The Madras High Court has issued notice to the State of Tamil Nadu and the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in a petition seeking for minimum financial assistance for Advocates and their Registered Clerks.
A petition had been filed seeking a writ of mandamus, directing the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to release a sum of Rs. 50,000 to Advocates and Rs. 25,000 to Registered Advocate Clerks in the State of Tamil Nadu. Filed by Senior Advocate, Dr. A.F. Chelliah, Chennai, a request was made to take up the case on priority basis and the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and the State were requested to provide minimum financial assistance to the Advocates and Registered Advocates Clerks. The petition was taken up by a Bench comprising of Justices Vineet Kothari and R. Suresh Kumar through video conferencing due to the national lockdown in wake of the Coronavirus outbreak. However, as Dr. Chelliah was not available on phone, the Affidavit of the Petitioner, including the letter addressed by him to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu was perused by the Court. P.H. Arvind Pandian, Additional Advocate General took notice for the State and private notice was served to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The Court observed that at this stage it was only appropriate to issue notice and directed the Respondents to file a Report and Counter within two weeks regarding the relief that could be granted to the Advocates and the Registered Advocate Clerks "as prayed for in the emergency situation of COVID-19, where on account of complete lockdown and paralyzed professional activities in the Courts, whether any financial help can be extended to these class of people". Report by the Respondents is to be furnished within two weeks.
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