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Lawyer ‘freebies’

New Delhi, Jan. 6: The Haryana government today moved the Supreme Court against a two-year-old Punjab and Haryana High Court order asking it to bear exorbitant water and electricity bills run up by lawyers’ bodies like the bar association.

Although lawyers in the high court as in all other courts have to pay for the water and electricity used in their chambers, the power and water bills of the rooms allotted to the bar association were till May 2007 being borne by the association. Later, the high court, acting on a petition by the association, directed the state government to pay these bills, ignoring opposition from both the state government and the Centre.

Free power and water were not even extended to the Raj Bhavan, the Vidhan Sabha, the secretariat and hospitals, the Centre had argued. Even the high court does not ask for free power and water for court buildings and rooms, it said.

The demand for such freebies for professional bodies like lawyers’ associations was, therefore, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”, the Centre had said, backing the state government’s stand.

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