Given the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 lockdown; a group of lawyers of the Madras High Court appealed to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu seeking financial assistance. Albeit many Senior Advocates and Judges have made donations, the group of lawyers held that individual donations cannot replace “collective and concerted efforts” by bodies such as Bar Council of Tamil Nadu, Madras High Court Advocates Association, Madras Bar Association etc.
They urged the Council to create a Corpus of Rs.2,00,00,000/- to assist the advocates in distress, among other reliefs. In the representation sent by 872 advocates, they said:
“We therefore appeal to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu to take the lead and devise a scheme to allocate a sum of Rs.2,00,00,000/- as corpus fund and solicit a minimum contribution of Rs.50,00,000 each from MHAA and MBA. Contributions may also be solicited from Hon’ble Judges, Bar Council Members, Senior Advocates and senior members of the Bar in the State for generating a fund of at least a sum of Rs.5, 00, 00,000. A minimum sum of Rs.7,500/- may then be provided in a systematic manner to a targeted group of most deserving Advocates.”
The advocates also recommended criteria for the ‘most deserving advocates‘ along the following lines:
(a) Age shall be below 35 years.
(b) Enrolment and practice shall be below 7 years.
(c) She/he must be a regular practising lawyer as per the Bar guidelines.
(d) She/he does not have a senior who support financially.
The advocates acknowledged the hardships of lawyers who do not fall within this category. Thus, the advocates have suggested schemes including credit and loan facilities with no interest. “We believe that if the measures suggested are put in place, it will also ease the financial burden of the State.“- The representation read.