The Bar Council of India (BCI) on Friday requested the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and other brother judges of the Supreme Court to pass appropriate order/ directions to alleviate the sufferings of advocates, judges, their staff, and families devastated by the second wave of Covid-19 across the country.
The BCI’s request was in the light of its May 5 resolution which was taken by the body after a flood of letters it received from various state bar councils and bar associations of the country highlighting the plight of lawyers during the second wave.
The general council of the BCI passed the resolution requesting and authorizing the chairman of the BCI, Manan Kumar Mishra, to write to the CJI, also treating it as a letter-petition concerning the state of legal fraternity from the metro cities to remote towns.
The BCI has requested the CJI to treat the letter /PIL to be listed urgently or as an Interlocutory Petition in the present Covid-19 concerning suo-motu writ case.
The BCI has made the following prayers:
1. Appointment/ Designation of District Judge(s), Registrar General(s) of high courts and Supreme Court as nodal officers for facilitating and extending medical assistance to advocates and judges, their family members and staff.
2. Directions for state government and district administration to provide oxygen supply to the advocates and judicial officers, their families and staff upon request of state bar council/ bar association(s) to the nodal officers if any advocate is capable of managing the illness at home.
3. Advocates and their families and staff should be provided with oxygen immediately, bed or ICU bed in Hospital, or Remdesivir (or any other prescribed life-saving drug) on recommendation of concerned nodal officer. In case of judicial officers/ judges, their families and staff, no need of recommendation of bar association is required.
The letter reads: “In the last few weeks, the bar in the country starting from the Supreme Court to the trial courts has lost many eminent and brilliant advocates and judges. This is a huge loss not only to the bar and bench, but, to society also and for the administration of justice as a whole. During the pandemic advocates, judges and court staff are also currently working and serving the society like doctors, medical workers, police and media persons.”
The letter further states: “We are writing this letter-petition on behalf of about 2 million advocates of the country, their staff and families. We must take it amply clear that we do not want any special treatment in the matter of medical attention as compared to other sections of the society, but a graceful response from the concerned official machinery, so that there is some mitigation in the miseries and sufferings of the affected lawyers and their family members. The advocates, though not special citizens, are an important part of the society and frontline workers and stakeholders in the matter of this dispensation of justice, like judges.”