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Chief Controlling Revenue Authority and anr. Vs. Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 406-D of 1962
Reported inAIR1969Delhi130
ActsCourt Fees Act, 1870 - Sections 13, 26 and 27; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 115 - Order 7, Rule 10
AppellantChief Controlling Revenue Authority and anr.
RespondentFertilizer Corporation of India Ltd. and ors.
Appellant Advocate S.S. Chadha, Adv
Respondent Advocate M.S. Vohra, Adv.
Cases ReferredAnna Purna Bai v. Lakshman Bhikaji
.....power of the government - it was also held that the exclusive use of stamp with name of delhi state printed over it was illegal b) the court supplicated liberal interpretation of fiscal statutes, such as the court fees act, 1870, so as to lessen the burden of litigation c) the court considered the case of a plaint bearing court-fee stamp of one state returned for proper representation to competent court of other state and under section 13 of the court fees act, 1870 held that such court-fee stamp of previous state would be lawfully receivable to the latter state - section 13: [altamas kabir & cyriac joseph,jj] custody of child - welfare of child vis--vis comity of courts - the minor girl child of 3 1/2 years was brought to india by her mother. the minor girl was a citizen..........that when the division bench decision was given in april, 1953, then the rules framed by the delhi state government and notified on 29-3-1954 in the government gazette (delhi state) dated 8-4-1954 were nto in existence, with the result that that decision must be held to be obsolete and no longer binding in view of the later rules. the learned counsel was, however, constrained to admit that there are two later single bench decisions of the punjab high court which directly go against him. one of these decisions was given by s. b. capoor, j. in state of punjab v. r. b. madho parshad, c. r. no. 482-d of 1956 d/- 5-1-1959 (punj) in which the rules relied upon by shri chadha were considered and the decision given against the challenge to the validity of the plaint bearing court-fee.....

1. It is a matter of surprise that the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority and the Delhi Administration through the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority should have considered it necessary to approach this Court on revision under section 115, Code of Civil Procedure, against the order of a learned Subordinate Judge dated 16-4-1962 holding that the court-fee purchased by the plaintiff in Punjab, when the plaint bearing that court-fee was returned by a Hoshiarpur Civil Court for being presented to a competent Court at Delhi, can lawfully be received in the civil courts at Delhi as proper court-fee stamps,

2. The learned Subordinate Judge in his order relied on an unreported decision by a Division Bench of the Punjab High Court in Gobi Mal. etc. v. Punjab National Bank Ltd. etc, C. R. No. 147 of 1951 D/- 24-4-1953 (Punj). In that case, the court-fee stamps had been purchased in Lucknow and were used on a plaint filed in a Court at Delhi. The objection that these court-fee stamps could nto be lawfully used in Delhi Courts was repelled by G. D. Khosla and R. C. Soni JJ.

3. On revision in this Court, Shri S. S. Chadha the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioners before me, has very strongly submitted that when the Division Bench decision was given in April, 1953, then the rules framed by the Delhi State Government and notified on 29-3-1954 in the Government Gazette (Delhi State) dated 8-4-1954 were nto in existence, with the result that that decision must be held to be obsolete and no longer binding in view of the later rules. The learned counsel was, however, constrained to admit that there are two later Single Bench decisions of the Punjab High Court which directly go against him. One of these decisions was given by S. B. Capoor, J. in State of Punjab v. R. B. Madho Parshad, C. R. No. 482-D of 1956 D/- 5-1-1959 (Punj) in which the rules relied upon by Shri Chadha were considered and the decision given against the challenge to the validity of the plaint bearing court-fee stamps purchased at Gurgaon and later used in Delhi Courts. The learned Judge observed as under:

'It is well settled law that where a Court after receiving a plaint and can-celling the stamp affixed thereto returns the plaint for presentation to the proper Court under Order Vii, Rule 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the latter Court to which the plaint is represented is bound to give credit to the fee already levied by the former Court.'

