Delhi government defends court fee hike,says ASG cannot oppose amendment

The Delhi government on Monday objected to the appearance of Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok for the Delhi High Court Bar and asked how he could represent the lawyers’ body to oppose a legislation allowing a ten-fold hike in court fees.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:September 11, 2012 12:33 am

The Delhi government on Monday objected to the appearance of Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok for the Delhi High Court Bar and asked how he could represent the lawyers’ body to oppose a legislation allowing a ten-fold hike in court fees.

“I wonder how the Additional Solicitor General (Chandhiok,who is president of DHCBA) can oppose the Act passed by Delhi Assembly. This (Act) has been approved by the President of India. He is also appointed by the President. It is a constitutional issue,” Najmi Waziri,standing counsel for the government,told a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri.

Chandhiok was appearing for DHCBA,which along with other bar bodies has sought directions “to hold the Court Fee (Delhi Amendment) Act,2012,as void,ultra vires and unconstitutional”.

The court asked Waziri to supplement his arguments with case laws and then fixed the matter to come up later in the day. However,the bench later decided to transfer the matter to another court.

Earlier,the court had stayed the government’s decision to enforce the Court Fee (Delhi Amendment) Act,2012,which allows the government to effect a ten-fold hike in court fees. It asked the government to resolve the impasse within a fortnight,after holding discussions with lawyers’ bodies.

The Delhi government had submitted that it had the legislative competence to pass an Act to increase court fees and that the quantum of the hike was not “justciable” by the court.

Waziri had argued that over the past 10 years,the state government’s outlay toward the dispensation of justice had increased manifold and a portion of these costs had to be recovered.

He said the Delhi government had spent more than any other state government on setting up new district courts and infrastructure for court facilities like parking blocks. In addition,the government had submitted an affidavit with figures to show that Delhi’s outlay on courts was ten times that of West Bengal and six times that of Gujarat.

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