The Law Ministry is considering the possibility of laying emphasis on pro-bono legal assistance provided by Advocates to needy litigants as one of the proposed yardstick to be considered for appointment as Judges of High Courts. In this regard, it is planning to create a database of Advocates willing to provide pro bono assistance to needy litigants.
In a letter addressed to the BCI Chairman Mr. Manan Kumar Mishra, Secretary of the Law Ministry’s Department of Justice, Ms. Snehlata Shrivastava has demanded that information regarding such Advocates be provided to the Ministry, for enabling formation of such database.
“As you are aware due to social and economic condition in India, pro bono representation of poor clients is part of the social responsibility of the legal profession. Legal assistance to the poor is engaging the attention of the Government for the past several years. Pro bono is an important element in the provision of access to justice, as it provides people with the legal help they otherwise do not get but also helps develop skill sets of lawyers,” the letter states.
The letter stipulates that Advocates willing to work pro bono must also fulfill the additional age and income criteria. These Advocates, it states, must be between 45 and 55 years old, and must have a minimum annual professional net income of Rs. 5 lakh and above for the past 5 years.
Read the Letter here.
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