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The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a petition seeking that advocates be exempted from paying rent for their professional premises during the COVID-19 lockdown.
"All the professionals except a privileged few in this country, especially lawyers earn their livelihood on a day-to-day basis and are left hardly with any savings. Most of the advocate office/ professional office are there in city or premises close to the Court."
In response to the plea, Justice SK Kaul observed,
"Tomorrow, engineers will come, architects will come. How can we give special dispensation to lawyers? This is unreasonable for us to do. There may be old ladies, aged persons as landlords. How can we say this?"
Senior Advocate Kailash Vasdev, appeared for the Supreme Court Bar Association, which had intervened in the plea. He stated,
"We are not saying rent should not be charged. We are only saying that non-payment of rent should not be made a grounds for eviction during the lockdown."
The Court responded by stating that during the lockdown, landlords and tenants are renegotiating contracts.
Ultimately, the Court stated that it was "not going to enter into this issue," as the petitioners were "not entitled to any special consideration".
The petition was then dismissed as withdrawn.