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Covid-19: Bar Council of India Moves Supreme Court Seeking Appointment Of Nodal Authorities To Address Shortage Of Medical Frailties Faced By Legal Fraternity

Akshita Saxena
7 May 2021 3:32 PM GMT
Covid-19: Bar Council of India Moves Supreme Court Seeking Appointment Of Nodal Authorities To Address Shortage Of Medical Frailties Faced By Legal Fraternity
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The Bar Council of India has moved a letter petition before the Supreme Court, seeking appropriate directions to alleviate the sufferings of the legal fraternity, including Advocates, Judges, their staff and families, who are affected by Covid-19. In wake of deaths of several eminent Advocates and Judges due to Covid-19 in the past few weeks, the BCI has urged the Top Court to...

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The Bar Council of India has moved a letter petition before the Supreme Court, seeking appropriate directions to alleviate the sufferings of the legal fraternity, including Advocates, Judges, their staff and families, who are affected by Covid-19.

In wake of deaths of several eminent Advocates and Judges due to Covid-19 in the past few weeks, the BCI has urged the Top Court to pass directions to the Union and State Governments for providing sufficient beds and other Covid treatment facilities to the advocates, judges, their staff and families who are in the need at District and Taluka level, High Courts and wherever necessary.

The Council said that it has been receiving complaints from all parts of the country that the District administration nor any of the governmental authorities are attending the calls of Advocates in need of any crisis.

It is stated that several PILs have been filed regarding lack of medical and healthcare facilities, however, most of them deal with bigger cities.

"We are not considering the precarious conditions prevailing at remote places. In District and Taluka places neither sufficient ambulances are available nor are there sufficient oxygen beds in hospitals. Ventilators are like a dream…," it said.

The BCI vented that during the last 14-15 months of pandemic, no official machinery has thought about the common advocates, who are 'Officers of the Court'. "What to talk of any financial assistance, the Union or State Governments have not been able to provide proper and adequate medical services to the advocates, who are left in the lurch."

It has suggested that Nodal Officers, form amongst the Higher Judicial officers, should be appointed at all levels. These Officers may remain in touch with Bar Associations within their jurisdictions which in case of need may raise the individual grievances of lawyers.

It is further suggested that these Nodal officers may be authorized and empowered to call the concerned Head of Health Department, Medical officers, Heads of the Hospitals, the Administrative and Police Head of the District for redressal of the grievances of the Advocates/their families.

The calls/orders of Nodal Officers may be made binding on the authorities and should be complied with without any delay. Any ignorance, negligence or disobedience of orders/calls of Nodal officers may be treated as gross contempt and should also be treated to be gross misconduct on the part of the concerned Authorities.

Further, it is urged that State Governments and District Administration may be directed to provide oxygen cylinders and ensure the oxygen supply for any Advocate or his family or staff and to the Judicial Officers, their families and court staff on the recommendations made by the concerned State Bar Council/ Bar Associations to the Nodal Officers.

The Council said it does not want any special treatment in the matter of medical attention as compared to other sections of the society, but simply a graceful response from the concerned official machinery, so that there is some mitigation in the miseries and sufferings of the affected lawyers and their family members.

In the past few days, Registrar General of NGT, Ashu Garg; Justice Virendra Kumar Srivastava, a sitting Judge of the Allahabad High Court and Justice Vandana Kasrekar, a sitting Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court succumbed to Covid-19 apart from several Judicial Officers and Advocates.

This Tuesday, the Allahabad High Court was informed that Justice Srivastava was not taken care of hospital authorities until his condition deteriorated severely and he had to be shifted to another hospital, where he passed.


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