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COURT CANNOT IMPOSE COSTS EXCEEDING ITS LIMITS UNDER CPC AND ALSO IT CANNOT DIRECT THE COSTS TO BE PAID TO LEGAL SERVICES AUTHORITY

The Hon’ble Supreme court of India in ASHOK KUMAR MITTAL VS. RAM KUMAR GUPTA & ANR. 2009(1) SCALE 321 , Justice R V Raveendran, Justice J M Panchal, New Delhi; January 9, 2009 “Exemplary costs - Imposition of - Courts should not exceed the limitations placed by CPC in this regard - Principles and practice relating to administrative law matters cannot be imported mechanically to civil litigation governed by the Code - Levy of huge costs in selected matters made payable to legal Services Authorities or non-party charitable organizations should be avoided - As regards the costs, courts should not exceed or overlook the limitations placed by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 with reference to costs in civil litigation. The principles and practices relating to levy of costs in administrative law matters cannot be imported mechanically in relation to civil litigation governed by the Code. On the aspect of the recipient of the costs, once the High Court held that costs had to be paid to the State, it should not have directed payment of the costs to the High Court Legal Services Committee, which being a statutory authority under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, is not the 'State' that spends money on providing judicial infrastructure. Levy of huge amounts as costs in selected cases, made payable to Legal Services Authorities, may invite adverse comments and evoke hostility to legal services in general. The Court has also come across cases of costs being levied and made payable to some non-party charitable organizations. Levy of such costs should be avoided.”

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