“Women are exempted from payment of court fees. The language of the notification is clear & explicit. The word ‘woman’ has not been pre-fixed by any adjective. It takes with its sweep the woman of any status or nationality.”
The Orissa High Court has clarified that all women, regardless of nationality or status, are eligible to be exempted from the payment of court fees with respect to litigation in the state, in tune with the Orissa government’s 1994 notification to that effect.
Justice AK Rath put the issue to rest in an order passed last month. An NRI woman had initiated a property suit, in respect of which she claimed the exemption from payment of court fee available to women.
Exercising its powers under Section 35 of the Court Fees Act, 1870, the Orissa government had passed a notification in 1994 exempting the following classes of persons from paying any court fee for filling or instituting cases in any court in Orissa:
Scheduled Caste members
Scheduled Tribe members
Persons with disabilities;
Persons whose annual income does not exceed one lakh rupees, and
Persons who are otherwise entitled to legal service under the Legal Service Authorities Act, 1987