With the extension of national lockdown intensifying the anxiety of young lawyers who face financial difficulties in the absence of a fixed remuneration or salary, their seniors are trying to find help. According to figures procured from the state bar councils of Punjab & Haryana, around 7,000 fresh lawyers enrol with the council every year to practise in Punjab, Haryana & Chandigarh.
On Wednesday, the Bar Council of India, the apex body of lawyers in the country, wrote to the Union govt seeking financial assistance for young lawyers. The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) also appealed to senior advocates to provide financial assistance to young lawyers in need of help. According to the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) appeal, names of beneficiary lawyers should not be revealed to prevent embarrassment.
Going by figures of new entrants from the region in the profession over the past three years, around 20,000 lawyers may be directly affected. Around 1,400 to 1,500 of them are likely to be in Punjab & Haryana HC bar alone. Around 700 to 800 new lawyers join the HC bar every year. There are around one lakh practising advocates in the region comprising two states & UT Chandigarh.
Karanjit Singh, chairman, state bar council of Punjab & Haryana, said, “Those who were enrolled in the past three years are more vulnerable in the present situation. But the problem is that the state bar council doesn’t have special funds to deal with such a situation,” he said.
Rohit Sud, secretary, Punjab & Haryana high court bar association (HCBA) said the bar is seriously considering financial assistance to young lawyers facing difficulties during the lockdown. Sud said those attached with senior advocates must be paid the fixed remuneration by their seniors & that Punjab & Haryana high court bar association (HCBA) would soon come out with a special fund for them.
“It is difficult to determine who would need help. Even a few lawyers practising in the past five years may be in financial difficulty because of lack of legal work in high court & there may be young advocates from lawyers’ families or working in senior lawyers’ offices. We are working on all this & will soon come out with a solution,” Sud assured.
Except for those getting fixed remuneration from senior advocates, young lawyers entirely depend on the routine cases they get in a week. Even payment made by senior advocates isn’t sufficient for survival.