Report No. 189
Power of Parliament to Enact or Amend a Law Relating to The Court Fees Payable in High Courts And Subordinate Courts
(i) Legislative History of Court Fee in India
Before the advent of British rule in India, the administration of justice was considered to be the basic function of the State as guardian of the people without the levy of any charge on the party approaching the court for redress of its grievances. During the Mughal rule and the period prior to that, there was no fee payable even on administration of civil justice and the administration of justice was totally free. It was only after the British rule that regulations imposing court fees were brought into existence (see Secretary to Govt. of Madras v. P.R. Sriramulu, (1996) 1 SCC 345, at para 6).
The first legislative measure in India on court fee was the Madras Regulation III of 1782 which was followed by subsequent regulations. Subsequently, in Bengal, Bengal Regulation XXXVIII of 1795 was passed, which was also followed by subsequent regulations. In Bombay, Bombay Regulation VIII of 1802 was passed by the British Government, which was also subsequently replaced by other regulations. All these provincial regulations were amalgamated into a single Act XXXVI of 1860, which was enacted for whole of British India. This Act was also followed by subsequent Acts; and in last, the present Court Fees Act, namely, 'The Court Fees Act, 1870' (Act VII of 1870) came into existence. This Act of 1870 has been amended from time to time.