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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:
Accordingly, the woman-plaintiff was also exempted from paying court fees applicable on the property suit she had initiated. However, this was opposed by the defendant, who contended that the plaintiff was not entitled to claim the exemption as she was a Non-Resident Indian (NRI).
However, the application moved by the defendant raising this challenge was dismissed by the trial court.