Supreme Court dismisses PIL for Covid-19 compensation to lawyers
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking compensation for lawyers who died of Covid-19 as bogus and imposed a cost of ₹10,000 on the lawyer who filed the public interest litigation (PIL) terming it as publicity interest litigation.
The PIL filed by advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav demanded ₹50 lakh compensation for family of lawyers aged less than 60 years who died due to Covid-19 or any other reasons.
Not willing to make an exception for lawyers, the bench of justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and BV Nagarathna said, “Just because you wear a black coat does not mean that your life is precious than others…A lot of people died due to Covid-19, you cannot be an exception.”
Dismissing the petition with a cost of ₹10,000, the bench held, “We see no reason to make an exception for members of the bar who suffered from Covid.” On a plain reading of the petition, the bench said that the lawyer had done a “copy and paste” job as none of the grounds mentioned in the petition were relevant to the issue raised in the petition. “In the present circumstances, we dismiss the petition with a cost of ₹10,000 to be payable within a period of one week from today.”
The bench was of the view that time had come to stop lawyers from approaching the court with bogus PILs.
Advocate Yadav sought permission from the court to file a better petition. The bench said, “This is publicity interest litigation. It can’t be that lawyers keep filing PILs and demand compensation from judges in the hope they will allow.” The bench pointed out that another bench of the Supreme Court on June 30 had held that all persons who died due to Covid will be entitled to compensation under the National Disaster Management Act 2005.
The PIL had made the Centre, Bar Council of India and Supreme Court Bar Association as parties to the petition demanding that in times of pandemic, additional monetary help should be provided to surviving families of lawyers who were the sole earning member.