Representative photo: PTI
NEW DELHI: A day after TOI published a story about lukewarm response from rich lawyers to the cause of hard-pressed advocates during the lockdown, responses poured in about individual charitable work being carried out by some advocates.
Lawyer Harish Salve and senior advocate Sidharth Luthra had set up a trust six years ago with contributions of Rs 1 crore and 25 lakh, respectively, to arrange for insurance benefit scheme for advocates-on-record, lawyers who alone are entitled to file cases in the Supreme Court, from the interest generated from the fund.
When the lockdown began and courts were closed, this trust sought donations from affluent advocates. Attorney general K K Venugopal pitched in with 15 lakh and solicitor general Tushar Mehta committed Rs 13.5 lakh. Former SC Bar Association president Vikas Singh sent Rs 10 lakh in addition to a similar amount he had donated to the SCBA Covid distress fund. Ex-AG Mukul Rohatgi, former SG Ranjit Kumar and senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi contributed Rs 5 lakh each. Luthra and his sister Geeta contributed 3.25 lakh. Renowned lawyer Fali S Nariman gave Rs 2 lakh and similar amounts came from K V Vishwanathan, Vijay Hansaria and Shivaji Jadhav.
The fund created by the trust through donations mopped up Rs 60 lakh and has given Rs 10,000 ex-gratia to 136 lawyers. It gave Rs 5,000 to 20 clerks. Stories emerged about the Luthras donating food packets ato over a thousand migrant workers. Advocate Zoheb Hossain offered a monthly retainership of Rs 25,000 for two months to four advocates in return for carrying out research work assigned to them.
But the fact remains that most successful lawyers have not responded to the call for contributions.