The Punjab government informed the high court on Wednesday that the assembly has passed an amendment in the Punjab Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 2002, to enhance the amount payable to the kin “if an advocate suddenly expires” to up to Rs 4.5 lakh as per the number of years of legal practice.
The information was submitted during the resumed hearing of a contempt-of-court petition. Jagpal Singh Sandhu, principal secretary, home affairs and justice, submitted in his reply that amount payable under the act has been enhanced to up to Rs 1 lakh for an advocate with five years of practice and thereafter Rs 10,000 for each year of practice. In case of an advocate having completed 40 years of practice, his family will be granted Rs 4.5 lakh on his death. The provision was made in the bill passed by assembly on July 22, it was submitted. The court was also informed that the stamp fee to be affixed on vakalatnamas has also been increased from Rs 8 to Rs 15.
However, Chandigarh’s home secretary Anil Kumar submitted through an affidavit that the UT administration has, through a notification issued on July 25, constituted the Advocates Welfare Fund and has requested the union law ministry to release suitable funds so that the fund could be made operational.
The high court had on July 11 last year had directed the Punjab government and Chandigarh administration to take steps to ensure advocates get an amount up to Rs 4.6 lakh on cessation of practice after completion of practice up to 40 years, to bring parity with Haryana. But affidavits filed by neither the Punjab government nor Chandigarh administration brought clarity on this aspect.