1. This is an application under Article 226 of the Constitution of India by which the petitioners have prayed that the action of the Legislature in Mysore in enhancing the court-fees on writ petitions under the Mysore Court-fees (Amendment) Act, from Rs. 2/- to Rs. 20/- is void as being opposed to the fundamental rights guaranteed tinder the Constitution. The petitioners do not claim any other relief nor do they complain in their petition that any particular fundamental rights of their own have been at present infringed and that the enhanced court-fee is standing in their way of approaching this Court under Article 226 on account of their own poverty. We have held in this Court that only a person aggrieved can move the Court by a writ: vide -- 'Bangalore Dist. Hotel Owners' Association v. District Magistrate, Bangalore', AIR 1951 Mys 14 (A).
The Supreme Court have also expressed the same view in -- 'Charanjit Lal v. Union of India' : 1SCR869 (B), where Fazl Ali, Das and Mukherjea JJ. have pointed out that no one except those whose rights are directly affected by a law can raise the question of the constitutionality of that law find they have referred to a passage in -- 'McCabe v. Atchison', (1914) 235 US 151 (C). That case arose put of a suit filed by rive Negroes against five railway companies for restraining them from making any distinction in service on account of race pursuant to a State Act known as 'The Separate Coach Law.' Upholding the dismissal of the suit Hughes J, observed:
'It is an elementary principle that in order to justify the granting of this extraordinary relief, the complainant's need of it and the absence of an adequate remedy at law must clearly appear. The complainant cannot succeed because someone else may be hurt. Nor does it make any difference that other persons who may be injured are persons of the same race or occupation. It is the fact, clearly established, of injury to the complainant--not to others--which justifies judicial interference.'
The same view has been taken in -- 'Veerashamv. Vajrama', AIR 1953 Hyd 227 (D) and -- 'IndianSugar Mills Association v. Secy. to Govt., UttarPradesh Labour Department', AIR 1851 All 1(FB) (E). It is, however, urged for the petitionersthat they may be deemed to also have personalinterest in the matter as citizens of India as theirright to approach this Court is proposed to becurtailed or affected by the raising of the court-fee. We are, therefore, not disposing of theirapplication only on that ground though we aredisposed to think that it can be dismissed on thatshort ground.
2. It is contended for the petitioners that this legislation goes counter to Article 13(2) of the Constitution. It is represented that formerly writ petitions were being charged court-fees of Rs. 2/-only under Article 1 of the Mysore Court-fees Act as on an application or petition to the High Court for which no other provision was made and that by attempting to raise it the State is really making a law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by Part III and consequently that any such law is void.
In the affidavit annexed to the application it is represented that the reason given for the enhancement was to bring about uniformity in the rate of court-fees leviable in this State and the rates levied in the Bellary District which has recently been added on to Mysore and on the principle that justice must not be sold but should be administered freely the rates in Bellary ought to have been reduced to bring it in line with the court-fees in Mysore. We do not think that the raising of court-fees from Rs. 2/- to Rs. 20/- which we may observe has been done in Madras also, in any way takes away or abridges the rights conferred by Part III. The enhancement is neither so unreasonable nor the proposed court-fee of Rs. 20/- so heavy that it can operate in that way. Moreover admittedly the proposal to enhance the court-fee is to bring it in line with the charges which are being collected in the neighbouring province and 'the pith and substance' of that legislation is therefore not to abridge or discourage such applications. It may be that some persons wishing to make groundless, speculative and frivolous applications merely for the purpose of sensation or harassing others may be somewhat discouraged or deterred from filing such applications by reason Of the small increase but it is not likely to act as an obstruction to 'bona fide' applications by persons who have a real grievance.
In this connection reference may be made to a case reported in -- 'Emperor v. Munna Lal', AIR 1942 All 156 (F), In that case the U. P. Sugar Factories Control Act (1 of 1938) was impugned as unconstitutional on the ground that the Act tended to restrict entry into or export of sugar-cane from the province which the Provincial Legislature could not do under Section 297(1) of the Government of. India Act (1935). That construction was negatived. It pointed out: 'Now the Sugar Factories Act does not expressly or directly prohibit or restrict export or import of sugar or sugarcane from or into the province. It is not a law on the subject of export but it is a law on the subject of agriculture, industries and factories. And in so far as it directs the sugarcane in a reserved area to be sold by some sort of statutory compulsion at a price not below a minimum, it has adopted a necessary measure in the interest of and in order to preserve and develop sugarcane cultivation at a stage when the sugarcane was not and was not likely to be in future, with the doubtful exception in some border districts, subject of inter-province trade. And any remote or indirect interference Which may result to export or import by these measures is not open to Objection under Section 297(1), Constitution Act.'
3. It is next urged that the State Legislature was not competent to legislate in this matter. List II, State List, Sch. VII, Item 3 permits legislation with regard to the fees taken in all Courts except the Supreme Court. But it is argued that Item 66 which permits legislation in this matter 'of fees in respect of any of the matters in that List but not including the fees taken in any Court' takes away the right given in Item 3 of the same List. Such a construction is obviously unreasonable as Item 66 would then have to be treated as destructive of Item 3 and such construction leading to 'absurdity' is not permissible and is opposed to the well-recognized principles of interpretation of Statutes; see Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes, 9th Edn., p. 5. Pees in the later Item 66 could only mean fees other than court-fees as the latter has already been expressly provided for in Item 3. It refers to fees or ceases leviable in respect of the various matters or items enumerated in that List. By this entry the State Legislature can levy fees or ceases in all matters which are within their legislative ambit by being included in the said List II; see -- 'AIR 1942 All 156 (F)'. The Mysore Legislature was therefore, in our opinion, fully competent to pass the Mysore Court-fees (Amendment) Act, 1954, by which it raised court-fees in respect of certain matters including a petition for a writ.
4. This petition is therefore dismissed.
5. Petition dismissed.