The Bar Council of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh & Sikkim has announced a one-time financial assistance of Rs. 5,000/-, for Advocates in distress due to loss of court work during the lockdown.
To this end, the State Bar Council has devised a scheme namely "The Bar Council of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh & Sikkim Covid–19 Financial Assistance Scheme".
Benefits under the scheme will be applicable to the advocates, enrolled with the Bar Council of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh & Sikkim, who are in dire need, subject to approval of the scheme by the BCI.
As per the eligibility criteria for the financial aid, an applicant:
The scheme is not applicable to Standing Counsel/ Government Advocate/ Government Pleader/ Public Prosecutor/ Additional Public Prosecutor/ Assistant Public Prosecutor/ Retainer Advocate/ Counsel, etc. of any company/ bank/ PSU/ Government/ semi–Government authority/ university/ college, etc. or a Notary.
To avail benefits under the scheme, an application form (as prescribed) has to be filed by way of e-mail to: [email protected] or in person or by Post/ courier, addressed to the Chairman of the State Bar Council, latest by May 7, 2020. The application will be accompanied by supporting documents, as prescribed in the scheme.
The applications will be scrutinized and the beneficiaries will be shortlisted by a Special Committee comprising of six members, including the Chairman of the State Bar Council.
The Committee will decide and fix the amount to be given as financial assistance to the applicant under the scheme and the total number of beneficiaries to be extended the assistance at a particular time, taking into consideration the total quantum of funds available
Disbursement Of Assistance
The amount of financial assistance will be transferred to the bank accounts of the respective selected beneficiaries, as mentioned by them in their application forms, by way of NEFT/ RTGS. The bank account of the applicant has to be in his/her own name, otherwise his/her application will stand rejected.
It has been cautioned that if any applicant furnishes false statement for the purposes of this scheme, appropriate action will be taken against such applicant.
The scheme has been devised owing to the obligations of the State Bar Councils under the Advocates Act, 1961, to safeguard of the rights, privileges and interests of advocates.
Section 6(2)(a) of the said Act lays down that a State Bar Council may constitute one or more funds in the prescribed manner for the purpose of giving financial assistance to organise welfare schemes for the indigent advocates.
The Bar Councils of Delhi and Rajasthan have also decided to provide financial assistance of Rs. 5,000 to Advocates in need. Similarly, the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry had also resolved to extend financial assistance to all those needy advocates, who are unable to meet their day to day expenses due to the lockdown.
Recently, the Bar Council of West Bengal also informed the Calcutta High Court during hearing of a letter petition that it has decided to provide financial assistance to needy lawyers.
In related news, a petition has been filed before the Supreme Court, seeking formulation of a national level uniform scheme for giving financial assistance to lawyers in times of emergencies.
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