The News Scroll 30 March 2020  Last Updated at 5:06 pm | Source: PTI

COVID-19: West Bengal Bar Council writes to law minister

COVID-19: West Bengal Bar Council writes to law minister
seeking assistance for financially weak lawyers

Kolkata, Mar 30 (PTI) With work at courts in West Bengal suspended owing to the spread of the coronavirus and the resultant nationwide lockdown, lawyers who are not in good financial health along with junior advocates are facing distress, West Bengal Bar Council Vice-chairman Siddhartha Mukhopadhyay said here on Monday.

Mukhopadhyay said that he has written to the state Law Minister seeking financial assistance from the state government, for such lawyers, to tide over the situation.

"I have also asked for financial assistance of Rs 50,000 to any lawyer, who may be inflicted with COVID-19, in the letter to Law minister Moloy Ghatak," he said.

Mukhopadhyay said that he will take up the issue at the next Bar Council meeting for making a representation to the state government so that the financially weak lawyers could get at least a one-time assistance.

"We would want to put a proposal before the government to give an amount to those lawyers with up to 15 years'' practice and a different amount to those who have more experience," he told PTI.

He said assistance can be provided to member lawyers from the West Bengal Advocates Welfare Fund Trust, of which the Law Minister is the chairman.

Mukhopadhyay is a member of the trust in his capacity as the vice-chairman of West Bengal Bar Council. Anindya Sundar Das, a practising lawyer at the Calcutta High Court, said that not only junior advocates but some lawyers who do not have a good income despite having put in many years should get assistance, whether financial or in some other form to ensure that they can make do during the prevailing tough circumstances.

"The West Bengal Bar Council may come forward in aid of these lawyers apart from the state government," Das said.

Uday Shankar Chattopadhyay, another practising lawyer at the high court, said that apart from the lawyers, clerks, typists and other staff are also suffering owing to an almost total stop in work at the courts.

"Apart from the lawyers, these people related to legal practise should also be taken into account if any such assistance is considered by the government," Chattopadhyay said.

Anindya Raut, a lawyer who practises at the city''s Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court, said several advocates in the court who are not so financially well-off as some of their brethren.

"An assistance to these lawyers may be thought of," he said.

Raut said that while on the one side there is the question of livelihood, on the other the lawyers must also abide by the government''s directives and advice due to the lockdown.

The Calcutta High Court in a notification on Saturday said that it will hear petitions via video-conferencing through skype conference call because of the inconvenience faced by lawyers and litigants in physically attending court proceedings due to lockdown owing to the Novel Corona Virus spread.

It said that only extremely urgent matters will be taken up for hearing through video-conferencing.

The high court had been taking up hearing of only urgent matters since March 15 following the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Chief Justice T B N Radhakrishnan had on March 24 ordered that the proceedings of the high court, its circuit benches at Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Japlpaiguri and the district courts would remain suspended from March 25 to April 9 owing to the prevailing situation over the Novel Corona Virus spread in the country. PTI AMR SBN SBN

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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