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Coronavirus: BCI writes to PM for minimum allowance to lawyers not well-off financially

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Bar Council of India appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday to provide Rs 20,000 as minimum subsistence allowance per month to lawyers who are not financially well off so that they can support their families following the lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers of all the states, BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra requested them to make a provision for providing the allowance from the Centre and the state government funds, either directly or through Advocate Welfare Fund of state bar councils.

"The Bar Council of India would like to make a fervent and urgent request to kindly make a provision for providing a minimum subsistence allowance of Rs 20,000 per month for young and/or not financially well-off advocates, who are staying and practicing in the country (being enrolled with the State Bar Councils) from Centre Funds and/or State Government Funds and/or jointly by either providing for the same directly or through Advocate Welfare Fund of the respective State Bar Council/s," Mishra said.

All professions except those providing essential services have virtually gone into lockdown mode as the only way to stop further outbreak and spread of the virus, said the apex bar body in its letter.

However, it added, advocates and courts are still functioning "albeit in a limited/restrictive mode where important matters are being heard with only advocates of both sides, besides the Judge, being present to argue, as in most civil case clients and parties are not required to be present in court".

The letter said that lawyers have no social security and only a handful of 10 percent can be stated to be in a position to survive and subsist without any earning during this time of crisis when, "the work and earning opportunities have ceased".

Therefore, many young, and/or not financially well off/needy advocates are finding it exceedingly difficult to make ends meet. It is a question of keeping themselves and their families alive, by providing them with basic food and taking care of their medicinal and health needs, it said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 15:36 IST