Several lawyers approached the Delhi High Court seeking direction from the Aam Aadmi Party government to extend the benefits of “Chief Minister’s Advocates Welfare Scheme”, to all the lawyers enrolled with Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) irrespective of whether the names appear in the voter’s list of the national capital or not.
The High Court received a petition which mentioned that in November 2019, the scheme was announced by the Delhi government for the welfare of all the practicing advocates of the national capital who are enrolled under the BCD.
A committee consisting of 13 member advocates was set up to give recommendations for the utilization of the Rs.50 crore grant towards the scheme and the recommendations given by the panel were accepted by the government, it said.
Now the Delhi government‘s decision to restrict the scheme to only those members of the Bar Council of Delhi who are in the voter’s list of Delhi have been challenged by the petitioners – advocates Balwinder Singh Bagga, Manisha Saroha, Vivek Jain, Shivam Shivam Chanana and Vaibhav Kalra.
The petitioners said they are enrolled with Bar Council of Delhi and have the membership of the Delhi High Court Bar Association and while they practice in courts here they do not reside in Delhi and exclusion from the scheme is “arbitrary” and not in “conformity with the constitutional scheme and policy”.
The Delhi High Court received another petition on the same issue filed by advocate Awadhesh Kumar Singh seeking to quash the Delhi government’s March 17 of circular on providing benefits to lawyers on the ground that it was discriminatory and arbitrary and violates the provisions of the Constitution of India.
The petition mentioned including the dependent parents of the advocates under the scheme and to transfer the allocated fund amount in the account of the Bar Council of Delhi and the need directions for the same to be given to the government of Delhi to do the needful.
The petition also sought that the bar Council of Delhi be directed to utilise the funds in consultation with various bar associations in Delhi, including the Supreme Court Bar Association.