Bihar lawyers strike work to protest court fees hike

March 31st, 2008 - 4:11 pm ICT by admin  

Patna, March 31 (IANS) Thousands of lawyers in Bihar went on a three-day strike Monday to protest the steep hike in court fees introduced by the state government. Lawyers from Patna High Court, district courts and sub-divisional courts stayed away. Hundreds of lawyers staged a demonstration here to put forth their demand of revoking the court fee hike.

The Bihar State Bar Council had called the strike.

“The decision to go on strike was taken at a meeting of the lawyers’ coordination committee in Patna Sunday,” said committee convener Yogesh Chandra Verma.

He said that most of the 122 lawyers’ associations in the state affiliated to the Bar Council have given their consent to strike work for three days.

Lawyers of the subordinate courts at Danapur, Patna city, Patna district collectorate, Kishanganj, Purnia, Barh and Masaurhi have, meanwhile, gone on an indefinite strike against the move. Over 3,000 lawyers of the Patna Civil Court are already on an indefinite strike since March 14.

The striking lawyers said that the hike in court fees would affect the common man, particularly the poor seeking justice.

“We have been repeatedly demanding that the government withdraw its order of a hike in court fees,” said Rajendra Prasad Singh, former president of the Bihar Bar Council.

The state government, through the Bihar Court Fees Amendment Act, 2007 issued a gazette notification last year that raised the fees. The state cabinet approved the move last month.

According to the new fee structure, the charge for filing a public interest petition (PIL) in the high court would go up to Rs.1,000. Earlier it depended on the nature of the case, some free of cost and others for any amount up to Rs.500.

“It is bound to hit people seeking justice,” said M.P. Gupta, a lawyer here.

The rate for procuring copies of judgements and other proceedings in the court has also been raised from Re.1 to Rs.10 per page.

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