The Jammu and Kashmir High Court last week sought the response of UT of J&K on a plea filed seeking financial assistance, medical and life insurance for lawyers who are facing grave financial hardship on account of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bench of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur was hearing a plea filed by one M. Abubakr Pandit who has prayed that UT of J&K be directed to grant immediate financial assistance to the tune of Rs 25,000/- to the advocates who are in actual practice before the High Court and District Court within the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The plea before the Court
The plea avers that the present crisis due to Covid-19 and closure of courts has caused serious financial problems for many advocates during the period of lockdown including the petitioner.
The plea also states that most of the lawyers are not able to feed their family and are at the stage where they can say a final goodbye to the noble profession forever.
Importantly, the plea states,
“Since the pandemic has started many advocates became COVID Positive and some were also hospitalized and to bear the medical expenses they approached to various members of the Bar for financial aid whereas there was no assistance by the Respondents.”
The plea also stresses that the Advocates are called the officers of the court and that the Courts should come forward for the welfare of the Advocates and their family members and further, a guideline be prepared at an earliest for providing the Insurance Policy in favor of the advocates including their family members.
Prayers in the plea
- Direction to the UT of J&K to grant immediate financial assistance to the tune of Rs 25,000/- to each advocate who have earlier received the financial assistance and are in actual practice before the Hon’ble High Court and District Court within the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Direction to the UT of J&K to formulate a medical and Life Insurance policy for the welfare of the advocates and their family members practicing before the High Court and District Court within the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir
In related news, the Rajasthan High Court has asked the Bar Council of Rajasthan about the steps being taken for the welfare of advocates who are affected by COVID-19.
A single bench of Justice Ashok Kumar Gaur posed this query while issuing notice on a petition seeking utilization of the advocates welfare fund for the relief of advocates affected by the pandemic.
The Supreme Court Bar Association has announced a ‘General Assistance Scheme 2021‘ to support the bereaved and financially unstable families of such lawyers who pass away at an early age.
The assistance will also be extended to such members who are financially constrained and undergo surgery or are treated for critical illness. Eligible members may send their application to: [email protected].
Earlier this week, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed that in case any family of the lawyer is in need of financial assistance either on account of medical expenditure or due to the death, the family members may approach the Bar Association with an application.
“On the application being forwarded, the Court would speedily consider it and endeavour to provide maximum financial aid out of the welfare fund,” the Court said.
It has also requested the Government to consider making some additional budgetary allocation for such families, as the funds available with the Bar may not be sufficient to meet the requirement.