Delhi CM Announces Rs. 50Cr For Welfare Of Lawyers

Delhi CM Announces Rs. 50Cr For Welfare Of Lawyers

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced a budgetary provision of annual Rs 50-crore allowance for various welfare schemes for lawyers in Delhi-NCR.

Kejriwal announced that every year, Rs 50 crore will be granted for social security schemes for lawyers and the amount can be enhanced depending upon ground realities.

Besides, he is also mulling to bring lawyers within the ambit of the Delhi Government Employees Health Scheme (DGEHS).

The announcement has brought cheers among lawyers who thanked the Chief Minister at a programme organised at the Tis Hazari court complex on Wednesday.

Kejriwal's announcement comes post-February 12 nationwide protest which, however, did not generate much response from the Centre and saw the BCI saying that the government's attitude annoyed the lawyers who have been long demanding welfare measures.

The Bar Council of Delhi and the Delhi Bar Association welcomed Kejriwal's announcement and said the trustee committee under the Advocates' Welfare Act, 2001, along with the Bar Associations would decide how the fund will be utilised under various heads as social security includes mediclaim, pension, stipend for young lawyers, a corpus for family of lawyers upon their demise etc.

Speaking to LiveLaw, Bar Council of Delhi chairman Advocate KC Mittal appreciated Kejriwal's gesture and said, "The best part is that it is not limited to Rs 50 crore. It can be enhanced. And the CM is also thinking of including lawyers in the DGEHS."

On how the funds are to be utilised, he said, "We need to first frame Rules. We are not just active, we are pro-active. We took up this challenge and have done a lot in the last five months. We hope to come out with real results to ensure that only genuine claims get the benefits as we work towards framing Rules under the Advocates' Welfare Fund Act, 2001."

The 2001 Act was brought into force for the constitution of a welfare fund for the benefit of advocates.

On how the budgetary allowance is going to be utilised, Mittal said, "As far as the welfare schemes are concerned under the Advocates' Welfare Fund Act, 2001, Rules are going to be framed first and then they will have to be notified by the State government".

"So far, the comprehensive rules have not been framed. We are now going to frame comprehensive and transparent Rules. We may also go for some insurance policies but first, the statutory Rules have to be notified by the Delhi government. The Rules will be put in place shortly. We are working on it. Our effort is going to be that only genuine persons get the benefit of the schemes," he said.

To draw home the point that transparent Rules to cater to genuine persons is the thrust of the entire process, the BCD chairman stressed on the constitution of the Trustee Committee established under the 2001 Act to administer the welfare fund.

"The Advocate General is the chairperson of the Trustee Committee, The Secretary, Law Department, and the Secretary, Home Department, are the ex-officio members. BCI Chairman is also on the committee. So, you see that it (use of funds) is not something exclusively regulated by the Bar Council. The government is also involved at some level. The trustee committee along with the Bar Associations will now work on the Rules to ensure genuine claims are entertained," he said.

Mittal also stressed on the whopping amount of fund required for welfare schemes and the work needed to ensure that the benefits reach all needy lawyers as he mulled bringing in medical and health insurance policy.