Order of the Supreme Court regarding financial aid for members of bar affected by COVID-19 pandemic, 22/07/2020
Order of the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Bar Council of India Vs Union of India & Others dated 22/07/2020. The matter related to financial aid for members of bar affected by COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the lives of citizens and particularly, the legal fraternity, the SC noted.
The apex court said that the advocates are bound by rules which restrict their income only to the profession. They are not permitted to earn a livelihood by any other means. In such a circumstance, the closure of the courts has deprived a sizable section of the legal profession of income and therefore livelihood.
The SC directed issue of notice to the recognized Bar Associations of the Supreme Court and of all the High Courts to show cause why a fund for relief to eligible and deserving advocates should not be set up and donations for the same be invited from their own members or any other legitimate source. It would also be necessary to determine the norms for eligibility of such financial aid by the Bar Associations, the court added. Notice was also issued to the Union of India, State Governments/Union Territories, Bar Council of India and all the State Bar Councils. Notice would also be issued to the Registrars General of all the High Courts. Notice would be returnable in two weeks.