SCBA mulls BCI plea to help financially-troubled lawyers in wake of COVID-19.

A day after the Bar Council of India urged the Prime Minister and states to help the financially stressed lawyers in wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Secretary of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Ashok Arora has sought views of the members of the Association on extending financial help for such lawyers.

The contributions thus collected are proposed to be diverted towards the beneficiaries. This could be done without revealing the beneficiary’s identity so as to not hurt anyone’s dignity, Arora said in the message he put out for the SCBA members.

“The BCI would like to make a fervent and urgent request to your good selves to kindly make a provision for providing a minimum subsistence allowance of Rs 20,000 per month for young and not financially well-off advocates, who are staying and practising in the country,” BCI said in a letter addressed to the senior leaders.

Arora has proposed that money can also be collected from senior advocates and as well as from the SCBA funds for this purpose and the recipients names shall be kept confidential.

While this is only a proposal at the moment, Arora has sought the opinion of the members of the SCBA Executive Committee as well as from other members of the Association.

Due to restricted functioning of courts, earning opportunities have ceased for lawyers, who it said earn and live by the day or earnings of the week.

Since the advocate fraternity has no social security benefits and if at all any unforeseeable situation presents itself, many advocates as well as their families would face  difficulties, it added. The top court has been functioning on restricted terms since March 16, to decongest the court and thereby minimise the risk of spreading the coronavirus. On March 23, the restricted functioning was further thinned down to skeletal staff required to only hear matters of extreme urgency via video conferencing.

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