Decided on August 14,1957

UNION OF INDIA Respondents


- (1.) THIS reference to the Full Bench has arisen in the following circumstances.
(2.) THE Court of the Subordinate Judge at Amritsar returned a plaint to the plaintiff for presentation to the proper Court and this order was affirmed by a learned single Judge and later by a Division Bench of this Court. The plaintiff thereafter applied to this Court for an order directing the refund of court-fee of Rs. 2,025/paid by him in respect of the appeal in the High Court. As the amount of court-fee payable on the memorandum of appeal was paid in accordance with the provisions of the Court-lees Act and as the court-foe did not exceed the amount prescribed by law, the Court had no statutory power to accede to the request of the petitioner. A question then arose whether this Court has any inherent or implied powers, independently of the statute, to pay back a court-fee which has been correctly and lawfully assessed and collected. The attention of the Court was invited to two decisions of this Court in which two views, which were diametrically opposed to each other, were taken. In one case Discount Bank of India v. A. N. Misra, (S) AIR 1955 Punj 165 (A) decided by myself and Dulat, J. , it was held that the power of a court to order a refund of Court-fees is limited only to three cases, namely (1)when the refund is authorised by the Court-fees Act itself, (2) when excess Court-fee was paid as the result of a mistake and (3) when the excess payment has been made as the result of a mistaken demand by the Court itself. In Sohan Singh v. Oriental Bank of Commerce 1956-58 Pun LR 355 ; (AIR 1956 punj 215) (B) another Bench (Kapur, J. and Bishan Na-rain, J.) took the view that a Court has full power to grant refunds of Court-fees even when the fees have been collected in accordance with the provisions of law. As a considerable diversity of opinion has manifested itself between different High Courts and between different Benches of this Court, the Division Bench before which this petition came up for consideration has referred the following question to us for decision, namely. ''is the power of a Court to remit or refund Court-fees confined only to fees illegally or erroneously assessed or collected or does it extend also to fees which have been paid or collected in accordance with the provisions of the Court-fees Act "
(3.) THE statutory power of a Court of law to authorise refund of Court-fees is embodied in four sections of the Court-fees Act. Section 13 provides for a refund of fee paid' on memorandum of appeal in two cases, namely (1) where a plaint or memorandum of appeal rejected by the lower Court on any of the grounds mentioned in the Civil Procedure Code is ordered by the appellate Court to be received and (2) where a suit is remanded in appeal on any of the grounds mentioned in Order 41, Rule 23 of the code of Civil Procedure. Section 14 deals with a refund of Court-fee on an application for review of judgment. Section 15 provides for a refund where the Court reverses or modifies a former decision on grounds of mistake. Section 19-A provides for relief where too high a Court-fee has been paid on applications for probate or for letters of administration. There can be no doubt that a Court has full power to order a refund of Court-fees in any case which falls within the ambit of any of these sections. As the express mention of one thing implies the exclusion of another, the express mention of the circumstances in which refunds can be allowed implies that refunds cannot be allowed in any other circumstances. In other words a refund can be allowed in exercise of the statutory jurisdiction of the Court if and only if a case falls within the ambit of any one or more of these four sections. The statutory jurisdiction of the Court will carry us no further.;

Click here to view full judgement.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.