The Bar Council of Delhi has informed the Delhi High Court that the financial assistance of ₹5,000/- each has been granted to 16,448 advocates totalling to ₹8.22 crores, to deal with the crisis situation caused by the COVID19 pandemic.
The information was given to the Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan in a PIL seeking a direction to be issued to the Advocate Welfare Fund Trust to provide ex gratia payments to advocates suffering from financial crisis in the wake of COVID19.
While highlighting in its status report that the process of providing financial assistance is still on, BCD submitted that the Indigent Committee of the Council will be soon holding a meeting to consider the applications of advocates suffering from COVID19, so that financial assistance can be released to their respective families for medical and other facilities.
It is further submitted that the money has been disbursed to needy advocates mainly from general funds of the Council by encashing the Fixed Deposits.
While highlighting that the Delhi Government did not provide money for medical and term insurance of the advocates for the year 2019-20, for which budgetary allocation has already been made, BCD has submitted that if the advocates would have been provided insurance policies, it would have brought considerable relief to mitigate the present crisis.
'There are still more than 62,000 advocates who are being deprived of the benefit of Insurance policies for which the Council has decided to avail appropriate remedy', BCD submits.
The Council has further stated that the donations can also be released from advocates who can afford such contributions. It has mentioned:
'It may be appropriate to collect donations from various advocates who can afford. In order to avoid overlapping and misuse of money, the same maybe uniformly applied to extend financial and medical support in genuine and appropriate cases.'
The present status report was submitted by the Chairman of the Bar Council of Delhi, Mr KC Mittal.