Financial aid to lawyers’ clerks amid lockdown: Karnataka HC urges State Bar Council, Advocates Association to find a solution2 min read

By- Harshita Singh

The Karnataka High Court has urged the State Bar Council, the Advocates’ Association, Bengaluru (AAB), and senior members of the Bar to come together to provide financial help to clerks during the COVID-19 lockdown.

To this end, the Court opined that it would be appropriate for the office-bearers of the respective Bar Associations to convene a joint meeting with the office bearers of the Karnataka State Level Advocate’s Clerks Association to evolve a scheme for the benefit of registered advocates’ clerks before the next date of hearing.

“We hope and trust that before the next date, in the joint meeting which may be convened by the second respondent – Karnataka State Bar Council, some solution will be found out to deal with the situation faced by the advocates’ clerks.”

Karnataka High Court

The Court was dealing with a plea filed by the Karnataka State Level Advocate’s Clerks Association seeking directions to the state government to form a Rs 5 crore fund for the welfare of its members amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

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A Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice M Nagaprasanna observed that though a clerk plays a very vital role in assisting advocates in Court cases, financial support can only be granted to the clerks under the Karnataka Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act, 1983 when a clerk ceases to work or dies.

The Karnataka State Bar Council (KSBC) also informed the Court that registered clerks should look to the advocates who have employed them for necessary monetary help. The Court opined that as most of the members of the petitioner association are registered clerks under the Chapter V of the High Court of Karnataka Rules, 1959, the AAB, the petitioner Association and the KSBC should come together and evolve a scheme to aid the affected clerks.

To this end, the Court also allowed the impleadment of the AAB in the matter. The Court went on to suggest that the petitioner Association could create a fund for the welfare of its members by approaching the senior members of the Bar for monetary help. If the petitioner Association decides to set up a fund by opening a separate account, KSBC and AAB can assist in generating funds, the Bench observed. The matter will next hear on May 29.