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High Court to hear Junior Lawyers’ plea over OBC Advocate Grant Scheme

In a significant development at the High Court of Kerala, junior lawyers from different Bar Associations are making their debut appearance in a case that
has far-reaching implications for junior advocates from the OBC category.

The case centers around the discontinuation of the OBC Advocate Grant Scheme, initiated by the Backward Classes Development Department of the Government of Kerala in the 2012-2013 financial year.

Under this scheme, eligible junior advocates from the OBC category were entitled to receive an annual grant of Rs. 12,000 for three consecutive terms. This financial support was intended to assist these young lawyers in purchasing law books and robes to establish their legal practice.

Each year, the Directorate of Backward Classes Development Department issued notifications inviting applications for the Advocate Grant Scheme. However, the last notification was issued on 15/07/2021, and no subsequent notifications have been released.

This absence of notifications since 2021 has caused severe disruption, as junior advocates have been unable to apply for the scheme, particularly those who enrolled after 30/06/2021. Aggrieved by this, Adv. Priyanka Sharma MR, a junior lawyer hailing from the Kollam Bar, has filed a writ petition before the High Court

What makes this case particularly interesting is that the petitioner’s legal representation consists entirely of fellow junior lawyers who are making their first-ever appearance before the High Court. Adv. Ajmal A from Kollam Bar, Adv. Dhanush CA from Chittur Bar, and Adv. Rinshad TP from Manjeri Bar are appearing  for the petitioner in the writ petition.

This case has drawn attention not only for its implications on the OBC Advocate Grant Scheme but also for highlighting the determination of these young lawyers in seeking justice and ensuring the continuity of a vital support program for their community. The Single Bench presided by Justice Devan Ramachandran adjourned the matter by giving time to Government Pleader for obtaining instructions.