The Odisha Legislative Assembly on Monday amended the Odisha Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act, 1987 for upward revision of the financial assistance to practising lawyers or their legal representative on retirement from legal practice in case of death.
Changes in the existing Act became necessary as the financial assistance provided to the beneficiaries was too less and failed the objectives of social security.
Seeking approval of the members of the Assembly, Law Minister Maheswar Mohanty said the financial support extended to advocates under the welfare scheme is met from annual contribution of enrolment fee of the State Bar Council, voluntary contribution, funds collected from sale of Advocates Welfare Fund stamp, interest and dividends accrued on investment of the welfare fund.
The State Bar Council has been demanding upward revision of the monetary benefit which was last revised in 2001.
The Bar Council had also expressed its inability to contribute 20 per cent of the enrolment fee which was insufficient to meet the expense of the Council.
While pleading for deletion of the contribution from enrolment fee, the Bar Council had recommended enhancement of application fee, annual subscription and mandatory provision of life membership. It had also demanded for a matching grant from State Government.
The Government has decided to provide matching grant of not less than ` one crore in every financial year to the welfare fund. The change of the Act was necessitated for increasing the enrolment and subscription fee.
A mandatory provision for life membership with a fee of Rs 3,000 at the time of admission of new member and enhancement of welfare fund stamp from Rs five to Rs 15 are allowed under the new law.