The Court-fees Act: An Overview

The Court-fees Act was enacted, as its name suggests, principally for the purpose of defining the costs associated with submitting papers for use in court. There is no prologue in the Act that explains its objective, although it is clear that one of its principal goals is to impose fees for services to be provided by the courts and other offices.

Object of the Act

The Act is a fiscal law with the protection of revenue as its main goal rather than coercing the subject as its secondary goal. The Act not only specifies the fees but also how they are to be calculated, as well as the requirements for receiving, filing, registering, or using the papers listed in the First and Second Schedules to the Act in Indian courts, as appropriate. The Act also lists the types of papers that can be used in courts without needing to be stamped.

Rules under the Act

This Act was written in an unscientific manner; therefore, it might be difficult to comprehend. The following construction rules can be inferred from instances that have been decided 

  • A financial legislation, such as the Court-fees Act, must be read rigorously. Only by explicit and unambiguous phrases may the person be exposed to obligation or increased liability. In other words, the Act must be interpreted very rigorously and not in a way that would lead to the demand of greater court fees for a less valuable claim unless the wording of the Act is plain and unambiguous enough to allow the courts to impose a higher duty on a relief.

  • When in doubt, taxation legislation should be interpreted in the subject's favor.

  • In cases where two interpretations of a final enactment are equally plausible and tenable, the interpretation that is most favorable to the subject should be put into effect.

Provision under the Act

The Act consists of 36 Sections in 6 Chapters and 3 Schedules. Thus, the following are the provisions under the act −

Provision Chapters Description
Section 1 – Section 2 I Preliminary
Section 3- Section 5 II Fees in the high courts and in the courts of small causes at the presidency-towns
Section 6- Section 19 III Fees in other courts and in public offices
Section 19A- Section 19K IIIA Probates, letters of administration and certificates of administration
Section 20- Section 23 IV Process-fees
Section 25- Section 30 V The mode of levying fees
Section 31- Section 36 VI Miscellaneous


The earliest opportunity should be used to decide the issue of court fees. The plaint should be dismissed in accordance with Order 7, Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure if the Court determines after reviewing the plaint that the remedy sought is undervalued and orders the plaintiff to rectify the valuation within a deadline the Court will set. The Court should record the evidence of the parties bearing on the issue if the case demands inquiry, and if it determines that the court fee paid is insufficient, it must halt further litigation in the case, order the plaintiff to make good the shortfall within a given timeframe, and, upon his failure to do so, dismiss the case in accordance with Section 10 of the Court-fees Act.

In accordance with Section 3, the process outlined in Sections 25 to 28 infra for the collection and mode of levies the fees applies to the original jurisdiction as well as the appellate jurisdiction of the High Court; however, it is not applicable to Letters Patent Appeals from the judgment of a single judge of the High Court and no court-fee is leviable thereon other than Rs. 2/- prescribed for an application of the High Court. When the government refers an appeal under Agency Rules to the High Court for resolution, Section 3 does not apply.


For jurisdictional reasons, an action must be evaluated according to the market value of its subject matter rather than the special requirements of the Court Fees Act. The valuation of lawsuits for jurisdictional purposes is completely different from the valuation used to calculate court costs since one is based on the worth of the subject matter and the other is based on a specific value set by statutory regulations. The Court-fees Act's regulations cannot always be used as a guide for determining the jurisdictional worth of a lawsuit or appeal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is Court Fees Act?

Ans. The Court Fees Act is a law governing finances. To defend or safeguard the State's revenue is its main goal. The purpose of its passage was to ensure the State's financial gain.

Q2. What is the mode of payment of court fees?

Ans. According to the Court Fees Act, 1870, all kind of court fees levied under the Act shall be paid through stamps. This is the general mode of payment of court fees throughout the country.

Q3. Does the amount of court fee to be paid vary from State to State?

Ans. Yes, state laws govern court fees, and the amounts that must be paid may differ from one state to the next.

Q4. What are multifarious suits?

Ans. A court fee is assessed on the total amount of the reliefs sought in multifarious suits, which are suits in which various reliefs are individually sought for the same cause of action.

Q5. Where is Appropriate Government is defined under the Act?

Ans. The Appropriate government is defined under Section 1 A of the act.

Updated on: 10-Mar-2023


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