Former Judges Association’s challenge to denial of advocates welfare fund benefit, dismissed

Rajasthan High Court: Hearing a petition filed by the Society for Former Judges Association assailing the validity of Section 18(2) of the Rajasthan Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 1987 as amended by the Rajasthan Amendment  Act, 2003 denying payment of advocates welfare fund to those enrolling or resuming as advocate after serving under any employer for not less than  15 years, the Court held that the question raised in the petition does not hold good and deserved outright rejection.

The petitioner contended that such person was neither entitled to become a member of the Fund nor to receive any benefit of the fund and denial of the benefit of welfare fund is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution and whether distinguishing this class of Advocates from other law graduates who enrolled in the Bar straightway after their Law degree had any justification. The petitioner’s contention was that there existed a constitutional obligation of the State not to deny any person or citizen equality before law and equal protection of the law as embodied under Article 14 and and that such classification was arbitrary and did not reflect the real or substantive distinction which should be formally founded on an intelligible differentia.

Dismissing the petition, the Division Bench of Jainendra Kumar Ranka and Ajay Rastogi, JJ. observed that the Association who has approached this Court is formed by the former judicial officers and who have served for more than 15 years are entitled to pension, gratuity and all other terminal benefits under the relevant Rules and keeping the object of the Rajasthan Act 1987 in view and taking note of what has been observed by the Apex Court in S. Seshachalam  v.  Bar Council of Tamil Nadu,  the question raised for  consideration does not hold good and deserves outright rejection. [Society for Former Judges Association Rajasthan  v. State of Rajasthan, DB Civil Writ Petition No, 366 of 2008, decided on August 26, 2016]

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