Court listens to lawyers, puts 10-fold hike on hold

The Delhi High Court on Thursday stayed for two weeks the Delhi government’s notification of a 10-fold hike in court fees.

A division bench of Justices A K Sikri and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, staying the notification, asked the Delhi High Court Bar Association, the state government and the co-ordination council of all bar associations in Delhi to hold discussion to resolve the issue within two weeks.

The bench took note of the letter by Delhi’s revenue minister A K Walia assuring to resolve the issue.

In view of the letter, the court directed the parties to resolve the issue at the earliest. “Having regard to the nature of controversy of the issue, resolve it at earliest within two weeks,” the court said.

The order came on a plea filed by Delhi High Court Bar Association seeking to quash the government’s Court Fee (Amendment) Act, 2012. The act had come into force on August 1.

According to the association, the notification will put a heavy financial burden on litigants.

Bar association president and additional solicitor general A S Chandhiok, seeking stay of the act, said, “The act is against the basic values and ideals of the administration of justice in a welfare state.”

The government has increased the court fees to collect an additional Rs 450 crore annually.

Filing the petition against the government, the bar association said, “The rate at which the court fees is sought to be levied negates the concept of a fee and partakes the character of tax.”

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