The State Bar Council of Jharkhand on Monday informed the High Court that it had earmarked a sum of Rs. 50 Lakh to meet out the exigencies during the period of COVID-19.
The Division Bench of Of Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad has accordingly directed the Advocate Welfare Fund Trustee Committee of the state to convene a meeting at the earliest and devise a suitable scheme for disbursement of the same.
"The meeting of Trustee Committee would be convened and a decision would be taken considering the interest of the members of the Bar," the Court ordered.
The order has been passed in a batch of PILs, raising concerns over the distraught condition of lawyers, whose daily earnings have been affected due to suspension of regular court work.
The bench ordered the Trustee Committee to convene a meeting expeditiously after the State Bar Council informed the Court that the said amount was to be disbursed as per the scheme prepared by this Committee.
The court has also given time to the state Government for enacting the requisite Rules for implementation of the Jharkhand Advocates' Clerks Fund Act, 2018, notified for the welfare of Advocates' clerks.
The matter has accordingly been adjourned till May 7.
Pertinently, the Advocate Welfare Fund Trustee Committee was constituted under the Jharkhand Advocates' Welfare Fund Act, 2012.
While the Chairman of the Committee informed the court that its income-expenditure balance was in deficit however, the Committee had been taking steps for payment of sale of welfare stamp, considering the emergent situation. Letters for the same have already been addressed to the Treasury Officers of all the districts for transferring the amount at the earliest.
Amongst other stakeholders, the Bar Council of India apprised the Court that it had decided to transfer Rs. 45 Lakh for the welfare of needy Advocates registered in the Jharkhand State Bar Council.
The main PIL was filed, seeking a direction upon the State Government to disburse a fund of Rs. 50 Crores forthwith to meet the financial aid to the practicing Advocates and their registered Clerks.
However, after the Petitioner admitted that there is no "legal vested right" to seek a command upon the State Government to provide a fund, the High Court moved on to hear the abovementioned stakeholders.
Case Title: Ram Subhag Singh v. State of Jharkhand & Ors. (with other connected petitions)
Case No.: WP (PIL) No. 1303/2020
Quorum: Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad and Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan
Appearance: Advocates Sumeet Gadodia and Sonal Tiwary (for Petitioners); M/s. Rajiv Ranjan (AG), Rajiv Sinha (ASGI) and Advocates Rajesh Krishna and Prashant Kumar Sinha
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