In letter to Modi, BCI lists 10 demands for welfare of advocates, including an insurance cover of Rs 20 lakh and stipend for ‘needy new entrants’.
New Delhi: Days ahead of the Union Budget, the Bar Council of India (BCI) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi listing 10 demands for the welfare of advocates and the need for allocation of an annual budget of Rs 50,000 crore towards the same.
The demands include Medi-claim, an insurance cover of Rs 20 lakh for lawyers and their families, stipend for “needy new entrants” and pension for old advocates, among others.
The BCI said it does not require the annual budgetary allocation to be made to its own account or that of the State Bar Councils. The money could be spent “through the Trustee Committees which are to be headed by the Advocate-General/s”.
The letter dated 22 January was sent after repeated BCI representations to government officials yielded no results.
“The Budget Session is to begin soon, our request is very simple. As citizens of this country, the lawyers and their families have also the right to get the bare minimum requirements of life and to live a respectable and secured life,” the letter, signed by BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, read.
Recalling a speech Modi gave five years ago during a BCI event, Mishra said, “… you [Modi] gave a clear assurance to the Lawyers of the country that if you become the Prime Minister of the country, you will make some Budgetary provisions for Lawyers, the Legal Profession and their welfare”.
BCI said it had plans to carry out massive demonstrations in the national capital to highlight its demands. However, it has chosen to defer the demonstrations in lieu of the letter and acquaint Modi with the demands.
The council has sought a response to the letter from the prime minister by the end of the month as the next joint meeting of the Bar Council and various Bar Associations is slated for 9-10 February.
The 10 stated demands of the BCI for the welfare of advocates are:
1. Insurance cover up to Rs. 20, 00, 000/- for the Lawyers and their families (dependents).
2. Medi-claim: free medical treatment of every type of disease in best Hospitals of India & other countries (if needed) for the Advocates. Lawyers should be provided a “special card” for this purpose, so that they could avail the benefit of this schemes anytime, anywhere.
3. Stipend for needy new entrants at the Bar upto 5 years of their practice (Minimum Rs. 10, 000/- Per Month)
4. Scheme for pension for old/indigent Advocates and provision for family pension in case of untimely death of Advocates (Minimum Rs. 50, 000/- per month).
5. Advocates Protection Act to be enacted for Advocates of the Country by the Parliament
6. All the Bar Associations of the country should have adequate building/accommodation/sitting facilities with well-equipped Libraries, e-libraries, with internet, toilets etc. and facilities for lady advocates.
7. Interest-free house loans, loans for Library, Vehicle for the needy Advocates. The government should acquire lands at cheaper rates for the Housing of Advocates.
8. Legal Services Authority Act – Amendments & necessary changes should be made in the Act so that the functions under this Act could be discharged by the Lawyers (and not the Judges or Judicial Officers only.
9. All the Acts (which provide for appointments of retired Judges/Judicial Officers as the Presiding Officers/ Member of different Tribunals, Commissions of Forums/ Authorities) should be properly amended so that competent Advocates (and not only the Judges) could also be appointed on these places.
10. In case of untimely death of any Advocate (below 65 years of age) due to accident, murder, any disease, the Government should grant the family/dependents at least a sum of Rs 50, 00, 000 /- (fifty lakhs)