Karnataka High Court Directs State To Formulate Welfare Scheme For Members Of Advocates' Clerks Association, Says They Serve The Judicial System

Mustafa Plumber

31 May 2023 8:18 AM GMT

  • Karnataka High Court Directs State To Formulate Welfare Scheme For Members Of Advocates Clerks Association, Says They Serve The Judicial System

    The Karnataka High Court recently directed the State government to formulate a scheme for welfare of the members of State Level Advocates’ Clerks Association, within six months. A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna observed,“The service rendered by the Advocates’ clerks is not a service to an individual, but to the system, being attached to the Advocates. Therefore,...

    The Karnataka High Court recently directed the State government to formulate a scheme for welfare of the members of State Level Advocates’ Clerks Association, within six months. A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna observed,

    The service rendered by the Advocates’ clerks is not a service to an individual, but to the system, being attached to the Advocates. Therefore, the Advocates’ Clerks play a significant role in the justice delivery system and if they are playing a significant role in the justice delivery system, the system cannot leave them in the lurch, in any eventuality that may ensue in the life of those registered Advocates’ Clerks.

    The Association had approached the court seeking a direction to the respondents to formulate a scheme to generate funds and make the Karnataka Registered Clerks Welfare Fund workable on consideration of their representation.

    The Association submitted that the fund is not yet created by the State or the State Bar Council in terms of Section 27 of the Karnataka Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 1983. "If suitable directions are not issued, Advocates’ Clerk’s lives would be put to jeopardy as those are the Clerks who are working under the Advocates and those Advocates are members of the Advocates’ Association. The Clerks are engaged by the Advocates and there are no service conditions codified for the Clerks,” it was argued.

    The State government and the Karnataka State Bar Council submitted that the Karnataka Advocates Registered Clerks Welfare Fund Committee would bring about some solution to the grievance of the petitioner/Association, if reasonable time is granted by working in tandem.

    The bench noted that Section 27 of the Act mandates the State Government to constitute a fund for payment of retirement benefits to the registered clerks in the State. Thus, it said

    "Advocates’ Clerks are also recognized under the statute for creation and management of the fund, so that, at the time when they cease to be the Clerks, they would not be left in the lurch and they would get some fund for all the years of work that they have performed, on a case to case basis."

    The bench then noted that the State Government has framed Karnataka Registered Clerks Welfare Fund Rules which is duly notified in Gazette on 30 July, 2009. However, it observed the State needs to bring "life" into the Rules like several other States that not only created the fund but are generating revenue into the fund by different methods.

    Court cited examples from Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Jharkhand inasmuch as “All these States have evolved generation of fund into the welfare fund for its disbursement to the needy in terms of the Rules so that no Advocates’ Clerk is left in the lurch. Therefore, the fund which is created in terms of the Rules should be given life by directing registration of members to the welfare fund i.e., the Advocates’ Clerks and adoption of a method, as are adopted by other States, which are now working in full vigour.

    Thus, the Court directed the State government and State Bar Council to act in unison and generate security of life to the Advocates’ clerks. “Since the issue is within the domain of the State Legislature and the Act and the Rules regulate the conditions of their service, no direction of a particular kind to generate funds can be issued except a direction to bring life into the Act and the Rules qua Section 27 of the Act and the Rules, 2009,” Court said, directing the government to consider Petitioner's representation.

    Case Title: Karnataka State Level Advocates Clerks Association And State of Karnataka & Others

    Case No: WRIT PETITION No. 24053 OF 2022

    Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 196

    Date of Order: 17-04-2023

    Appearance: Senior Advocate Murthy D Naik a/w Advocate Mahendra G for petitioner.

    AGA B.V.Krishna FOR R-1.

    Advocate G.Nataraj for R2.

    Click Here To Read/Download Order




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