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Report No. 236

Court-fees in Supreme Court vis-à-vis Corporate Litigation


1.1.1 Based on the comments made by the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice in its 28th Report1 while considering the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill, 2008, the Department of Justice requested the Law Commission of India2 to consider the issue of treating the Corporates separately in the matter of payment of court-fee so that higher court-fee may be demanded from the corporate sector on ad valorem basis.

1.1.2 The Parliamentary Standing Committee was in favour of levy of differential court-fee for the corporate sector and accordingly, recommended3 that amendments be carried out in the relevant rules in terms of Article 145 of the Constitution. Article 145 provides that subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, the Supreme Court may from time to time, with the approval of the President, make rules for regulating generally the practice and procedure of the Court, including various matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (j).

The Committee observed that the corporate and statutory bodies have to pay only maximum court-fee of Rs.2,000/- for going to Supreme Court, and such entities make use of the judicial infrastructure at the minimum expense and considerable time is spent by the Supreme Court on the litigation by such corporate bodies. The Committee further observed that the corporate/commercial bodies have huge financial resources at their disposal and invariably their disputes are worth crores of rupees and, therefore, it would be reasonable if they are required to pay court-fees on ad valorem basis ranging between 1% and 5% of the total value of the dispute.

1 28th Report of the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice on the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill, 2008" presented to the Hon'ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha on 4th August, 2008.

2 Department of Justice's Letter No. L-11018/1/2002-Jus dated 17.7.2009. The said letter inadvertently refers to 21st Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the 'Judges (Inquiry) Bill, 2006'.

3 Paragraphs 7.4 and 7.5 of the 28th Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee

The Standing Committee further made specific reference to some of the fiscal and other enactments viz. Customs Act, Central Excise Act, Income-tax Act, Consumer Protection Act, MRTP Act, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, SEBI Act, under which the companies can file appeals to the Supreme Court by paying the maximum fee of Rs.2,000/- which is grossly inadequate. The Committee pointed out that the additional revenue generated by charging higher fee on corporate bodies could be used by the State for fulfilling the directives laid down in Article 39A of the constitution. The Committee felt that by increasing the court-fees on ad valorem basis, the Supreme Court can add to its revenue manifold and the resultant revenue 7 could flow back to the judiciary in the form of higher grants. Further, it was observed that whereas the corporate/statutory bodies are able to approach the Supreme Court by paying the minimum amount of fee, the poor and ordinary citizens are handicapped in having access to justice.

1.2 The Table of court-fees (Parts I & II of Third Schedule) appended to the Supreme Court Rules, 1966 is enclosed to this Report (as Appendix).

Court-fees in Supreme Court vis--vis Corporate Litigation Back

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