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The Delhi High Court has issued notice in a plea seeking social security and welfare measures for advocates in Delhi.
Notice was issued by a Division Bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Birjesh Sethi to the Central and State Governments in a petition by advocates Tajinder Singh, Anurag Chauhan and Yakub Raza.
The petitioners have contended that since protest or strike of any such kind of action by advocates is not permissible, the Petitioners have adopted a legal way to highlight their grievance.
The petition submits that although lawyers are an integral part of Indian democracy, and indispensable to the independence of the judiciary and many other institutions, there are no protective measures in place to “protect this noble profession”.
“..the lawyers are integral part of the justice dispensation system and as officers of the court, they are indispensable, but do not get any similar treatment… the job of advocate has no stability, it depends upon the lawyer and his cases, and there is no uniformity in the amount of fees charged and many advocates also provide aid by way of giving probono services just to uplift the social cause.”
The petition also highlights that at present, there are no pension schemes or welfare fund for the fraternity.
“..though the profession of Advocates has a known recorded history of more than 300 years, but there is no scheme of pension, welfare fund or retirement benefits and in fact, the fraternity of advocates has remained a most unorganized sector in the country.”
The petition, therefore, seeks the protection of the advocates’ fundamental rights of social security and welfare measures, such as medical facility, housing schemes, financial assistance to young lawyers, pension schemes, health care insurance to every advocate along with her family.
Further, referring to instances of attacks on lawyers, such as the attack on Senior Advocate Kirti Uppal’s car and the recent Howrah Court violence, the petition seeks the immediate appointment of a committee/panel to examine and give recommendations for the protection of advocates when they are discharging their duties in the administration of justice.
“..(The Petitioners are) continually encountering reports in the media as well as by word of mouth of such attacks. Hence, it is even more important that some protective measures be immediately enacted to protect this noble profession. The petitioners submit that such assaults also abrogate the advocate’s right to dignity and sully his reputation.”
It is further prayed that the Central and State Government must enact necessary laws for the protection of advocates on the basis of findings of the panel/ committee and the report submitted by an Amicus Curiae in the matter.
The matter would be heard next on August 7.