Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Dec 25, 2002
Industry & Economy
Kerala lawyers protest hike in court fees
KOCHI, Dec. 24
THE All-India Lawyers Union has voiced its protest against the State Government's decision to increase the court fee and re-introduce fee for filing writ petitions by litigants before the High Court.
The Union President, Mr Mathew Zachariah, said that the practice of paying court fee for writ petitions under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution was done away with in 1990 on the recommendation of a committee headed by Justice P. Subramonian Poti.
However, the State Government has now amended the provision and has restored court fee through an ordinance.
The court fee for filing writ petitions is fixed at Rs 100, while the fee for filing writ appeals has been raised from Rs 100 to Rs 250.
Similarly a court fee for contempt petitions has been hiked to Rs 500 and for various other petitions and applications, the fee is up 3-10 times, putting an unbearable burden on the people who go to the court for seeking justice, he said.
Describing the decision as an "anti-people" move, Mr Zachariah said that the people of the country have the fundamental right to approach the court for protecting their rights.
No restrictions should be imposed on the people either financially or otherwise for protecting their rights.
"The imposition of the court fee on writ petition under Article 226 is an unreasonable restriction on the fundamental rights of the people."
He added that the steep increase has been brought into force abruptly and without public debate and discussion.
While increasing the fees for the general public, the Government departments have been exempted from paying any court fees.
As a result, the Government could now file cases against the people without paying the requisite court fee.
According to Mr Zachariah, the contempt petitions are proceedings in which the dignity and prestige of the courts are at stake.
"The petitioner has no further role in the matter. It is for the courts to take necessary action against the persons charged with contempt by proceeding with the matter," Mr Zachariah said.
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