The President of the Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHCAA), Yatin Oza has made a representation urging that the Gujarat High Court consider contributing any costs imposed during the conduct of cases to the welfare fund set up amid the COVID-19 pandemic to aid needy lawyers.
The representation addressed the Chief Justice Vikram Nath also requests a waiver of the rent payable between April 2020 and March 31, 2021 for the use of lawyers’ chambers at the High Court.
It is pointed out that the entry of advocates to their chambers was halted during the initial stages of the pandemic and resumed only later during the last year. However, it is further noted that since support staff are still not allowed entry, “practically, no advocate is willing to use his/her chamber.”
Given the financial hardships being faced by lawyers and their support staff during this time, Oza has urged that the rent payable for lawyers’ chambers from April 2020 to the end of March 2021 be either waived or made optional “so that those advocates who are capable to pay the rent may do so.”
As far as adding to the welfare fund set up for lawyers in need is concerned, it is underscored that the fund is being managed, in the interest of transparency, by a panel comprising of senior lawyers Mihir Thakore, AR Gupta, GHCAA Vice President Prithviraj Jadeja and GHCAA Secretary on 4. Shri Hardik Brahmbhatt.
“This fund created is not only to meet with the demand during pandemic but it’s going to be a permanent fund for the aid and help of needy advocates for all times to come”, Oza adds.
As such he has requested that as and when any occasion arises for the imposition of costs by the High Court, and where it is opined that the opposite party need not be compensated, these costs may be ordered to be paid to the GHCAA Welfare Fund.
In this regard, Oza has also referred to a recent order passed by Justice AC Joshi were Rs 10,000 imposed as costs was ordered to be paid to the Welfare Fund.