The Manipur High Court directed the Bar Council of Manipur to release a sum of Rs. 2,08,932 for purposes of extending financial assistance to advocates in need in view of the lockdown situation.
A division bench of Justices Lanusungkum Jamir & KH. Nobin Singh was hearing a PIL filed by the All Manipur Bar Association and two Advocates seeking financial assistance by the State Government, Bar Council of Manipur & concerned authorities as the nationwide lockdown has led to a situation wherein many of the advocates have been deprived of their means to earn a livelihood.
In furtherance of this, the State Authorities also filed an affidavit stating that the Bar Council of Manipur had approached the Bar Council of India seeking its approval for financial assistance to advocates which had in turn authorised the Bar Council of Manipur to disburse the amount upto 20% of the Bar Council of India Advocate Welfare Fund for the State.
"The Bar Council of Manipur has framed a scheme called "Bar Council of Manipur COVID- 19 Financial Assistance Scheme" by adopting a resolution on 01/05/2020 to provide financial assistance to the needy and deserving advocates. It has also been resolved by the Bar Council of Manipur to accord sanction of Rs. 2,08,932/- (Rupees two lakh eight thousand nine hundred and thirty two) only in terms of the authorization issued by the Bar Council of India" - Excerpt of HC Order
In light of the above, Court directed the Manipur Bar Council to release the aforementioned amount at the "earliest possible".
Furthermore, bench also observed that it was open to the petitioner(s) as well as teh Bar Council of Manipur to submit a proposal to the State Government for grant of financial assistance within a week (of receipt of order).
"in the event of such a proposal being submitted by the petitioners or the Bar Council of India, as the case may be, the same shall be considered and an appropriate decision be taken by the State Government thereon expeditiously"
Since the Coronavirus-induced lockdown was announced almost two months ago, courts across the country have been functioning in their limited capacity.
This has led various bar associations and bar councils to take note of the loss of income & livelihoods of advocates.
As a result, many high courts have been pro-active in this regard and bar councils and bar associations have generated schemes for relief.
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