The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Court fee on tinker table
- Government plans partial rollback, dual rates

Calcutta, Dec. 5: After two rounds of failed talks between striking lawyers and chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the government today said it has “carefully considered” the representations seeking a rollback in the court fee hike and “is taking steps to ameliorate the grievances of the litigants”.

Earlier in the day, the chief minister assured his colleagues at a Cabinet meeting that the government has studied the demands of different parties and is taking steps to “remove anomalies in (the) hiked court fee structure”. The chief minister also said a Bill in this regard would be placed in the Assembly on December 10.

“The government has received a number of representations from different organisations on (the) court fee issue. It has carefully considered them and is taking steps to ameliorate the grievances of the general litigants. These changes would figure in the Bill that will be placed in the Assembly,” said state advocate-general Balai Ray.

According to law department sources, the government has chalked out a new fee structure that partially rolls back the hike that was introduced through an Ordinance last month.

Sources said the government was also considering issuing below poverty line cards to litigants with little income so that they could fight cases by paying nominal court fees.

Since November 13, lawyers across the state have been on strike to protest this hike.

Agitating Bar Council leaders, however, said their agitation would continue till they see in “black and white” the downscaled fee structure. “We are fighting for the cause of common litigants and our movement will continue till the government sends us the new court fee structure in black and white,” said Bidyut Kiran Mukherjee, a former chairman of the council.

He added that thousands of lawyers would attend the rally on Rani Rashmoni Road on December 10. “Meetings and rallies are being organised in different districts to secure public support for the movement and some of the leaders of the council are visiting subordinate courts to campaign for the rally,” said Mukherjee.

Ashok Deb, a member of the Bar Council of India, alleged that law minister Nisith Adhikary and some members of the Democratic Lawyers’ Association, a forum affiliated to the CPM, were trying to split the agitating lawyers by issuing false statements.

“The DLA has alleged to the chief minister that the agitating lawyers are preventing those willing from attending court. This is not true and politically motivated,” he said.

Burdwan row: Tension mounted in the court of the sub-divisional judicial magistrate in Burdwan today when DLA members went to the criminal courts to file cases, reports our correspondent.

Agitating Bar Council members shouted slogans and staged a demonstration inside the court campus. Later, the district unit of the council said it would ask its state leaders to take appropriate action against the lawyers who had joined court violating the ceasework call.

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