The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has sought the response of Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) on a plea filed by one M Abubakr Pandit seeking financial assistance, medical and life insurance for lawyers who are affected due to COVID-19 induced lock down (M. Abubakar Pandit V/s U.T of Jammu and Kashmir and Others).
The single-judge bench of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur issued notice to the respondents and directed them to file replies within three weeks.
In plea, the petitioner submitted that the present crisis due to Covid-19 and closure of courts caused serious financial problems for many advocates including the petitioner during the lockdown period.
If advocates are actually the officers of court, courts should come forward for the welfare of lawyers and their family members, at the time of crisis, he submitted.
The petitioner, therefore, sought immediate grant of financial assistance to the tune of Rs. 25,000 to each advocates practicing before High Court in district courts in J&K and who were earlier identified to be in need of the financial assistance.
The petitioner also prayed for a direction to be issued to UT of J&K to formulate a medical and life insurance policy for the welfare of the advocates and their family members practicing before the High Court and District Courts in J&K.
“Since the pandemic has started many advocates became Covid Positive and some were also hospitalized and to bear the medical expenses they approached to various members of the Bar for financial aid whereas they was no assistance by the respondents. It will not be out of place to mention here that the advocates are called the officers of the court and the court should come forward for the welfare of the advocates and their family members. It is submitted that a guidelines be prepared at an earliest for providing the insurance Policy in favour of the advocates including their family members,” the petition said.
The Court issued notice and posted the matter for hearing next on June 1, 2021.
Notably, a similar plea by Lawyers Club Kasmir through its President namely Babar Jan Qadir and others including Rabinder Singh advocate is pending before the High Court since last year. The matter will be heard next on June 5, 2020.