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Report No. 189

Past recommendations for total abolition need reiteration

There was, indeed, a move at one time, for abolition of Court fees altogether. The Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of Law and Justice, at its meeting in June 1980, set up a Sub-Committee to go into the question of court fees in trial Courts. The Sub-Committee in its report recommended abolition of court fees. The exercise was again undertaken by a Sub-Committee set up by the Conference of Law Ministers which submitted its report in October 1984.

This Sub Committee did not recommend abolition of court fees but recommended rationalization in the structure of court fee, broadly through reduction in ad valorem fee, exemption of certain categories of litigants and certain categories of cases from payment/levy of court fee and refund of court fee under certain circumstances. The Law Commission in 128th Report on Cost of Litigation (1988) expressed its views in favour of abolition of court fees. The Commission stated (para 4.6):

"However, the Law Commission would be extremely happy if the State Governments or the Government of India, as the case may be, view the court fees as something incompatible with a society governed by rule of law and would, therefore, like to abolish it." (emphasis supplied)

There was a proposal to amend the Court Fees Act, 1870 which was examined in detail in 1999 by the Department of Justice. The exercise was undertaken in pursuance of the recommendations of the Expert Group appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs to review Acts etc. administered by the said Ministry. However, with the approval of the then Minister of Law and Justice, it was decided not to amend the Act.

Revision of Court Fees Structure Back

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