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The Bench asked the petitioner to file an application in an already pending writ petition seeking the release of an ex gratia amount from the Advocates Welfare Fund for the benefit of Delhi lawyers during the pandemic.
The Delhi High Court today disposed of a petition seeking a direction to the Central and Delhi governments to provide funds to the Bar Council of Delhi to enable it to bear the medical expenses of advocates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan asked the petitioner, Advocate Manoj Chauhan, to file an application in an already pending writ petition titled Vaibhav Sharma v. Advocates Welfare Trust, which seeks the release of an ex gratia amount from the Advocates Welfare Fund for the benefit of Delhi lawyers during the pandemic.
Highlighting the poor financial condition of lawyers due to COVID-19, the petitioner contended that the Bar Council of Delhi and the Bar Council of India, as well as the Central and Delhi governments, ought to take effective steps to provide free medical assistance to Delhi advocates.
The petitioner thus suggested that Bar Council of Delhi should provide free medical treatment to the advocates and their family members out of the Advocates Welfare Fund.
Stating that Vaibhav Sharma dealt with the same aspect, the Court asked the petitioner to move an application in the pending petition.
During the course of the hearing, Bar Council of Delhi Chairman KC Mittal said that the Council had received a proposal from Max Hospital for establishing a helpline for lawyers.
On a previous occasion, Chairman of the Trustee Committee of Advocates Welfare Fund, Senior Advocate Sanjay Jain, had informed the Court that a lawyer member who was suffering from any serious ailment - including COVID-19 - was entitled for reimbursement of the expenses in terms of the Advocates Welfare Fund Act.
Vaibhav Sharma's petition will be heard next on August 10.
Senior Advocate AS Chandhiok appeared for the petitioner. The petition was filed through Advocate Kunal Malhotra.