Plea filed in Supreme Court to allow advocates to take-up alternative works to sustaintheir livelihood and also seeks to permit the use of advertisements till March, 2021

Team SoOLEGAL 1 Jul 2020 3:18pm

Plea filed in Supreme Court to allow advocates to take-up alternative works to sustaintheir livelihood and also seeks to permit the use of advertisements till March, 2021

A plea has been submitted in the Supreme Court advising it to direct Bar Council of India (BCI) to permit lawyers to take up other sources of income to earn their living. During these hard and testing times when the courts are closed in many parts of the nationdue to the Covid-19 pandemic, work is very difficult to come by.

The plea filed by Advocate Charanjeet Chanderpal has stated that during these times many advocates are facing hardships as their only source of income i.e. advocacy has been affected immensely by the Covid-19 pandemic. The plea also states to allow advocates to use advertisements till March, 2021.

Advocate Chanderpal has said that the existing rules must be changed or modifiedin accordancewith the current situation as advocates who are from middle or lower middle class families are unable to sustain themselves. In this regard the petition states, “In such situations, for persons other than advocates, if one option to earn to sustain is affected, they can look for alternatives and endeavour that would come in their way. However, if an advocate works outside his profession to stabilise his income, the regulations that govern the conduct of advocates will consider it as professional misconduct”.

Emphasising the monetary damage suffered by the Advocates during the pandemic, the petition also referred to the recorded cases of suicide, depression and incapacity to sustain livelihood. The petition subsequently prayed that amendments be made to the BCI Rules by issuing a circular or issuing a corrigendum or suspension of the existing laws and it further stated that modifications or adjustments be made to Section 49 of  the Advocates Act,1961.

Furthermore, the plea has also mentioned some suggestions as to minimise the problems faced by the advocates in these tough times:

·       Clarification of Chapter III Rule 2 of the Bar Council Rules viz. permission to the  Advocates to be a sleeping director/partner so that they can be inducted as 'legal retainers' and 'legal consultants' in companies because apparently it sends out incorrect ideas under the existing law.

·       Issuance of a circular allowing the use of advertising and whatsapp messages to enable advocates to take up chamber work such as income tax assistance, GST assistance, company registration, trusts including online case filing.

Official notification, bearing in mind the pandemic situation due to COVID-19, enabling lawyers to earn their living by taking alternative means, along with an undertaking that the same shall not be applicable by March, 2021.

Tagged: Supreme Court   Bar Council of India   Covid-19   pandemic   Advocate Charanjeet Chanderpal   Section 49   Advocates Act 1961  
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