Courts cannot impose unlimited costs in civil proceedings #indianlaws

Division Bench of Delhi High Court in the matter of Bikramjit Ahluwalia Vs. Avnija Ahluwalia FAO(OS) 173/2016 held that there is no question of exercising of inherent powers contrary to the specific provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure. Under Section 35A CPC, which deals with vexatious litigation and exemplary costs, the outer limit has been fixed. The Courts cannot enforce cost beyond what is prescribed in Section 35A.

The Court observed that heavier costs are normally awarded in writ proceedings and PILs and not in civil litigation where Section 35 and Section 35A of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 are applicable. The principles which are followed in administrative law matters, cannot be mechanically brought in the realm of civil litigation.

The compensatory cost under Section 35A of CPC, even if low and not even restitutive, let alone punitive, has to be followed and the limitation prescribed under the Section cannot be breached in the absence of any change in the corresponding rules.