August 19, 2015 12:26:07 am
In the past five years, 183 lawyers have been paid over Rs 1.7 crore from the Advocates Welfare Fund, meant to support “ill and indigent” lawyers.
But no “consistent criteria” was followed, with some lawyers reportedly being reimbursed for their medical bills, while others received small amounts that did not even cover basic medical care. Some lawyers were allegedly paid amounts higher than the medical bills submitted by them.
The Delhi High court has now directed the Delhi government to step in and frame proper rules about the functioning of the Advocates Welfare Fund.
The fund is meant to be administered by a trustee committee headed by the advocate general of the state, with the law secretary, home secretary, state bar council office bearers and government lawyers as members. A report submitted before the bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher has found that the trustee board has been operating without a chairman since October 2014, while the law secretary and the home secretary have not participated in any of the meetings of the board.
Advocate K R Chitra had earlier approached the HC with a plea alleging “abuse of authority” by the office bearers of Bar Council of Delhi and “embezzlement and misappropriation of funds” from the indigent and disabled lawyers welfare scheme and welfare fund. She had also sought court orders to register an FIR against the Advocates Welfare Fund’s trustee board and office bearers of the bar council. Chitra, in her plea, had alleged that “a lot of discrimination” had been done in the disbursement of funds.
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