Bar dissolves HC Lawyers Welfare Fund Committee

Chandigarh, June 11 The Executive Body of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association has dissolved the High Court Lawyers Welfare Fund Committee with immediate effect, after passing a resolution.
The step was taken after a requisition was passed by over 200 advocates of the Bar, strongly objecting to the expenditure of over Rs 46 lakh on the one-year Mediclaim insurance premium.
The amount was spent from the Rs 1.5-crore fund donated to the High Court Bar Association by the Punjab and Haryana governments last year — while the Punjab government had given Rs 1 crore, the Haryana government had donated Rs 50 lakh.
With two advocates getting only Rs 59,871 as insurance claim, the advocates said the money should have been used on some more beneficial scheme. They passed the requisition demanding an open discussion with the Welfare Committee members on the issue.
The resolution covers two significant points — “the rules framed by the Welfare Committee were not required” and “the tenure set by the committee was uncalled for”.
The committee was constituted on March 19, 2007, by the former executive body of the Bar Association.
Though the resolution vide which the committee was constituted did not set any tenure, a five-year term was subsequently given to the chairman and the committee unilaterally by the then honorary secretary.
Dissolving the Welfare Committee with immediate effect, the current Executive Body held: “A five-year term was uncalled for along with the unbridled power given in the 2007 Rules. It was also felt that the rules framed in 2007 by the Welfare Committee were not proper and were required to be reframed in entirety.”
An executive committee democratically elected by the General House will now replace the Welfare Committee. Bar chief Rupinder S Khosla will replace the chairman-cum-managing trustee, S D Sharma.
The Welfare Committee had constituted a trust whose managing trustee was S D Sharma. While the committee stands dissolved, the trust will remain but with a different managing trustee.
The Executive Body has decided to reframe the rules. The president is authorised to constitute a sub-committee, which will submit the draft rules on or before June 25. Till then, no principal or interest component of the welfare funds, whether lying in FDRs or otherwise, will be spent.
S D Sharma told Newsline: “Every single penny spent has been mentioned in the report prepared by the Welfare Committee. The announcement of investing in the Mediclaim insurance policy was made at a function when the Chief Minister of Haryana had come here.”
Calling the dissolving of Welfare Committee as illegal, S D Sharma has said that the Executive Body has illegally dissolved the welfare committee which is against the Trust Deed and Trust Act.
Posted online: Thursday , June 12, 2008 at 02:30:46Updated: Thursday , June 12, 2008 at 02:30:46


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