The Supreme Court on Thursday disposed of a petition seeking appropriate directions to the Bar Council of India (BCI) to assist and help lawyers facing difficulties, especially financial help, during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice NV Ramana, refused to pass any order to the BCI after hearing a petition filed by lawyer Pawan Prakash Pathak.
The top court was hearing a plea seeking the creation of a financial emergency fund for practicing advocates due to the nation-wide COVID-19 lockdown.
The petitioner submitted that for lawyers practicing independently, there is an Advocates Act 1961, and Section 5 of the Act required that if they need any help, a direction can be passed for them.
Pathak said that those lawyers practicing independently have been left with no source of income, therefore the Supreme Court should pass appropriate orders and or directions to the BCI to help these lawyers.
Justice Ramana said that some state bar councils have already taken up the cause.
Justice Kaul, one of the judges in the three-judge bench, asked how can this be part of a direction under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution. "It is for the bar council to take a call. Please approach the bar council," Justice Kaul said.
Justice Kaul said that there is a pandemic right now and added that the whole country is suffering, and advocates are a part of it.
The petition said that lawyers have a statutory right under Advocates Act and added that the apex court can direct the BCI to take action, to which the top court refused to pass any order.
"We understand your problem but it is for the BCI to consider how well it is in a position to help," the apex court said.
( With inputs from ANI )