A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Hon’ble Supreme Court by Advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav seeking an Ex-Gratia relief of Rs. 50 lakhs for the family members of the advocates who have had to fight with Covid 19 and pass away eventually. The said provision is being asked for the ones aged up to 60 years. The petitioner has also claimed that extra grants or financial support must be given to lawyers who get affected with Covid because the only sources of income for such practitioners are the cases that they get to handle. If they are not in a position to work, they will not be able to survive or continue their treatment. This is especially true for the ones who have started practicing recently.
It has been mentioned in the plea that the Bar Council, as well as the state Bar Associations, have failed to take care of the benefits of the advocates as well as their families during the hours of distress. It has also been noted that every year, although crores of rupees are taken in the name of welfare tickets, to fill the welfare fund, no financial help is granted when the advocates are in trouble. This has always been overlooked by the Bar Associations as well as the judiciary and the society at large.
The plea goes on to talk about the hardships faced by the legal practitioners after the commencement of the second wave of the pandemic. As it is the lawyers are prohibited from advertising their services. On top of that, due to various restrictions, the courts have not been working in a routine manner which has affected the livelihood of the lawyers adversely.
The plea requests that the apex court issue directions to the concerned authorities, especially the registration departments of the Hon’ble courts to ensure that the video conferencing sessions be carried out systematically so that normalcy can be brought back at least in the judicial proceedings. Since, it is a known fact that during these tough times, the court is taking up only the cases that pose as the urgent need of the hour, the plea states that the welfare of the advocates be also taken as an urgent matter as they are the ones who uphold, and fight for the claims and rights of the citizens of this country. Their noble social services must not go unacknowledged. It is sought that the Advocates’ Act is amended to incorporate provisions for the social security as well as medical insurance of the legal professionals.
There has been a mention of a request on behalf of the family members of all the deceased advocates, to issue a writ of Mandamus or any other writ or order or direction of the same nature to implement the Ex-Gratia grant of rupees 50 lakhs to the unfortunate families of the deceased lawyers who succumb to covid. The court is expected to consider the plea and respond in a way that benefits not only the legal practitioners or their families but the society at large.