To be extended to all district courts in the State in a phased manner, says Palaniswami
The Madras High Court on Friday became the first court in south India and eighth in the country to introduce e-court fee payment facility. Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Chief Justice Indira Banerjee jointly launched the facility at the principal seat of the High Court here as well as its Madurai Bench.
In his address, the Chief Minister said: “On this happy occasion, I inform that this government stands in support of judiciary for speedy disposal of cases by introducing new technology and improving infrastructural facilities.” He made it a point to read this line alone in English though his entire speech was in Tamil.
He said that so far only the Supreme Court and the High Courts in Delhi, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh had introduced the e-court fee payment facility. The facility now introduced at the Madras High Court would be extended to the district courts too in a phased manner, he added.
In her address, the Chief Justice said that e-stamps would do away with the hassle of procuring physical court fee stamps, which were in demand most of the time, and sticking them on case bundles while filing cases in the court. She said litigants and lawyers could now purchase court fee stamps online at the comfort of their home.
Justice T.S. Sivagnanam, chairman of the computerisation committee of the High Court, said it was only in 2017 that the High Court sent a proposal to the State government for introducing e-stamps. The proposal was accepted and Sections 74 and 75 of the Tamil Nadu Court Fees and Suits Valuation Act of 1965 were amended to pave way for the facility. He pointed out that litigants can purchase e-court fee stamps by visiting www.shcilestamp.com any time and making the payment online through account transfer, NEFT, RTGS, debit or credit cards. A printout of the receipt generated by the system alone need to be presented along with the case papers for cross verification by the court Registry.
Stating that e-stamps were tamper proof and could not be reused at all, he said: “On an average there is an increase of 8 to 10% in court fee remittance every year in the Madras High Court alone. The statistics for the year 2015 shows that ₹19.75 crore worth of court fee had been remitted in the High Court and the 2016 figures are yet to be made ready.”
Unlike hundreds and thousands of judicial stamp papers filed in the court earlier whenever higher denomination of court fee had to be paid, the judge said the e-stamp facility provides for filing a single receipt irrespective of the quantum of court fee paid. Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan and Home Secretary Niranjan Mardi also spoke.