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[Breaking] Allahabad HC Issues Directions For Providing Financial Assistance To Needy Advocates Affected By COVID-19 And Lockdown [Read Order]

Akshita Saxena
21 April 2020 2:05 PM GMT
[Breaking] Allahabad HC Issues Directions For Providing Financial Assistance To Needy Advocates Affected By COVID-19 And Lockdown [Read Order]
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The Allahabad High Court on Monday constituted a Monitoring Committee consisting of various office bearers of the HCBA to oversee the disbursement of financial assistance to the Advocates in need. The order was passed by a division bench led by Chief Justice Govind Mathur while hearing a suo moto case on the issue of financially weak Advocates. The court has ordered that Committee...

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The Allahabad High Court on Monday constituted a Monitoring Committee consisting of various office bearers of the HCBA to oversee the disbursement of financial assistance to the Advocates in need.

The order was passed by a division bench led by Chief Justice Govind Mathur while hearing a suo moto case on the issue of financially weak Advocates.

The court has ordered that Committee will act as an interlocutory body to frame a complete scheme and operate the accounts of the Association for the purpose of grant of aid to the members.

The bench also comprised by Justice Siddhartha Varma further ordered the Trustees Committee under the Uttar Pradesh Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 1974 to convene a meeting at the earliest so as to devise a scheme to provide assistance to the needy Advocates, who are deleteriously affected due to COVID-19 lockdown.

The direction was made after Senior Advocate BK Srivastava pointed out that functioning of the Trustees' Committee, responsible for providing assistance to lawyers under the UP Advocates Welfare Fund Act on behalf of the State, was "not satosfactpry".

The court thus ordered:

  • "The Trustees Committee constituted under the Uttar Pradesh Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 1974 shall meet at earliest to have a scheme to provide assistance to the needy Advocates, who are deleteriously affected due to COVID-19 lockdown. After having the scheme, the Trustees Committee shall also ensure release of fund to all the court attached recognized Bar Associations in the State of Uttar Pradesh with specific direction to the Associations to further disburse the aid to members of the fund in accordance with the scheme so enacted. The entire exercise as aforesaid is required to be completed before next date of listing of this petition.
  • The Trustees Committee is further directed to consider and decide all the applications pending before it for disbursement of aid to the widows of Advocates and also to the other claimants. Such applications are required to be considered and decided by the Trustees Committee within a period of one month from today.
  • As per its decision, the Bar Council of India, New Delhi shall release the funds to the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh at earliest, as far as possible on or before 27th April, 2020. The Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh in the meanwhile, shall frame a scheme to disburse assistance to the needy Advocates through the court attached Bar Associations. The State Bar Council shall ensure that the funds be disbursed fairly, uniformally and with all caution to prevent their misutilization. The Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh shall issue necessary directions to all the court attached Bar Associations to maintain complete account of the amount released to them for disbursement or use of that for the welfare of the needy Advocates.
  • The Allahabad High Court Bar Association appears to have sufficient funds with it but due to certain peculiar circumstances it is not in position to extend its helping hand to the needy members forthwith. To meet this eventuality, we deem it appropriate to constitute a Monitoring Committee consisting of following members:- (i) Sri Rakesh Pande, Senior Advocate and President, Allahabad High Court Bar Association. (ii) Sri Amrendra Nath Singh, Senior Advocate and designated President, Allahabad High Court Bar Association. (iii) Sri J.B. Singh, Advocate and General Secretary, Allahabad High Court Bar Association. (iv) Sri Prabha Shankar Mishra, Advocate and designated General Secretary, Allahabad High Court Bar Association. (v) Sri V.P. Srivastava, Senior Advocate, Allahahabad. (vi) Sri Vikash Chandra Tripathi, Chief Standing Counsel, Allahabad.
  • The Committee shall act as an interlocutory body to operate the accounts of the Association for the purpose of grant of aid to members of the Allahabad High Court Bar Association. The Monitoring Committee shall frame a complete scheme for disbursement of aid to the needy members of the Allahabad High Court Bar Association. The Monitoring Committee is required to ensure disbursement of aid to the needy Advocates at Allahabad on or before 25th April, 2020. While doing so it will ensure fair and uniform grant of aid and shall also maintain complete account of that. The Registrar (Protocol) of the High Court shall allow the members of the Committee to open and use the office of Bar Association by maintaining social distancing."

Inter alia, the court ordered:

"The Awadh Bar Association, Lucknow has already framed a complete scheme for extending help to the needy Advocates. The Association shall make its best efforts to execute the scheme at earliest as far as possible within a period of one week from today.

The Registrar General of this Court is directed to initiate the process of registering Advocate Clerks in accordance with the Allahabad High Court Advocates Clerks (Registration of Advocates Clerks) Rules, 1997 forthwith.

We would also like to request all the designated Senior Advocates and the Advocates in the State of Uttar Pradesh having adequate resources to assist the Bar Associations to which they are members for extending a helping hand to the Advocate Clerks. 8. While parting with the case, we also deem it appropriate to request the State Government to examine viability to have an enactment for welfare of the registered Advocate Clerks working in different courts in the State of Uttar Pradesh."

As regards the measures taken by the Bar Council of India, the court was informed that it had already decided to provide financial assistance to each and every State Bar Councils in proportion to their strength of Advocates, subject to maximum grant of Rs.1 crore. Further, the Council had made an appeal to the Prime Minister to provide Rs.20,000/- as a minimum subsistence allowance per month to the Advocates, who are not financially well off.

During hearing, the bench also recorded that the hearing, conducted via Video Conferencing, was operational through 7 open windows from 7 different stations, five being at Prayagraj and one each at New Delhi and Lucknow.

The matter is now listed for May 5.

Case Details:

Case Title: In Re - Assistance To The Needy Advocates And Registered Advocate Clerks

Case No.: PIL 569/2020

Quorum: Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Siddhartha Varma

Appearance: Manan Mishra, Chairman, Bar Council of India; Senior Advocates Rakesh Pande, Amrendra Nath Singh, T.P. Singh, B.K. Srivastava 

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