New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a plea of the bar association of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) seeking quashing of Centre`s decision to hike court fees for filing petitions in the panel.
"The order is reserved," the bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw said after the counsel for the bar body and the Centre concluded their arguments in the case.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by the Armed Forces Tribunal Bar Association alleging that personnel from Army, Navy and Air Force are forced to pay almost five times more as court fees for filing appeals in the AFT.
"The court fees of Rs 50 is required for filing a plea in a high court, while an army man, in comparison to civilians, has to pay Rs 250 for filing an appeal in the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) and this is against the fundamental right to equality," the lawyer, appearing for the bar body, said.
He also alleged that the central government lacked the power to enhance the court fees as the issue has to be guided by the statute.
The counsel for the Centre opposed the plea saying that the central government is "well within its power" to raise the court fees as the AFT rules is a special legislation.
The Armed Forces Tribunal came into being in 2007 after the Parliament passed the AFT Act and the panel adjudicates disputes and complaints with respect to commission, appointments, enrolments and conditions of service of personnel of Army, Navy and the Air Force Act.