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The Court was hearing a petition seeking the release of an ex gratia amount from the Advocates Welfare Fund for the benefit of Delhi lawyers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senior Advocate and Chairman of the Advocates Welfare Trustee Committee, Sanjay Jain today informed the Delhi High Court that a grant of Rs 1 crore has been approved for the benefit of indigent lawyers, irrespective of whether they have contracted COVID-19 (Vaibhav Sharma vs Advocates Welfare Trust).
The statement was made before a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan.
The Court was hearing a petition by Advocate Vaibhav Sharma seeking the instant release of an ex gratia amount of at least Rs 25,000 from the Advocates Welfare Fund, for the benefit of Delhi lawyers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On an earlier occasion, the Trustee Committee had informed the Court that a member advocate who was suffering from any serious ailment, including COVID-19, and who was undergoing treatment in a hospital was entitled to reimbursement of the medical expenses.
Today, the Court was informed that a decision had been taken by the Trustee Committee to extend financial relief to advocates who are facing financial troubles, irrespective of whether they have been infected by COVID-19.
Jain stated that the process of inviting applications for the release of financial assistance would begin soon and that the money would be transferred through online mode.
It was added that a sum of Rs 93 lakh was released by the Bar Council of Delhi in favour of the Welfare Trust. KC Mittal, Chairman, Bar Council of Delhi was also present during the hearing.
In view of the steps taken by the Advocates Welfare Trust towards the benefit of advocates, the Court opined that there was no need to further monitor the same.
After counsel for the Petitioner, Senior Advocate N Hariharan submitted that adequate publicity should be given with respect to the Advocates Welfare Trust at the district level and that the corpus of the fund should also be increased, the Court ordered that as and when the financial position of the Trust permits, the grant should be increased.
The petition was subsequently disposed of.