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Tamil Nadu Court-Fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1955



(Tamil Nadu Act 14 of 1955) tn239




Received the assent of the President on the 13th May 1955, and first published in the Fort St. George Gazette Extraordinary dated the 16th May 1955 An Act to amend and consolidate the law relating to court-fees and valuation of suits in the [State of Tamil Nadu] Whereas it is necessary and expedient to amend and consolidate the law relating to court-fees and valuation of suits in the [State of Tamil Nadu]. Be it enacted in the Sixth Year of the Republic of India as follows:- CHAPTER I

Preliminary

1. Short title, extent and commencement. - (1) This Act may be called the [Tamil Nadu] Court-fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1955. (2) It extends to the whole of the [State of Tamil Nadu]. (3) It shall come into force on such [date] as the State Government may, by notification in the [Fort St. George Gazette], appoint. Object & Reasons6

2. Application of Act. - (1) The provisions of this Act shall not apply to-- (a) This clause was omitted by the Presidency Small Cause Courts, Code of Civil Procedure and the Tamil Nadu Court-Fees and Suits Valuation (Amendment) Act, 1979 (Tamil Nadu Act 43 of 1979).

(b) documents presented or to be presented before an officer serving under the Central Government.

(2) Where any other law contains provisions relating to the levy of fee in respect of proceedings under such other law, the provisions of this Act relating to the levy of fee in respect of such proceedings shall apply subject to the said provisions of such other law. 3. Definitions. - In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,- (i) "appeal" includes a cross-objection;

(ii) "Court" means any Civil, Revenue, or Criminal Court and includes a Tribunal or other authority having jurisdiction under any special or local law to decide questions affecting the rights of parties;

(iii) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

[(iv) (a) "transferred territory" means the Kanyakumari district and the Shencottah taluk of the Tirunelveli district; and]

(iv) expressions used and not defined in this Act or in the [Tamil Nadu] General Clauses Act, 1891 ([Tamil Nadu] Act I of 1891), but defined in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Central Act V of 1908), shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the said Code.

CHAPTER II

Liability to Pay fee

4. Levy of fee in Courts and public offices. - No document which is chargeable with fee under this Act shall- (i) be filed, exhibited or recorded in, or be acted on, or furnished by, any Court including the High Court, or

(ii) be filed, exhibited or recorded in any public office, or be acted on or furnished by any public officer,

unless in respect of such document there be paid a fee of an amount not less than that indicated as chargeable under this Act: Provided that whenever the filing or exhibition in a Criminal Court of a document in respect of which the proper fee has not been paid is in the opinion of the Court necessary to prevent a failure of justice, nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to prohibit such filing or exhibition. 5. Fees on documents inadvertently received. - When a document on which the whole or any part of the fee prescribed by this Act has not been paid is produced or has, through mistake or inadvertence, been received in any Court or public office, the Court or the head of the office may, in its or his discretion at any time, allow the person by whom such fee is payable to pay the fee or part thereof, as the case may be, within such time as ma v be fixed; and upon such payment, the document shall have the same force and effect as if the full fee had been paid in the first instance. 6. Multifarious suits. - (1) In any suit in which separate and distinct reliefs are sought based on the same cause of action, the plaint shall be chargeable with a fee on the aggregate value of the reliefs: Provided that, if a relief is sought only as ancillary to the main relief, the plaint shall be chargeable only on the value of the main relief. (2) Where more reliefs than one based on the same cause of action are sought in the alternative in any suit, the plaint shall be chargeable with the highest of the fees leviable on the reliefs. (3) Where a suit embraces two or more distinct and different causes of action and separate reliefs are sought based on them, either alternatively or cumulatively, the plaint shall be chargeable with the aggregate, amount of the fees with which plaints would be chargeable under this Act if separate suits were instituted in respect of the several causes of action: Provided that, where the causes of action in respect of reliefs claimed alternatively against the same person arise out of the same transaction, the plaint shall be chargeable only with the highest of the fees chargeable on them. Nothing in the sub-section shall be deemed to affect any power conferred upon a Court under rule 6 of Order II of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Central Act V of 1908). (4) The provisions of this section shall apply mutatis mutandis to memoranda of appeals, applications, petitions and written statements. Explanation. - For the purpose of this section, a suit for possession of immovable property and for mesne profit shall be deemed to be based on the same cause of action. 7. Determination of market value. - (1) Save as otherwise provided, where the fee payable under this Act depends on the market value of any property, such value shall be determined as on the date of presentation of the plaint. (2) The market value of land in suils falling under sections 25(a), 25(b), 27(a), 29,30,37(1), 37(3), 38, 45 or 48 shall be deemed to be (a) where the land is ryotwari land -thirty times the survey assessment on the land: Provided that, where the land forms part of a survey field and is not separately assessed to revenue, the value of such part shall be deemed to be thirty times such proportion of the survey assessment as the part bears to the entire survey field.

