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PIL demanding Financial Relief for Lawyers and Rent Waiver Declined by the Supreme Court

By Priyam Jain      13 May, 2020 08:00 PM      1 Comments
PIL demanding Financial Relief for Lawyers and Rent Waiver Declined by the Supreme Court

A PIL filed by advocates suffering financial losses due to the lockdown for granting relief in payment of chambers rent was declined by the Supreme Court on Thursday. The apex court also refused to issue any directions or guidelines on the plea for creating a financial emergency fund for lawyers. 

The bench presided by Chief Justice SA Bobde told a senior advocate making the above request, “Tomorrow engineers will come, architects will come. How can we give special dispensation to lawyers? This is unreasonable for us to do so. There may be old ladies, aged persons as landlords. How can we say this?”

Appearing on behalf of the Supreme Court Bar Association Senior Advocate Kailash Vasdev stated, “We are not saying that rent for lawyer’s chambers should not be charged. It should not be made a ground for eviction during the lockdown.” The bench in refuting the arguments advances elucidated, “We are not going to enter into this issue. You are not entitled to any special consideration.”

The direction to the Bar Council of India for the creation of a financial emergency fund for practicing advocates was sought by a PIL by Pawan Prakash Pathak. He stated that the Calcutta, Jharkhand, and Allahabad High Courts have also taken upon this issue. Since courts are shut, independent advocates have no source of income. 

A bench presided over by Justice N V Ramana further stated, “We can’t create a special category for lawyers when, unfortunately, the whole country is facing a difficult situation. Let the BCI decide.” The bench also reiterated that everyone is without work, architects are without work, and others also are without work. The bench concluding its stand stated that “We don’t have enough funds to give you. It’s for the Bar Councils to take action. We cannot tell the Bar Council to do so.”

The Bar Council of India through its Chairman - Mr. Manan Kumar Mishra has already resolved the issue faced by the advocates and has agreed to disburse Rs. 1 crore to bigger State Bar Councils and Rs. 45 Lakhs to comparatively smaller states. In many State Bar Councils, this amount has already been disbursed among needy advocates. 

Further, the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in their individual capacities have decided to provide financial assistance of Rs. 4,000 each to about 12,000 advocates in need in the State. The Delhi Bar Council through its Chairman KC Mittal has also said that financial aid of Rs. 5,000 each is being disbursed to about 4,639 advocates whose applications were found in order. 

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John Doe
Arnab Kumar Banerjee Sep 10, 2020

Court cannot do any favour to any particular person that way. But the BCI can provide for chambers in an inn just like UK barrister.

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