COVID 19 | All HC takes cognizance of adverse affect of COVID 19 on advocates, issues notice to Bar Councils in the State asking for steps taken by them for welfare of advocates

A virus infection that originated from the Republic of China in the month of December, 2019 has taken the entire globe in its grip in last four months.

Allahabad High Court: A Division Bench of Govind Mathur, CJ and Siddhartha Verma, J. while addressing a PIL noted that,

Wheel of human civilization is in serious combat with the pandemic caused by the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19).

Issue in the present Public Interest Litigation is that, the judicial working in the entire country has reduced its pace and is taking up matters of utmost urgency alone.

The slow down has adversely affected livelihood of lakhs of people, whose survival depends upon working of the judiciary. An enormous effect is apparently visible on the profession of Advocates and the Registered Advocate Clerks working with them. 

Several Lawyers and the registered Advocate Clerks have mentioned that they are at the verge of starvation.

This Court is not having any funds to allocate for survival of needy Advocates and registered Advocate Clerks and the Court at the moment is also not in a position to restore its complete functioning.

Essentially, under the Advocates Act, 1961 it is the responsibility of the Bar Council of India as well as the State Bar Councils to ensure welfare of Advocates fraternity and also to assist the needy Advocates.

To provide for the establishment and operation of a fund for promotion and welfare of Advocates in the State of Uttar Pradesh, the Uttar Pradesh State Legislature enacted an Act in the name of “The Uttar Pradesh Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 1974”.

Court in its opinion, stated that, it is for the Bar Council of India, Bar Council of the State of Uttar Pradesh and Trustees Committee under the Act of 1974 to have necessary schemes to assist the needy Advocates in this harsh period.

Bench also observed that, no steps so far by any of the bodies aforesaid to assist the needy Advocates and the people attached with their office.

In every Court attached Bar Associations there are several Lawyers having lucrative practice and they too can assist financially or otherwise to the Bar Councils as well as Bar Associations for having some definite plan to assist the needy Advocates and their Clerks, who are registered with High Court or other courts in accordance with the applicable Rules.

Bar Council of Delhi and Allahabad, Allahabad High Court bar Association, Allahabad High Court Advocate’s Association, Awadh Bar Association have been issued a notice in regard to the above as to what steps have been taken by them.

Matter listed on 15-04-2020.[Assistance To The Needy Advocates And Registered Advocate Clerks, In Re v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine All 291, decided on 09-04-2020]

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