Directive on financial assistance

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The High Court of Karnataka has today directed the High Court Bar Association at Dharwad to make a fresh representation to the State Bar Council and State Government seeking financial assistance.

While adjourning the matter to August 4, the Court also directed the Advocate’s Association of High Court Bench at Dharwad to place on record further steps taken.

A division bench of CJ Abhay Oka and Justice M Nagaprasanna issued directions while hearing a plea seeking financial assistance for Advocates’ Clerks amid COVID-19 pandemic.

During the hearing today, Additional Advocate General Dhyan Chinnappa has informed the court that an amount of Rs 5 crore has been released by the state government to the Karnataka State Bar Council. The Court however asked for a clarification if the amount is entirely for benefit of Advocates or is it for benefit of advocates clerks as well.

The Vice President of High Court Dharwad Bar Association while appearing before the Court informed that the Executive Committee has decided to create a fund for helping advocates clerks who are in distress. An appeal has also been made to members of the Bar asking them to donate so an adequate amount is available to distribute to clerks in need.

“Though the bar association has existed for 12 years, no help has been offered by Karnataka State Bar Council and state government even on repeated request made for financial assistance to it,” – he said.

Advocate Anil Kumar submitted that no order has been passed by Government of Karnataka pertaining to release of 5 crores, it was just a release. He added that 28 applications received from Clerks have been accepted and Rs 5000 has been disbursed to all of them.

Previously on June 22, a protest was held by the Advocates Association Bangalore (AAB) in front of Karnataka High Court in Bengaluru against state government’s neglect in aiding the Advocates financially, and their inaction in announcing a special financial package to Advocates. The Association had demanded a special package of Rs. 50 crores from the government.

According to the Advocates association the advocates had been really hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with their incomes being affected but the Karnataka State Bar Council, had not come to the aid of Advocates. Therefore, they were asking for a special package of Rs. 50 crores from the government to help these advocates financially.

This had come after the The Karnataka High Court had urged the State Bar Council to ensure that advocate’s clerks across the state get financial assistance and help is not only extended to registered clerks working in Bengaluru.

The Advocates Association also during one of its court hearings, had informed the High Court that an amount of Rs 8,98,000 had been collected through donations to provide financial aid to Advocates’ Clerks in need during the prevailing pandemic. A committee was constituted headed by Senior Advocate DLN Rao for collection of funds from the advocates for the benefit of Advocates’ Clerks in need of financial assistance in wake of COVID-19.

The Advocates Association, Bengaluru (AAB) had informed the court that this committee and the office holders of the Advocates Association have started collecting funds for these Advocates’ clerks. The Court had appreciated that steps were being taken in the right direction, and was informed that the advocates have assured a collection of 2.5 Lakhs, and more efforts are being made to collect more funds.

-India Legal Bureau

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