The Madras High Court on Monday admitted a plea challenging the increase in court fee to Rs 1,000 from Rs 200 for filing writ petition and Rs 2,000 for every writ appeal.
When the plea moved by Vasanth, a liquor shop employee came up before it, the first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilumar Ramamoorthy acknowledged that the Additional Chief Secretary has been impleaded in the case and posted it for further hearing to eight weeks after directing the impleaded party to file an affidavit.
During the hearing, the Chief Justice observed that the hike seemed reasonable when compared to the increase in wholesale price index. But the counsel appearing for the petitioner contended that court fee could not be compared to wholesale price index as the increase in court fee would reduce access to justice. He also pointed out that court fee was lesser in other States where the maximum charge was Rs 500 for both writ petition and appeal.
The petitioner had submitted that access to justice and right to judicial review were fundamental rights, and poor people cannot be deprived of such a right by fixing court fees like it has been done in Tamil Nadu.