Bustle returns to Bihar courts as lawyers end strike

April 10th, 2008 - 5:44 pm ICT by admin  


Patna, April 10 (IANS) The functioning of courts across Bihar returned to normal Thursday as thousands of lawyers resumed work, a day after they suspended their indefinite strike against a hike in court fees. The Patna High Court had ordered an interim stay on the hike Wednesday.

A three-judge bench headed by acting Chief Justice C.K. Prasad and Justices Barin Ghosh and J.N. Singh ordered the stay in response to a petition filed in the public interest (PIL) by a Muzaffarpur-based lawyer. The Bihar government had brought an amendment bill to hike the fees for filing petitions and for getting copies of judgements.

“We are back to work with the court ordering an interim stay on hike in court fees. It is a half victory for us,” said Gopi Prasad, one of the lawyers who resumed work in the Patna High Court.

M.P. Gupta, a senior lawyer, said that lawyers were happy to resume work as the strike had paralysed the judicial services in the state. The strike began in Patna High Court March 31. The lawyers of district courts had been on strike since March 14.

Yogesh Chandra Verma, convenor of the coordination committee of three lawyers’ associations of the high court, said: “The steep and irrational hike would have made seeking justice too costly for the common people, particularly the poor. We are happy the order has been stayed.”

Over 80,000 lawyers, including 25,000 of the Patna High Court and 55,000 of district courts, had gone on strike demanding the state government roll back the court fee hike.

A special ministerial committee, headed by Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, is looking into the issues raised by lawyers. It will meet representatives of the lawyers and submit a report to the government. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar constituted the committee last week.

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