The Bar Council of India (BCI) on January 22, 2019, has written a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising 10 demands along with urging to allot an annual budget of Rs 50 crores for the welfare of Advocates in India.
The letter sent by BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra has drawn the attention of the Prime Minister to a speech that he had made in 2014 at an event organised by the BCI. In the speech, Modi gave a clear assurance to the lawyers of the country that if he becomes the Prime Minister of the country, he would make budgetary provisions for lawyers, the legal profession and for the welfare of the lawyers.
However, after he became the Prime Minister repeated requests were made to government officials to redress the grievances of the advocates but it yielded no result.
Thus after due deliberation, the BCI has made the instant representation, seeking the implementation of the following demands for the general welfare of advocates, i.e.:
- Insurance cover up to Rs. 20, 00, 000/- for the Lawyers and their families (dependents).
- Medi-claim: free medical treatment of every type of disease in best Hospitals of India & other countries (if needed) for the Advocates. Lawyers should be provided a “special card” for this purpose, so that they could avail the benefit of this schemes anytime, anywhere.
- Stipend for needy new entrants at the Bar upto 5 years of their practice (Minimum Rs. 10, 000/- Per Month)
- Scheme for pension for old/indigent Advocates and provision for family pension in case of untimely death of Advocates (Minimum Rs. 50, 000/- per month).
- Advocates Protection Act to be enacted for Advocates of the Country by the Parliament
- All the Bar Associations of the country should have adequate building/accommodation/sitting facilities with well-equipped Libraries, e-libraries, with internet, toilets etc. and facilities for lady advocates.
- Interest-free house loans, loans for Library, Vehicle for the needy Advocates. The government should acquire lands at cheaper for the Housing of Advocates.
- Legal Services Authority Act – Amendments & necessary changes should be made in the Act so that the functions under this Act could be discharged by the Lawyers (and not the Judges or Judicial Officers only.
- All the Acts (which provide for appointments of retired Judges/Judicial Officers as the Presiding Officers/ Member of different Tribunals, Commissions of Forums/ Authorities) should be properly amended so that competent Advocates (and not only the Judges) could also be appointed on these places.
- In case of untimely death of any Advocate (below 65 years of age) due to accident, murder, any disease, the Government should grant the family/dependents at least a sum of Rs 50, 00, 000 /- (fifty lakhs).
Further, BCI also requested the Prime Minister to make budgetary provision of Rs 50 crore to meet requirements of the advocates and added that the money need not be transferred in the account of the Bar Council of India or the State Bar Councils but could be utilised through a "Trustee Committee" to be headed by Advocate General/s.
The BCI has requested the government to respond to the representation before January 31, 2019, adding that the BCI had decided to organize a massive demonstration at Delhi to highlight these demands. However, the decision was put off to acquaint the Prime Minister with the demands.
The next joint meeting of Bar Councils and Bar Associations is fixed for February 9-10, 2019.