A letter has been addressed to the Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde, praying for the Supreme Court and Bar Council to take cognizance of the situation wherein independent young advocates are on the verge of starvation due to lack of financial resources. The letter also seeks for the creation of an Emergency Fund as per provisions of Advocates Act, 1961 & Advocates Welfare Scheme, 1998 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The letter-petition sent by Advocates Pawan Prakash Pathak and Alok Singh states that Covid-19 is an extraordinary situation which mankind has ever witnessed, moreover the rapid spread of the virus poses unprecedented challenges throughout the world.
Rating agencies, both global and domestic, are unanimous that the Covid-19 pandemic will be an economic tsunami for India and currently in the midst of a 21-day lockdown which will possibly extend further as well.
Young Independent Advocates who are practising in different Courts & Tribunals across India whose source of income is only limited till the extent of litigation are facing a tough time.
It was also stated in letter that situation is getting worse day by day and we have limited supplies in hand with additional burden of paying for our Rented Accommodation, Food & Medical bills.
It was submitted that petition is not advocating for the “financial aid” as our “fundamental right” during the current pandemic. Through the instant letter Advocates are only sharing the plight of Young Independent Advocates who are facing the wrath of time.
Various State Bar Associations across the country are coming up with ‘Financial Aid’ scheme for Advocates, however, there is no uniformity or equality in those policies.
The objective of the letter is not to discourage the efforts of the respective State Bar Associations and their intention to fight the crisis of COVID-19. It was submitted that the instant letter only try to convey the plight of Young Independent Advocates who are not associated with any Court Bar Association and still in dire need of financial help from the State Bar or BCI.
Petition also gave following suggestions :-
- A dedicated single emergency pool fund may be created with the help of Bar & Bench.
- Bar Council of India has data of all the State Bar Associations, so the BCI can be the managing body for the pool fund and it’s disbursal to the Concerned Advocates in need of financial assistance.
- Rules can be laid down by Bar Members as to who is eligible for Financial Assistance in Covid-19 situation.
The Petition also mentioned that fund can be pooled by State Bar Associations, Law Firms in India and Advocates willing to contribute. Monthly or one time assistance can be provided to the Advocates in need of aid during Covid-19.
-India Legal Bureau