The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bloc joins court fee-hike protest

The Forward Bloc, a major constituent of the ruling Left Front called for a downward revision of court fees on Saturday. A delegation of the Bloc will meet chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Monday to put forward their demand.

“We shall issue a statement on the government’s decision to hike court fees,” said Bloc secretary Ashok Ghosh, refusing to elaborate on the topic. Sources said the party would also try to raise the issue during the forthcoming Left Front meeting.

The Trinamul Congress and the state Congress said they would launch a statewide movement from Monday, demanding a rollback on the court-fee hike. “We shall protest in front of the offices of the district magistrates and block development officers, demanding an immediate revision of the court-fee hike,” said state Congress president, Pranab Mukherjee, on Saturday.

The ceasework by agitating lawyers across the state has virtually turned into an “ego battle” between them and law minister Nisith Adhikari. Even as Adhikari questioned the legality of the lawyers’ continuous ceasework at a meeting in Burdwan on Saturday and said that the government would not withdraw the Ordinance, the agitating lawyers organised a string of protests as part of their agitation since November 13.

Governor Viren J. Shah sent a letter to the West Bengal Bar Council, seeking its intervention into the ongoing impasse. On Friday, the Council office was informed that Shah had expressed a desire to meet the lawyers.

Uttam Majumder, chairman of the executive committee of the Council, said: “We are hopeful that the meeting with Governor Shah will yield some positive result.”

In a related development, the CPM-affiliated organisation of lawyers, Democratic Lawyers’ Association (DLA), on Friday slapped a fresh notice on its members to resume duty from Monday.

The lawyers, however, warned that they would prevent the DLA members from entering the courtrooms on Monday.

Former chairman and executive committee member of the Bar Council Saradindu Biswas said: “We are awaiting a call from chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. The Council had already sought an audience with him,” he said.

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