Punjab & Haryana High Court Issues Notice To BCI On Plea Seeking Minimum Remuneration Guidelines For Young Advocates, Law Interns

Aiman J. Chishti

23 Jan 2024 11:19 AM GMT

  • Punjab & Haryana High Court Issues Notice To BCI On Plea Seeking Minimum Remuneration Guidelines For Young Advocates, Law Interns

    The Punjab & Haryana High Court has issued notice on a plea seeking directions to Bar Council of India (BCI) and Bar Council of Punjab, Haryana & Chandigarh for "standardized stipend and renumeration guidelines" for minimum stipends for young lawyers and law interns.A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Nidhi Gupta while issuing notice to BCI and Bar Council...

    The Punjab & Haryana High Court has issued notice on a plea seeking directions to Bar Council of India (BCI) and Bar Council of Punjab, Haryana & Chandigarh for "standardized stipend and renumeration guidelines" for minimum stipends for young lawyers and law interns.

    A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Nidhi Gupta while issuing notice to BCI and Bar Council of Punjab, Haryana & Chandigarh, directed the petitioners to "place on record" Kerala Government's scheme, under which lawyers under the age of 30 years, with less than 3 years law practice and annual income less than Rs. 1,00,000/- would be eligible to receive Rs. 3,000/- per month as stipend/remuneration.

    The Court was hearing a PIL filed by Advocates Vivek Tiwari and Abhishek Malhotra seeking directions to the BCI and Bar Council of Punjab, Haryana & Chandigarh to standardise stipend and renumeration guidelines for minimum stipend of Rs.15,000 for young, junior advocates and Rs.5,000 for law interns.

    It also sought directions on the respondents to not to restrict junior advocates to file their independent matters, as the same would result in financial exploitation and would also violate their fundamental right to earn livelihood enshrined under Article 21.

    The plea highlights that the basic minimum wage for an unskilled labourer is Rs. 12,623, while, as per the Consumer Price Index Number issued by the Assistant Labour Commissioner, Chandigarh and well educated, 'skilled', and "law graduates are paid as low as Rs. 5,000  to Rs. 7,000.

    Moreover, it is argued that most of the young lawyers and interns were not even paid and are simply told that what seniors were teaching them was invaluable.

    Furthermore, the petitioners have submitted that the professional statutory bodies for professions like Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries, Cost Accountants, Doctors have enlisted a provision whereby the new members of the profession are bound to be paid at least the minimum sum of remuneration as fixed by their respective professional bodies.

    This is exactly where the respondents have failed since there is no formal regulation or internal order or notification which signals as to what is the bare minimum remuneration for a newly enrolled advocate under any bar council of the state across India," it was argued.

    Perusing the representation filled by the petitioners, the Court noted that Kerala Government's scheme for minimum stipend to lawyers and law interns was referred, however same had not been placed on record.

    While deferring the matter to April 23, the Court directed the petitioners to place on record the aforesaid scheme.

    Case Title: Vivek Tiwari and another v. Bar Council of India and another

    Next Story