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Allahabad HC takes suo moto PIL on financial problems faced by lawyers

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The High Court of Allahabad on Wednesday took Suo motu cognizance of a PIL with reference to the assistance provided to the needy Advocates and registered advocates clerks by Bar Council of India and State Bar Council.

The advocates across the country are facing huge financial crisis as the functioning of the courts is only taking place via video conferencing and only in urgent matters. Thus, the Allahabad High Court took cognizance on the plight of advocates facing financial crisis amid lockdown due to outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19.

The case was heard by the division bench comprising of Chief Justice Govind Mathur & Justice Siddhartha Verma who directed Bar Council of India and the Uttar Pradesh Bar Council to produce before the Court through e-mail, the definite procedure by which they have brought into effect the provisions of Rules 44A and 44B of the Bar Council of India Rules contained in Chapter VI.

Additional Advocate General said that the Bar Council of India and the State Bar Councils had sufficient funds to cater to the present circumstances. He also said that sufficient funds under the Uttar Pradesh Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 1974 were in existence the State Government had transferred the money which had been collected by it through the Stamp for the welfare of the Advocates to the Treasury in the State of U.P. for it to be transferred to the relevant accounts.

Allahabad High Court Bar Association through different office-bearers has also communicated to the Court through e-mail that efforts were being made for disbursement of funds to lawyers who might require money in these times of difficulty.

On behalf of Awadh Bar Association, it was prayed that requirement of definite scheme to be brought into existence by the State Bar Council and the Bar Council of India for helping Advocates who require help in the present times.

The court further mentioned the Rule 44 A (2) (i) of The Bar Council of India Rules, which says that every State Council shall have an Advocate Welfare Committee known as Bar Council of India Advocates Welfare Committee for the State, Rule 44 (5) which is that the State Bar Council shall implement Welfare Schemes approved by the Bar Council of India through Advocates Welfare Committee as constituted under sub-clause (2)(i). The State Bar Councils may suggest suitable modifications in the Welfare Schemes or suggest more schemes, but such modifications or suggested schemes shall have effect only after approval by the Bar Council of India.

Thereafter, the Scheme which is known as the Scheme for Financial Assistance to the State Bar Councils under rule 44B of the Bar Council of India Rules was presented before the court and according to which the financial assistance to the State Bar Councils will be available in any of the following cases: –

  • The advocate or advocates have suffered seriously on account of some natural calamity or;
  • The advocate or advocates have died an unnatural death, due to an accident or natural calamity or any other cause of like nature, or;
  • The advocate or advocates have suffered or is suffering from such serious disease or illness which is likely to cause death if no proper treatment is given and the advocate requires financial assistance without which he would not be able to get proper treatment and has no personal assets except a residential house to meet such expenditures, or;
  • The advocate or advocates become physically disabled or incapacitated to continue his profession on account of natural calamity or accident or any other cause of like nature.

The Court will now hear the matter on 20th April, 2020 and has also directed the bar associations to produce the schemes which they might have formulated in the meantime.

-India Legal Bureau

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