Bihar lawyers to extend strike till April 7

April 2nd, 2008 - 8:54 pm ICT by admin  

Patna, April 2 (IANS) Thousands of lawyers in Bihar struck work for the third consecutive day Wednesday and decided to continue their strike till April 7 to protest the steep hike in court fees. The strike began Monday, affecting the working of courts across the state. But Wednesday, the last day of what was to be a three-day strike, the lawyers decided to continue their protest following the state government’s refusal to roll back the court fee hike.

The decision to continue the strike came at a meeting of all the three bar associations in the Patna High Court.

“The judicial services were totally paralysed by the lawyers’ strike and we will continue the strike until our demands are met,” said M.P. Gupta, a senior lawyer of the Patna High Court.

The future course of action would be decided at a meeting of the representatives of 122 bar councils in the state on April 7, lawyers said.

Bihar Industry Minister Gautam Singh, however, has ruled out the withdrawal of the hiked fee.

“The state spends more than Rs.191 crore (Rs.1.9 billion) on the judiciary each year, and the hike in fees would bring in only about Rs.20 crore (Rs.200 million). We don’t think the rates are so high that they warrant a strike from the legal community,” Singh said Monday.

According to the new fee structure, the charge for filing a public interest litigation (PIL) in the high court would go up to Rs.1,000. Earlier, the rate depended on the nature of the case.

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

Saying the hike will affect people, particularly the poor, lawyers from the high court, district courts and sub-divisional courts stayed away from court work and hundreds of them staged a demonstration here.

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