The Government of Kerala has issued an order mandating a monthly stipend of Rs. 3,000 for all junior advocates in the state, which comes as a great relief to the state's junior advocates.
This stipend is available to advocates under 30 years old with less than three years of experience and an annual income of less than Rs. 1 lakh. However, the yearly income limit does not apply to members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The order was issued in consideration of the Kerala Advocates' Stipend Rules notified by the State Bar Council in 2021, which stipulate that the stipend to advocates may be disbursed from the Fund by the Trustee Committee on a monthly basis or at such intervals as determined by the Trustee Committee and shall be deposited into the applicant's bank account.
Section 9 of the Kerala Advocates Welfare Fund Act of 1980 authorises the Trustee Committee to provide monthly stipends to junior advocates with less than 30 years of age and less than three years of practise, at rates established by the State government. The stipend is to be paid from the Advocates' Welfare Fund established by the statute.
The order was made on the basis of the Trustee Committee's recommendation.
In an order dated March 9, 2018, the Kerala Government approved a monthly stipend of Rs. 5,000/- for junior lawyers of a particular category, payable from the Welfare Fund established by the Kerala Advocates' Welfare Fund Act of 1980.
Despite this, a petition was filed with the Kerala High Court on behalf of attorneys affected by the COVID-19 issue, arguing improper implementation of the statute.