Calcutta High Court
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Financial aid to lawyers amid COVID-19: Calcutta HC takes cognizance of fees owed from Central and State Government to Government Lawyers

The Court was told that there was "huge amounts" of outstanding dues and that if these dues owed to Government Advocates were cleared, the same could mitigate their hardship amid the COVID-19 pandemic to a great extent.

Aishwarya Iyer

The Calcutta High Court recently took note of concerns that there were huge amounts of outstanding fees owed by the Central and State Government to Government Advocates while dealing with pleas concerning financial aid for lawyers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this regard, the Bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee was informed by by Advocate Billwadal Bhattacharya that huge amounts of lawyers’ fees for rendering professional services are yet to be paid by the State Government as well as Central Government to Advocates who have represented them.

Advocate Bhattacharya further added that if such dues were cleared, it would mitigate the hardship of the Government Advocates to a great extent.

Responding to this concern, Advocate General Kishore Dutta and Advocate Vipul Kundalia assured the Court that they would look into the matter and discuss the issue at the appropriate level.

The Bar Council of West Bengal on Tuesday also informed the Court that they had received about 22,000 applications for financial aid and that the same were being processed.

The State Bar Council added that they needed the Bar Council of India's permission before they could disburse the financial aid to needy lawyers. The State Bar Council submitted that it was awaiting response to a letter written to the BCI seeking such permission.

The matter will be next heard on May 29.

Read the order here:

Calcutta HC order on Payment of fees to Govt Advocates.pdf
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