Chandra Reddy, C.J.
1. In this matter, the competence of the legislature to prescribe a court-fee of Rs. 100/- in regard to writ petitions is questioned by Mr. Chobe. It is urged by him that this law is not in conformity with the Constitution in that it violates Article 229 and Article 14 of the Constitution. Aside this, this subject is not also within the sphere of the State Legislatures which could only enact laws In regard to administration of justice and so the power conferred on the State Legislature should be confined to making of laws which are only subservient to administration of justice.
2. These contentions are devoid of substance. We Are unable to see how Articles 229 and 14 of the Constitution are infringed by the State Legislature in enacting laws prescribing a particular court-fee. Reliance is placed on paragraph 3 of Article 229 which lays down that the
'administrative expenses of a High Court Including all salaries, allowances and pensions payable to or in respect of the officers and servants of the Court shall be charged upon the consolidated Fund of the State and any fees or other moneys taken by the Court shall form part of the Fund.'
That does not take away the power of the State Legislature to make laws in regard to payment of court-fee. The question whether the court-fee charged in the High Court forms part of the consolidated fund does not arise here.
3. The submission founded on Article 14 is equally fallacious. Article 14 prohibits a State from denying to any person equality before law or equal protection of laws within the territory of India. It does not mean that every one has similar rights or right to the same thing. But, all rights of the same kind are equal as between different individuals. It prohibits a State from making discrimination between persons equally situated.
While it forbids class legislation, it does not prevent a Legislature from making a reasonable classification. We need not re-state here what conditions should be satisfied to pass the test of reasonable classification. The principles governing the applicability of Article 14 are clearly enunciated by the Supreme Court in Budhan Choudary v. State of Bihar, : 1955CriLJ374 .
There can be no scope for contending in this case that the classification is not based on intelligible differentia or that there is no nexus between the basis of the classification and the object of the Act. Further, no fundamental rights are conferred on inanimate objects like suits or appeals or civil revision petitions or writ petitions., A complaint could be made only if persons pursuing the same remedy i.e., instituting the same category of proceedings are treated differently in regard to the payment of court-fee etc.
It is not the complaint of Mr. Chobe that different rules are laid down in regard to different individuals involving the jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution. His grievance is that while the increase in Court fee in regard to some of the matters such as suits, vakalats, appeals is below 50 per cent, the court-fee in regard to the writ petitions is enhanced by 59 times.
That is not a matter for a Court to inquire into. It is a question of legislative policy which cannot be impugned in a Court of law. It is for the legislature to decide as to the rates leviable in regard to various matters taken to a Court of law.
4. Then, coming to the jurisdiction of the State legislature to enact laws in regard to the subject, the point sought to be raised by Mr. Chobe is without any force. Power has been conferred specifically on State Legislatures by entry 3 in list II of the 7th Schedule to the Constitution to make laws in regard to fees taken in all Courts except the Supreme Court. It is not confined to law-making power in regard to administration of justice as imagined by Mr. Chobe.
5. It was then argued that item 96 of list No. I has conferred jurisdiction on the Centre to pass laws in regard to the fees to be taken in any matter. Such result cannot he attributed to that item. It only gives power to the Union legislature as regards fee in respect of any of the matters in that list but not including fees taken in any Court. Far from conferring any power in regard to court-fee, it has specifically excluded it.
That entry enables the Parliament to introduce legislation in regard to matters which are enumerated in that list which does not surely include the fee payable in Courts other than the Supreme Court. The same must be said of item 66 in list II and item 47 in list III. There is absolutely no repugnancy between one list and another as is sought to be made out by Mr. Chobe. There is a useful discussion on this topic in Satyanarayanamurthy v. Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, 1957 Andh LT 403 : (S) AIR 1957 Andh-Pra 123).
6. We may here dispose of another submission made by Mr. Chobe founded on Jagannath Ramanujdass v. State of Orissa, : 1SCR1046 . The passage called in aid by the learned counsel is contained at page 384 (of SCJ); (at p. 403 of AIR):
'Thus a tax is a common burden and the only return which the tax-payer gets is the participation in the common benefits of the State. Fees, on the other hand, are payments, primarily in the public interests, but for some special service rendered or special work done for the benefit of those from whom payments are demanded. Thus, there is an element of quid pro quo which is absent in a tax.'
It is contended by Mr. Chobe that there is no consideration for the payment of court-fee in regard to fee payable on writs and the fee would therefore amount to a tax and consequently it does not fall within entry 3 of list II. The short answer is that there is quid pro quo for the payment of court-fee, namely, hearing of the petition which involves time of the Courts which are constituted and maintained at public expense. This decision, therefore, does not help him in any way there.
7. All the objections raised on behalf of the petitioner are therefore, rejected as having neither substance nor merit. Any person that wants to file a writ petition has to pay the fee prescribed by the enactment impugned.