Bar Council of Kerala has notified the rules for the payment of monthly stipend of ₹5,000 to the lawyers with less than three years of practice at the Bar. The annual income of the beneficiary should also not exceed ₹ 1 lakh.
Earlier also, the Kerala High Court had pulled up the State Bar Council over the inaction to implement the March 2018 Government Order sanctioning ₹ 5000 stipend for the junior lawyers.
As per the rules, the lawyer should not exceed 30 years of age to be eligible for the said stipend.
Exercising the powers conferred under the provisions of Kerala Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act (1980), Bar Council of Kerala issued a notification notifying The Kerala Advocates’ Stipend Rules, 2021.
Rules For Stipend Dispersal To lawyers:
- The stipend shall be dispersed from the Kerala Advocates’ Welfare Fund.
- The Trustee Committee may disburse payment of stipend to the applicant every month as far as possible or at such intervals as decided by the Trustee Committee.
- The Trustee Committee, from time to time, with the prior approval of the Government, shall determine the amount of stipend payable to an advocate not exceeding ₹ 5000 per month.
- Period of stipend –The maximum period for which stipend shall be granted shall be three years of actual practice from the date of the Advocate passing the All India Bar Examination or up to the Advocate attaining the age of thirty years, whichever is earlier.
- Mode of Payment –The stipend shall be paid into the bank account of the applicant, as per the account details, furnished in the application.
Application and Eligibility for Stipend–
(1) An applicant, who is eligible for stipend under the Act and these rules shall submit the application for stipend in Form I, along with the documents to support their eligibility subject to the following conditions, namely:–
(a) The applicant shall be a member of the Fund and is not in default of annual subscription to the Fund under sub-section (5) of section 15 of the Act;
(b) The applicant has applied for Certificate of Practice as on the date of application for stipend in Form I;
(c) The applicant’s annual income, at the time of application does not exceed rupees one lakh and the applicant shall, along with the application, submit an annual income certificate issued by the competent Revenue/Tax Authority, certifying that the annual income of the applicant are less than Rupees one lakh, during the financial year immediately preceding the date
of making application for stipend;
(d) The applicant has not exceeded the age of thirty years and the applicant shall, along with the application, submit a copy of the birth certificate of the applicant;
(e) The applicant is neither substantially or full time pursuing any course of study nor earning substantial income from any source other than from the legal profession or part time teaching in law;
(f) The applicant, along with the application, shall submit, a certificate issued in Form II by the presiding officer of the Court or Tribunal where the applicant is practicing certifying that the applicant is in actual practice at the time of making the application for stipend along with a certificate issued by the President or Secretary of the Bar Association of which the applicant is a member in Form III showing that the applicant is in less than three years actual practice at the Bar at the time of making the application for stipend;
(g) An application for stipend shall be forwarded through and recommended by the Bar Association, of which the applicant is a member;
(h) An applicant, for the eligibility under these rules shall submit a sworn declaration in Form IV as to the correctness of the particulars furnished in the application in Form I and to the effect that the applicant shall assist the Legal Services Committee constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, (Central Act 39 of 1987), which is attached to the Court in which the applicant is in actual practice and shall attend whatever number of cases are allotted to and also undertake to attend, in a year at least two courses of the Refresher Courses, Seminars, Continuing Legal Education Programmes, Professional Development Courses or Workshops conducted by the Bar Council of Kerala.
Grant, Renewal or Cancellation of Stipend –
(a) No applicant shall be entitled for stipend as of right, but will be subject to the satisfaction of the Trustee Committee as to the applicant’s eligibility and continuation of actual practice;
(b) The applicant shall, declare in Form V that in the event of the applicant furnishing false information in the Forms under these rules or creating false document, be liable for criminal prosecution and suo-moto disciplinary proceedings for professional misconduct under the Advocates Act, 1961(Central Act 25 of 1961) and on grant of stipend, execute a bond in nonjudicial stamp paper of value of Rupees two hundred in Form V undertaking that in the event of the applicant furnishing false information in the Forms under these rules or creating false document, the applicant shall refund the amount received as stipend till then with 12% interest per annum to the Fund;
(c) In the event of the President/Secretary of the Bar Association or the Advocate under whom the applicant practices, falsely certifies that the applicant is in actual practice as defined in these rules, the person issuing such false certificate shall be liable for criminal prosecution and suo-moto disciplinary proceedings for professional misconduct under the Advocates Act, 1961 (Central Act 25 of 1961);
(d) If the Trustee Committee, on enquiry, find that the applicant has received the stipend on the basis of false information, The Trustee Committee shall recover to the Fund the amount of stipend, received by the applicant, with 12% interest from the date of disbursement to the date of such recovery and also initiate criminal prosecution against the applicant and recommend to the Bar Council of Kerala to initiate suo-moto disciplinary action against the applicant for professional misconduct under the Advocates Act, 1961 ( Central Act 25 of 1961);
(e) If the applicant fails to refund the amount of stipend with interest to the Fund in the event of being liable to do so under these rules, the provisions of the Kerala Revenue Recovery Act, 1968 (15 of 1968) shall apply to the defaulted amount and the Secretary of the Trustee Committee shall send a requisition to District Collector, Ernakulam to recover such amount to the Fund with interest and other charges, by invoking the provisions of the Kerala Revenue Recovery Act, 1968 (15 of 1968).