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Strike rethink after court fee rollback

Calcutta, Dec. 9: The Bengal government has circulated copies of a Bill almost halving the increase in court fees, offering lawyers an opening to call of their strike which entered its 27th day today.

“We have a feeling that the government is giving serious thought to our demand for revision of the court fee hike,” a senior Bar Council member said.

“It would, therefore, be unwise to continue the ceasework, which has adversely affected the common people as well as our junior members.”

But no one was willing to officially comment before the rally at Esplanade tomorrow. A team of lawyers will then meet the Speaker and present a memorandum of demands. A final decision on calling off the strike will be taken after the Bar Council executive committee meets on Wednesday.

The fees were raised through an Ordinance last month. However, according to the Bill, thead valorem fee (charged when cases with financial claims are filed), which had been raised to Rs 50,000 from Rs 10,000, has been cut to Rs 25,500.

Almost all other fees have been rolled back by 40 to 50 per cent, barring those for filing writ petitions, appeals and vakalatnama before Calcutta High Court.

The council had demanded that the ad valorem fee be fixed at Rs 11,500 but most lawyers are not complaining.

“If the ceasework conti- nues any further, junior advocates will be worst hit,” a lawyer said.

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