Delhi High Court has sought the report from Bar Council of Delhi and Advocate Welfare Fund to prepare a plan and decide on providing financial help to the advocates facing hardships amid COVID-19. The matter is listed for hearing on July 7.
“These are your own members. Explore the possibility of what can be done. Look at setting criteria for providing ex-gratia payment, consider the requirements of medical facilities as well as livelihood,” said the Delhi High Court bench comprising of Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan. The bench has asked both, Bar Council of Delhi and Advocate Relief Fund to discuss the matter, file a report on what they have done so far and what are their future plan on the situation.
The petitioners Vaibhav Sharma has urged the trust to consider the situation encountered by the lawyers and make a plan to help them. In his petition, he has sought the directions to release ex-gratia funds for a minimum of Rs 25,000 to the COVID-hit advocates.
In response to that, advocate Sanjay Jain appearing for the trust had contended that they have limited funds, limited stamp purchases, and very little contributions from lawyers. He further added that the trust is not receiving any funds from centre and state government. Therefore making it impossible to plan for such ex-gratia amounts.
Advocate Hariharan appearing for the petitioner argued that Section 24 of the Advocates Welfare Fund Act covered all complications including COVID-19. Hariharan also suggested that COVID-19 be declared as a natural calamity and therefore higher authorities must think of releasing the relief fund for all affected lawyers.