For this view, reliance was placed on S. Visweswara Sarma v. T. M. Nair (1912) 2nd 35 Mad 567 (FB) and Ganesh Tava-nappa Burde v. Tatya Bharmappa Air 1927 Bom 257. While dealing with the rules cited before S. B. Capoor J. and I may point out that the same rules have now been relied upon by Shri Chadha, the learned Judge, after reproducing the relevant portions of Ss. 26 and 27 of the Court-fees Act, observed thus:

'Rai Bahadur Har Parshad on behalf of the plaintiff has rightly contended that neither section 27 nor section 27(b) authorise the appropriate Government (which in this case was the Government of Delhi) to make rules providing that a court-fee stamp which is nto over-printed with the word 'Delhi' would nto be usable in the Delhi Courts. In the interpretation of the statutes, it is a cardinal principle that a rule which relates to a matter nto arising under the provision of the Act must be held to be ultra virus of the Act. A somewhat similar point came up for consideration before the Patna High Court in Naresh Chandra v. Charles Joseph Smith : AIR1926Pat408 . In that case, the words 'for use in the High Court only' were impressed on the back of court-fee stamps affixed on the plaint in a certain suit. After the stamps had been punched, they were rejected by the Subordinate Judge on the ground that they bore on the back the words 'for use in the High Court only'. The learned Judge observed that the words impressed on the back of the stamp may have some significance for administrative purposes, but they were nto capable of invalidating the stamps themselves.'

Reliance by the learned Judge was also placed on Anna Purna Bai v. Lakshman Bhikaji (1895) 2nd 19 Bom 145 for the view that section 26 of the Court Fees Act does nto authorise the making of a direction that the court-fee stamps should bear the words 'court-fees'. This decision was followed by me in Bhura Mal Din Dayalv. Imperial Flour Mills Ltd., . There, I had occasion to observe that Courts should put a liberal interpretation on fiscal statutes like the Court Fees Act so as to lessen and nto to add to the burden of litigation. I also pointed out that the Court Fees Act was notorious for bad drafting and it was an artificial statute showing hardly any principle in its scheme. If that be the true position, then I am wholly unable to justify any objection to the court-fee which was purchased at Hoshiarpur in the present case from being used in Delhi.

4. Shri Chadha has very eloquently argued that every State is entitled to realise revenue on court-fee and, thereforee, merely because a citizen happens to pay court-fee in Punjab, he should nto be held entitled to come to Delhi and seek justice without paying court-fee to the State of Delhi. This argument has nto impressed me at all. Unless there is a specific bar in the Court-Fees Act or any statutory rules lawfully framed against the use of court-fee stamps purchased by a citizen in one State from being used in another State in the Union of India, I do nto find any legal justification for depriving a citizen from using those stamps in a State other than that of the purchase. The various States in this Union are nto foreign countries and my attention has nto been drawn to any provision of law by the learned counsel for the petitioner which would show that court-fee purchased in one State can be valid in law only in that State and cannto be used in a different State. Justice, it must nto be forgotten, is nto sold by the State in this Republic. Payment of price of the court-fee into the coffers of the particular State, the Courts of which are lawfully approached by a citizen seeking justice, is nto a constitutional condition precedent as has been sought to be suggested by a reference to entry No. 3 in List Ii of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. To insist on a citizen paying court-fee twice over for seeking justice in the same cause, can be justified only on a clear and specific provision of law validly made. None has been cited in the present case except the rules mentioned above. The correctness of the decisions holding those rules to be outside the rule-making power, has nto been questioned and I have nto been persuaded in this case to disagree with the view taken in those decisions.

5. I need nto say anything on the preliminary objection raised on behalf of the respondent that the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority should nto be heard in this case on revision in support of the challenge to the court-fee paid by the plaintiff. On revision under section 115, C. P. C., this Court can suo motu scrutinise the record of a case and make suitable orders. It is, thereforee, unnecessary to express any considered opinion on the challenge to the locus standi of the two petitioners who have filed this revision, though I cannto help observing that the facts and circumstances of this case were nto of such paramount importance as to impel the two petitioners to approach this Court for the purpose of fixing a double liability on the plaintiff. The State of Delhi might well, in its judicious discretion, have felt satisfied with the order of the Court below. Indeed, it seems to me that this revision was directed to be filed presumably in ignorance of the two decisions cited above which have held the field since 1959. I have ignored the earlier Bench decision given in April, 1953 because, accordingly to Shri Chadha, the , principle laid down therein would nto hold good after the rules relied upon by him.

6. Even assuming the view of the Court below was nto quite correct, I would still have declined to interfere on revision in this case for more reasons than one. Nto only is the decision of the Court below eminently just, but after the lapse of six years, to interfere on revision on this ground, would hardly be consonant with the cause of justice, as J am informed that the proceedings in the Court below have already ended in a decree.

7. This revision, for the reasons given above, fails and is dismissed with costs.

8. Revision dismissed.

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