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Lawyers approach HC against restrictions in Delhi govt's advocate welfare scheme

Lawyers approach HC against restrictions in Delhi govtFallen leaves on a deserted road at Connaught Palace after a mild shower on the second day of the lockdown put in the wake of coronavirus disease outbreak
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New Delhi: Several lawyers Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the AAP government to extend the benefit of 'Chief Minister's A...

New Delhi: Several lawyers Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the AAP government to extend the benefit of 'Chief Minister's Advocates' Welfare Scheme' to all lawyers enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) irrespective of whether their names appear in the voters list of the National Capital or not. Advocate Naginder Benipal, representing five petitioners who are practicing lawyers, said he mentioned the matter on phone before the registrar (listing and filing) of the High Court and was informed by the court official that the plea will be listed once the coronavirus threat is over.

The petition said that in November 2019, the Delhi government had announced the scheme for the welfare of all the practicing advocates of the National Capital who are on the rolls of BCD. A 13-member committee of advocates was set up to give recommendations for the utilisation of the Rs 50 crore grant towards the scheme and the government had accepted the recommendations given by the panel, it said. The petitioner's advocates Balvinder Singh Bagga, Manisha Saroha, Vivek Jain, Shivam Chanana and Vaibhav Kalra have challenged the Delhi government's decision to restrict the scheme to only those members of BCD who are in the voters list of Delhi. The petitioners said they are enrolled with the BCD and have membership of Delhi High Court Bar Association and while they practice in courts here they do not reside in the National Capital and their exclusion from the scheme is "arbitrary" and "not in conformity with the constitutional scheme and policy". Another petition on the issue was filed by advocate Avdhesh Kumar Singh seeking to quash the Delhi government's March 17 circular on providing benefits to lawyers, on the ground that it was discriminatory and arbitrary and violates the provisions of the Constitution. The plea sought direction to the Delhi government to include dependent parents of the advocates in the scheme and to transfer the allocated fund amount in the account of BCD. It also sought that BCD be directed to utilise the funds in consultation with various bar associations in Delhi, including the Supreme Court Bar Association.

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