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Supreme Court dismisses plea with Rs 10,000 cost, seeking Rs 50 lakh ex-gratia from Centre for families of lawyers who died before 60

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The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition with Rs 10,000 cost, seeking direction to the respondents, including the Union of India (UOI) and others, to pay an ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh to the kith and kin of advocates, who had died before the age of 60, whether by Covid-19 or any other disease.

A three-Judge bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and B.V. Nagarathna passed the order on a plea filed by lawyer Pradeep Kumar Yadav who had made the UOI, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Law and Justice, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Bar Council of India (BCI), Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) and other Bar Bodies of many states as respondents in his petition. 

Justice Chandrachud asked, “You are an officer of the court, aren’t other people suffering all around or its just the lawyers?” 

Yadav replied,

“I am not demanding money from government. I am seeking money from the court fees deposited by the advocates during filing of case. Where does it goes?”

The bench noted in its order that there is a decision of this court, specifically dealing with guidelines for compensation for those who have died due to Covid-19. 

“There is no reason for this court to seek compensation for members of the bar. None of the grounds set out in writ petition had any relevance of issue in hand and a cut copy and paste function was applied,” observed the court.

The Court imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on the petitioner to be paid to SCBA, with a cautionary note. 

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Yadav, in his petition, mentioned that when all courts are not working, then the very survival of lawyers and their staff are going to be severely affected. The plea had said the lawyers families will have to bear the cost, in case of financial hardships and they are not able to get their basic needs and in this regard, they have no option to choose other professions for survival. 

He had further stated that since the last one-year judicial system had been semi-paralyzed, therefore only those advocates who have good infrastructure and well-established paraphernalia are managing their professions and other small-time advocates and their staff are only witnessing the drama, which has been created by the society.

Even the police personnel and other Government staff, who are in direct touch with the general public, are doing their work on their whims and fancies, which showed that they are playing mockery with the system.

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“The judicial system is not open for the general public, therefore, they are not in a position to make any complaint against the corrupt system and it is also very important that general public is also not in power to approach the well-established lawyers because they are charging too much high consultation charges and professional charges,”

-Yadav, said, in his petition filed before the Apex Court.

Yadav said that now the judicial system is open only for those people who are gaining too much money and are in a position to dominate the present situation.

“Our Constitution protects all the people of our country, especially Article 14 of the Constitution of India, said, the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth,”

-stated in the plea. 

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