Supreme Court notice to BCI in plea for Social Security measures for lady advocates

Murali Krishnan

The Supreme Court today issued notice to Bar Council of India (BCI) in a public interest litigation petition seeking framing of a scheme for social security measures for female advocates.

A Bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi sought the response of BCI in a plea by advocate Indu Kaul.

The petition notes recent incidents of violence against woman advocates including the murder of advocate Darvesh Yadav after being elected as first woman chairperson of Uttar Pradesh Bar Council.

The petitioner contends that the Advocates Welfare Fund Act was enacted in 2001.

The object of the same is to provide financial assistance to lawyers and welfare scheme for indigent or disabled advocates. It envisages constitution of a welfare fund for the benefit of advocates.

Clause (a) of sub-section (2) of Section 6 and clause (a) of sub-section (2) of section 7 of the Advocates Act, 1961, confer power upon the State Bar Councils as well as the Bar Council of India, to constitute through their rules one or more funds for the purpose of “giving financial assistance to organise welfare schemes for the indigent, disabled or other advocates.”

Further sub-section (3) of Section 6 and Sub-section (3) of section 7 of the Advocates Act, 1961, further provide that a State Bar Council, as well as the Bar Council of India, may receive grants, donations, gifts or benefactions for the said purpose which shall be credited to the appropriate fund or funds.

However, though 19 years have passed since the statute was enacted, there is neither any scheme nor the implementation of social security measures as provided in the Act, the petitioner submits.

The petitioner has contended that it is of utmost importance for a lady advocate to be provided the following social security namely: life insurance, medi-claim insurance, pension, disability allowance, non-practicing allowance, maternity benefits, benefits for children’s education and financial assistance to look after old parents.

She has, therefore, prayed for a direction to be issued to the BCI to frame a scheme towards providing social security measures.

[Read Order]

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news