Uttarakhand HC directs State Bar Council to coordinate with BCI to arrange funds to help advocates in need amid COVID-19 Lockdown
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Uttarakhand HC directs State Bar Council to coordinate with BCI to arrange funds to help advocates in need amid COVID-19 Lockdown

Rintu Mariam Biju

The Uttarakhand High Court has directed the Bar Council of Uttarakhand to coordinate with the Bar Council of India (BCI) to arrange funds to help advocates in need amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

On Wednesday the Division Bench comprising of Justices Manoj Tiwari and Sharad Kumar Sharma also asked the State Finance Department to decide by April 27 on a proposal made for the release of funds to aid such needy advocates.

Advocate Piyush Garg, counsel appearing for the Bar Council of Uttarakhand had informed the High Court that the Law Secretary of the state had already recommended to the Finance Secretary for release of money lying in the Advocate Welfare Fund in order to financially assist such needy advocates.

Therefore, the Court directed the Principal Secretary (Finance), Government of Uttarakhand to take a decision on the recommendation made by the Law Secretary positively by April 27, so that the Bar Council of Uttarakhand may be able to provide financial assistance to such indigent lawyers.

The Court added that,

"In the meantime, Bar Council of Uttarakhand shall approach the Bar Council of India for financial assistance, including assistance out of the fund created under Rule 40 read with Rule 41 of Bar Council of India Rules, within 24 hours. The Bar Council of India shall consider the request made by Bar Council of Uttarakhand and take appropriate decision thereupon on or before 27.04.2020"

Uttarakhand High Court

The Advocate General, S N Babulkar who is also the Chairman of the Advocate Welfare Fund Trust Committee also intimated the Court that urgent meetings had already been convened and that efforts were being made to arrange for such funds immediately.

The Court has now listed the matter for April 28, while also observing that the relief money cannot wait for long, as lawyers are facing an unprecedented hardship during this time.

Read the order here:

Uttarakhand HC directions April 23.pdf
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On related note, recently, the Karnataka High Court asked the BCI and the Karnataka State Bar Council (KSBC) what immediate relief could be extended to needy members of the Bar who are suffering due to lack of income owing to the Coronavirus Lockdown.

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