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[Coronavirus Lockdown] SCBA Secretary proposes extending financial help to lawyers in difficulty

Bar & Bench

Secretary of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Ashok Arora has sought views on a proposal that members of the Association extend financial help for those lawyers facing difficulties during the standstill occasioned by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Arora has proposed the initiative in his individual capacity, whereby he has urged for the members of the SCBA to consider making contributions for providing financial assistance to their peers in need of the same.

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 has put out for the SCBA members.

He has proposed that money can also be collected from Senior Advocates and as well as from the SCBA funds for this purpose. Arora adds that the accounts maintained for this exercise would be completely transparent, barring the details of the recipients.

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

The Supreme Court has been functioning on restricted terms since March 16, the day it was scheduled to reopen after Holi break, 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.

After a nationwide lockdown for 21 days was announced by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on March 24 at 8PM, the Supreme Court adjourned all the matters indefinitely that were listed for hearing on March 25.

However, it is given to understand that the Apex Court is not on a complete lockdown and will continue to remain accessible for hearing extremely urgent matters in accordance with the modalities that were notified on March 23.

The conditions of the lockdown and the restricted functioning of Courts on account of the global pandemic has also led to various lawyers losing out on litigation work.

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