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Report No. 231

Court-fees Act 1870

1.6 We are here dealing with two types of stamps, judicial and nonjudicial. The Stamp Act covers non-judicial stamps which are for use in transactions between persons where written instruments are used. Judicial stamps bear the words "Court-fee' and judicial stamped papers bear the word "Judicial", and are for use in courts and certain public offices under the provisions of the Court-fees Act 1870.

1.7 Before the advent of the British rule in India, administration of justice was considered to be the basic function of the State as guardian of the people without levy of any charge on the party approaching court for redress of its grievances. During the Mughal rule and the period prior to that, administration of justice was totally free. It was only after the British rule that regulations imposing court-fees were brought into existence.1

1. 189th Report of the Law Commission of Indian.

1.8 Court-fees in civil courts appear to have been first levied in the 18th century by Madras Regulation III of 1782, Bengal Regulation XXXVIII of 1795 and Bombay Regulation VIII of 1802. Paradoxically, the preamble to the Bengal Regulation justified the imposition of courtfees on the ground that it would prevent the institution of frivolous litigation.1

1. 14th Report of the Law Commission of Indian.

1.9 All the provincial regulations were amalgamated into a single Act XXXVI of 1860 enacted for whole of India. Subsequent Acts followed and ultimately came into being the present Court-fees Act 1870.1

1. 189th Report of the Law Commission of Indian.

1.10 The Court-fees Act prescribes fees which are to be paid in respect of documents to be used in courts and certain public offices. Like the Stamp Act, the Court-fees Act also provides for payment of court-fees through stamps which shall be impressed or adhesive, vide sections 25 and 26 of the Court-fees Act. No document shall be valid unless and until it is properly stamped, vide section 28 of the Court-fees Act.

Amendments in the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 and Court-Fees Act, 1870 permitting different modes of Payment Back

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