Written by: Shubham B Jha (Intern)
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)
The Supreme Court Bar Association has announced a ‘General Assistance Scheme’ for 2021 to support the families of lawyers who are members of the SCBA and are suffering economic difficulties due to the death of such a lawyer at a very young age. The body also has announced plans to help such member lawyers who are undergoing surgery or are hospitalized due to critical illness. All the members eligible for the said scheme must send their application to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCBA is also looking to provide one time ex-gratia ‘financial assistance` of Rs. 25000 to all its members that are financially struggling due to the ongoing lockdown and restrictions of business due to the coronavirus pandemic. The SCBA has titled such a scheme as ‘Financial Assistance Scheme 2021’. The eligible member lawyers shall send their application to: email@example.com.
Under the General Assistance scheme, a spouse or legal heir of the deceased member lawyer shall be assisted with a sum of 5 lac rupees if the member lawyer was less than 50 years of age. If at the time of death, such member lawyer was more than 50 years but less than 65 years, the spouse or legal heir shall be provided with a sum of 2.5 lac rupees and if the deceased member lawyer was older than 65 years, the spouse or legal heir shall be provided with a sum of 1 lac rupees. Only those families are eligible for these schemes that have lost their relatives after 1 st March 2021. The SCBA has lost around 50 of its members to COVID since last year.
The scheme also provides financial support to the member lawyers who have undergone surgery or have been hospitalized owing to severe illness. The body shall provide such member lawyer financial assistance of 50% of the entire bill of the hospital subject to a maximum of Rs 1 lac. However, the announcement also adds that if the member avails insurance policy and is reimbursed, the assisted amount from the SCBA shall not exceed the total amount spent by the member in the hospital. The financial assistance scheme is only available to those member lawyers who have undergone surgery or been hospitalized owing to critical illness after 1st March 2021. Only those members who had taxable income of less than 10 lac rupees are eligible.
The Financial Assistance Scheme has certain different paradigms; the body seeks to provide Rs. 25000 to the members having taxable income of 5 lakhs or more but less than 10 lacks in any of three preceding Assessment years. The amount provided is 50000 if the member has a taxable income of less than Rs. 5 lac in anyone of three preceding Assessment years. The members availing the benefits of the scheme shall have to produce 10 appearances between 2016-2021 in any one calendar year or cumulative 15 appearances in any 2 years within the same time frame.
The Supreme Court Bar Association had also recently announced in the month of April that it shall be providing loans to its member lawyers who had been facing severe economic difficulties during the Covid 19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown. It said that a loan of Rs. 25000 would be provided to all members who faced difficulties getting by daily chores due to stringent economic conditions. The body said that the amount would be withdrawn by the SCBA from out of costs awarded by the Supreme Court. Under the scheme, a member lawyer shall be able to obtain a loan of Rs. 25000 payable over a period of two years with no interest. The prestigious body also said that the identity of the lawyers who ask for such a loan shall be kept ‘confidential’ as far as possible.