BCI Writes To Modi, Raises 10 Demands For Welfare Of Advocates
The Bar Council of India (BCI) on Tuesday sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi wherein it has raised 10 demands, including insurance cover for lawyers and their families, enactment of the Advocates Protection Act, amendment of various Acts to make provision for appointment of competent advocates, and not just retired judges, as presiding officers of various tribunals etc, free medical treatment for advocates at "best hospitals of India" and other provisions for welfare of advocates across the country.
The letter sent by BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra reminded Modi of the promises he had made to the lawyers on March 1, 2014, at the closing ceremony of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Bar Council of India when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Modi had then said that he would make budgetary provisions for lawyers, legal profession and for the welfare of lawyers if he becomes the Prime Minister.
"The budget session is to begin soon. Our request is very simple. As citizens of this country, the lawyers and their families have also the right to get the bare minimum requirements of life and to live a respectable and secured life," said the BCI.
It said it expected a response from the government on its demands by January 31 while adding that earlier a meeting of BCI and High Court Bar Associations decided to organise a massive demonstration at Delhi but "we thought it proper to make your good self acquainted with the demands once again and to make this request before taking any further step".
The BCI has made 10 demands asunder:
- Insurance cover upto Rs 20 lakh for lawyers and their families (dependants)
- Mediclaim: Free medical treatment of every type of disease in best hospitals of India and other countries (if needed) for the advocates. Lawyers should be provided a special card for this purpose to be able to avail the benefit of the scheme anytime, anywhere.
- Stipend (minimum Rs 10,000 per month) for needy new entrants at the Bar upto 5 years of their practice.
- Scheme for pension for old/indigent advocates and provision for family pension in case of untimely death of advocates (minimum Rs 50,000).
- Advocates Protection Act to be enacted.
- All the bar associations of the country should have adequate building/accommodation/sitting facilities with well-equipped libraries, e-libraries, toilets etc., and facilities for lady advocates.
- Interest-free housing loans, loans for library, vehicle for needy advocates. Government should acquire land at cheaper rates for housing of advocates.
- Legal Service Authority Act – Amendments and necessary changes should be made in the Act so that functions under this Act could be discharged by the Lawyers (and not the judges or judicial officers only.
- All the Acts (which provide for appointment of retired judges/ judicial officers as the presiding officers/ members of different tribunals, Commissions or Forums should be amended so that competent advocates (and not only 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/ dependants at least a sum of Rs 50 lakh.
The BCI has requested Modi to make budgetary provision of Rs 50 crore to meet various 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.
It has suggested constitution of a seven-member committee in every state which can put the money to effective use.
The letter also thanked Modi for supporting lawyers in the past when attempts were made to curtain their rights and privileges.
Read the Letter Here