- The Madras High Court on Wednesday, 31st March, while hearing a matter in relation with increase in court fee by the State has stated that the same is a matter of policy and court will not interfere in the matter.
- However, the bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy has urged the state to reconsider the quantum of increase and see if the fee for both writ petition and writ appeal should be increased so much in one go.
- In the petition was filed before the court it was stated that before the increment, the court fee for both writ petition and writ appeal was Rs. 200 which has now been increased to Rs. 1000 for writ petition and Rs. 2000 for writ appeal.
- The petitioner further submitted that article 226 of Constitution provides remedy to enforce fundamental rights. The cost of availing such remedy shall not be such high as to exclude a class of person from availing it.
- Further in the petition it was submitted that “paltry amounts are charged for applying under Article 227 of the Constitution and for seeking bail or anticipatory bail or moving criminal appeals, the exorbitant increase in court-fees for writ petitions and writ appeals appears incongruous”.
- Apart from these submissions, the petitioner highlighted the fact the outside the state of Tamil Nadu, the court fee in other states and UTs does not exceed Rs. 500.
- Against the petition the State has filed a counter affidavit in which it was state the regarding the fee structure, a committee was appointed to look into the fee structure, according to which the increase was appropriate.
- The fee was increased in some areas and reduced in some, so that the income gathered from court fee remains the same.
- The state further submitted that “if any reduction were to be given in respect of specific matters, it would result in overall prejudice to the State as there would be less collection on account of court-fees than what was collected previously”.
- The court considering the issue to be a matter of policy decided to not interfere in the same and has stated that- “At the end of the day, it is a matter of policy and the Court will not interfere unless it finds complete arbitrariness or the possibility of manifest injustice resulting in the exclusion of a class of citizens or court-fees being fixed at such levels that shock the conscience of the Court.”
- The court without expressing any conclusive opinion, has asked the state to reconsider whether the quantum of increase should be so much in one-go as the same appears to be significant.
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