Advocate Welfare Group urges Law Minister to introduce scheme for  waiver of rent for Lawyers' chambers, officers etc. amid COVID-19 crisis
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Advocate Welfare Group urges Law Minister to introduce scheme for waiver of rent for Lawyers' chambers, officers etc. amid COVID-19 crisis

The request has been made considering the financial difficulties faced by lawyers with courts restricting their functioning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

Bar & Bench

A lawyer's collective, the Advocate Welfare Group, has written to the Union Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, urging that the Central Government consider formulating a scheme to temporarily waive off the payment of rent of licence fees for premises being used as lawyers' offices and chambers for the period of the COVID-19 crisis.

The request has been made considering the financial difficulties faced by lawyers with courts restricting their functioning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

The group also calls on the Centre to introduce such financial aid measures considering the plight of young lawyers amid the lockdown.

"The professionals like advocates are already suffering for the reason of no income during this period. In addition to this they cannot be forced to pay towards monthly rent/licence fees. There is a need of a scheme where a burden of a loss due to the pandemic is attributed to the landlords too."
the letter states.

The letter notes that maintaining rented/leased premises for their professional activities comprises a major part of the monthly expenses for advocates.

As such, "Maintaining such premises without any income for months together would be a Herculean task for advocates."

Whereas the Government has formulated schemes for other sections of people such as labourers and students in the country, it is noted that no such benefit has been extended to advocates till date.

Whereas the issue has been discussed by some State Governments, no decision has been taken till date till date.

As a result, it is pointed out that advocates are left with no other option but to perform the obligation to pay lease rentals/licence fees under commercial agreements, though their respective commercial premises were not used during the lockdown period.

In this backdrop, the Government has been urged to provide a scheme to provide relaxation from payment or waiver or suspension of lease rentals/licence fee during this crisis period.

In the absence of such intervention, a concern is raised that in most cases, the agreement in respect of the lawyers' officers etc. may be terminated.

"It is a humble request to the Government to exercises its power, were by formulate appropriate schemes to financially support and help the legal professionals and also issue appropriate notification or order, to dispenses with / excuses the professionals from their obligation to pay the rent for the office premises/chambers till such time as the lockdown prevails, to avoid larger hardship", the letter states.

A copy of the letter has also been marked to the Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde.

Read the Letter:

Representation to Law Ministry.pdf
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