court fees Act, 1870 (7 of 1870) Section 7(i) , 7(iv) – Valuation – Suit was filed for relief of dissolution of partnership and for accounts – Plaintiff cannot whimsically choose a ridiculous figure for filing the suit most arbitrarily where there are positive materials and/or objective standards of valuation of the relief appearing on the face of the plaint – These materials or objective standards will also enable the Court to determine the valuation for the purpose of Order VII, Rule 11 (b) of the Code of Civil Procedure
Facts : Suit was filed for relief of dissolution of partnership and for accounts. For the purposes of jurisdiction, it was valued at Rs. 25 lacs whereas for the purposes of court fees the relief was valued at Rs. 500/-. In those circumstances, an application was moved by the defendant under Order VII Rule 11(b) cpc for rejection of the plaint on the ground that the suit has been grossly undervalued.
Court considered the provisions under Section 7(iv) of the Act and was of the view that suits covered by Section 7(iv) were of such nature that it is difficult to lay down any standard of valuation and it was, therefore, that liberty was given to the plaintiff to give a separate valuation of the relief sought for the purposes of payment of court fees. Court also observed that in a suit for accounts, it is almost impossible for the plaintiff to value the relief correctly.
Reliance placed upon a Constitution Bench decision in the case of S.RM.AR.RM. Ramanathan Chettiar reported in AIR 1958 SC 245 equivalent of 1958 SCR 1024 explaining why the legislature left it open for the plaintiff to value his claim for the six categories of the suit falling under Section 7(iv) of the Act. The basic reason was that as it was almost difficult to value the claim for any of the suits covered under Section 7(iv), therefore, for the purposes of payment of court fees, a different valuation for the relief sought could be given. All such suits were thus placed in Clause (iv) giving liberty to the plaintiff to give a separate valuation for relief sought. However, ultimately it would be the actual relief granted which would determine the court fees to be paid and the same may be made good by the plaintiff in case lesser court fees was paid.