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Posted at: Mar 21, 2017, 1:00 AM; last updated: Mar 21, 2017, 1:00 AM (IST)

HC passes strictures on Ambala court

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has virtually passed strictures on an Ambala court for passing an order without the application of mind and without taking into consideration the provisions of law.

The admonition by Justice Daya Chaudhary came in the case of a widow, whose application seeking permission to file an appeal in a property matter as pauper was dismissed by Ambala Additional District Judge.

Taking up the petition filed by Phoolwati, Justice Chaudhary asserted neither the Collector’s report was taken into consideration, nor the provisions of Order 33 Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure on the indigent person were considered while dismissing her application.

Quoting the report sent by Naraingarh Tehsildar, Justice Chaudhary asserted the document made it clear that the petitioner was shown as “very poor having no house to live in and residing in a rented accommodation”.

Justice Chaudhary said: “But still the same has not been taken into consideration. The order passed by the Lower Appellate Court is without any application of mind and without going through the relevant provisions applicable to the case of the petitioner. Accordingly, this revision petition is allowed and impugned orders issued in April and May 2016 are hereby set aside. The case is remanded to the Additional District Judge, Ambala, with a direction to reconsider the case of the petitioner keeping in view the observations and law position”.

Referring to Rule 1 Order 33, Justice Chaudhary added that an indigent person was one without sufficient means to pay court fee when prescribed by law and not entitled to property worth Rs 1,000 when such court fee is not prescribed.

The factors such as person’s employment status and total income, including retirement benefits in the form of pension, ownership of realisable unencumbered assets, total indebtedness and financial assistance received from the family or close friends could be taken into account in order to determine whether a person is possessing sufficient means or indigent to pay requisite court fee.

“The expression ‘sufficient means’ in Order 33 Rule 1 of the Civil Procedure Code contemplates the ability or capacity of a person in the ordinary course to raise money by available lawful means to pay court fee….

“The court is to adopt liberal approach in granting permission to sue in forma pauperis (a phrase that indicates permission by a court to an indigent to initiate a legal action without paying court fees or costs due lack of financial resources). The liberal approach does not mean to grant permission for the mere asking. Totality of facts and circumstances is to be taken into consideration while arriving at any conclusions in this regard.”

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