BCI and PM Modi
BCI and PM Modi

BCI Chairman urges PM Modi to provide Rs 20,000 as subsistence allowance to financially weak advocates amidst Coronavirus lockdown

"It is only a handful of 10% Advocates who can survive and subsist without any earning during this time of crisis", states the letter signed off by BCI Chairman, Manan Kumar Mishra.

Rintu Mariam Biju

Bar Council of India (BCI) Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Government ministers requesting that a monthly subsistence allowance of Rs. 20,000 be allocated for young or economically weaker Advocates in view of the circumstances arising due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The letter states,

"....we beseech and call upon our beloved Prime Minister and all the Hon’ble Chief Ministers to kindly provide a subsistence allowance of Rs.20,000/- p.m. (Rupees Twenty Thousand Only) immediately on a monthly basis to all such young, and/or, financially not well off/ needy Advocates of each State who seek such monitory assistance either from Centre Funds and/or State Government Funds and/or jointly by either providing for the same directly or through Advocate Welfare Fund of the respective State Bar Council/s."

BCI letter to PM Modi

Senior counsel and BCI Chairman, Manan Kumar Misra
Senior counsel and BCI Chairman, Manan Kumar Misra

The letter highlights that though all professions (except those in the essential services sector) have stopped functioning, the Advocates and Courts are still still functioning, albeit in a restrictive mode where only important matters are being heard.

This being the case, advocates are still exposed to the dangers of the Novel Coronavirus, spread inspite of the best precautions. The letter further emphasises that even though there is a potent health risk at large, these advocates continue to discharge their social duty.

Moreover, it is stated that 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 be face many difficulties.

Even earning opportunities have ceased amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the letter adds. The families of many Advocates have come to the stage of starvation and if nothing is done about the current crisis, the said numbers would shoot up, the letter states.

"It is only a handful of 10% Advocates in the country who can be comfortably stated to be in a position to survive and subsist without any earning during this time of crisis."

BCI letter to PM Modi

On these grounds, it was requested that necessary funds be allocated to provide assistance to the concerned advocates either directly through the State Governments and/or by directing the State Governments to do the needful, or through any other route that is appropriate.

The BCI letter also suggests that such allowance may be provided to those advocates who register with Prime Minster Modi directly or through the State Bar Council at the help desk.

In order to facilitate the process, the BCI further urges Prime Minister Modi to create a helpline number, an email and a WhatsApp number for the allocation of funds.

[Read letter here]

BCI Chairman letter to PM.pdf
Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news