New Delhi, Jul 26 (PTI) A bar body has urged the central and state governments to provide financial assistance to lawyers considering their loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bar body also urged the central government to direct nationalised banks to provide loans to lawyers at a concessional rate of interest.
'The central government shall allot and transfer sufficient amount to the Bar Council of India for providing financial assistance to the needy lawyers. Those state governments which have not provided any money to state bar councils till today for the financial assistance of lawyers should immediately disburse sufficient amount to the respective bar councils,' Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakta Parishad (ABAP) said in a resolution.
It said lawyers, especially the advocates in trial courts, are facing serious financial crisis due to closure of courts.
'There is no permanent or fixed income for lawyers. The benefits like pension, PF or ESI are out of bounds. Free rations and such other benefits will not reach 99 per cent of the lawyers as they are above BPL line,” the resolution said.
The ABAP said it's an irony that while the lawyers were hailed as the best defence of social order and justice, “this very community is finding it difficult to sustain itself.” “Majority of lawyers are struggling for the dignified existence of their family in this Corona period. Without lawyers, dispute resolution mechanisms like courts cannot function,” it said, adding that the reports from various districts were alarming.
Even though various bar councils and some state governments have extended limited financial assistance to lawyers, it was not sufficient, it said.
ABAP said it has submitted a representation to the Union finance minister for appropriate directions to the banks for providing loan at concessional rate of interest.
In another resolution, the ABAP said there is no proper internet connection, video conferencing facilities e-library, even in the district court complexes, adding, “It is the right time to install/upgrade the e-infrastructure at all court centres to help the legal system for effective transformation to discharge its functions.” It also demanded the establishment of medical dispensaries at all court centres, at least at the district level, and high courts. PTI UK SJK ABH ABH