On a plea seeking financial assistance of Rs.5000 to newly enrolled advocates in Bar Council of Delhi, the Delhi High Court has observed that it cannot direct Bar Council of Delhi and Bar Council of India to mandatorily provide stipends to the young advocates.

"Other than making an earnest appeal to the Bar Council of Delhi and the Bar Council of India to make provisions for providing stipends to the young advocates, who have recently enrolled themselves in the profession, so that they can overcome the financial stress in the initial years of practice, this Court cannot pass a writ of mandamus directing them to mandatorily provide stipends to the young advocates.", the bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad observed.

The Court was adjudicating upon a writ petition by one Pankaj Kumar who is a young advocate working as a junior in the chambers of a Senior Advocate.

The Petitioner highlighted the difficulties being faced by newly enrolled advocates. It was stated that the young advocates are unable to arrange for their accommodation, food, travelling and other expenses, and without there being any proper and consistent source of income, they are unable to make both ends meet.

He had sought directions towards Bar Council of Delhi and Bar Council of India to provide financial assistance of Rs.5000 to the petitioner and newly enrolled advocates in Bar council of Delhi during his initial year of practice. Further, he also prayed for direction for making rules for chamber/coworking space allotment to the newly enrolled advocates.

Advocate Srikant Prasad and Advocate Dewashish Viswakarma appeared for Petitioner whereas Central Government Standing Counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, Advocate Danish Faraz Khan and ASC Anuj Aggarwal represented Respondents.

The Court observed that "Undoubtedly, the Petitioner has highlighted the problems being faced by the young lawyers who have enrolled in this noble profession. This Court can take judicial notice of the fact that youngsters, who have just enrolled themselves as Advocates, face immense difficulties in sustaining themselves owing to the high cost of living in Delhi. It is indeed very difficult for young advocates to bear expenses for the purposes of accommodation food, and travelling expenses."

The Court further noted that young professionals in all fields such as Medicine, Chartered Accountancy, Architecture and Engineering etc., face problems similar to the ones being faced by young advocates.

The Court held that while exercising its writ jurisdiction it cannot single out the legal profession alone and hold that only young advocates have the right to claim a stipend.

"It is well settled that a writ can lie only for the enforcement of the right established by law and Article 21 of the Constitution of India cannot be stretched to encompass in itself a right of an Advocate to claim a monthly stipend from Bar Associations. It is for the Bar Councils to make provisions to provide some kind of financial assistance so that the young advocates, who are the future of this noble profession, are able to sustain themselves.", the Court held.

With regard to space in chambers for working, the Court noted that "This Court can only appeal to the Bar Councils/ Associations to be more sensitive to the difficulties of the younger members of the Bar and to consider providing some specified space which can be utilised by the young advocates to further not only their career but also the future of this profession."

Accordingly, the Public Interest Litigation was dismissed.

Cause Title- Pankaj Kumar v. Bar Council of Delhi & Ors.

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