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Return of Court Fees in cases decided on Admission (Kerala)

Section 69 of the Kerala Courts Fees and Suit Valuation Act

69. Refund in cases of compromise or when suit is decided on the admission of parties.— When a suit or appeal is compromised or when a suit is decided solely on the admission of the parties without any investigation, one-half of the court fee paid on the plaint or memorandum of appeal shall be ordered to be refunded to the parties by whom the same have been paid respectively;

Provided that no refund shall be ordered where only one-tenth of the amount of fee on plaint as per Sec. 4A or one-third of the amount of fee on memorandum of appeal as per S. 52 has been paid by the parties.”.

The above section provides for refund of court fee on two contingencies, (i) when the suit or appeal is compromised and (ii) when the suit is decided solely on the admission of parties without any investigation.

In a case where suit is dismissed as not pressed and there is no investigation, is the party entitled for refund of one-half of the court fee?

  • Philomina Joseph v. State Of Kerala & Anr.
  • Kerala High Court
  • 29 Jan, 2009

An express or implied admission can also be taken as admission. An admission can be made by conduct. An admission is a statement, oral or written, suggesting any inference as to any fact or relevant or deemed to be relevant to any such fact made by or on behalf of any party to any proceedings. None of the provisions of the Evidence Act give a restricted or a narrower meaning to ‘admission’, but admission should be specific and unconditional. It is true that when a person withdraws the suit without prejudice to filing any fresh suit on the very same claim, there is no admission by him regarding the merits of the claim. When he says that the suit is not pressed, he is admitting that he has no case and binds himself by way of Order II, Rule 2 CPC and it is certainly an admission and since the suit is decided without any investigation, Section 69 of the Act correctly applies. Therefore, we are of the view that the decision of the learned single Judge in Aravindaksha Prabhu's case, 2003 (1) KLT 644 is the correct view and, the view in this regard expressed in Peirce Leslie India Ltd. v. Kunheerium, 1978 KLT 811, is overruled.

In this case, the suit was filed for, realisation of a certain amount from the respondent/defendant. Before starting evidence, the petitioner filed a memo to the effect that the suit is not pressed. She also applied, for refund of court fee. The suit was, dismissed as not pressed. Since there was no order to refund court fee, petition was filed to refund the court fee. That was dismissed following the dicta in Peirce Leslie India Ltd.'s case (supra). Since that decision is overruled, petitioner is entitled to refund of 50% of court fee paid in accordance with Section 69 of the Court Fees Act.