The Karntaka State Level Advocate's Clerks Association, has moved the Karnataka High Court seeking directions to the State Government and Karnataka State Bar council to provide financial aid to its members who due to the closing of courts are left with no work and thus no source of income during the lockdown.
The association has in its petition stated that "Larger number of clerks do not have a regular source of income and are heavily dependent on the day to day filing of cases in various courts. Due to the present situation prevailing in the entire country due to the break out of the Novel Coronavirus disease "Covid-19", the actual functioning of the courts have been closed since 25th March 2020. This has resulted in great hardship to the members of the Petitioner-Association mentioned above and most of them are in a state of penury. None of the Respondents mentioned in this Petition have taken any measures to financially support the members of the Association nor have they even enquired about their well being."
Advocate Murthy Dayanand Naik, has filed the petiton on behalf of the association seeking directions to the state to create a corpus of an amount of Rs 5 crore to ensure that the subsistence of the members of the Petitioner-Association is guaranteed in terms of right to livelihood guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India, during the period of closure.
Further, direct the State Bar Council to disburse a sum of Rs.20,000 per month per registered member of the association from the corpus created by state on submission of the requisite identity card.
By way of interim relief, the plea seeks directions to the state to release a sum of Rs.10,000, per person/per member of the Association to be disbursed by the state bar council upon production of the identity card by the respective registered clerk during the period of closure from 25th March 2020 till the commencement of the normal functioning of the courts.
Because there is no judicial work taking place in any of the courts in the State and thereby the clerks have absolutely no work and are deprived of their livelihood it amounts to violation of their fundamental right as enshrined under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.
The plea also states that high court by order dated 16.04.2008 was pleased to direct the state to constitute a fund called the Karnataka Registered Clerks Welfare Fund as contemplated under Section 27 of the Karnataka Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 1983 and notified the Rules as expeditiously as possible not later than six months from the date of the said order. However, no fruitful action was taken pursuant to the said direction and as such, till date, no measures have been adopted with regard to the welfare of the members of the association.
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