A woman will now not have to pay court fees while claiming maintenance for her minor son, after the Bombay High Court on Wednesday allowed a petition challenging the family court’s guidelines by which a woman was expected to pay the fee while claiming maintenance for her minor son but not while seeking maintenance for a minor daughter.
The Chief Justice pointed out that the only sufferer in such a case was the mother, and allowed the petition.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M S Sonak was hearing a PIL filed by Majlis Manch.
The NGO’s advocate Flavia Agnes argued that women were exempted from paying court fees by a 1994 notification issued under the Bombay Court Fees Act. She said in a recent case where maintenance was sought for two minor sons, the family court registrar said the matter cannot proceed unless the court fees are paid. Since the woman was unable to pay it, the matter was taken before the family court principal judge who reaffirmed that the 1994 notification is only for women and not for minor male children.
Government pleader Neha Bhide said such fees are added to the state’s revenue. “If you collect the present revenue properly, it will be enough,” pointed out the Chief Justice.