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Delhi High Court stays the operation of single judge order extending advocates welfare scheme to all members of Bar Council of Delhi

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed the operation of the Single Judge’s order directing for extension of benefit of the Chief Minister’s Advocates Welfare Scheme to all advocates enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi and practising in the capital; and not just to advocates who are residents of Delhi.  

The Division Bench headed by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and comprising Justice Amit Bansal issued notice in the appeal preferred by the Delhi Government challenging a single-judge bench order dated July 12, 2021, wherein it was ruled that the benefit of the welfare scheme announced by the ruling Delhi Government cannot be restricted to only advocates resident of Delhi. 

The Bench, while seeking response from the Bar Council of Delhi and a group of advocates, who were the petitioners before the Single Bench, underscored thus: “We hereby stay the operation, execution and implementation of an order of the LD. Single Judge in WP (C) No. 3298/2020, judgment dated dated July 12, 2021, till next date of hearing.  

The Bench posted the matter for next hearing on September 30, 2021.

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The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Pratibha M.Singh was seized of a batch of petitions by advocates who were aggrieved by the Government’s decision to  extend the benefit of the scheme only to such advocates whose name appears in Delhi’s voter list. 

The Bench observed thus:

“The Chief Minister’s Advocates Welfare Scheme (`Scheme’) announced by the GNCTD is a Scheme that has a laudable objective of recognising the role of lawyers in protecting the rights of citizens and their constructive role in society…………… However, the condition in the Scheme that it would be applicable only to residents in Delhi with Voter IDs, is held to be discriminatory and arbitrary as the sub-classification from amongst the advocates enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi, has no rational nexus with the object to be achieved. Accordingly, the Scheme shall be extended to all advocates registered with the Bar Council of Delhi, whose names and credentials are verified, without insistence of Voter ID showing residence in Delhi.” 

The Bench of Chief Justice D.N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh had earlier issued notice to the Bar Council of Delhi and advocate Govind Swaroop Chaturvedi, who was also one of the petitioners before the Single Bench.

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