The COVID19 Pandemic has affected numerous industries and hasn’t spared the Legal Fraternity. Majority of the High Courts are taking up only urgent matters that too via Video-Conferencing. Several lower courts do not have the proper infrastructure to conduct an e-hearing. Therefore, a lot of Lawyers have found themselves out of work.
The Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa has therefore passed a resolution stating that 1,86,000 Advocates which are currently the members of the BCMG can take up other jobs provided they give up their license. Also, the re-enrollment fees of Rs. 25,000 shall not be charged by BCMG if the member wants to re-apply for his Sanad once the lockdown is lifted and things are back to normal.
“In the meeting, it was decided that while under the Advocates Act 1961, once a lawyer passes the and gets a ‘Sanad’ or licence to practice along with an enrollment with the Bar Council, they are prohibited from indulging in any type of businesses, lawyers who would want to surrender their Sanad would not be charged the approx Rs 25,000 re-admission fee”Adv. Subhash Ghatge, Chairman of Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa
The Bombay High Court has successfully managed to go virtual after a few ups and downs. Majorly the HC is hearing only criminal matters and only urgent civil matters are being heard. The staff is working at only 15% capacity and major court complexes are being used as a quarantine facility. Opening the courts up during a pandemic would turn out to be a disaster. Therefore this move by the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa is going to benefit a lot of Advocates.
“Those who depend on miscellaneous legal work like making affidavits, taking out certified copies of court orders, filing return of property applications and court appearances for slum dwellers, have had a complete loss of income. This is why we requested that on compassionate grounds advocates be allowed to take up other work. Lawyers in Mumbai can probably sustain themselves but you should see the pitiable condition of lawyers across the state.”Advocate V D Salunke, Member of BCMG