Explanation. - Lands in the areas in which the Malabar Tenancy Act, 1929 ([Tamil Nadu] Act XIV of 1930), is in force shall be regarded as ryotwari lands.

(b) where the land is situated in an estate as defined in sub-section (2) of section 3 of the [Tamil Nadu] Estates Land Act, 1908 ([Tamil Nadu] Act I of 1908), not being a land of the description mentioned in sub-clause (g) and such estate has been taken over by the Government under the [Tamil Nadu] Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1948 ([Tamil Nadu] Act XXVI of 1948)-thirty times the land revenue payable on the land under section 23 of that Act; but if a ryotwari settlement has since been effected in pursuance of section 22 of that Act, in respect of such land, thirty times the assessment as so fixed;

(c) where the land is situated in an estate which became an estate under the [Tamil Nadu] Estates Land (Third Amendment) Act, 1936 ([Tamil Nadu] Act XVIII of 1936)-thirty times the rent payable for the land fixed under the Tamil Nadu Estates Land (Reduction of Rent) Act, 1947 (Tamil Nadu Act XXX of 1947);

(d) where the land is an 'estate' as defined in the [Tamil Nadu] Estates Land Act, 1908 ([Tamil Nadu] Act I of 1908)-

(i) where separate peishkush is recorded in the Collector's register as payable for the estate-thirty times such peishkush;

(ii) in any other case-thirty times the annual melvaram realizable from that estate;

(e) where the land is a minor inam held under inam title deed-thirty times the assessment as noted in the village 'B' Register;

(f) where the land is in an inam village which, is not an 'estate' as defined in sub-section (2) of section 3 of the [Tamil Nadu] Estates Land Act, 1908 ([Tamil Nadu] Act I of 1908) - thirty times the rent payable in respect of it;

(g) where the land is a house-site whether assessed to full revenue or not, poramboke land, or is land not falling within the foregoing description-its market value.

[(3) x x x] 8. Set off or counter claim. - A written statement pleading a set off or counter claim shall be chargeable with fee in the same manner as a plaint. 9. Documents falling under two or more descriptions. - Subject to the provisions of the last preceding section, a document falling within two or more descriptions in this Act shall, where the fees chargeable thereunder are different, be chargeable only with the highest of such fees: Provided that, where one of such descriptions is special and another general, the fee chargeable shall be the fee appropriate to the special description. CHAPTER III

Determination of Fee

10. Statement of particulars of subject-matter of suit and plaintiff's valuation thereof. - In every suit in which the fee payable under this Act on the plaint depends on the market value of the subject-matter of the suit, the plaintiff shall file with the plaint, a statement in the prescribed form, of particulars of the subject-matter of the suit and his valuation thereof unless such particulars and the valuation are contained in the plaint. 11. Decision as to proper fee in the High Court. - Where, in a suit instituted in the High Court, in which a fee is payable under this Act, any difference arises between the officer whose duty it is to see that proper fee is paid and any party as to the necessity of paying a fee or the amount thereof, the question shall be referred to the Taxing Officer who shall decide the same: Provided that, if in the opinion of the Taxing Officer, the question is one of general importance, he may refer it to the Chief Justice of the High Court or such Judge or Judges of the High Court as the Chief Justice shall appoint, either generally or specially on this behalf: Provided further that, when the case comes up for disposal before the Court, the decision of the Taxing Officer may be reviewed by the Court. 12. Decision as to proper fee in other Courts. - (1) In every suit instituted in any Court other than the High Court, the Court shall, before ordering the plaint to be registered, decide on the materials and allegations contained in the plaint and on the materials contained in the statement, if any, filed under section 10 the proper fee payable thereon, the decision being however subject to review, further review and correction in the manner specified in the succeeding sub-sections. (2) Any defendant may, by his written statement filed before the first hearing of the suit or before evidence is recorded on the merits of the claim but, subject to the next succeeding sub-section, not later, plead that the subject-matter of the suit has not been properly valued or that the fee paid is not sufficient. All questions arising on such pleas shall be heard and decided before evidence is recorded affecting such defendant, on the merits of the claim. If the Court decides that the subject-matter of the suit has not been properly valued or that the fee paid is not sufficient, the Court shall fix a date before which the plaint shall be amended in accordance with the Court's decision and the deficit fee shall be paid. If the plaint be not amended or if the deficit fee be not paid within the time allowed, the plaint shall be rejected and the Court shall pass such order as it deems just regarding costs of the suit. (3) A defendant added after issues have been framed on the merits of the claim may, in the written statement filed by him, plead that the subject-matter of the suit has not been properly valued or that the fee paid is not sufficient. All questions arising on such pleas shall be heard and decided before evidence is recorded affecting such defendant, on the merits of the claim, and if the Court finds that the subject-matter of the suit has not been properly valued or that the fee paid is not sufficient, the Court shall follow' the procedure laid down in subsection (2). Explanation. - Nothing in this sub-section shall apply to a defendant added as a successor or a representative in interest of a defendant who was on record before issues were framed on the merits of the claim and who had an opportunity to file a written statement pleading that the subject-matter of the suit was not properly valued or that the fee paid was not sufficient. (4) (a) Whenever a case comes up before a Court of Appeal, it shall be lawful for the Court, either of its own motion or on the application of any of the parties, to consider the correctness of any order passed by the lower Court affecting the fee payable on the' plaint or in any other proceeding in the lower Court and determine the proper fee payable thereon. Explanation. - A case shall be deemed to come before a Court of Appeal even if the appeal relates only to a part of the subject-matter of the suit. (b) If the Court of Appeal decides that the fee paid in the lower Court is not sufficient, the Court shall require the party liable to pay the deficit fee within such time as may be fixed by it.

