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SC junks PIL seeking ex-gratia for kin of lawyers falling prey to Covid

A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud observed that it cannot encourage filing of “bogus” public interest litigation by lawyers.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions to the Centre and others to pay Rs 50 lakh ex-gratia to kin of advocates — aged 60 or less — who died due to Covid or other reasons even as it said lawyers’ life cannot be said to be “more precious” than others.

A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud observed that it cannot encourage filing of “bogus” public interest litigation by lawyers.

The PIL, the apex court said, did not raise even a single relevant ground.

The bench, also comprising Justices Vikram Nath and B V Nagarathna, said several people have died due to Covid-19 in the country and there is already a judgement passed by the apex court dealing with framing of guidelines for disbursement of compensation to kin of those who have died as a result of Coronavirus.

“Are other people of the society not important,” the bench told advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav, who had filed the petition.

“This is a PIL and just because you are in black coat does not mean your life is more precious than others,” the bench observed.

“You know there are a lot of people who died. Lawyers can’t be an exception here, Mr Yadav,” Justice Chandrachud-led bench added.

Lawyer Yadav had sought 50 lakhs for such lawyer families, arguing that the government has been providing financial aid to other communities in the society amid the pandemic.

He argued that as all courts are not working, the very survival of the lawyers and their staff is severely affected. He further contended that faced with acute financial hardships and without any help, the lawyers are gravitating to other professions for survival.

However, Yadav requested the bench that he will withdraw the plea and file it with better grounds.

The bench, however, dismissed the petition with a cost of Rs 10,000 payable to the Supreme Court Bar Association within a week.

In his plea, Yadav had arrayed the Centre, Bar Council of India and several other bar bodies as respondents.