Whether Question Of Ad Volrem Court Fee Would Survive For Consideration Once Amendment Of Plaint To Include Fee Was Allowed: SC Remands Matter To High Court
Whether the question of ad volrem court fee would survive for consideration once the amendment of the plaint to include the fee was allowed, the issue has been remanded by the Supreme Court to the High Court for fresh consideration including the issue whether the Court of Additional District Judge-II, Central, Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi could proceed with the suit further when once the amendment is allowed as above and whether, the suit, thereafter, be presented before the lowest court having the jurisdiction.
The two-Judge Bench comprising Justice C.T. Ravikumar and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia observed, “In the circumstances, we do not think it proper to consider all the said questions in this appeal and we think that it is an eminently fit case where we should remand the matter for fresh consideration by the High Court. Ordered accordingly. To enable the High Court to do so, the impugned order is set aside and we leave liberty to both sides to take all legally available contentions before the High Court, for a proper decision in the matter.”
The Bench said that none of the questions were considered by the High Court though such aspects were gone into by the Trial Court.
Advocate Avinash Kr. Lakhanpal appeared on behalf of the appellants while Advocate Sudhir Kumar Gupta appeared on behalf of the respondent.
In this case, an appeal by special leave was directed against the final order passed by the Delhi High Court whereby it allowed pleas and set aside the orders passed by the Additional District Judge-II (ADJ-II), Central Tis Hazari Courts. The appellants were the defendants in the suit and the suit was originally filed by the respondent before the High Court for declaration and cancellation of the gift deed and sale deed and also for mandatory as well as permanent injunction.
The respondent was permitted by the High Court to abandon prayers (c) and (d) made in the plaint and thus, the suit was pursued qua prayers in (a), (b), and (e) only. Later, it was transferred to the ADJ-II pursuant to the enhancement of the pecuniary jurisdiction of the civil courts. The High Court thereafter observed that the main question emanating for consideration in the petition filed under Article 227 of the Constitution was whether the suit was to be valued and whether the requisite court fee was liable to be paid or not.
The Supreme Court in the above context noted, “It is relevant to note that as per order dated 01.07.2017, the Trial Court held that the case of the plaintiff/the respondent herein did not fall in any of the carved out exceptions in Section 7 of the Court Fees Act, and furthermore, it would reveal that the very contention of the plaintiff before the Trial Court was that the suit was valued in terms of Section 7 (vi) (d) read with entry 17(vi) of Schedule II of the Court Fees Act as applicable to Delhi and this contention was repelled.”
The Court said that despite all the circumstances and involvement of many questions of relevance and importance, without even referring to the amendment sought before the High Court, it only held that the petitioner is permitted to amend the plaint.
“If what was actually prayed by this plaintiff/respondent before the Trial Court by way of amendment was the one (referred to hereinbefore) which stands granted as per the impugned order of the High Court, then a question may crop up whether the question of ad valorem Court fee would survive for consideration thereafter. Needless to say, another question may also crop up for consideration whether the Court of Additional District Judge-II, Central, Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi could proceed with the suit further when once the amendment is allowed as above and whether, the suit, thereafter, be presented before the lowest court having the jurisdiction”, further observed the Court.
In other words, the question was whether the court of ADJ-II could proceed to frame the issues and adjudicate them, thereafter. Taking into account the fact that the suit was originally of the year 2011, the Court, therefore, requested the High Court to dispose of the matter expeditiously, preferably within a period of six months.
Accordingly, the Apex Court disposed of the appeal.
Cause Title- B.P. Naagar & Ors. v. Raj Pal Sharma (Neutral Citation: 2023 INSC 657)