With improvement in COVID-19, can Rs 10 lakh be transferred to Advocate Clerks Welfare Fund? Karnataka High Court asks State Bar Council

In July, the State government had released an amount of Rs 5 crore for the benefit of advocates and advocates clerks who were in need of financial assistance amid the closure of courts.
With improvement in COVID-19, can Rs 10 lakh be transferred to Advocate Clerks Welfare Fund? Karnataka High Court asks State Bar Council
Karnataka High Court

Noting a considerable improvement in the COVID-19 situation in the State, the Karnataka High Court asked the Karnataka State Bar Council (KSBC) to decide whether it was willing to transfer an amount of Rs 10 lakh from the Rs 5 crore released by the government for needy advocates, to the Advocate Clerks Welfare Fund.

In July, the State government had released an amount of Rs 5 crore for the benefit of advocates and advocates clerks who were in need of financial assistance amid the closure of courts.

From the said amount, an amount of Rs 10 lakh was earmarked for the benefit of registered clerks, while the remaining amount was distributed to needy advocates.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Vishwajith Shetty observed that with the improvement of the COVID-19 situation in the State, the advocates clerks may not require immediate financial aid.

“The Bar Council has earmarked a sum of Rs.10,00,000/- (Rupees Ten Lakhs only) for the benefit of the advocates clerks. Perhaps with the improvement in the State as regards Covid-19 situation, the clerks may not need immediate monetary help….It is necessary in the interest of all the stakeholders that the said Rules of 2009 are scrupulously implemented so that the advocates clerks or their families will be benefited. Therefore, it will be appropriate that the Bar Council takes a decision of transferring the sum of Rs.10,00,000/- (Rupees Ten Lakhs only) to the fund created by the said Rules of 2009", reads the High Court order.

The Court further granted a period of one month to the State government to take this decision. It added,

“If the said decision is taken, the welfare fund can start discharging its duties effectively.”

These observations were passed by the Court while hearing a plea seeking monetary aid for advocate clerks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The High Court, by order dated April 16, 2008, had directed the state to constitute a fund titled the Karnataka Registered Clerks Welfare Fund as contemplated under Section 27 of the Karnataka Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 1983.

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The matter will be next heard on January 28.

[Read order here]

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Advocate clerks financial aid order.pdf
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