Fee must be refunded if case is settled out of court’



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‘Fee must be refunded if case is settled out of court’
The scope of settlement by the parties to the appeal suit out of court, neither be restricted nor be narrowed down.

Published: 17th January 2020 06:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th January 2020 06:33 AM  |  A+A A-
By Express News Service
CHENNAI: Once a case is settled out of court, either through arbitrator, conciliator, mediator or through a Lok Adalat pursuant to orders of the court or settled between the parties through their own conciliators, mediators or through their respective counsel, then the parties are entitled to refund of full court fee, Madras High Court has held.

In the event of dishonouring the entitlement of refund, then the same will cause discrimination amongst the same class of people, who had settled civil disputes out of court and such a discrimination is not only unconstitutional, but in violation of the spirit and scope of amended Section 69-A of Tamil Nadu Court Fees and Suits Valuation Act and with reference to Section 89 of Code of Civil Procedure, Justice S M Subramaniam said. He was allowing a writ petition from MC Subramaniam of Coimbatore, who prayed for a directive to High Court Registry to refund court fee.

Even in cases, where parties had withdrawn the appeal suit by filing a memo or affidavit stating that the disputes are settled out of court, they are entitled for refund under this provision, the judge said. It is not necessary while permitting parties to withdraw the appeal suit, there must be a separate order for refund of court fee as the parties are entitled under the statute for such refund.

The scope of settlement by the parties to the appeal suit out of court, neither be restricted nor be narrowed down. The very purpose and object of amendment to Code of Civil Procedure as well as the Act is to encourage litigants to settle disputes out of court. Thus, courts cannot restrict the scope or discriminate litigants, who have settled the issues out of Court in a particular manner under Section 89 of Code of Civil Procedure, the judge said.

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