A notification was issued under section 35 of the Court-fees Act, 1987 which laid down that women are exempted from paying court fees. A question was raised before the Hon’ble High Court of Orrisa that whether the exemption extended to the NRI women plaintiffs.
In this case, the lady though a domicile of the State was now a US citizen and had filed a suit for declaration of title, partition and a permanent injunction before a court in Orissa. The suit of the petitioner was valued at INR 1,11,84,300.
The respondents to the case had contended that since the petitioner is an NRI therefore, the notification exempting women-plaintiffs from paying court fees was not applicable to her. The Hon’ble High Court of Orissa brought an end to the confusion and held that the plaintiff who is a woman is exempted from paying court fees and therefore the NRI woman plaintiff is also entitled to the exemption.
The Hon’ble Court further held that women are exempted from paying court fees and the word women used in the notification has not been prefixed by an adjective. Therefore, the notification is applicable to all women irrespective of their status and nationality. The Hon’ble Court stressed on the fact that the notification is clear and explicit and the courts cannot interpret it in such a manner which would defeat the purpose of the notification.