In a plea seeking financial aid for clerks working for the Bar, the Delhi High Court has observed that the members of the Delhi High Court Bar Clerks Association serve a crucial role and are so intrinsically linked to the work discharged by the Bar that they are indispensable to the smooth functioning of this entire institution.
While considering the suggestion of constituting a fund to help the clerks, the Single Bench of Justice Rekha Palli noted that:
"While considering the matter of setting up such a fund or making contributions to it, this Court hopes that all members of the Bar Association, including its senior-most members, will remain conscious of this fact and that, without the assistance rendered by the members of the petitioner association, no member of the Bar could effectively discharge their duties".
During the proceedings, the court was informed by Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur that the Bar Association will expeditiously examine the aspect of setting up a separate fund to provide aid to needy members of the Petitioner association as well.
The court was further informed that various senior advocates have voluntarily contributed to the financial assistance to clerks.
Senior Advocates Dayan Krishnan and Mohit Mathur have pledged to contribute ₹2 lakh each to the proposed fund. In addition to this, Senior Advocate Inder Singh Alag, who represents the Petitioner association in this case, has also volunteered to contribute ₹1 lakh.
The court appreciated the voluntary offers made by these Senior Counsel and hoped that their generosity motivates other senior members of the Bar, especially those who are regularly appearing before Courts in video conferencing hearings for the last few months, to contribute benevolently and unsparingly to this fund, as and when it is created.
The order has come in a plea moved by the Delhi High Court Bar Clerks Association seeking a direction to be issued to the Central Government to provide financial aid to members of DHCBCA who are facing extreme financial woes due to lockdown.
It is urged in the petition that the members of the DHCBCA are in dire need of immediate financial aid for their basic survival as lockdown has caused slump in work and steep decline in finances.
The petition has highlighted that a similar financial aid was provided by the Allahabad High Court to the clerks working therein by an order dated 09/04/20.
While many sections of the society have been provided with financial assistance, the Petitioner argues, no such help has been extended to the clerks working for the legal fraternity either by the Centre or the State Government.
'Many landlords are harassing them (clerks) for rent, they are unable to pay school fees of their children, their savings have been exhausted and they're surviving on frugal amounts to meet day to day expenditure', the petition states.
The Petitioner organisation has also highlighted that many clerks have also succumbed to COVID19.
Therefore, it is argued that the state has an obligation under Article 21 of the Constitution to ensure minimum subsistence or the law clerks as they are an essential cog in ensuring that the wheels of justice continue to run.
DHCBCA in this matter was represented by Senior Advocate Inder Singh Alag, along with Advocates NK Aggarwal, Sanjana Antil, Yogita Sunaria, Atul Tanwar and Lokesh Kumar.
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