The Bar Council of Delhi has come forward to provide financial help to its member Advocates and their immediate relatives who have been hit by Covid-19.
According to a press release issued by the Bar Council of Delhi, as of yet, nearly 2287 Advocates who are under home quarantine have received Rs.15000/- each and close to 33 Advocates have been given Rs. 55,000/- to recover their hospitalization fee.
Apart from economic assistance, the Bar Council of Delhi has also provided 110 oxygen cylinders which have been in circulation for home delivery, and refiling facility and distributed over 2000 grocery kits worth Rs. 40,00,000/-.
The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has hit India like a tsunami. With more than 3,00,000 new cases being reported daily, there is a severe shortage of oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, and essential medicines.
Covid-19 pandemic has stirred up unprecedented crisis and impacted employment in all sectors. Judiciary is no exception. Advocates are struggling to make ends meet with their small savings and are in dire need of basic requirements. The Bar Council of Delhi, through what is being regarded as one of the most extensive covid relief drives by any bar council in the country, has decided to lend a helping hand to its members.
The Bar Council of Delhi on its web portal https://delhibarcouncil.com/ has opened a helpline to assist those advocates who need of ration.
Bar Council of Delhi Executive Chairman, Advocate Manoj K Singh stated “Many of our members are unable to get the medical help they need because of financial problems, and hence, in these challenging times, if we don’t come forward, who else will. That is why we have been standing by with our brothers and sisters who need our support during this crisis.”
Ramesh Gupta, Chairman of Bar Council of Delhi stated that Delhi, being the national capital and housing several courts, has one of the largest numbers of Advocates and that it was only natural that the Covid impact there has been one of the harshest.
Rajiv Kholsa, the Chief-Coordinator of Bar Council Delhi’s Covid Relief Fund, pleaded with established advocates, senior advocates, and law firms to generously donate to aid the advocates in need in this dire time of Covid-19 pandemic. While giving a detailed insight into Bar Council’s Programme to help Advocates, he stated as thus “The pandemic has forced the closure of Courts for over a year now, and most of the lawyers are left practically with no work. The new members who have recently joined the legal profession are sitting idle. The Government as well as the Judiciary has turned a blind eye to the struggling lawyers who are trying to make ends meet with their small savings. The Judiciary is not ready to contribute a small portion of their large funds towards the wellbeing of the Advocates even though we are a huge part of the Judiciary system. It is shocking to see that Judiciary has not given any kind of financial help to the legal fraternity despite having huge funds for non-urgent expenditures such as the renovation of court buildings, State and National Legal aid services, construction of new court halls, etc. A huge number of lawyers are facing severe financial difficulty and are running out of necessities. Even the case filed by Bar Council of India for grant of loan a of Rs. 3,00,000/- @4% interest for 4-5 years under Section 13 of the Disaster Management Act of 2005, for evolving a mechanism to grant loan to the needy lawyers has been sitting on the table of the Solicitor General’s Office for over 8 months.”
Bar Council of Delhi plans on opening a pandemic account (which shall be available on their web portal soon) to collect the donation money to help the members of the legal fraternity.
Bar Council of Delhi will also launch a crowdfunding initiative where every member of the legal fraternity can come forward and contribute towards the Covid relief drive. In this regard, Ramesh Gupta, Chairman of Bar Council of Delhi, observed that “We don’t want small tokens to be sent. We will request senior advocates to contribute an amount not less than Rs. 1,00,000. The donations shall be tax exempted so that advocates can contribute larger amounts.”
Similar initiatives for crowdfunding have been set up in various states. Karnataka Bar Council has announced an initiative to provide financial assistance worth Rs. 10,000 to lawyers under home quarantine and worth Rs. 25,000 to advocates who need hospitalization. Gujarat High Court Bar Association had also started a covid relief contributory fund last March. Bombay Bar Association has also extended a helping hand to advocates facing financial difficulties during the ongoing pandemic.