Allocate additional budget to welfare fund for lawyers: HC to govt

Allocate additional budget to welfare fund for lawyers: HC to govt

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the administration to consider some additional budgetary allocation to its welfare fund to facilitate financial aid to the family of any lawyer needing assistance on medical expenditure or due to death amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The directions were passed by the division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar during a virtual hearing on Wednesday on a suo motu petition regarding the pandemic.

Hearing advocate Monika Kohli, who was appointed as amicus curiae by the court last year, the court said: “In case any family of the lawyer is in need of financial assistance either on account of medical expenditure or due to the death, the family members may approach the Bar Association with an application.”

“On the application being forwarded, the court would speedily consider it and endeavour to provide maximum financial aid out of the welfare fund. At the same time, the government is also directed to consider making some additional budgetary allocation, as the funds available may not be sufficient to meet the requirement,” the bench said in a six-page order.

The court was responding to Kohli, who raised the issue of the families of the lawyers who have died recently due to coronavirus and sought some financial assistance to them.

She expressed concern over lawyers, both in Jammu and Srinagar wings of the high court, getting infected and said there was a threat to their life that needed to be addressed immediately by getting them vaccinated.

“In regard to vaccination of lawyers between the age group of 18-45, they are advised to get themselves registered for vaccination online as per the prescribed procedure,” the court said.

Once they are registered, they will be provided facility of vaccination in group again on appropriate dates and at a suitable place. Otherwise, they will be given a slot for vaccination on priority at the earliest, if possible, within a period of two weeks from the date of registration, it added.

The bench also asked the registry of the court to discuss the vaccination programme for lawyers above the age of 45 with the health secretary of the Union territory in presence of Advocate General D C Raina and fix dates for their vaccination which may be carried at a suitable place in the high court campus or medical college or hospital as may be agreed upon.

The court directed for completion of the exercise within a week.

Five lawyers from Jammu have died so far due to COVID-19 and many others have been affected. PTI

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