SC junks plea seeking Rs 50 lakh ex-gratia for kin of deceased lawyers

The Supreme Court on Tuesday junked a PIL seeking direction to the Centre and others to pay Rs 50 lakh ex-gratia to kin of advocates, who died before the age of 60 whether due to Covid-19 or other reasons.

The top court imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on the petitioner and said life of lawyers cannot be said to be more precious than others.

A bench headed by justice D.Y. Chandrachud noted that the court cannot make an exception for lawyers and cannot encourage filing of bogus PIL by lawyers. The bench also comprising justices Vikram Nath and B.V. Nagarathna told petitioner-in-person advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav, “Are other people of the society not important”. It further added, “This is a publicity interest litigation”.

The bench pointed out that several people have succumbed to Covid-19 and cited the judgment passed by the top court dealing with framing of guidelines for compensation to kin of those who have died due to coronavirus. The bench told the lawyer, “Just because you are in black coat does not mean your life is more precious than others”.

Yadav had sought Rs 50 lakh for the kin of advocates, who have died within 60 years whether from Covid or any other disease.

The bench reiterated that it is time when it has to stop lawyers from filing bogus PILs. The bench said: “It cannot happen that lawyers file such public interest litigations and demand for compensation from judges and that they will allow”. Chiding Yadav, the bench said “You can’t be an exception here, Mr Yadav”.

The bench also observed that “cut-copy-paste” has been done in the plea and dismissed the petition with a cost of Rs 10,000 payable to the Supreme Court Bar Association within a week.

Yadav argued that all courts are not working, which has impacted the survival of lawyers and their staff. Yadav, in the plea, had arrayed the Centre, Bar Council of India and several other bar bodies as respondents.