Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Advocates’ Welfare Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was today passed in the Odisha Legislative Assembly during the Monsoon Session.
The Orissa High Court had in April, this year directed the state government to consider grant of financial assistance as per the scheme proposed by the State Bar Council in view of the livelihood of lawyers getting affected due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Supreme Court had also issued a show cause notice to the state government pertaining to setting up of a fund for the purpose and donation from the legitimate sources.
As per the request made by Odisha State Bar Council, the Finance Department agreed for the diversion of funds from the Advocates’ Welfare Fund constituted under the Odisha Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act, 1987 for grant of financial assistance to needy lawyers.
As the funds maintained under the provisions of the Odisha Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act, 1987 are meant for granting death and retirement benefits, the Act was required to be amended to enable the Odisha Advocates’ Welfare Fund Trust Committee to utilize the fund for providing financial assistance to the needy advocates in the event of disruption of legal practice occasioned by any natural calamity, pandemic and similar situation affecting legal profession at large.