Uttaranchal HC recommends State Government to bring law for the benefit of advocates’ clerks

Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Bench comprising Rajiv Sharma and Lok Pal Singh, JJ. has recommended the State Government to frame a suitable legislation for the benefit of Advocates’ Clerks within three months.

The petitioner was a society constituted for the welfare of advocates’ clerks who are registered and working with the respective advocates in the High Court as well as in the Subordinate Courts including the Tribunals. It approached the HC seeking directions to the State government for improving the conditions of service including security of tenure of advocates’ clerks and timely monetary help to them and their families in the case of their death or bodily injuries to them. Advocates’ clerks in the state do not have any access to the medical assistance and salaries paid to them are meagre. Their services are neither protected under the Minimum Wages Act, nor there is any law (of Centre or Uttarakhand) laying service conditions, qualifications, welfare and discipline.

The Court referred to the Apex Court in Writ Petition No.430 of 2003, Akhil Bhartiya Adhivakta Clerks Association v. UOI wherein the Court made the observation that the Government may consider their case sympathetically. Deputy Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Law & Justice, Department of Legal Affairs has sent a communication to the Chief Secretary of Govt. of Uttarakhand in pursuance of that judgment regarding exploring the feasibility of legislation for their benefit. Then, on June 26, 2015, the State Government sought the views of the advocates’ clerks, which were submitted a month later. However, this did not bring the State government any closer to making legislation.

The Court noted that States like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Odisha, and Karnataka had enacted their respective Advocates’ Clerks Welfare Funds Acts under Entry No. 23, 24 and 26 of the Concurrent List. A similar legislation in the line with these Acts was called to be implemented in Uttarakhand. The Court was of the view that the State Government should also make a Contingency Fund to provide ex gratia payment to the family members of the advocates’ clerks in case of untimely death or fatal bodily injury. [High Court Advocates Clerk Bar Association v. State of Uttarakhand, 2018 SCC OnLine Utt 555, order dated 12.06.2018]

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