When a Plaintiff files a suit or plaint, he is required by law to file the suit or plaint with the appropriate court fee. At the time of filing the plaint, the pecuniary value of the plaint / suit is determined, on which the court fee is calculated, as well as the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Court. If the required Court fee is not paid, the plaint may be dismissed in accordance with Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908. Only those who are indigent (as defined in Order 33 of the Civil Procedure Code) are exempt from paying Court fees.
If a case is settled between the parties after it being referred for settlement by the Court under Section 89 of the CPC, in that case the court fee can be refunded in terms of Section 16 of the Court fees Act, 1870. As per Section 16 of the Court Fees Act,
“16. Refund of fee.— Where the court refers the parties to the suit to any one of the mode of settlement of dispute referred to in Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 the plaintiff shall be entitled to a certificate from the court authorizing him to receive back from the Collector, the full amount of the fee paid in respect of such plaint.”
Therefore, in such cases, on presenting an application before the Court, the Court can provide a certificate to the Plaintiff authorizing him to receive a refund of the court fee paid along with the plaint. However, if the settlement is an out of court settlement, that in that case, the court fee will not be refunded.
But, the State of Delhi has amended and inserted a new section 16A whereby it has been provided that
“16 A. Refund of fees on settlement before hearing – Whenever by agreement of parties-
- Any suit is dismissed as settled out of Court before any evidence has been recorded on the merits of the claim; or
- Any suit is compromised ending in a compromise decree before any evidence has been recorded on the merits of the claim; or
- Any appeal is disposed of before the commencement of such appeal;
Half the amount of all fees paid in respect of the claim or claims in the suit or appeal shall be ordered by the Court to be refunded to the parties by whom the same have been respectively paid.
Explanation – The expression “merits of the claim” refers to matters which arise for determination in the suit not being matters relating to the frame of the suit, misjoinder of parties and cause of action, the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain or try the suit or the fee payable, but includes matters arising on pleas of res judicata, limitation and the like”
Thus, if a suit is settled out of court before the evidence has been recorded or a settlement has led to a compromise decree, then in that situation, the court can refund 50% of the amount of the Court fee.
However, if you still want to get a refund of the entire court fee, you can plead before the Court to refer the matter for settlement in accordance with Section 89 of the CPC and then settle the matter before the mediator, in which case the court fee will be completely refunded.