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The Karnataka High Court recently issued notice in a plea filed by the Karnataka State Level Advocate's Clerks Association seeking directions to the state government to form a Rs 5 crore fund for the welfare of its members amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
The order issued by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice BV Nagarathna further made it clear that it was open for the petitioners' counsel to serve notice to the Chairman of the State Bar Council as well.
The plea filed through Advocate Murthy Dayanand Naik stated that most of the clerks depend on day-to-day court work for their livelihood. However, as the nationwide lockdown continues, and court work remains scant, most of the clerks are left without any income.
"The lack of judicial work has rendered most of the members of the petitioner association to a state of penury and thereby causing great hardship not only to the members but also to their family members comprising aged parents, wife and children."
Plea filed by Karnataka State Level Advocates Clerks
The petitioners, therefore, seek the formation of a corpus of Rs 5 crore to "ensure the subsistence of the members" of the clerk association. In this regard, the petition also cites legal precedents of the Supreme Court to substantiate how the right to livelihood is under the umbrage of right to life as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The petitioner association has also prayed for directions to the state government to formulate a scheme for welfare of such clerks working for law firms and lawyers.
As an interim relief, the petition states that the state government should be directed to pay Rs 10,000 to each association member, which may be disbursed by the State Bar Council.
The matter will be taken up on May 15.
[Read order here]