More than 2000 women Lawyers from across the country petition to the Hon’ble Home Minister to come to the aid of financially drained Advocates community due to Corona Pandemic and also to improve infrastructural facilities of the virtual courts.
It is for the first time in the history of our country that women advocates have stood up for the cause of the entire Advocates community.
Deeply affected and saddened by the financial stress that the lawyer’s community is facing since March this year due to the restricted ( near closure) functioning of courts, the women advocates decided to speak out for the entire legal fraternity to seek help in the form of loan on reasonable terms and conditions . They started a signature drive on 21st of July 2020 and in a short spell of 40 hours or so, the number of responses on the representation crossed 2000. The data collected reveals that women advocates from the entire length and breadth of Bharat, i.e from Jammu & Kashmir to Kerala and Meghalaya to Rajasthan, with approximately around 400 districts from 28 States and 8 Union Territories have stood up for the collective call and cause of all the advocates. The signatories of the representation were moved by the plight of several of their colleagues committing suicides or taking up odd jobs during this time.
In the said representation the lady lawyers requested Hon’ble Home Minister to take steps to provide financial assistance to the Advocates under the Disaster Management Act, 2015 on reasonable terms and conditions and also to improve infrastructural facilities of the virtual courts. A copy of the said representation has also been sent to the Prime Minister’s Office, Hon’ble Law Minister and Hon’ble Finance Minister.
On 22/07/2020 i.e a day after women advocates started their signature campaign, Hon’ble Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the issue and asked the Union of India, Bar Council of India and Registrar Generals of all the High Courts to respond. Several concerned Senior persons and organizations including the Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakata Parishad have already represented to the Finance Ministry on this issue.
It is known to all that even during the current process of ‘unlocking’, the courts are still functioning on nominal basis only and it is the virtual courts which have become the order of the day. Most of the Advocates do not have proper infrastructure and electronic gadgets such as laptops, scanners, good wi-fi for better bandwidth and even dedicated spaces in the Associations to participate in virtual hearings in virtual courts effectively. It is for this reason they are not able to assist in the justice delivery system effectively. If the representation moved by the women advocates is considered by the Ministry, then it will be of immense help to the entire advocates community in overcoming the financial hardships encountered during the current National Health Emergency and will also improve the functioning of virtual courts.