Sarthak Nayak

The author is a Lawyer in The Supreme Court Of India

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Time To Stand For Young Advocates

Patience make you mentally strong and silence makes one emotionally strong, but it should not be taken as a weakness by anybody and certainly not be taken for granted.

Few days back, People saw viral pictures of a young Advocate, selling vegetables in front of bar council office Cuttack, Orissa in Court attire. Some people believed that it was a protest with a message to the authorities. The Lockdown may be a luxury for few individuals, who spend quality time with family and try out new hobbies but for working class, whose income is less and variable, it’s a nightmare. Young advocates in the profession, normally struggle for years and slog hard before getting established.

Some even don’t get cases for months together. Sometimes, people spend their whole life dedicating to the profession, still fail to establish themselves.

In such circumstances, the mental wellness and health of the professionals can be seriously affected. Covid 19 is a global threat and till the vaccine comes, one has to adopt to the new normal like wearing masks, using sanitizers maintain social distance, downloading Arogya setup App etc., however, one also needs to accept the situation mentally and keep one’s mind strong. Many people are getting depressed and restless in such situation, staying at home.

Many people are getting frustrated and there are reports of even developing suicidal tendencies. Young advocates, who come from villages and are on rental accommodation and have EMI’s to pay are getting mentally drained day by day. Some even can’t manage a square meal a day. Therefore, it is necessary that the lawyers body must be sensitive towards the pain of fellow brothers and sisters. Each and every day their troubles and struggle is only accumulating.

Orissa Bar council does not have a chairman, it is being headed by the Ex officio chairman in terms of clause(a) subsection 2 of section 3 under section 8 A of the Advocates Act 1961, who is the Advocate General of the State. The other two members are also distinguished advocates. Election are due since June 2019. Bar Council of India had constituted the above special committee to carry forward the affairs of Orissa State Bar council, as it failed to hold elections after expiry of its term in june. The BCI had earlier extended the term of the State Bar Council by six months till November 4. This is the second such extension.

The process of preparation of final electoral roll is still incomplete. The committee has to ensure that any non practicing advocates or a person with fake degree does not become a voter. As, the committee is being headed by a seasoned practicing senior Advocate, who knows from his hard work, pinching arguments in constitutional matters and selfless service for the Bar, young Advocates hope that soon the exercise will be over and Bar council elections will be democratically conducted. The committee recently framed OSBC emergency financial rules 2020 to the effect that lawyers in Orissa facing social and financial distress in the time of unprecedented COVID 19 pandemic, would get financial assistance, if they fulfill certain criteria. Due credit must go to the Chairman of the BCI, as the council immediately approved those rules in terms of section 15(3) of the Advocates Act  1961 via video conferencing.

Intimation was sent to all  Bar association to send the form as per format appended to the Rule/Resolution The rules contained the eligibility criteria for application and consideration and hence applications were invited, with the last date for application fixed on 25-05-2020, as specified by the secretary of the state Bar Council Via letter dated 15-05-2020.It clearly mentioned that the applications beyond the cut off date wont be entertained.

There were 10 criteria’s out of which the the fourth condition is extremely crucial that the advocate being a needy advocate has become disabled during the extra ordinary situation. Many people who are stuck outside Cuttack in other districts have even spent money for printouts and courier. Now that 50 days have passed, applicants are still awaiting in anticipation. It wont be an exaggeration that some are marching towards virtual starvation. Their mental wellness in the absence of money and work may give rise to ireversible effect to their psychology.

The council must have planned and analyzed the source of money for distribution to the needy advocates before formulating the rules. The council has received several forms from different advocates across the state but one does expect the scrutinizing of the applications as expediously as possible. There must be a clear communication with the applicant’s about  tentative time within which the applications will be scrutinized, selected and the date of payment. If there is any internal problem or any communication with the Government, which is ongoing or required in future, then it’s an internal matter of the committee and they don’t owe an explanation to the applicants and can sort it out among themselves.

Time is running fast. The trust of the applicants on the committee must be respected by the Bar council. It’s a sensitive issue and cannot be taken lightly. Every body does not have the privilege of being born as the son/daughter of a senior Advocate but everybody has a right to be provided with conditions which will make them believe in the institution. Advocate’s profession is a royal profession. Most of the the makers and architects of post Independence modern India were advocates. From Mahatma Gandhi to Arun Jaiteyji ,all were part of the noble profession. As the professional ethics and standards does not allow lawyers to choose alternate profession, without surrendering their license, the only option they have is to wait for the Bar council.

I remember the old quote “Patience is not about how long you wait but how well you behave while you are waiting”. The dignified manner of waiting by our young advocates is only the testimony of the fact that patience is the acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind. Patience and silence are two powerful energies. Patience make you mentally strong  and silence makes one emotionally strong, but it should not be taken as a weakness by anybody and certainly not be taken for granted.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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