(c) If the deficit fee is not paid within the time fixed and the default is in respect of r. relief which has been dismissed by the lower Court and which the appellant seeks in appeal, the appeal shall be dismissed, but if the default is in respect of a relief which has been decreed by the lower Court, the deficit fee shall be recoverable as if it were an arrear of land revenue.

(d) If the fee paid in the lower Court is in excess, the Court shall direct the refund of the excess to the party who is entitled to it.

(5) All questions as to value for the purpose of determining the jurisdiction of Courts arising on the written statement of a defendant shall be heard and decided before evidence is recorded affecting such defendant, on the merits of the claim. Explanation. - In this section, the expression "merits of the claim" refers to matters which arise for determination in the suit, not being matters relating to the frame of the suit, misjoinder of parties and causes of action, the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain or try the suit or the fee payable but inclusive of matters arising on pleas of res judicata, limitation and the like. 13. Additional fee on issues framed. - Where a, party becomes liable to pay additional fee by reason of an issue framed in the suit, the provisions of the last foregoing section shall apply to determination and levy of such additional fee subject to the modification that where the party liable does not pay such additional fee within the time allowed, the Court shall strike off the issue and proceed to hear and decide the other issues in the case. 14. Relinquishment of portion of claim. - A plaintiff who has been called upon to pay additional fee may relinquish a part of his claim and apply to have the plaint amended so that the fee paid would be adequate for the claim made in the plaint as amended. The Court shall allow' such application on such terms as considers just and shall proceed to hear and decide the claim made in the plaint as amended, provided that the plaintiff shall not be permitted at any later stage of the suit to add to the claim the part so relinquished. 15. Fee payable on written statements. - Where fee is payable under this Act on a written statement filed by a defendant, the provisions of section 12 shall apply to the determination and levy of the fee payable on such written statement, the defendant concerned being regarded for the said purpose as the plaintiff and the plaintiff or the co-defendant or the third party against whom the claim is made being regarded as the defendant. 16. Fee payable on appeals, etc. - The provisions of sections 10 to 14 relating to the determination and levy of fee on plaints in suits shall apply mutatis mutandis to the determination and levy of fee in respect of memorandum of appeal, cross-objection or other proceeding in second appeal or in an appeal under the Letters Patent. 17. Fee payable on petitions, applications, etc. - The provisions of sections 10 to 14 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the determination and levy of fee in respect of petitions, applications and other proceedings in Courts in the same way as they apply to the determination and levy of fee on the plaints in suits. 18. Court-fee Examiners. - (1) The High Court may depute officers to be designated Court-fee Examiners to inspect the records of subordinate Courts with a view to examine the correctness of representations made to, and orders passed by, Courts on questions relating to valuation of subject-matter and sufficiency of fee in respect of proceedings in such Courts. (2) Questions raised in reports submitted by such Court-fee Examiners and relating to any suit, appeal or other proceeding pending in a Court shall be heard and decided by such Court; and for the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that in hearing and deciding a question raised in any such report, it shall be lawful for the Court to review an earlier decision given by the Court on the same question. 19. Inquiry and Commission. - For the purpose of deciding whether the subject-matter of a suit or other proceeding has been properly valued or whether the fee paid is sufficient, the Court may hold such inquiry as it considers proper and may, if it thinks it, issue a Commission to any proper person directing him to make such local or other investigation as may be necessary and to report thereon to the Court. 20. Notice to the State Government. - In any inquiry relating to the fee payable on a plaint, written statement, petition, memorandum of appeal or other document, or to the valuation of the subject-matter of the claim to which the plaint, written statement, petition, memorandum of appeal or other document relates, insofar as such valuation affects the fee payable, the Court may, if it considers it just or necessary to do so, give notice to the State Government; and where such notice is given, the State Government shall be deemed to be a party to the suit or other proceeding as respects the determination of the question or questions aforesaid; and the Courts decision on such question or questions shall, when it passes a decree or final order in such suit or proceeding, be deemed to form part of such decree or final order.