Bihar Yuva Adhivakta Sangh writes to State Bar Council, demands compensation for deceased Advocates!

Rishabh Sachdeva

Intern

During this unprecedented time of pandemic, the legal profession has suffered a lot due to the closure of physical functioning of the courts which results in financial crisis for the budding advocates. The situation even became more worse during the second wave of pandemic where some of our advocates lost their lives. The total closure of the subordinate courts including the virtual hearing have resulted in loss and delay in imparting justice to the people and jeopardizing their interest in the State of Bihar. The court implement Rule of Law and the people have no other protective remedy other than making their rights enforceable in the court of law. Prima Facie it is quite reasonable to conduct hearings via virtual online mode to grant people with adequate remedy which the courts deem fit and to adopt a parallel mechanism of hearing cases, as been adopted by the courts of the upper hierarchy. Keeping in mind that delay in providing justice defeats the purpose of Rule of Law, being violative of Art 21 of Constitution of India and other similar statues protecting them. As a matter of fact, bail is the rule i.e., right of the person and making arrest is the exception which is a judicial principle and going contrary to this principle imperils and pose a threat to the life of the offender.

On 28th May, 2021, a very proficient organization namely Bihar Yuva Adhivakta Sangh wrote a letter to the State Bar Council of Bihar emphasizing the deteriorating economic conditions of the Advocates, functioning of courts during the period of pandemic and other incidental issues and grievances of the Advocates. During pandemic, in the case of Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar, the apex court laid down some guidelines which strictly restricts and limit the competent authorities to make arrest wherethey need to adhere the directives given in the above stated case while making arrest of the offenders. The apex court endeavors to ensure that police officers do not arrest unnecessarily and the magistrate do not authorize detention casually and mechanically. Despite abiding to the guidelines, the police officers made rampant arrests and acted recklessly contravening the guidelines laid down by the apex court. Keeping in view, the unhygienic and pathetic conditions of different prisons in the state, the Bihar Police has not at all abided by the directives issued by the apex court resulting in endangering the lives of the inmates in jails. On the other hand, rapid surge in Covid cases have degenerated the qualitylives of the advocates due to the non-functioning of the subordinate courts in the state which have rendered them and their families impecunious putting economic constrains. Even some of our diligent advocates have lost their lives while serving the helpless people and litigants, professionally as well as socially putting their valuable lives into danger, leaving no vacuum to consider them as “Corona Warriors”. The report highlights to provide our respectable advocates, the ones who lost their precious lives as well as the legal fraternity of the State by extending a helping hand in way of pecuniary relaxation by the government in order to mitigate the miseries of the advocate community.

Further on May 23, 2021 a joint meeting of Bar Council of India and the State Bar Council of Bihar was held to deliberate and discuss appropriate steps on the agendas as proposed by the Hon’ble members of the State Bar Council of Bihar, further comprising of Hon’ble Chairman of the Bar Council of India and State Bar Council of Bihar. During the meeting they passed certain resolutions which directed all the civil/subordinate courts to resume the functionality of courts via virtual online hearings of all the matters of grave importance through urgent hearings with effect from May 25, 2021 and requested the Hon’ble Chief Justice Sanjay Karol to allow the e-filings in all courts in Bihar of all types of cases. The earnestness of the organization namely Bihar Yuva Adhivakta Sangh did not go in vain and the reasonable resolutions were passed for the proposed agendas. The letter presented by the organization to the State Bar Council in good faith highlights the following points- to consider the advocates who lost their valuable lives while serving the profession as “Corona Warriors”. As most of our Senior Advocates are not tech savvy and skilled while using online platforms it was requested to make adequate arrangements for training cum tutorial sessions for the learned senior advocates to ease the process of e-filing and to continue with the court proceedings. Moreover, the letter suggested in providing pecuniary compensation to the deceased advocates of Rs 20 Lakh or other just amount which Board deems fit, moreover to provide a monetary support of minimum Rs 5,000/- to the member advocate and to the clerical staff involved in serving litigants and people belonging to the economically weaker part of the society which has hampered their livelihood and to overcome the financial crunch faced by them. The benefit provided to them shall be calculated from the date of closure of the courts after second wave of pandemic till the courts become fully operational in physical mode. At the last, it was most humbly prayed in the averments, to be fully cooperate with the Board and also suggested that a crowd funding platform like PMCARES can also be started for advocates welfare where any senior advocates, retired/judges or any social-minded personality can contribute for the welfare and upliftment of advocates. The put forth suggestions were humbly prayed.

It is to be noted that the Bihar State Bar Council itself was in controversy after the Advocate General Lalit Kishore resigned from its chairmanship on 19th May, 2021.

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