After Govt refusal, UP Bar Council to extend financial help to Lawyers in need

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As the stalemate between Uttar Pradesh Bar Council and the state government continues over providing financial help to lawyers in distress amid Covid-19 pandemic, the council has decided to help lawyers from its own resources.

Staggered opening of courts after the nationwide lockdown of over two months affected lawyers across the state. The Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh, therefore, decided to help state’s 171,000 lawyers who hold a certificate of practice (COP).

For the purpose, it has earmarked Rs 10 crore, which may increase, from its own resources. These lawyers, across 75 districts and including those at Allahabad High Court and its Lucknow bench, will get financial help through lawyers’ associations of their respective districts.

The council will hand over the fund to lawyers’ associations in all 75 districts. These associations will transfer the money directly to the bank accounts of the lawyers in distress.

As per the council, the fund will be allotted to every district according to the number of lawyers having the certificate of practice. For example, the Bar Council has allotted Rs 85 lakh for Lucknow which will be distributed equally among lawyers i need identified from 14,593 advocates who have certificates of practice.

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If in Lucknow, the number of lawyers in need is less (according to the criteria set by the Bar Council), per lawyer distribution of fund will increase. This identification work will be done by local lawyers’ associations.

“Before August 15, we will execute the plan and the money will be transferred to the bank accounts of lawyers,” said Janki Sharan Pandey, chairman, Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh.

“Lawyers’ associations will provide all details to the Bar Council within a week of transferring the money into bank accounts of the lawyers,” added Pandey. The council has given the responsibility to 25 members to work with lawyers’ associations in 75 districts to identify the lawyers in need.

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“Each member of the Bar Council has been allotted three district according to their choice. Here, they will coordinate with the lawyers’ associations to identify needy lawyers from among the holders of certificate of practice,” said Pandey.

“They will prepare a list of lawyers who fulfil the criteria set by the Bar Council,” he added.

State govt didn’t extend help

The UP Bar Council is also critical of the state government for not providing any financial help to lawyers amid the pandemic. “A PIL petition was filed in the Allahabad High Court seeking a directive to the state government for providing financial help to lawyers in distress,” said Pandey.

“Later, the high court took suo moto cognizance of the issue. Despite the high court’s order, the state government has not extended any financial assistance to lawyers,” he added.

Awadh Bar Association helped

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The Awadh Bar Association of Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has provided financial help of Rs 3,000 each to 1,000 lawyers and Rs 1,000 each to 200 advocate clerks of the high court.

“We have provided financial assistance to lawyers of the high court from our own resources. Lawyers have also contributed,” said senior lawyer HGD Parihar, president, Awadh Bar Association.

“I know this is not enough. We are planning to extend more help,” he added.

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