The Kerala High Court on Monday took strong exception to the lack of action on the part of the Bar Council of Kerala in implementing a Government Order(GO) issued in March 2018, which had sanctioned payment of ₹5,000 per month as stipend for junior lawyers (Adv. Dheeraj Ravi v. State of Kerala & Ors.).Single judge Justice PV Kunhikrishnan, while hearing a plea to implement the GO expeditiously especially in light of the adverse effect of the pandemic on junior lawyers' livelihoods, highlighted the plight of junior lawyers in the State who are languishing with little to no pay."There are lawyers in Kerala who don’t have even ₹1,000 and have to run tea stalls. There are lawyers who I know personally who sell tea to survive. The government passed an order to provide them a small amount but these people(Bar Council) couldn’t amend and frame a rule," the Court said..The judge minced no words while pulling up the members of the Bar Council of Kerala for offering excuses for not doing the needful to frame rules to implement the GO despite 3 years having lapsed. "Why don’t I issue an order that these people are not eligible to continue on the Council? It has been more than three years. I’m told that they have built a new guest house spending crores of rupees but they couldn’t find money to pay poor advocates?".The Court expressed its disappointment at the delay in framing the necessary rules to implement the Government Order, which it noted had been issued three years ago in March, 2018. "The GO is dated March 2018. This is a statutory matter which they took 5 months to decide. First proposal to amend rules came in august 2018, 5 months later. The elected committee came in January 2019. Rule committee with three lawyers was constituted only in May 2019. They submitted a report immediately but this was forwarded only in July 2020," the Court noted. .Additional Advocate General Ashok Cherian informed the Court that the delay has been due to lack of sufficient resources. To implement the GO, a sum of around ₹36 crores would be required per annum, it was submitted.However, the judge retorted and said "they have funds to build a new guest house, not to provide a small sum to young lawyers?"The AAG then assured the Court that the government is taking the issue seriously and will do the needful within a period of two months. .Senior Advocate Gracious Kuriakose, appearing for the Bar Council of Kerala, submitted that rules are already framed and submitted before the government..Both lawyers submitted that a comprehensive package is being prepared by government in consultation with Bar Council of Kerala..While the Court recorded the same in its interim order, it also made it clear that the actions of the Bar Council have so far been less than satisfactory"Even though I am not satisfied by the way in which the Bar Council of Kerala proceeded after the GO was issued, I record submissions of the counsels," the order stated. .The Court directed the Government and the Bar Council to submit a report with the Court within a period of two months..Before the hearing concluded, upon request from one of the counsel to consider the matter part-heard, Justice Kunhikrishnan said,"Why are we sitting here as judges if we cannot understand the plight of our junior lawyers. They are the future of the judiciary. All 42 judges of this Court are concerned with this matter. All are on the side of junior lawyers. No need to be part-heard.".The matter will be taken up next on December 20, 2021.