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Rajabai Rajreddy Akitwar & Others v/s Union of India, through General Manager & Another

    Civil Revision Application No. 76 of 2016 in First Appeal Stamp No. 6175 of 2016

    Decided On, 19 July 2018

    At, In the High Court of Bombay at Nagpur

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE R.K. DESHPANDE & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE ARUN D. UPADHYE

    For the Applicant: Vilas Deshpande, Advocate. For the Respondents: N.S. Rao, Assistant Government Pleader.



Judgment Text

R.K. Deshpande, J.

1. In the revision filed under Section 5(2) of the Maharashtra Court Fees Act, 1959 ('the Court Fees Act') read with Rule 4(v) of Chapter V of the Bombay High Court Appellate Side Rules, 1960, the order of the Taxing Officer and the Deputy Registrar, High Court, Bench at Nagpur, passed on 5-8-2016 in First Appeal Stamp No.6175 of 2016, is challenged. The Taxing Officer has held that the applicants have to pay the deficit court fees of Rs.12,405/- on the memo of appeal filed under Section 23 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 ('the Claims Tribunal Act').

2. Dr. (Smt.) Shalini PhansalkarJoshi, J., by her order dated 282017, noticed two conflicting views taken by the two Coordinate Benches of this Court and, therefore, referred the following legal issue for consideration by the Larger Bench :

'[i] In view of the two conflicting views taken by two Coordinate Benches of this Court, one in the case of Sumitradevi Mahipal Kureel vs. State of Maharashtra and others Mh.L.J. 2005(4) 133 and another in the case of Sisupalan K. Vallikalayil and another vs. Union of India 2016(4) Mh.L.J. 154, whether in an appeal under section 23 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 arising out of an application under section 16(1) read with section 13(1A) of the said Act, the Court fee payable is, as required by Article 13 under Scheduled II of the Maharashtra Court Fees Act, 1959, or under Article 3 of Schedule I of the said Act?'

3. In the decision of this Court in Sumitradevi's case, it was an appeal filed under Section 23 of the Claims Tribunal Act challenging the order passed by the Railway Claims Tribunal on the application under Section 16(1) read with Section 13(1A) of the said Act for the injury suffered by the deceased and it was held that the court fee was payable on the amount or value of the award sought to be set aside or

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modified according to the scale prescribed under Article 1, as required by Article 3 of Schedule I of the Court Fees Act.

4. In the decision of this Court (delivered by one of us, viz. R.K. Deshpande, J.) in Sisupalan's case, it was also an appeal under Section 23 of the Claims Tribunal Act, arising out of an application under Section 16(1) read with Section 13(1A) of the said Act for compensation on account of the death and it was held that the court fee of Rs.25/payable is as required by Article 13 of Schedule II of the Court Fees Act, on the Memorandum of Appeal when the appeal is not from a decree or an order having the force of a decree and presented to the High Court.

5. In the referal order, the appeal is also under Section 23 of the Claims Tribunal Act filed by the dependants of the deceased arising out of an application under Section 16(1) read with Section 13(1A) of the said Act against the order of the Taxing Officer following the decision in Sumitradevi's case and holding that the court fee is payable as required by Article 3 of Schedule I of the Court Fees Act is challenged, and after noticing the conflict of views in the aforestated two decisions of this Court rendered by the Coordinate Benches, the reference in question is placed before this Court for decision.

6. The question, which we have to consider, is whether in an appeal under Section 23 of the Claims Tribunal Act, arising out of an application under Section 16(1) read with Section 13(1A) of the Claims Tribunal Act, the court fee payable is as required by Article 13 under Schedule II or Article 3 under Schedule I of the Court Fees Act. In order to consider this question, we would like to first see the provision of Section 16 of the Claims Tribunal Act dealing with the application to the Claims Tribunal and it is reproduced below :

'16. Application to Claims Tribunal. - (1) A person seeking any relief in respect of the matters referred to in subsection (1) or subsection (1A) of section 13 may make an application to the Claims Tribunal.

(2) Every application under subsection (1) shall be in such form and be accompanied by such documents or other evidence and by such fee in respect of the filing of such application and by such other fees for the service or execution of processes as may be prescribed:

Provided that no such fee shall be payable in respect of an application under sub-clause (ii) of clause (a) of subsection (1) or, as the case may be, subsection (1A) of section 13.'

In terms of the aforesaid proviso, if the application is under sub-clause (ii) of clause (a) of subsection (1) or under subsection (1A) of Section 13 of the Claims Tribunal Act, then the court fee is not payable.

7. Section 13 of the Claims Tribunal Act also becomes relevant in view of the provision of Section 16 of the said Act, reproduced above, and the same dealing with the jurisdiction, powers and authority of Claims Tribunal, runs as under :

'13. Jurisdiction, powers and authority of Claims Tribunal. -

(1) The Claims Tribunal shall exercise, on and from the appointed day, all such jurisdiction, powers and authority, as were exercisable immediately before that day by any civil Court or a Claims Commissioner appointed under the provisions of the Railways Act, -

(a) relating to the responsibility of the railway administrations as carriers under Chapter VII of the Railways Act in respect of claims for -

(i) compensation for loss, destruction, damage, deterioration or non-delivery of animals or goods entrusted to a railway administration for carriage by railway;

(ii) compensation payable under section 82A of the Railways Act or the rules made thereunder; and

(b) in respect of the claims for refund of fares or part thereof or for refund of any freight paid in respect of animals or goods entrusted to a railway administration