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The Karnataka State Junior Advocates Association (KSJAA) recently wrote to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, asking him to consider the release of Rs 25 crore to the KSBC COVID -19 Advocates Relief Fund.
The letter also requests amendment of the Karnataka Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 1983 to make a provision for withdrawal of money during the lockdown in order to distribute urgent sustenance allowance to needy advocates.
It was stated that junior advocates have been affected the most, as their day-to-day income has been stopped due to the closure of courts.
The letter also mentions the various measures taken up by KSJAA for advocates, which includes:
Accidental death insurance cover for advocates at a very low premium.
Conducting extensive training programmes for Advocate Associations registered with KSBC.
Payment of more than 25 crores to lawyers due to death, retirement and illness.
However, inspite of KSBC relentlessly trying to generate funds for the Advocates Relief Fund through donations, funds were not enough to provide for all needy advocates.
The letter further states that KSBC has the Advocates Welfare Fund for which the main source is the sale of welfare stamp and annual subscriptions. However, till date, KSBC has been unable to release any fund as the Karnataka Advocate's Welfare Fund Act, 1983, which was amended in 2017, does not allow for payment for a situation like the one at hand and to people below 65 years and less that 20 years of practise.
Highlighting this, the letter reads,
"...The hands of KSBC is tied so far as drawing money out of the Advocate Welfare Fund to give the neediest advocates due to the limitation in the Karnataka Advocates Welfare Act, 1983 as amended in 2017. Added to this request is pouring in from all sides and KSBC in expecting 25000+ applications requesting for sustenance allowance. There is no provision made for this unexpected out of the blue scenario, which has occurred after a century which has engulfed the entire world."
KSJAA letter to Karnataka CM
Thus, the Karnataka Advocates Welfare Fund is sought to be amended in order to allow a one-time withdrawal of at least Rs. 10,000 for the most needy advocates amidst the COVID-19 lockdown.
On these grounds, the letter prays to the Government of Karnataka to firstly, release a sum of Rs. 25 crore towards the KSBC Covid-19 Advocates Relief Fund, and secondly, to amend the Karnataka Advocates Welfare Act, 1983.
A similar letter representation was also forwarded to the Governor of Karnataka, Vajubhai Vala.
[Read the representation here]