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The Delhi High Court Bar Association yesterday formally launched the Delhi High Court Advocates Welfare Trust at an event held in the High Court premises.
The Welfare Trust was launched in the presence of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who attended the event at its Chief Guest. Chief Justice Rajendra Menon was the Guest of Honour.
Former Delhi High Court Acting Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed was also in attendance in his capacity as the patron of the Welfare Trust.
The event also marked the launch of Delhi High Court Bar Association mobile application. Developed by Advocates Himanshu Duper and Neelam Deol, the application will feature the display board, orders, judgments of the Delhi High Court, notifications of the Bar, updates of all upcoming events, member directory etc.
Judges of the High Court, as well as several senior members of the Bar such as Senior Advocates HS Phoolka, N Hariharan, Anil Sapre, and JP Sengh, were also present.
“It’s a delightful opportunity to be back in the High Court on an occasion when the Bar Association is launching a Welfare Trust“, Jaitley said as he began his address. He added,
“As society grows, they become more civilized. Social security has to be a part of any social and economic system.”
Further speaking on the stark contrast in the social security status of the population in developed countries vis-a-vis developing economies, Jaitley remarked,
“…we have graduated into a middle-income country. The ability of the people and exchequer is not as large as that of a developed country. Therefore, it is incumbent on the state to look after the underprivileged…to take care of those who are extremely distressed“.
Jaitley also took the opportunity to introspect on some of the “future roadmaps” that the Delhi High Court Advocates Welfare Trust could undertake.
“Professional groups can create such group welfare funds (to provide healthcare facilities)…You provide a certain kind of resource. Explore the possibilities of group health insurances.“
He further informed that the notification with respect to an insurance scheme for lawyers was pending with the Central Government.
Concluding his address, Jaitley remarked that Delhi could act as a role model for other cities.
President of the Delhi High Court Bar Association, Senior Advocate Kirti Uppal said that the Welfare Trust was aimed at helping “a lot of young lawyers with limited resources“.
Stating that currently there is a “respectable amount” in the Trust, he claimed that the target was to take the Trust to Rs 5 crore in a year and a half.
The current corpus of the Fund is more than Rs 50 lakh. Additionally, Uppal has contributed a sum of Rs 5 lakh to the Trust.
He has also urged all members of the legal fraternity to make their contributions to the Trust.
Senior Advocate Rakesh Munjal, who is also one of the trustees, added that the Welfare Trust was awaiting its registration under Section 12AA of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
Once registration is complete, Section 80G exemption will be available to lawyers making a contribution, he added.
The source of the Trust would be contributions by advocates, costs imposed by the Court, and donor trustees i.e. anybody who makes a contribution of Rs 25 lakh and above.
Munjal also said that apart from providing insurance facilities, the Trust would undertake legal awareness camps.
Addressing the audience, Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed exclaimed,
“It is great to be back…this has always been my place.”
While congratulating the Bar Association on the Trust, Justice Ahmed suggested that the Trust should have “long-standing cooperation with the existing system such as the Delhi legal services authority” while undertaking legal awareness work.
“(The Trust) should completely connect with them…wherever work is done, the lawyers can form a part of that.”
He also urged lawyers to come forward and contribute in all manners possible.
Chief Justice Rajendra Menon also assured that the Trust would receive “full cooperation” from the High Court and its judges.