Whatís At Stake For The Legal Fraternity In This Pandemic In India?
The crisis that the world in general and our country is facing due to the
rapid and seemingly uncontrollable spread of coronavirus is not only
unprecedented in contemporary times but also extremely damaging on multiple
fronts. Almost the whole world, barring certain exceptions, is in lock- down and
only essential services are allowed to function and operate. We donít know how
the world would look in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Certainly, many things would undergo a drastic transformation, from our eating
habits to hygiene and lifestyle, however, how we embrace these changes - is the
million-dollar question. It is an undisputed fact that sudden changes bring
their own diversified challenges, which, in the present case, would surely be
multi-faceted and far-reaching. The situation in the Country is very much
disturbing and not only the poor people is suffering more but middle class or so
called higher class people is also suffering a lot.
Present COVID 19 situation forced the legal fraternity to take help of the
technology and started teaching or conducting seminars, webinars etc. on virtual
platforms via zoom app. Lawyers learned or still learning to file their cases on
e- Platform or filling the cases. It will also analyse whether there is a need
to switch over to this technological system discarding the traditional methods
of preparing for the cases in hands or fillings or conducting seminars, etc in
India or not but it is not such an easy task because traditional methods of
preparing for the cases or case files and doing many legal tasks at courts are
very much known and deep rooted in the legal systemís execution manner.
It is high time for the management of legal fraternity upon this restructuring
aspect which could balance the interests of all the lawyers .We have to keep in
mind that every year thousands of law graduates join the profession and they
have to be suitably placed amid this crisis. We need to generate this confidence
in clients that like other sectors, the legal sector is also prepared to face
the challenges. We have to further ensure that the quality of legal support, in
the absence of huge revenue, is not compromised. We have to scrutinize and
identify the prospective cost cutting avenues. We the working advocates arenít
subjected to unduly harsh measures.
Above all, we have to take them into confidence. By just knowing that we the
BCI(Bar Council of India) donít have enough funds to meet the needs of the needy
lawyers in this pandemic ,infact need to analyse the situation deeply and
keeping the lawyers dignity in mind make the efforts or proposals to help the
needy lawyers. Lest we forget that a large chunk of the legal fraternity
consists of daily bread earners who are required to work continuously to
generate sufficient income. In this lockdown, they are the ultimate sufferer in
terms of their financial dependency.
Young lawyers are the most hit population of this legal fraternity in this
lockdown amid COVID 19 ,because they may have so many issues like of
accommodation or maintaining their basic structure of living or finding
difficulty in meeting their daily basic needs as well as it might possible they
have just started their career in this legal field, earning day by day or
monthly to meetup their basic ends of living.
The bar councils such as Delhi Bar Council have floated an idea last year
whereby 5000 Rs per month would be provided as financial assistance for young
lawyers. The idea, although appreciated, has its own challenges as Bar councils
do not maintain the income cycle of the lawyers enrolled with it. Further, how
such lawyers who require financial assistance would be identified presents its
own difficulties under the conditions of the lockdown.
Although the idea has been publicised and senior members of the bar have been
urged to contribute and reportedly, some senior members of the bar have
contributed to such corpus, however, it is unclear as to how many lawyers have
actually received the benefits of such assistance. Anyways the top most senior
members of BCD now come up with the proposal to distribute the ďRASHAN KITS" to
the needy lawyers by providing their particulars like Ids, Enrolment no., etc.
And there after they need to keep standing in a queue to get their kit.
Itís good not bad, but there must have more ideas or proposals can executed
like the senior and well to do members of bar should identify struggling
lawyers in their own respective networks and should directly support them. This
would also facilitate support under the lockdown and it would not require any
paperwork formalities or like last year, can give financial assistance to the
needy lawyers in their respective Bank Accounts so that they can manage that
fund their best ways. 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 from COVID 19.
The corpus and its scheme of implementation should be promptly and appropriately
deliberated rather putting the lawyers dignity, their self respect at stake.
This may not be the end of the death row due to COVID 19 But the members of Bar
Association need to be prepared for today and for tomorrow as well.
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