The Calcutta High Court has decided to hear a letter petition seeking a direction to the Bar Council of West Bengal to provide financial assistance to needy lawyers who have been adversely affected due to suspension of court work amid the lockdown, reports PTI
The PIL has been registered based on a letter addressed to it by the Calcutta High Court Bar Association.
As per the HCBA, the subscriptions taken by the Council from the lawyers registered with it should be utilized for the benefit of the distressed lawyers, who are unable to afford basic amenities like food, etc. in these times of crisis.
It may be noted that under the Advocates Act, 1961, the Bar Council of India as well as the State Bar Councils are obliged to ensure welfare of Advocates fraternity and also to assist the needy Advocates. Particularly, Section 6 of the Act provides to safeguard the rights, privileges and interests of Advocates and its roll.
The matter will be heard by a division bench presided by Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan on Thursday, April 16.
The Calcutta High Court had restricted its functioning to hear only urgent matters on March 15, in view of the pandemic. The same is likely to be continued in view of extension of the lockdown till May 3.
The condition of financially unstable lawyers has drawn attention of many courts in the country. Recently, the Allahabad High Court called upon the Bar Council of India, Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh, UP Law Ministry, Allahabad High Court Bar Association, Allahabad High Court Advocate's Association, and the Awadh Bar Association, to explain the steps taken by them to assist the needy Advocates and the registered Advocate Clerks.
Many State Bar Councils such as those in the states of Odisha, Karnataka, Delhi and Tamil Nadu have already announced financial support for Advocates in dire need.