. Manjit Kaul v. Mr. Anil Kumar

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, June 14, 2022:  While dealing with a revision petition against the Trial Court’s order directing the plaintiff to pay the ad-valorem court fee in her suit seeking Rs 10 lakh as damages for alleged defamatory language used by the defendant against her, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that in the suits for money (including suits for damages or compensation etc), the amount of the court-fee payable has to be computed according to the amount claimed under Section 7 (i) of the Court Fees Act, 1870.

The Bench of Justice Meenakshi I Mehta also held that since the plaintiff quantified the amount sought to be recovered from the defendant as  damages, the said civil suit fell within the category of money suits.

Primarily, in this case, in response to a suit filed by the plaintiff (petitioner before the High Court), the defendant filed an application under Order 7 Rule 11 read with Section 151 CPC for seeking the rejection of the plaint. 

The Trial Court disposed of the application while observing that the petitioner-plaintiff was liable to pay the ad-valorem court fee qua the relief of recovery of Rs.10 lakh. Hence, the plaintiff preferred the instant revision  petition.

It was the case of the plaintiff-petitioner’s counsel that the plaintiff was ready to affix the proper court fee on the plaint at the time of final decision of the civil suit filed by her against the defendant and therefore, the impugned order requiring her at the very initial stage in the suit, to affix the ad-valorem court fee on the amount of the damages claimed by her, was not legally  sustainable and deserved to be set-aside.

The Court did not find any substance in the said contention because it was observed by Justice Mehta that in this revision petition, it was categorically mentioned that  the plaintiff filed the above-said civil suit against the defendant for seeking a decree for recovery of Rs.10 lakh as damages on account of the defamatory language used by him to tarnish her image and reputation. 

Thus, the Court held that the plaintiff quantified the amount sought to be recovered from the defendant as  damages and it being so, the said civil suit fell within the category of money suits.

In light of the above, the Court further stated that Section 7 (i) of the Court Fees Act, 1870 provides that in the suits for money (including suits for damages or compensation etc), the amount of the  court-fee payable, shall be computed according to the amount claimed. 

In these circumstances, it was expounded that the plaintiff was required to pay/affix the ad-valorem court fee on the plaint in accordance with her claim for the recovery of the amount of Rs. 10 lakh from the defendant as damages.
Accordingly, the revision petition was dismissed.

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