Consider plea to reduce court fee for writ petitions, HC directs Govt

The Madras High Court on Monday directed the State government to consider a representation made by a lawyer who objected to steep increase on the court fee charged for filing writ petitions in the court. The advocate had taken exception to the fee having been increased from ₹ 200 to ₹1,000 on the basis of the recommendation of a court fee rationalisation committee.

Disposing of a public interest litigation petition filed by R. Natarajan of Chennai, a Division Bench of Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad directed the Home Secretary to consider the petitioner’s representation within six weeks. The representation had actually been made to the High Court’s Registrar General who, in turn, had forwarded it to the government.

In his affidavit, the petitioner said, the increase had been effected pursuant to recommendations made by a court fee rationalisation committee which had reduced the fee for filing of civil cases substantially and increased the fee for writ petitions manifold. He claimed that the steep increase was unreasonable and amounts to discouraging even genuine litigants.

Pointing out that the neighbouring State of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala were charging only ₹ 100 for filing a writ petition in their High Courts, he said, the court fee for filing a civil writ petition in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana was just ₹ 50. However, the rationalisation committee here had not undertaken any such comparative analysis, he contended.

Mr. Natarajan said, the fee for filing writ petitions even in the Supreme Court was only ₹ 500 per petition. Stating that writ jurisdiction was invoked by litigants only to set right the wrongs committed by the government authorities, the petitioner said, such genuine litigants should not get discouraged from filing cases just because of huge costs involved.

He also said, the court fee could not be used as a source of revenue generation. “The undue hike in the fee for writs would help only the erring bureaucrats and not the common people,” he added.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 5:39:21 PM |

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