NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday ruled that the Delhi government’s Chief Minister Advocates’ Welfare Scheme must be extended to all lawyers registered with the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) irrespective of whether their place of residence is in Delhi or the surrounding National Capital Region (NCR).
Justice Prathiba Singh held that the insistence on voter ID showing residence in Delhi to avail the welfare scheme is discriminatory. The court observed that there may be lawyers who practice primarily in Delhi, but have their permanent residence elsewhere. It was further noted that all may not be able to reside in the metropolitan area of Delhi due to financial constraints and may, therefore, choose to reside in NCR while practicing in Delhi.
She further highlighted that a conjoint reading of the Advocates’ Act, the BCD Rules and the relevant Bar Council of India (BCI) rules reveals that an advocate is entitled to register in the place where she/he intends to primarily practice. Once a lawyer is enrolled with the Bar Council of the area where she/he is practicing, the rules of that Bar Council govern the lawyer. None of these rules give importance to the place of residence of the advocate. The address is only a means of information, the court further said.