New Delhi: The Bar Council of India, after waiting “endlessly” for the past five years since the Narendra Modi-led government was elected, has decided to take to the streets to demand better facilities for advocates and has also threatened the government to either meet the demands or bear the wrath of lawyers in the upcoming elections.
It was a congregation of 15,000 lawyers and judges held on March 1, 2014, that BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra hinged on as he stated that "promises made by Narendra Modi as the then CM of Gujarat seeking votes for 2014 elections have remain unfulfilled."
The BCI has now decided to bring out nationwide rallies of lawyers across India on February 12 in full dress demanding the implementation of demands.
"Lawyers all over India are struggling for proper facilities to conduct their profession. While the judges have AC rooms and digital libraries, the lawyers have to sit under trees or arrange for plastic shades. Even proper urinal facilities and libraries are a distant dream in many district and high courts,” said the BCI Chairman.
The chairman headed a joint council meeting on February 2 in New Delhi and has now decided that if the government turns a deaf ear to the issues of lawyers, then it's the votes that the government will lose.
"We have decided to urge all lawyers, their families, our clients and para legal force to refrain from voting for the BJP. Even a lawyer in a village has a lot of intellectual clout. He has the power to make an entire village vote against the saffron party. The votes would run into crores that the BJP can lose," said Mishra.
The BCI chairman said there are almost 17 lakh lawyers listed under the BCI itself.
"We kept on writing letters but all of that has been pushed to cold storage. You work for farmers, labourers and that's good. But what about us, who are sitting on roads under tree shades without access to latest libraries. Then it's us who are blamed for not delivering," said another BCI member.
The primary demands of BCI is insurance covers of up to Rs 20 lakh for lawyers and their families, mediclaim facilities, stipends for needy new entrants at the bar for a minimum Rs 10,000 per month, a scheme for old and indigent advocates, passage of the advocate protection act and infrastructural upgrade.
The chairman also stated that in case of the untimely death of an advocate below 65 years of age, the government should grant the family a sum of Rs 50 lakh.
The resolutions will be addressed to the Prime Minister and it will be handed over to the local collector with copies to Member of Parliament, district judges, state bar councils and the Bar Council of India