Friday, January 25, 2019

Allot Rs 50, 000 Crore Annual Budget for Advocates' Welfare, BCI writes to PM Narendra Modi

The Bar Council of India (BCI), through its chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, has addressed a letter to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi pressing for an annual budgetary allocation of Rs 50, 000 crores for the welfare of Advocates in India.
Recalling a speech made by Modi in 2014, during an event organised by the BCI, the letter points out,
“… you [Modi] gave a clear assurance to the Lawyers of the country that if you become the Prime Minister of the country, you will make some Budgetary provisions for Lawyers, the Legal Profession and their welfare.
However, repeated representations made in furtherance of the same to government officials yielded little result. In turn, the BCI has made the instant representation, seeking the implementation of the following proposals for the general welfare of advocates, i.e.:
  1. Insurance cover up to Rs. 20, 00, 000/- for the Lawyers and their families (dependents).
  2. Medi-claim: free medical treatment of every type of disease in best Hospitals of India & other countries (if needed) for the Advocates. Lawyers should be provided a “special card” for this purpose, so that they could avail the benefit of this schemes anytime, anywhere. 
  3. Stipend for needy new entrants at the Bar upto 5 years of their practice (Minimum Rs. 10, 000/- Per Month)
  4. Scheme for pension for old/indigent Advocates and provision for family pension in case of untimely death of Advocates (Minimum Rs. 50, 000/- per month).
  5. Advocates Protection Act to be enacted for Advocates of the Country by the Parliament 
  6. All the Bar Associations of the country should have adequate building/accommodation/sitting facilities with well-equipped Libraries, e-libraries, with internet, toilets etc. and facilities for lady advocates.
  7. Interest-free house loans, loans for Library, Vehicle for the needy Advocates. The government should acquire lands at cheaper for the Housing of Advocates. 
  8. Legal Services Authority Act – Amendments & necessary changes should be made in the Act so that the functions under this Act could be discharged by the Lawyers (and not the Judges or Judicial Officers only. 
  9. All the Acts (which provide for appointments of retired Judges/Judicial Officers as the Presiding Officers/ Member of different Tribunals, Commissions of Forums/ Authorities) should be properly amended so that competent Advocates (and not only the Judges) could also be appointed on these places. 
  10. In case of untimely death of any Advocate (below 65 years of age) due to accident, murder, any disease, the Government should grant the family/dependents at least a sum of Rs 50, 00, 000 /- (fifty lakhs).
The letter also urges for a budgetary allocation of Rs 50, 000 crores per year, which it states would be sufficient to cover the welfare requirements of the Advocates. The money so allocated may be deposited through trustee committees headed by Advocates General, the BCI suggests.
The Budget Session is to begin soon, our request is very simple. As citizens of this country, the lawyers and their families have also the right to get the bar minimum requirement so life and to live a respectable and secured life.
The BCI has requested that the government respond to the representation before January 31, 2019. The BCI letter also informs that Bar Council and Associational representatives had contemplated carrying out a massive demonstration at Delhi to highlight these demands. However, the same was deferred to acquaint the Prime Minister with the demands. The next joint meeting of Bar Councils and Bar Associations is expected to be held on February 9-10, 2019.

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