Delhi High Court Advocate
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CM Advocates' Welfare Scheme: Delhi HC directs Delhi Govt to invite tenders for insurance policies for 29,098 Delhi Advocates

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court yesterday directed the Delhi Government to invite within one week tenders for granting insurance policies to 29,098 Delhi Advocates who have been duly verified for the CM Advocates' Welfare Scheme. (Govind Swaroop Chaturvedi vs State of Delhi & Ors)

The Bar Council of Delhi has been directed to place on record the list of the 29,098 advocates whose names have been verified, in a sealed cover.

The order was passed by a single Judge Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh in a batch of petitions concerning the implementation of the CM Advocates' Welfare Scheme.

One of the main issues before the Court is with respect to the status of advocates who are registered with the Bar Council of Delhi but reside in areas outside the national capital such as Noida, Gurugram, Faridabad and Ghaziabad.

While the Delhi Government has defended the exclusion of non-Delhi voters on the ground that the Welfare Scheme was launched by the local Government for the local residents, Petitioners before the Court have argued that the decision is ultra-vires Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

Bar Council of Delhi has sided with the Petitioners namely, Advocates Balvinder Singh Bagga, Vaibhav Kalra, Manish Saroha, Vivek Jain, Shivam Chanana (Balvinder Singh Bagga & Ors vs State of Delhi & Ors) and Advocate Govind Swaroop Chaturvedi (Govind Swaroop Chaturvedi vs State of Delhi & Ors).

Bar Council of Delhi through its Chairman KC Mittal has itself filed a petition for directions to the Delhi Government to grant medical and term insurance to registered advocates, especially during the time of the pandemic.

On the last date of hearing, the Court had granted time to Delhi Government to place on record certain documents to show the steps taken by it to implement the Scheme.

Yesterday, the Delhi Government submitted that it did not have an adversarial approach in this case and stated that the notice inviting tender had to be issued qua 29,098 advocates who had been verified.

Observing that the purpose of the Scheme would be rendered nugatory if insurance policies were not obtained for them during the an unprecedented pandemic, the Court opined,

Insofar as the 29,098 advocates, whose verification has already been carried out, there need not be any further delay in steps to be taken to provide insurance, especially considering the outbreak of the current pandemic due to COVID-19. Almost all advocates, who are residents of Delhi, would benefit from both the insurance schemes and the same ought to be provided to them in a timely manner.
Delhi High Court

The Court thus proceeded to direct the Delhi Government to "take all steps" to immediately procure insurance policies for 29,098 verified Advocates.

Any verification of the said names which the GNCTD wishes to conduct, to check if they are on the electoral rolls of Delhi or not, would be done parallelly, to ensure that there is no delay in implementation of the Scheme, the Court said.

The Court further directed Delhi Government to issue the Notice Inviting Tenders seeking bids from the insurance companies within one week.

Mr. Kailash Vasdev and Mr. K.C. Mittal may peruse the draft NIT, and if they have any suggestions, the same may be forwarded to Mr. Satyakam, ASC GNCTD by 19th June 2020. The last date for bids shall be specified in the NIT. The process of opening all the bids shall be completed. After the GNCTD opens the bids and identifies the successful bidder, the decision of the GNCTD, taken in this regard shall be placed before the Court not later than two days before the next date of hearing.
Delhi High Court ordered.

Welcoming the order, KC Mittal, Chairman, Bar Council of Delhi said,

"After a long struggle of more than 1 year.. there will be Rs 5 lakh medi-claim & Rs 10 lakh term insurance policies for advocates from Welfare Fund of Rs 50 Crore. The dream will come true shortly, pursuant to orders by Hon'ble Justice Prathiba M Singh and benefit 29098 advocates during Covid-19. We have still to travel a long way for our remaining advocate brothers and sisters in Delhi and NCR to be included."

The larger issue of extending the benefit of the Scheme to NCR advocates shall be heard by the court on the next date of hearing.

Standing Counsel Anil Soni appeared for Centre.

Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayyar with Additional Standing Counsel Satyakam appeared for Delhi Government.

BCD was represented by Senior Advocate Kailash Vasdev, Advocates Yugansh Mittal, Amit P. Shahi.

Peritioners Balvinder Singh and others were represented by Senior Advocate Amarjit Singh Chandiok and Advocate Naginder Benipal.

The matter would be heard next on July 17.

Read the Order:

Govind Swaroop Chaturvedi vs State of Delhi & Ors - June 18.pdf
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