Charanjeet Chanderpal, a practising lawyer and senior standing Counsel to the Income Tax Department has filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court seeking directions from the Bar Council of India and other State Bar Councils for allowing it’s member advocates to advertise for public listings until March 2021 amidst the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. These listings shall result in para-legal work for the advocates allowing them to sustain during the pandemic while providing an alternate source of funds.
Adv. Chanderpal in his capacity as the Secretary General of a Non-Governmental Organisation by the name of Nitya Law Society takes up the plea in the apex court emphasising that the existing rules need to be averted in extreme situations like the present. Advocates from Lower and Middle-Class Income Segments are unable to sustain themselves and such relief if sought shall be extremely beneficial for them.
“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”Charanjeet Chanderpal, in his plea to the Supreme Court
The plea highlights the loss of income that advocates have faced during the pandemic and subsequent lockdown as a result of which there have been reports of suicides, depression and inability to subsist. Therefore, the plea prays that changes be brought forth in the Bar Council of India Rules by the issuance of a circular or modification or issuing a corrigendum or suspension of current rules as well as initiate modifications under Section 49 of the Advocates Act, 1961.
“Several cases of advocates getting suicidal thoughts, suffering from depressing, suffering from no income, suffering from starvation, all as a result of the closure of courts. Our NGO to propose the contents of this submission. This is necessary for the survival of the advocates belonging to the middle and lower-middle class. The representation there represents lakhs of advocates across our country who have stood affected.”Adv. Charanjeet Chanderpal