New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the verdicts of the Madras and Patna High Courts that lawyers, who joined the bar after retirement from employment, cannot seek help from the advocates welfare funds like those who started their career as pleaders.
"The various welfare fund schemes are in actuality intended for the benefit of those who are in the greatest need of them. The lawyers, straight after their enrolment, who join the legal profession with high hopes and expectations and dedicate their whole lives to the professions, are the real deservers," a bench of justices M Y Eqbal and R Banumathi said.
It made a distinction between the lawyers who began their career after passing out from the law college directly and those who joined some other employment and join it after their retirement.
"Lawyers who enrol themselves after their retirement from government services and continue to receive pension and other terminal benefits, who basically join this field in search of greener pastures in the evening of their lives cannot and should not be equated with those who have devoted their whole lives to the profession.
"For these retired persons, some amount of financial stability is ensured in view of the pension and terminal benefits and making them eligible for lumpsum welfare fund under the Act would actually amount to double benefits. Therefore, in our considered view, the classification of lawyers into these two categories is a reasonable classification having a nexus with the object of the Act," the bench said.